Building Her Professional “Castle” On Somebody Else’s Land: Victoria Wieck

Building Her Professional “Castle” On Somebody Else’s Land: Victoria Wieck


Check out all episodes on the My Favorite Mistake main page.

My guest for Episode #75 of the My Favorite Mistake podcast is Victoria Wieck, a world-renowed jewelry designer, entrepreneur, author, and someone who has spent more than two decades on two different cable TV shopping channels.

Victoria's parents immigrated from South Korea when she was very young and, starting with no money, she worked her way up to selling over 10 million pieces of jewelry over her career. Victoria has a BS in Economics from UCLA and an MBA from USC. 

From 1998 until 2017, she was on HSN sharing her unique jewelry designs with millions of viewers with her monthly shows. She took some time off to plan her daughter’s wedding and to write a novel… but she came back to TV, sharing her elegant, affordably priced jewelry on ShopHQ through her weekly shows.

Victoria is hosting a free webinar on June 24th called “How to Make More Money and Work Less.” The registration form can be found at the bottom of her website.

Questions and topics include:

  • Her podcast, “Million Dollar Hobbies
  • Her upcoming book, Living the American Dream
  • Why it was a mistake to give HSN full rights to her social media and online presence
  • The problems with the contract that she signed
  • “Don’t build your castle on somebody else’s land”
  • The film “Our Darkest Hour”
    • “Success is not final; failure is not fatal.” — Winston Churchill
  • Her mission – help create a million millionaires
  • Mistakes entrepreneurs make?
  • Her novel Shattered Sky
  • Find Victoria on Social Media:

Scroll down to find:

  • Video of the Episode
  • Quotes
  • How to subscribe
  • Full transcript

You can listen to or watch the episode below. A transcript also follows lower on this page. Please subscribe, rate, and review via Apple Podcasts or Podchaser! You can now sign up to get new episodes via email, to make sure you don't miss an episode. This podcast is part of the Lean Communicators network.

Watch the Episode:


"Don't build your castle on somebody else's land, because you might have to vacate that land at some point, leaving your beautiful castle."
"But the one that I love [about 'The Darkest Hour'] is Churchill says something like 'Success is not final. Failure is not fatal.'"
"I believe almost every hobby you have is worth at least a million dollars."

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Automated Transcript (Likely Contains Mistakes)

Mark Graban (0s):
Episode 75 Victoria Wieck, jewelry designer, and entrepreneur, who's been on TV shopping channels for decades.

Victoria Wieck (9s):
I think it's funny. You call it the favorite mistake because I've had a lot of them.

Mark Graban (19s):
I'm Mark Graban. This is My Favorite Mistake. IN this podcast, you'll hear business leaders and other really interesting people talking about their favorite mistakes because we all make mistakes. But what matters is learning from our mistakes instead of repeating them over and over again. So this is the place for honest reflection and conversation, personal growth and professional success. Visit our website at myfavoritemistake, for show notes, links, and more. You can go to Please follow rate and review the podcast. Thanks for listening now on with the show.

Mark Graban (1m 1s):
Hi everybody. Welcome to My Favorite Mistake. I'm Mark Graban. Our guest today is Victoria Wieck. She has sold more than 10 million pieces of jewelry over her career from 1998 to 2017, she was on HSN. She was sharing her unique jewelry designs with millions of viewers on monthly shows. And then she took some time off to plan her daughter's dream wedding. She wrote a novel, but she came back to TV and you can find her. Now I'm doing a weekly show on ShopHQ, sharing her elegant affordably priced jewelry. So I'll tell you a little bit more about Victoria, but first off, thank you for being here today.

Mark Graban (1m 42s):
I'm really glad you could join us.

Victoria Wieck (1m 44s):
Thank you. It's a pleasure and an honor to be sharing this time with you and your audience. Yeah.

Mark Graban (1m 49s):
Well, thank you. Thanks. I'm looking forward to hearing your story and having a conversation about entrepreneurship and things that you're doing to, to help others. But Victoria… Her family. Her parents immigrated from South Korea when she was very young. She has a BS in economics from UCLA and an MBA from USC. She has a podcast called the million dollar hobbies. So I'll encourage you to go check that out. And I think we'll be able to talk about this later. She has an upcoming book she's written it, but not yet released. It's called Living the American Dream. And it sounds like you've, you've, you've done that Victoria.

Mark Graban (2m 30s):
So I understand writing the book.

Victoria Wieck (2m 32s):
That's good. Yeah. And it really it's, it's not a story about me, but it's more about story about the journey that America or the promise of America. You know, if you really know what you want, you're willing to go and get it. There is a path to success and it, you know, the American dream could be anything. It could be just spending time with your family or making a lot of money or doing what do. So I'm really excited to share that vision as well.

