Decisions: Shaa Wasmund, serial entrepreneur

My best business decision was to get involved in the internet. My worst was deciding, as a hobby, to manage a boxer...

by
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

MY BEST...

... was to get involved in the internet. I'm not a technical person but I just fell in love with everything that it could do; the way it could transform lives and turn a small business into a large one - look at YouTube. That could never happen in the offline world. I initially got involved with the internet through a random meeting with Sir Bob Geldof, who asked me to become one of the founding directors of internet travel company deckchair.com. From that moment, I always saw my future in online. It's the excitement, the speed, the ability to turn things around as quickly as possible.

Another good decision was to interview boxer Chris Eubank, having won a competition to work for Cosmopolitan. He ended up asking me if I wanted a job. I found myself responsible for putting on the largest fight that had ever taken place in this country, while trying to do my finals at LSE. That set me up for the rest of my life in so many different ways - with contacts, and with a real rigour in how I did things. At 21, it made me believe anything is possible.

MY WORST...

... was deciding, as a hobby, to manage another boxer. I negotiated his two world title fights with promoter Don King. But things are never straightforward with boxers. He lived in Guyana. The fight was to take place in California with a million-dollar purse, but he went off the radar a week beforehand. I had to instruct lawyers and try to get the fight adjuncted and freeze the purse.

To cut a long story short, I lost a lot of money. Lesson learned: focus on what you can control.

The other big business lesson I learnt was from my first company, a PR consultancy. I was so intrinsically tied to the business as an individual that no matter how many people I employed, I couldn't extricate myself from it. Four years after I started working with James Dyson, I really wanted to go off and do my own thing but James and everybody else had bought into me.

I wouldn't have wanted it any other way, but you have to separate yourself from your business. If you don't do that, you will never be able to sell it.

Find this article useful?

Get more great articles like this in your inbox every lunchtime