I am thrilled to introduce Tony Robinson OBE, author, poet and entrepreneur. For all my readers … the designation OBE is an honor bestowed upon UK citizens who have made a significant contribution in their area of work. Tony Robinson was awarded an OBE from Prince Charles in 2001 for his outstanding services to small firms and training. He has also received two Lifetime achievement awards: Lifetime Achievement Award for Enterprise from the IAB in 2012 and another from Start Your Business Magazine In 2013.
Tony Robinson OBE has a mission — to help small business enterprises become enormously successful. His latest book, Freedom from Bosses Forever is not only filled with great tips for entrepreneurs, but is absolutely hilarious! You probably don’t want to read this book in a public place, because you will be making all sorts of unseemly noises!
NOTE: American Readers … all the spellings used by Tony are “English spellings” and are correct.
I talked to Tony Robinson OBE about his life, one of his businesses and his new book!
Melanie Rockett: You have founded an enormously successful business community for micro-entrepreneurs, write and speak about success in business. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your business back ground?
Tony Robinson OBE: I’m very old so how long have you got? After postgraduate qualifications I worked for two US multinational giants and progressed to the roles of HR Director and then Managing Director of the UK subsidiary. I’d always wanted ‘Freedom from Bosses Forever’ and had hoped to run my own business by age 30 but I was 34 when with two business partners we founded our first business which is still running today.
18 years ago I recognised that the high failure rate of startups could be avoided and since then I’ve devoted most of my waking hours to trying to improve the quality and access to great training and business support for prospective and existing business owners in the UK and overseas. I’ve also founded two national and two international organisations to help with this aim. In 2001 I was honoured with an OBE, presented by Prince Charles and, probably because they think I’m about to fall off my perch, I’ve recently received two lifetime achievement awards for enterprise.
The Enterprise Rockers global movement and campaigns for micro enterprise owners, the world over, is my favourite achievement. Enterprise Rockers was founded by the amazing Tina Boden, and I, in January 2012 after a year of testing the concept.
Melanie Rockett : Your latest book, Freedom from Bosses Forever, is a hilarious combination of fiction and non-fiction. It includes a fictional story line as well as dozens and dozens of practical business tips. What inspired this very unique book?
Tony Robinson OBE: I’ve always wanted to write satire ever since I read Swift and Melville and then the humour of Wodehouse and Kington. I think it is a unique book but it has been 10 years in the making. It comes from having written a number of self-help guides and business books in the past and realising that fiction, humour and a story can really help readers get to the end of the book. Very few people do finish business and self-help books. 10 years ago we were celebrating the 18th anniversary of our business with a swish event at the Café Royal in London.
For our 200 guests I wrote a book called ‘Buzzing with the Entrepreneurs‘ using a fictional narrator Leonora Soculitherz. Fashionista, Leonora Soculitherz insults me throughout the book. ‘Buzzing’ got such a good re-action that I then wrote in the same style, with the same fictional characters, a satirical business book called ‘Stripping for Freedom‘. ‘Freedom from Bosses Forever‘ is a much improved and enhanced version of ‘Stripping for Freedom‘ and most reviewers and critics say it’s my best work.
I’m the only non-fictional character in it but there are serious messages in it. As one global entrepreneur, Stefan Topfer, said ‘It’s the funniest, hard hitting business book that is absolutely full of business truth’.
Melanie Rockett : Can you summarize what readers will get out of the book?
Tony Robinson OBE: Most readers say that they laughed a lot, thought a lot and, by the end of the book , have assimilated a great many business tips. There are over 80 practical ‘own business’ tips in the book but even if you’re not looking to escape the rat race, and gain freedom from bosses forever , it is a good read and a feisty satire especially targeting politicians and gurus.
Melanie Rockett : If you had to choose only ONE tip from your book to “tease” readers with, which one would it be?
Tony Robinson OBE: It would be: “Belief and passion for what you do transmits itself to new and existing customers. It makes business building through credible selling and high-quality supply much easier. Doing what you know and love is important.”
Melanie Rockett : Enterprise Rockers is a community of micro-business owners. How can readers get involved?
Tony Robinson OBE: Enterprise Rockers is an informal, global community of micro (0- 9 employees) businesses. It is free, independent and there is no membership. It was founded after a year of testing in January 2012 by Tina Boden and I. We also fund it from our businesses but we do have support for our #MicroBizMattersDay from Sage and Google for Work.
Enterprise Rockers has four global campaigns. These are; #PayInThirtyDays; #Indie25ER; #NotAnSME and #MicroBizMattersDay. The next global #MicroBizMattersDay is on January 8, 2016. We recognise micro enterprises everywhere, have live streaming of studio and online guests and thousands of Micro enterprise owners give 8 minutes to help others. We call it the #PowerOfPlenty. You can get involved with @EnterpriseRocks on twitter and our Enterprise Rockers’ Facebook and LinkedIn groups are also good fun too.
Melanie Rockett : Is writing a part of your daily life? How do you fit it into your very busy schedule … for example do you write as a daily discipline or when inspired?
Tony Robinson OBE: Certainly writing should be part of my daily life, but some days I find it easier to run my businesses, eat chocolate and drink red wine. I’m currently struggling with writing a novel . However, ensuring ‘Freedom from Bosses Forever‘ is read by as many people as possible is my first priority. I find the best time to write is when I’m in my office, with all phones diverted, 3pm to 8 pm. Then I walk home and usually wake up in the middle of the night as I’ve been changing what I’ve just written whilst asleep.
Melanie Rockett : What’s next? Another book? Another business?
Tony Robinson OBE: Much as I love it, I don’t think I’ll be founding any more businesses. I’ll stick at the three I have at the moment and that includes writing learning media for prospective and existing business owners. I’ll certainly embark on more writing projects, after the novel – mainly fiction and poetry.
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