Mark Graban (3m 5s):
And when it comes to sharing, you know, in the context of all of the success, you've had, you know, the first question I'll throw right at you here, you know, looking back at the different things you've done, what would you say Victoria is your favorite mistake?

Victoria Wieck (3m 19s):
Well, I think it's funny you call it the favorite mistake because I've had a lot of them, as you can imagine, you know, when you start a business with no money, no mentors and you don't speak English. There was a lot of things. I have some obstacles you can say that, and I've gotten cheated lie to. There was just a lot of things that I should've seen it coming. Some of it was my fault for sure. A lot of it actually, it was my fault, but I would say that the one that would impact the entrepreneurs today the most is this one. And that one, it's a big one. It's a really big one. And I'm still recovering from it.

Victoria Wieck (3m 59s):
It's the one that I still haven't recovered from yet. And that is when I went to HSN, but that was back in 1998 and internet wasn't in, it was not in existence to the masses. Okay. It was sort of, as you know, in your business, the technology and all that was kind of there that real techie people knew that, you know, things like windows and all this stuff was kind of coming, but it wasn't there yet. So my contract did not specify anything regarding internet. So it basically said something to the effect. I mean, the contract was kind of lengthy, but there was one clause that said that they owned my image, voice likeness, and brand for all electronic retailing.

Victoria Wieck (4m 47s):
So the word electronic, they later then used to say that anything that uses electricity, which is everything. So, you know, I, I mean, that was, and what they really meant to say is that they, oh, what I thought I was signing was that they owned the, you know, the likeness image and the voice and all that. And the designs, obviously that I was operating on HSN for TV retailing because they had a very big monster of a competitor named QVC and it was worldwide as stations worldwide. So I thought that's what I was signing. And I did not have a lawyer.

Victoria Wieck (5m 29s):
I didn't have a lot of money. I didn't have a lawyer. And it was kind of a gentleman's handshake. You know, the president at that time still remains a very good friend of mine. And I took his word for it. His lawyers, they had a whole floor full of lawyers and the rest of the contract was good. They'd been a great partner for me all these years, but that's the one that I overlooked every time. It actually not overlooked, but I kind of tolerated it and stomach debt because the rest of the parts of my contract was so good and the partnership was so good. So the impact of this whole thing is I wasn't able to build my own social media. I was not built. I was not able to kind of engage with my customers directly, other than on my TV shows.

Victoria Wieck (6m 11s):
So when I left in 2017, even though I have had more than 10 million, something between 10 to 15 million pieces of jewelry, which means even if people were sort of a BP buyers, I would say my transactions included somewhere, at least five to 10 million people. And I left the network with zero following and I am talking zero cause I was not allowed to use my own, you know, that stuff. So they kind of manage all that. It was really nice when they did it. And I had a huge following that was attached to their page. And when I left, I had to start over. And so, as you can imagine, that's a pretty big handicap.

Victoria Wieck (6m 53s):
Now, if I were starting over, I mean, th dang, thankfully my brand loyalty is completely off the charts. So my customers are actually finding me on a new network. And the new network is actually trying to really help me kind of be build that. And I'm very confident that eventually I'm going to get all 10 million people in my fault, but you know, it's, it's time and money now. So for most entrepreneurs, I'm sure mark, you know, that would be the end for him and put it close to the end, at least at my end.

Mark Graban (7m 26s):
Sorry, just to clarify. So when you say zero, following you, people who love you and your products, but you mean you had no email list, Twitter followers, no Facebook followers to formerly tap in.

Victoria Wieck (7m 40s):
It was all tied to their network. So even my website, if you had typed in, it actually you know, as part of the pages. So, and that kind of followed when I went to shop HQ the first year, when you typed in Victoria Wieck, it actually went to the shopping page and, and I have a beautiful relationship with them now as well. And I think they now understand that when customers, my customers know when to tune into my show every month, cause they will Google it and all that. But when they come to my site, they want to know more about me not just to shop again, you know, so that kind of convinced them that it would be best for my customers as well as them and myself.

Victoria Wieck (8m 28s):
If my customers can actually kind of engage with me on a different level than shop, shop, shop, you know, so it's been a long journey, but I learned from that mistake and I would, and the lesson I'm trying to say now, and I, and I say this everywhere I go, every speech I give is don't build your castle on somebody else's land, because you might have to vacate that land, that land at some point, leaving your beautiful castle.

Mark Graban (8m 58s):
Well, you know, Victoria, thank you for, for sharing that story. And like you said, that element of, of that relationship that I know with HSN, that it was far from ideal. But now when, when you decided to get, you know, to get back into the business, you're at a point where I'm guessing you had lawyers, you worked up front to have an agreement that didn't have that same problem because you learned from it.

