Put your staff first — if you want a good team then put them first and let them know you appreciate them on a regular basis. Don’t be afraid to give someone a raise to keep them or show appreciation. Think of your staff as a customer. If they love your company they will promote it organically with others. If you treat them like crap, just like a customer who’s been treated badly, they will leave negative review.
I had the pleasure to interview Sienna Sinclaire. Sienna is the author of the award-winning “Naughty Girl’s Guide to Los Angeles” as well as several travel books and ebooks. In her own words “I’m still learning and exploring, and always will be! Who knows what the future holds for me, but at least I know who I am. Hopefully, you can find what you love most in life and start living the life you want and never settle!”.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I just followed my passions in life which led me to my career path.
I love to travel, I have a love of history. I took all that and combined it into a successful business where I write naughty travel guides on different cities starting from its naughty history, to different things to do in each city. It’s a travel guide but naughty.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
I think the interesting part of my job is in researching my books. Takes me about a year to research each city, so I visit every month.
I have to visit every place in my books to get my seal of approval. So there’s a lot I see…somethings I don’t want to see but always take one for the team.
It’s a lot of fun but a lot of work. For my Vegas book, it was going to Vegas for 5 days…I can only take Vegas for 2–3.
It was getting up early and visiting hotels (I visited every hotel in Vegas including off strip hotels) to see what’s out there as it’s hard to research this online and pictures are deceiving.
I walked the entire hotels so lots of walking as most hotels in Vegas as size of football fields.
Went to all the Day Club pools, then at night went back to my hotel to get ready for dinner, show, clubs/bars, then end at strip or swinger club.
Then repeat all this 4 more days…which I did for a year, visiting Vegas once a month. It’s exhausting.
Once book is researched, have to head back to Vegas for photo shoot. We did first photo shoot in warmer months, come to find out photographer lost all photos when his computer crashed.
So we had to go back Vegas in winter months where I was wearing lingerie outside and I had to look like I was warm and happy. I was miserable and not happy that he lost my photos but this is what you have to do as a business owner to get things done.
People don’t see all the behind the scenes and all that goes into my books.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
When I started writing my first book on Los Angeles…I wouldn’t call it funny at the time but I can look back and laugh because it all worked out.
I was one month away from sending my book to press. It was December and my computer backup crashed. I tried to save it but couldn’t. I had lost my entire book that I had worked on for the year.
Just like the story above for my Vegas photos, you have to do what you have to do.
Instead of crying about it or giving up…I figured out how to get this book back.
I contacted my ghost writer, he sent me all his edits again.
I worked long hours over the holiday and was determined to put my book back together.
I was only month behind on schedule but I was able to get my book back!
Lesson learned…always have backup! After that I made sure I always have backup now for ALL my projects, as you just never know.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
I offer something that a lot of others wouldn’t even think about turning into a business.
I took naughty and turned it into a successful business starting with Naughty Travel Guides, then moving onto naughty parties, teaching classes, bus tours of LA and my online clothing store.
There are many people who can put down what I do, but honestly this is a VERY successful business as people WANT to be naughty. Whether they admit it or not, they want to find places they can safely go with like-minded people to be naughty with and I offer that.
It’s a lifestyle brand…it has a following of dedicated members.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
I’m always working on something new as my brand is constantly expanding.
Currently I just opened my new online clothing store Naughty Girl Shop.
I travel a lot, attend tons of parties, and host monthly parties. People always love what I wear and want to know how they can get it.
Looking good makes one feel sexy and that’s what my clothing line is about. When you look sexy, you feel more confident. And when you feel both sexy and confident, you want to be more naughty!
Who doesn’t want to look good, my clothing line is here so you can look your best no matter your size or age.
What advice would you give to other female leaders to help their team to thrive?
Accept failures and look at them as learning lessons and move on.
Don’t give up…success can take time, sometimes month to years. The people who are successful worked their booty off to get to where they are now. Keep at it, work hard and don’t give up.
Make your own rules…don’t copy or follow others.
Find what makes you different and stand out…every business is different in their own way. What makes you different and stand out? Or how can you.
Define what success means to you…don’t chase after something if it doesn’t fit into what you find successful. Success doesn’t mean fame or fortune for some. Success could be knowing that you’re helping people, making enough to live comfortably. Define what it means to you as it will help you with your goals of your business.
And most importantly…STOP caring about what others think about you. You’re going to have haters…who cares. But you’re also going to have people who love what you do and those are the people who matter and are worth your time. If you care what others think, it’s going to hold you back. I wouldn’t be where I am if I cared all my years of what people thought of me or my business. Doing what I do, I get a lot of haters. But guess what, I’m laughing all the way to the bank!
What advice would you give to other female leaders about the best way to manage a large team?
