An Interview With Fotis Georgiadis

‘Don’t give up’ — perseverance is key. It’s all about pushing through and tackling obstacles along the way to achieve your end goals. I had to remind myself of this during my publishing process. If you experience rejection, don’t get disheartened. I had to remember that the rejection didn’t mean my book wasn’t good, sometimes it’s just not the right fit, so keep plugging away!

As a part of our series called “Making Something From Nothing”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Cheryl Griffin.

Cheryl Griffin is a self-published author of two children’s books and the creator of the first family focused NFT project, AlphaBetty which has turned over £3 million in less than a year.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a bit about your “childhood backstory”?

I’ve lived in Brighton in the UK my whole life, born to my Sri Lankan mother and English father. My mum was a nurse so she often worked weekends when I was younger, so me and my older brother would spend that time with my dad. I have fond memories of that, particularly now that he has since passed.

My childhood was full of countryside butterfly walks and weekly trips to the local library. It was here that I first discovered ‘Miffy’ books. I loved the simplicity and colourful aspect of the illustrations and I believe she was my inspiration behind my AlphaBetty Doodles character and is still a brand I aspire to.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

I have two, is that allowed!?

‘Betting on the jockey, not the horse’ — NFT influencer Gary Vaynerchuk quoted this which has always resonated with me. When he buys into a project, he invests in the person behind the project, not necessarily just the idea. With my project, it was important for me to be seen. I wanted people to see I was an honest person with a real story.

The second one is more personal. I’ve always made a point of telling my children ‘Don’t be a sheep’ — I think it’s always important to trust your own instincts and embrace your individuality and not just follow the crowd.

I think a big part of what made the AlphaBetty Doodles NFT project a success was the fact that we were different to a lot of others out there. We are the first family focused collection that already had a physical book in the mainstream. This niche market appealed to first time buyers but also parents and teachers who were able to share the experience with young children through the AlphaBetty artwork, whilst also teaching them the basic principles of NFT and blockchain.

Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

Can I choose a theatre show? There’s one show that had a powerful impact on me. It’s called ‘The Jungle’, and I’ve seen it several times — I even went to watch it in New York. The play tells the necessary story of refugees living in the Calais Jungle.

It was immersive with an incredible cast ensemble. You certainly come away with more empathy and understanding of the lives of refugees.

Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. There is no shortage of good ideas out there. Many people have good ideas all the time. But people seem to struggle in taking a good idea and translating it into an actual business. Can you share a few ideas from your experience about how to overcome this challenge?

Firstly it’s important to have self-confidence and belief in your own project. Because if you can express that vision and enthusiasm to your customers you have a better chance of it succeeding.

Don’t be afraid to make changes along the way and listen to all constructive feedback — my AlphaBetty character went through a number of different versions before I perfected how I wanted her to look.

Marketing is also vital because you could have the greatest idea in the world but you need to be able to get it seen.

Often when people think of a new idea, they dismiss it saying someone else must have thought of it before. How would you recommend that someone go about researching whether their idea has already been created?

Particularly with NFT’s, there are new collections coming out every day so it can be very difficult to stand out from the crowd and offer something different. You will often find a successful collection will get several copycat collections, or offer similar benefits, which can either be popular or often dilute the market.

It’s always important to do plenty of your own research, gain knowledge from other communities in the space and get feedback for your potential ideas. It’s very fast paced so you must stay on your toes, but it can be a great platform to unleash your creativity!

For the benefit of our readers, can you outline the steps one has to go through from when they think of the idea, until it finally lands in a customer’s hands? In particular, we’d love to hear about how to file a patent, how to source a good manufacturer, and how to find a retailer to distribute it.

I had the idea for both of the children’s books I have written for over 10 years so for me initially it was about building up my confidence to get started. Once I had the book created, I then looked at ways I could get it published.

I found that a challenging process and, in the end, decided to go down the self-publishing route through Amazon. They make it a fairly easy process to submit your work and make it available online. I am still continuing to do my research on contacting literary agents and publishers as it would be great to get the book fully published so it can reach the mainstream market and have the same success that AlphaBetty has received in the NFT world.