Victoria Wieck (9m 26s):
I learned from that. And, and just to clarify with HSN, my relationship with them for all 19 years have been, you know, mostly, really, really great. And that's one reason why, you know, I never really argue the point. I think there were many times when I could have kind of separated from that, but, you know, things were going really great. And I really thought I would just retire from there and for good. And I did when I retired from HSN, if I, I thought at that time, if I ever had to launch again, that would be my natural home, you know, cause that's what my customers are and I still have great friends and, you know, everyone is still amazing.

Victoria Wieck (10m 7s):
I still have an amazing relationship with them, but the type of business that they run, which is just very high level, you know, I couldn't be doing what I'm doing now, which is write a book. I wrote two books actually. And I, I, you know, I started my own podcast getting involved in the community, getting giving speeches. I couldn't do that with their schedule. So I kind of right now, you know, at shop at you, it's a little bit smaller network, a little less demanding schedule, so everything's working out great. But I would say even when you have this kind of a, that's the kind of thing that could have ended up in lawsuits forever, you know, so I believe that, you know, you don't ever burn bridges and, and you know, you don't get everything you want, but you get a lot of what you want.

Victoria Wieck (10m 53s):
And I think in that, even when we ended it that's the best I could do really. So. Yeah. And I would say that, you know, in the entrepreneurship entrepreneurship journey, you are going to run into a lot of those mistakes that you're going to back and go, oh, I should've done to send that. But for me that was a big one because that is something that nobody really has an answer to it really.

Mark Graban (11m 14s):
And I'm guessing there's a whole generation of talent from HSN that had similar deals

Victoria Wieck (11m 20s):
That I'm not sure that, that I'm not sure cause most people weren't on contract. So yeah, a lot of shows last two shows, you know, some shows last 13 minutes. I mean, it's extraordinary. I can think of only like maybe 10 people in total TV history. That's had 20 year career on the same network. So people are not on contract, but if you know what I mean, I would say, I, my guess is HSM probably had like five people. I mean, it's, it's been very, very rare that they actually have a contract. So my story is probably pretty well.

Mark Graban (11m 60s):
And it sounds like your, your company, your brand was really Holly integrated into HSN. Was that the only place people could buy your jewelry?

Victoria Wieck (12m 10s):
No, they, I offered an exclusive collection to HSN. Okay. So, but I had very similar type of deals with, you know, I sold it all over the world. I mean, I sold to duty-free. I sold all the airlines. If you remember, when you used to fly first class, they used to have a beautiful cards. And so my products were, I mean, basically on the cover of all the major, you know, major airlines, United airlines, United Delta, American air, Mexico, you know, Canada, Lufthansa. I was on probably 40 different airlines, all the cruise ships.

Victoria Wieck (12m 49s):
And again, before the internet, all these places kind of like had, they had their own distribution, you know, I sold the heritage and undone Takashimaya Japan, you know, galleries, Lafayette in France. I mean, all these stores had my products and a lot of it, I actually even sold it on some different brand names. So because people, you know, like stores that can name it and my cousins that they sold their products with a little bit of a snob appeal. So they didn't want the same brand that was HSN with that. So I actually created different grands. And I think that that's something I do discuss in my million dollar hobbies because it allowed me to grow pretty fast, but it also kind of prohibited me from building a really fantastic large brand at that time.

Victoria Wieck (13m 39s):
So that would be a little different because there was a, a little less of a stigma of being on HSN or target, you know, I think today's consumers are a lot more savvy. So there was not that huge psychological divide between, you know, I shop at socks versus I shop at target because a lot of people now will shop at both places, you know? Yeah,

2 (14m 3s):
Yeah. For different things. Yeah.

Mark Graban (14m 5s):
So when I hear you saying of looking back at those 20 years on HSN, you did go through some periods when you were thinking you could leave. Is it a mistake to, and I guess you're trying to think through, would it be a mistake to leave? Is it a mistake to stay you're weighing pros and cons? And what I hear you saying is that there were many, many bedding benefits that outweighed, I guess it tipped it for a long time in the direction of staying. Yeah.

Victoria Wieck (14m 31s):
And that I'm so glad you asked that. Yes, there were many times I could have left and remember I was under contract. So the only way I could actually leave would be if, well, if I, they had an out and which was, if I didn't meet my dollars per minute, but I didn't meet my minimum sales goals, they could then release me. Right. So I guess one way I could leave is basically underperformed. So that was one way to do it. And which was fine. I always was told, I always believed that I didn't want any of my customers kind of control my destiny.

Victoria Wieck (15m 13s):
So I, even though, you know, a lot of their duty free accounts, like I was on a princess Honda, America, celebrity, you know, everything by carnival, I was on almost every cruise ships as well. So there was a lot of work, but I kind of wanted to have that diversified portfolio. So I didn't have, you know, I didn't wake up one morning and said, Hey man, I'm out of business. So I could have left by underperforming. That was one way to do it. Another way to do it is to have like a major scandal or something, which is, yeah, so I could have left. But the reason why I still stayed was that the volumes that we're doing was so high compared to, you know, for the effort that I was putting in.

