Living in YOUR Top 1% INTERVIEW SERIES
The goal of the “Living in YOUR Top 1%” interview series is to break down the qualities of people who excel and to show that you can be successful and achieve personal greatness from any starting point in your life. The interview series looks at people from all different careers and industries. Some names will be familiar and others may not. The purpose is to understand and borrow from the “best practices” of winners to develop a roadmap to your TOP 1%. We will share a new story each month.
This week’s guest is Sydney Kelly. Syd is one of my closest friends so it’s an honor to share her story with you. We met in NYC over ten years ago and I was always impressed by her work ethic, ability to build a top 1% support team (her mom died when she was younger), and how much passion she had for the music business. She loves life and appreciates every moment. Today, she is following her passion as the co-owner of City Music Drums, an incredible music and drum store in the UK. Enjoy!
Alissa Finerman: What’s the most important strength you possess that allows you to be successful in your role?
Sydney Kelly: Zero fear of losing anything. Since I have never feared losing anything, I have hardly ever been afraid of experiencing anything. I always love looking back on all the experiences I’ve had and I’m always excited to add more. Additionally, it just makes interactions with people more interesting.
AF: What inspired you to buy a music store/business?
SK: I have always been drawn to anything musical, ie., concerts, the mentality, the fashion, the lifestyle and I love listening to nearly all genres of music. To start a music shop from scratch would have cost about $150k to $200k (main dealers have to buy into each product line). However, in this situation there was a business that was on the brink of folding which provided a great opportunity to buy the accounts at a fraction of the £200k price. Overseeing the business required a basic background in number crunching/various types of financial budgeting skills, which I have, and a musician who had studied, taught, and played music his entire life which describes my business partner and husband.
AF: What motivates you on a daily basis to keep going?
SK: Dreaming about making my next experience happen.
AF: What role do goals play in your life?
SK: I like to see goals as new experiences. Therefore, my goals are what makes me want to wake up and get out of bed everyday. That being said, goals have a very important role in my life. However, I am the type of person who prefers to be spontaneous in every way I live, but unfortunately, that’s not practical in all situations. So in those situations where I cannot be spontaneous, I just switch mental gears and focus…this is possible because I always have the carrot dangling in front of me which of course is the next experience.
AF: What’s the toughest challenge(s) you successfully overcame to start the business?
SK: The toughest challenge I overcame is temporarily putting my social life on hold for this venture. Because I want to turn this business around quickly (within 24 months rather than stretching out the process), I’ve had to give up socializing/networking which is my very favorite activity in life. But this is temporary. Within 24 months the plan is to work 10-12 hours 5 days a week instead of 14-16 hours six days week as we are doing now. This past month is the first month since we bought the business that we are taking Sundays off (we have our first staff member working Sundays), so gradually we are meeting our goals and targets.
AF: What are some of your most meaningful accomplishments?
SK: I consider all of my experiences the most meaningful accomplishments as they have all had a part in shaping who I am today and how open I am to new things. Some of the best experiences include:
* Living in the UK is one of the most meaningful because this is where I met my husband, who is my best friend (we got married under a full moon on the Brooklyn Bridge in NY)
* Dancing on stage with Grace Jones and Bono before a huge audience
* Moving to France for 2 years as I now have a never ending appreciation for food and wine
* Event Coordinating and working in the hottest night clubs in NYC as I met tons of wonderful people and had great times
* Hitting the black diamonds on day one of snow boarding as it gave me the courage to do all other exciting sports (2 wheeling on cliffs, going down damns, scuba diving, etc)
* Selling and buying real estate because it was a thrill finding the worst houses on the block and fixing them up and making a profit
* Being a successful Mortgage Banker because now I understand the banking industry and know how to approach banks and get all types of loans
* Working on Wall Street and being able to spend time with those working in Mayfair & Canary Wharf to understand their ‘shop-talk’ – understanding this language is definitely a meaningful accomplishment as it required a few years of learning to understand it
* And there is no question… maintaining relationships with some amazing people rank at the very top.
AF: What do the top performers do differently to excel?
SK: They take risks in life. Personally, I am prepared to take all sorts of risks because at the end of the day, as long as I have myself and great friends, losing anything else just doesn’t matter that much.
To learn more about City Music Drums, visit their Facebook Page.
The “Top 1%er” interview series is presented by Alissa Finerman, an Executive Coach and Gallup Certified Strengths Coach, speaker and author of Living in YOUR Top 1%. She works with managers, C-suite executives and teams to leverage strengths, shift beliefs and achieve meaningful goals. Alissa has an MBA from the Wharton School and a BA from the University of California, Berkeley. She has worked with Ross Stores, Petco, BNP Paribas, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, Brookfield Property Partners, Neutrogena, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Dress for Success. To learn more about coaching with Alissa, please visit her website and follow her on Facebook