Build a community so that you all can work together in harmony. Don’t try to have them compete against each other.
Appreciate your staff and let them know you do on a daily basis. People love to be appreciated. It will go along way when it’s comes to staff retention and people enjoying coming to work.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I wouldn’t use the words “None of us” because that’s not always true.
Honestly, no one got me to where I am today except for myself. I’ve never been someone who has idols or really looked up to others.
I can admire someone but I don’t follow others. I dance to the beat of my own drum.
I’m the one who went to high school and got good grades for myself, not my parents. They never asked to see my report card or showed interest. They were doing their own thing. I was the one who was hard on myself and wanted to get good grades.
My parents never said I had to go to college or even go with me to look at colleges. I did it all myself. I picked out my schools to apply too, visited them on my own.
Once I found my college to attend, I went and got my own financial aid, got a job and moved myself out to college.
After college, I got an internship in London, UK which I applied for all on my own and worked all summer to save up money.
I had no help. After graduating from college and moving back to the states from London, I bought my own first car, paid off my student loans…again all on my own.
I started my business all on my own. I never asked anyone what they thought or for permission. I just did it. I don’t need permission from anyone as I’m my own person.
So the person I’m most grateful for is my younger self, and all she did to get me to where I am today. She’s the person I look up too. I look back on my life and I can’t believe some of the amazing things I’ve done in life.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I bring happiness to people every day by changing their lives. When you’re given permission to be yourself, feel sexy and confident along with being allowed to be naughty in a safe environment…it can freeing and life changing for some.
Especially for those who’ve been told by society, family and religion that it’s not ok to dress sexy, love you body, explore your body, experience pleasure everyday in your life, and love sex.
I’ve had people attend my parties, read my books, take my classes and it’s changed their lives.
That’s very satisfactory for me knowing that I helped someone and what I find successful for myself.
What are your “5 Leadership Lessons I Learned From My Experience” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)
- Things that longer than expected — Know that things are always going to take longer than quoted. If someone says I can get your book done in 5 months…double it so you don’t get upset. Nothing goes as planned, it always takes longer than what they say. If you can just keep this in mind and plan ahead, it will make everything a lot easier. Meaning if you want your book to come out in 6 months…plan a year just to be safe. It will probably take 9 months but this way you feel like you finished ahead of time. And sometimes it’s not them, it can be you (like me losing my book on my external drive) or it can be someone else (like the photographer who lost all my photos). Just plan ahead and know that anything can happen.
- Patience — I’ve learned very quickly to be more patient. If not then I would go crazy. As I mentioned above, in business things always take longer than planned so learning not to get upset or pull out my hair has helped me a lot.
- Put your staff first — if you want a good team then put them first and let them know you appreciate them on a regular basis. Don’t be afraid to give someone a raise to keep them or show appreciation. Think of your staff as a customer. If they love your company they will promote it organically with others. If you treat them like crap, just like a customer who’s been treated badly, they will leave negative review.
- Customer service — SO IMPORTANT. I go by “Treat others how you want to be treated.” If I wouldn’t want that to happen to me or have a company treat me that way, then I’m not going to do it to a customer. I ask myself, “How would I want a company to treat me or handle this situation.” Your customers are like your best friends…find ways to appreciate them like your staff, keep them and they will keep coming back.
- Respond to everyone and be honest. One of my pet peeves from businesses is when they don’t get back to you and when I know they are lying. Maybe you don’t like my company but you don’t have to ignore me when I email you. You NEVER know when a company will get successful. Always respond to everyone, even if it’s to say “thanks for your email but we aren’t interested…” And definitely don’t lie to someone when I can look it up and find out the truth. You never know who someone is or how they might be able to help you down the road. For example, someone emailed me 5 years ago…it wasn’t for me, they wanted to see if I knew anyone from my group who might be interested in doing their tv show. I said “sure” and I even invited them out to one of my events where they could talk to my members. Over 5 years they would reach out to me and it never had to do anything with me. It was always them wanting me to help them out and I was fine with that. Then 5 years later they finally reached out to me as they knew how knowledgeable I was and had been following my business and loved it. That’s how I got a feature on A&E for a documentary on my Naughty Business. So respond to emails and be honest with people as you just never know what it can turn in to.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
I don’t have a life lesson quote…it’s more of a way of living.
I’ve always lived life my way…which is my favorite Frank Sinatra song, “My Way.”
I believe that when you stop living by societies rules, religious beliefs, what your friends think or what you’re family wants for you, that’s when you really start living the life you want.
I wouldn’t be where I am today if I cared about or followed what others thought I should do or become.
I am where I am today because I went out and made it happen.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂
I really don’t look up to anyone and I’m not celebrity driven…I would love to have lunch with my younger self and thank her for being so strong-willed and going after what she wanted. She’s my hero!