Victoria Wieck (15m 55s):
So I only traveled from Los Angeles to Tampa approximately once a month, some months I would do twice a month and they would do these huge volumes before I went into HSN. I used to travel. Like, I mean, I, I remember going one time I went from like LA to Hong Kong, Hong Kong to Bahrain, Bahrain, to Dubai for right. Dubai, to London, to New York and then back. So I looked at my other one that was nice. So that was a lot of work. So when I had my kids, I really wanted to, you know, my priority became spending a lot of time with my kids. So, so by doing my, most of my volume there, I was able to get rid of a lot of those accounts that were a lot of work for what they were worth.

Victoria Wieck (16m 39s):
So like I got rid of a lot of the middle east accounts. They, the higher and customers still did it by faxes and you know, things like that. I mean, I did jewels that went to the Royal family and all that. And they didn't care if I flew there or not. So I was able to kind of become more efficient. I was able to hang on to only those accounts that were very minimal maintenance and still, so HSM was contract with my baseline, I would say. But I mean, it allowed me to have a wonderful family. I'm very proud to say that I was there for my children for their first soccer practice. I mean, even the little things, cause it means a lot to them, you know, stock or a piano recital.

Victoria Wieck (17m 24s):
My kids played tennis, golf, surfed. They did horseback riding. I mean, I kept them busy karate. So I was there, I would say 90% of the time I was able to schedule my, you know, they allowed me to block out like blackout dates. So I never worked on my kid's birthday for ever and all the holidays, you know, I blacked out, even though black Friday is supposed to be, you know, the biggest day of the year for shopping. And I had many opportunities to hold that, but I blocked those days out because it was really important to me. So yeah, it's been, you know, like I said, everything else, everything else about my relationship with them was actually quite good. Yeah.

Mark Graban (18m 4s):
Well, it's good to, to keep in mind and to, to recognize that when you're talking about travel, I saw a clip of you online with shop HQ. I think now during pandemic times, it seems like they have you appearing. I recognize the corner. I think your camera was turned a little bit in that clip that you're able to do it from home, right. That's a pandemic accommodation, right?

Victoria Wieck (18m 25s):
Yes. And they've also been very good in terms of accommodating my schedule and being able to do this from home. And I love that technology where shopping HQ actually is very advanced in terms of doing remote shows. They were a smaller company and they always kind of relied on these exotic destinations. You know, we used to do thing, do shows out of Tucson and Vegas. So they're very advanced in that regard. So during pandemic, they kind of walked through my home visually and I had my lighting and everything set up kind of nicely. And it's been, it's been very good, you know, it really common. They understood why I ended up there and my desire to do, do all these other things.

Victoria Wieck (19m 11s):
And it's been, it's been pretty good, you know, very actually, yeah.

Mark Graban (19m 17s):
I'm Victoria. I was curious to learn the, the background story of your podcast title million-dollar hobbies is, is w w w w w w if I were to guess, and I should just ask instead of guessing, but I've already started, my mistake is a million dollar hot is a million dollar hobby. Something that starts out of a passion and then grows to become a business or, or do you mean something different?

Victoria Wieck (19m 40s):
Yeah, I, what I did was I took my passion. I took my hobby, which is jewelry design into the million under 10 million. And, you know, so I, I grew it all the way to over $500 million. If I have to guess, it's somewhere between 500 to 750 million bucks. So I believe it's my philosophy. It's not, there's no right wrong. Or, you know, it's just different. But my philosophy is that if you don't work with your passion, now, if you're not passionate about, you know, even if you're selling dental equipment, if you're not passionate about that, you're less likely to stick to it. You're less likely to figure out what actually works less like to be the very best. So my million dollar hobbies is literally turning your passion into monetizing it and turning it into a business.

Victoria Wieck (20m 27s):
And I believe almost every hobby you have is worth at least a million dollars and I can, and I've done it. And when I did it, everybody told me you're crazy. If you need a job, come and see me. Cause you're really nice girl. And you know, I'd like to give you a break. I mean, just, I got everything. Jewelry is the most competitive business out there. And I started at mark with no money when I say no money. And I mean, I didn't have $300 to make samples. So I actually, in the very beginning days, I actually sketched, I had a sketchbook and I sketched out my designs. I suspect that out.

