What drives entrepreneurs? Thomasina Miers on passion in business
The Masterchef and Wahaca maestro says aspiring entrepreneurs must follow their hearts
THOMASINA Miers, the Masterchef winner and co-founder of the Wahaca Mexican restaurant chain, says she was saved from a miserable life of accountancy by a boyfriend who dared her to follow her passions.
At an event organised by The Week, in partnership with UBS and 5x15, an organisation that brings together inspirational speakers, Miers spoke of the value of good advice.
“The trick is to differentiate between the good and the bad,” she said. “The secret then is to keep talking to the people who are giving out the good stuff.”
The entrepreneur, who won Masterchef in 2005, said her brush with accountancy came when her father advised her to opt for the security of a career in financial services. But she soon became unhappy, and her boyfriend at the time said she should set off in a new direction
“While I was in the midst of this rather horrific time as a VAT consultant,” she told the audience, “he said you’ve got to follow your dreams. You’ve got to do something you’re passionate about.”
After a few wrong starts she realised that she wanted to be a cook. She went to cookery school, learnt how to make cheese and worked at a range of market stalls and restaurants. As she became more determined to work in catering, she travelled to Mexico to learn more about the country’s food culture.
Miers said that only her determination to carry on had carried her through the difficult years when she had little money and even less idea about whether she would succeed.
She had the following advice for budding entrepreneurs who aspire to follow in her footsteps:
- Be willing to take risks in order to follow your dreams
- Have a passion for what you do and you will carry people along behind you
- Surround yourself with good people
- Learn on someone else’s time
- Make mistakes and learn from them
“Mistakes are crucial,” she said. “In America they embrace them and we should do here – we’re getting better at that entrepreneurial spirit.”