With the NFT project, after I did all the artwork myself for the project, I had a small team of people, including my husband, that were able to help me launch the collection into the space. We set up a Discord community and a social media presence, which was crucial in us getting out there and telling the story of AlphaBetty.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me When I First Started Leading My Company” and why? (Please share a story or example for each.)

‘Don’t put pressure on yourself’ — it’s important not to put pressure on yourself and always remember your goals and why you started. When our AlphaBetty project sold out within a couple of days, it was very exciting but also slightly overwhelming. Suddenly I had many holders that had invested in the project and their eyes were all on me! It was so important that I didn’t put pressure on myself and thankfully, our holders are all incredibly supportive and believe in the long term future.

‘Don’t rush’ — this leads on from the first as particularly in the NFT space, time goes a lot quicker than in the mainstream world. As such, you can feel that you are not doing things quick enough to remain relevant in the space. But for the project to be successful in the long term, you do have to recognise that not everything can be done at such speed. For example, we currently have an AlphaBetty plushie in the pipeline, but obviously this takes time from the designing stage to end production. We must be patient.

‘Betting on the jockey, not the horse’ — People buy people. Going back to this quote that NFT influencer Gary Vaynerchuk once said. When he buys into a project, he invests in the person behind the project, not necessarily just the idea. It’s important to remember that.

‘Don’t give up’ — perseverance is key. It’s all about pushing through and tackling obstacles along the way to achieve your end goals. I had to remind myself of this during my publishing process. If you experience rejection, don’t get disheartened. I had to remember that the rejection didn’t mean my book wasn’t good, sometimes it’s just not the right fit, so keep plugging away!

‘Keep a balanced work/ home life balance’ — Don’t work yourself into the ground as it will just burn you out. Ensuring that you take that time out will give you that balance and renewed energy. You don’t want what you are doing to feel like a chore.

Let’s imagine that a reader reading this interview has an idea for a product that they would like to invent. What are the first few steps that you would recommend that they take?

Once you have documented your invention and made sure it has not already been patented, I think the most important thing to do is a lot of research. You need to be confident that there is a market for your invention if you want it to be a success and then set about creating your first prototype.

There are many invention development consultants. Would you recommend that a person with a new idea hire such a consultant, or should they try to strike out on their own?

I don’t think it hurts to bring more eyes to the project to offer constructive feedback. It’s particularly helpful to bring in advice in areas you’re not an expert in. If it is affordable for you, and you are clear in agreement of ownership during the process then I would absolutely recommend it.

What are your thoughts about bootstrapping vs looking for venture capital? What is the best way to decide if you should do either one?

A large amount of the profit made through the AlphaBetty NFT collection was injected back into the project and without that, we wouldn’t have been able to grow and gain traction on the AlphaBetty brand as quickly as we have been able to. Our NFT holders are investors in our project that believe in our long term growth potential.

If you believe in your project you have to decide on whichever way feels best for you as neither option is wrong, and both have varying benefits and disadvantages.

Ok. We are nearly done. Here are our final questions. How have you used your success to make the world a better place?

The sell-out of the AlphaBetty NFT project has enabled us to make over £100,000 worth of donations to educational charities such as Donor’s Choose and Gamers Outreach, a charity that makes video games available and easy to manage in hospital.

We also donated to my children’s old primary school, which like many schools in the UK, is seriously underfunded. Being able to make this donation was personal to me and felt like such a privilege to be able to do such a positive thing.

You are an inspiration to a great many people. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

One of my very first jobs was working at a local Deaf Centre where I was fortunate to learn sign language. Since then, I’ve always felt that sign language would be beneficial for all children to learn to encourage inclusivity and give children the skills they need to be able to communicate with deaf people.

We are very blessed that 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, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.

Marcus Rashford — what an inspiration to young people.

We’ve been lucky to have had several high profile American sports stars and influencers buy into our AlphaBetty NFT project and we’d love to see the same happen here with UK sportsmen and women.

Marcus’ success in campaigning for free school meals to help poorer families was inspirational and I’d love to tell him about all my ideas for AlphaBetty and how the character can help children enjoy learning about new things.

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.

Making Something From Nothing: Cheryl Griffin On How To Go From Idea To Launch was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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