Victoria Wieck (21m 8s):
I went to all the department stores near me, luckily, you know, in LA I know you're in near LA. If you go down to rodeo, drive Rodale on Wilsher there, there was Saks and Neiman's. And I, I went there first and asked the department store manager, if sh if she offered designs like mine, would she be able to sell it? Not only did she say yes, but they started calling their best customers because there, it turns out their best customers didn't really want anything that was in the case. They want it to look book and they wanted to know what's coming down the pipeline. And so these people, you know, I told them like, I don't have any money. I'm trying to start my business. I don't know where to start. You know, can you kind of guide me?

Victoria Wieck (21m 49s):
And they saw that vulnerability. They saw how eager I was. They saw how fresh those designs were. So they actually sold first few pieces for me. It was kind of astonishing. I kind of knew that I couldn't build a business. I got a really long term business based on a person or a store. So I then ended up going to, it used to be bullocks Robinson's, which is now like Macy's Bloomingdale's. But at that time, those stores were all around LA county. So I drove, I would say like within 40 mile radius. And I did the same pole with every, I went to assistant department manager.

Victoria Wieck (22m 30s):
They had a little bit more time. And they're the ones that actually did the calling. So I got about 40, I'd say about 40 different store managers. And by the time I was done with taking my poll, I came up with eight designs that I thought was very universal. That was that I could sell mass. So that's how I got started. So I would say, you know, even if your passion is running, I could turn like running shoes or, you know, a t-shirt, whatever it is you could find. I mean, I know a Gardener's that actually have done that. Like literally just looking at gardening tools and they founded companies that are 70, $80 million later.

Victoria Wieck (23m 10s):
So I do believe that you could take your hobby into a million dollars, but you gotta really want it. You gotta be able to kind of like be committed. You really have to commit to it. You don't just happen overnight. I'm going to tell you that not easy, but it can be, well, you

Mark Graban (23m 25s):
Got the wheels spinning in my head of how to turn this podcast hobby into a million dollars. I'll give that some thought and we'll have a talk,

Victoria Wieck (23m 34s):
Listen to episodes of your podcast. It's funny. I ran into a guy. I gave a speech over the weekend for 200 small business owners. And I met a, there, he was a part of the media and he said, I started my podcast eight years ago and I had no idea what I was doing. I had never interviewed anybody before. And I didn't even know what podcast was. I mean, he said, I just started on a whim and, but I stuck to it because I liked some of the guests I was meeting and all that. But now I forget what he told me about. He has something like either 45,000 or 450,000 downloads per week. That's either way, that's a lot in a way that is a lot. So what happened was her, his, he said, you know, but I don't know how to monetize it because you just kind of grew.

Victoria Wieck (24m 21s):
So what happened was he started it and he, somebody kind of picked up on this podcast on episode one to your episode that he had, he said, I have to pay people at a day job. And then I have to pay people to come on my show in the beginning because people didn't know who he was, what it was. And remember it was eight years ago. So he said I had a job. And then I would pay people to come on my show. And now he said, he's rejecting like two or 300 people a week. Obviously you could download like that. And he said, but I still don't know how to monetize it. And because I just keep doing what I'm doing. I mean, obviously he's got sponsors and all that, but he really doesn't know how he can impact the world now, in a way that's much more targeted.

Victoria Wieck (25m 3s):
So he and I are having, having a talk about that. Cause his hobby actually is talking. So he loves to talk. But, but that's a great example. He said, I love to talk. And I love to meet people and I love helping people. And I think I'm doing that. And I think I've done it. And I started a podcast, but, but here was a thing I said, well, you have to be doing something great. How would you get this kind of download? You said, yeah. You know what? I didn't know how to interview people. And I had hard time getting people on my show and my first 30, 40, 50 podcasts, they sucked, you said, I couldn't stomach my own broadcast. You know, when he was editing it.

Victoria Wieck (25m 43s):
And he said like, what the heck was I doing? So he said, I have to change the game. And the way he did it is he got all of the tapes from Oprah Winfrey, Walter Cronkite, David Brinkley, all these people. And he just started watching their body language, their behavior. How do they pivot when you know, somebody is like avoiding a question or rambling on. So he said, I started dressing to all these people and I became a pretty good interviewer. So again, this is taking a hobby and you're committing to that. He didn't quit when nobody wanted to get on. Right. And then he kept on evolving. And so my whole thing is simplify, elevate amplify.

Victoria Wieck (26m 28s):
And then you can dominate and yeah. Yeah. That's what my book is about. Really. That's exactly what I did. And I think there was some, a lot of case studies of real people that's taken their hobby. I mean, I've got a chef who started cooking because, and he that's. The great thing about him is that he has never been to a culinary school, never worked at a restaurant, but he wanted to lose some weight and he couldn't stomach the diet food. And he said like, I, I just, I, it just makes me want to puke when I just think about it. So he started cooking for himself. And then when he found one out of a hundred, that actually tasted pretty good. He wouldn't be recorded. So you mentioned, he wrote, he wrote the first cookbook and millions and millions of cookbooks have sold.

Victoria Wieck (27m 12s):
He wrote the paleo diet, all this stuff. And it's 12 books later and like 10,000 hours of live TV showing his books and all that, he then became a model actually, because he was trying to lose weight. And it's a really extraordinary story. So, you know, a lot of people like this are actually in my book, so I just want to help people at this point in my life. Money's okay. A nice, but you're not going to make money buying books, obviously, you know, it's a lot better. It's a lot easier for me to actually make money being on TV selling. But I wanted to write the book to, you know, because I think if you do what you love and you can make a million dollars, that is a dream, isn't it?

Victoria Wieck (27m 58s):
Cause you not gonna feel like you're gonna be working a day in your life. Really. So I'll

Mark Graban (28m 4s):
Give that some thought and I don't have a time machine. I mean, part of me thinks because I started podcasting in 2006, you know, a couple of years in after having some experience, but see podcasts had become, had fallen out of fashion, but you know, maybe, you know, starting at some point there could have been an opportunity to start a business, helping other people create and produce and market podcasts. And because there are businesses, there are people who do that.

Victoria Wieck (28m 28s):
You know, what I love though, mark is what I love about podcasting is I started my podcast at pro, to be honest with you. I started my podcast to talk about the contents of my book, because I know like a lot of people are not going to read the book. And sometimes when you're involved in a dialogue, it's easier to listen to a real life story than read books. So I started it, but what I found was that a lot of the guests, many of them were my personal friends. I'm very blessed to have known so many of them, you know, through ITV world and everything else in a 30 year career. You know, I feel like every time I put on a guest, it's a school day. I learned, I learned so much from every guest.

Victoria Wieck (29m 11s):
And I even learned so much as from doing my homework to put on a guest. And so I feel like I'm on this whole new journey of discovery and learning and then sharing that. And it's, you know, it's been an amazing experience and I I'm going to stick to it because it's giving me, I mean, it's, it's been an incredible rewarding experience. And, you know, even just being on here, you're the first person, that's actually every show I've gone on. People have asked me about making mistakes about failures, but your show is the only one that's been kind of dedicated to picking on a mistake and how that's been impacted, you know, how it has impacted my life and also how other people can learn from that.

Victoria Wieck (29m 57s):
So, yeah.

Mark Graban (29m 58s):
Yeah. Well thank you for, for being so generous and sharing your stories and you know, your thoughts on entrepreneurship and podcasting. I want to ask you maybe one of the things, when we, we had a chance to do a pre-call you mentioned fairly recent film, The Darkest Hour and a quote from Churchill. Can you share that quote with the audience and your thoughts about it? Yeah, so normally

Victoria Wieck (30m 24s):
I don't even, you know, I'm a huge animal lover. I don't like watching blood and stuff, but everybody just got tired of watching everything. So my kids had on The Darkest Hour and it's a beautiful film. And, but the one nine, I remember Churchill, by the way, he's one of the most eloquent speakers. He, he does a lot of speeches in this event, you know, at this point. But the one that I love is he says something like success is not final. Failure is not fatal. So it comes in this context where I don't know if you've seen the film or not, but I have it after Dave they've lost, I mean, unthinkable number of mandates, complete losses territory.

Victoria Wieck (31m 9s):
And there were down to the very last stand and they had zero chance of accurate holding onto, you know, the cliffs of Dover. And, but he believed, you know, giving into Hitler was what's going to be like a prolonged death. And so he comes back with this thing, you know, even though they've given up territory, even though they've lost so much men, so many men failure is not fatal, so that didn't kill him. And success is not final meaning no success at that point was not final. He still had to keep on charging. So it's kind of odd to think of a war movie with entrepreneurship.

Victoria Wieck (31m 53s):
But I do think that entrepreneurship is a journey and it's, you're fighting battles all the time. You know, you're fighting battles with your competitors technology, the environment, meaning that, I mean, the COVID business climate environment is something that nobody expected it's nobody's fault, but we all have, and you know, that's created battles where a lot of small businesses, so it's how you strategize how you come out of that. But I do believe though that with every disaster, with every catastrophe, there are plenty of opportunities that come wrapped in that. So it's up to you to go and get it really like right now with this COVID and you know, a lot of your bigger companies, they don't know what to do.

Victoria Wieck (32m 41s):
And it's larger companies, huge companies in your industry. You know, it's like taking a sharp by turn quickly on a Titanic. Well, what happens when you do that? You end up hitting an iceberg and you're done. Yeah. Or the ship might tip over. I don't know. Hope. Yeah, you can't. So I think at smaller companies who see the same opportunity, you can, you can be more agile and nimble and you can surgically strike and make, make those turns and pivot. And I think that that's the lesson that, you know, we should all kind of embrace and not all, not all doom and gloom at all.

Mark Graban (33m 21s):
I mean, it sounds like there's, there's two parts to the quote. When you say successes, not Fe final, right? Let me try again. My mistake. Success is not final. Failure is not fatal. You touched on the need to be resilient, to pivot, to adapt, to adjust in the face of failure or challenge. But I would love to hear your thoughts on the first part of that quote, success is not final that we're not entitled perhaps to ongoing success. We can think of so many businesses that had so much success. Maybe the success was fatal in a way. Yes,

Victoria Wieck (33m 56s):
I, I do believe that. I think that I've see that. I see that a lot with, you know, businesses in general a lot. I mean, look at IBM. You know, there were sitting, you know, they had the whole world in their hands. What happened? And I it's it's, I would say that I was actually very fortunate to have been witnessed. My, you know, I went to the Harvard business school reunion. I didn't go to Harvard. My husband did. And what they do is they make you go listen to lectures that or not, but you go back to Virginia and weekend, you go to classes, you know, everyday, or you go to like 10, 20 classes.

Victoria Wieck (34m 36s):
And it's designed specifically for those people that are coming back to a Donna weekend. But one of the classes that I kind of passed by and it's kind of looked like it was kind of boring, but I had to go look for somebody. So I kind of ended up listening to this lecture. And the lecture was about, they had, you know, top notch people, there were alumni from Google, apple, Facebook, you know, all the tech companies. So they had a panel and they're not asked questions. So I missed a lot of the questions leading up to that. But the last question was, so what keeps you up at night? And every one of them said the same thing essentially, and that is all of us.

Victoria Wieck (35m 18s):
So they were, they, you know, these are like high level people who went to the elite schools that are now work for Google, apple, Facebook, YouTube. They said all of us work for companies that started with less than $5,000 capital by somebody who started their businesses in their garage. And right now, as we speak, there is somebody in their garage who is going to outdo all of us. So I think that that's their fear apparently. So I think that when you are successful, you do have to understand, you know, you'd have to still have that undying, an insatiable curiosity to keep on moving.

Victoria Wieck (35m 59s):
You ha if you don't keep evolving and if you don't keep getting to the next plateau, I mean, you, you die because somebody else has, you know, keeps on going. So when you are successful, you almost have the, the duty and the responsibility to keep innovating and elevating. And if you don't do that, then I would say, not only would you not be successful forever, I would say you don't deserve it. That might be harsh, but it's true. I mean, take my business. For example, you know, this is why you see designers, like very few designers are relevant and you know, very in demand at that same levels, you know, not a designers are like kind of flashing a pant that, you know, they just come and go.

Victoria Wieck (36m 49s):
I would say there are a few design designers in every industry that continues to evolve. I mean, take like a brand like a Chanel, you know, Chanel. I mean, she's been dead for how many years now, but they keep evolving. I mean, they somehow find ways to modernize their designs with that same look. I mean, they're still have that Tweed and all that, but their cuts are now more modern. Fabrics are a little bit lighter. They got a little bit more edgier fringes. So they understand who their customers are and how their lives are changing. So they still continue to elevate and evolve. And I think that success is not final. So, I mean, I would say in that war movie context, Hitler did succeed.

Victoria Wieck (37m 32s):
And there, what is what's in Churchill was saying was that he was able to count on, he was able to predict their moves because those people who were successful did the same moves every single time. So, you know, so you're talking about the need.

Mark Graban (37m 49s):
Yeah. I imagine in jewelry clothing, there are trends, fashions and styles change, and we can all think of an examples in the clothing space. You know, Brooks brothers went bankrupt. They could blame COVID maybe that just hastened their demise

Victoria Wieck (38m 7s):
Coming 10 years prior to that. Yeah. I mean, I think when you look at a lot of these companies, J crews and other ones, I think that they just forgot to evolve. I mean, th they just didn't understand why people shop there. You know, you can't be everything to everybody. You have to have a niche and that niche it's going to meet somebody needs. And, you know, J crew, in my opinion, they have the same thing in colors, same basic tees and basic shirt pants in different colors forever. And, you know, you can only have so many of the basic tee. So if you're gonna have, you're gonna cater to that basic person.

Victoria Wieck (38m 50s):
You still have to come up with, you know, new fabrics, new cuts, new little trims. You know, you have to experiment a little bit because you have to find, you know, in business, I always teach people 20% of your effort, 20% of your merchandise is going to bring you 80% of your business. Right? So you identify the basic t-shirt, you know, like in men's wear, you identified like a men's sports where you're looking at basic white t-shirt okay, that's going to be a huge portion of your business. Fine. But then if that's all you have every week, every year, they're going to eventually go to some other person's basic tee. So while you still have this 20%, you can count on every time you have to understand, you have to find a new 20%.

Victoria Wieck (39m 38s):
So what I would suggest is that if you, if you understand these six styles are your districts out of the a hundred thousand, we're offering bring you 80% of your revenue. It's great. But I would say, look, pretend you don't even have the rest pretend that this six is your whole thing. So you then have to look for the 20% out of the, out of the six. Cause that comes down to like, I dunno, 4% of the total get, you know, cause the rest of you are going to come off. So you now have to look, you got to be actively looking for the new thing. That's going to bring it a new 80%. That means you have to start to understand how to sort of like branch out and figure out, you know, experiment and know about while you still have this security blanket.

Victoria Wieck (40m 25s):
If you don't do that because that's too risky or you too lazy, or you, you don't even understand, you know, why you're even getting a lot of this business, then you're in trouble. It's going to be a matter of when you go out of business. Not yet,

Mark Graban (40m 41s):
Like I said, that might sound harsh, but sometimes the best reality or the best advice is born from reality and reality can be harsh. And that's the challenge of building and maintaining a brand and a business. So I appreciate you a masterclass from you here today, Victoria, from your experiences and advice for others, this is, this has really been great.

Victoria Wieck (41m 3s):
I didn't mean to be harsh, but it is, it is. The reality is not kind sometimes, you know, and I say that with love and grace, because I've been through that. I have been through many times where I've had to be sad. I mean, I've had to intentionally like downsize my business at times to make sure that I readjust, you know, cause the last thing you want to do is keep on whisking, everything you have, you know, I've had to customize, I've had cut out things that, that I didn't want to because you do need to, sometimes it's like getting a tune-up you know, in a car.

Mark Graban (41m 42s):
Well, I, I think, yeah, so you, you described your, your words as harsh and I think you were, you were, you were being a little too harsh on yourself. Like you said, it came through with love and grace. You're trying to help others. As you, as you've said, your goal is to create a million millionaires and you know, I really admire and appreciate what you're doing. I look forward to your book coming out. I think there's going to be a lot of great lessons there. That book is called living the American dream and what I can check out right away and I'll encourage others to do is check out the podcast. And that is again called million dollar hobbies. So our guest today has been Victoria Wieck. You can find her website that's about her and it points to, to her and her story and everything she's doing now, she's built this new castle on, on your own internet land, right?

Mark Graban (42m 32s):
It's Victoria, Victoria, I'll make sure there's a link in the show notes. A w I E C K Victoria, Victoria. Thank you so much for being a guest here today. I'll I'll give you the last word. If you want to take it.

Victoria Wieck (42m 48s):
I forgot to mention that I'm holding a free webinar, completely free of charge a webinar. And it is, I think it's titled how to, how to become relevant and then elevate and amplify your personal message so that you can build a brand and it's free. And like I said, in my journey to my new mission, my new chapter of my life is to create a million millionaires is to help small business people get visible, get their voices because that's one of the fastest way to go out of business is that you've got this amazing fabulous product or service, and nobody knows who you are.

Victoria Wieck (43m 28s):
So, you know, I can teach you how to get some free PR and there are a lot of free PR stuff that you don't have to pay a PR agency for and to amplify your voice and simplify. So hopefully many of you will check that out. And, and I thank you mark for having this wonderful show and, and inviting me on your show. Well,

Mark Graban (43m 50s):
Thank you. I'll, I'll make sure there's a registration link in the show notes. What's the date on the webinar?

Victoria Wieck (43m 55s):
It's June 23rd and it will be limited. It will be limited in, you know, we don't want to have 4,000 people checking in on it because we want it to have a great, so if it gets completely sold out, I will hold a second one. So it will, it will have a limitation in terms of technology, as well as how many questions and answers that could actually answer, but it would be, you know, I don't want to ever tell you what to do and then not teach you how to do it. So this will be a real good primer on, you know, if they want to go buy services somewhere else and they can do that, but my thing is going to be free.

Mark Graban (44m 35s):
Okay. Well, good. Well thank you for telling us about that, Victoria. Thank you again for all the sharing that you did here on my favorite mistake. Thanks again. Thank you. Well, thanks again to Victoria Wieck for show notes and links to her webinar and all sorts of other information, you can go to, and I hope this podcast inspires you to reflect on your own mistakes and how you can learn from them or turn them into a positive I've had listeners tell me they've started being more open and honest about mistakes and their work. And they're trying to create a workplace culture where it's safe to speak up about problems, cause that leads to more improvement and better business results.

Mark Graban (45m 16s):
If you have feedback or a story to share, you can email me And again, our website is Since every podcast asks you to do it, it would be a mistake. If I didn't ask you to please follow rate and review, but most importantly, thank you. Thank you for listening.

Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. His latest book is Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. He also published the anthology Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus. He is also a Senior Advisor and Director of Strategic Marketing with the healthcare advisory firm, Value Capture.