An Interview With Fotis Georgiadis
Don’t expect others to be your cheerleader. Be your own cheerleader. You are the best person to give yourself a pep talk to. You are the one who had the idea in the first place, so you are the only one who can have the kind of faith you need to succeed;
As a part of our series called “Making Something From Nothing”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Elizabeth TenHouten.
Elizabeth TenHouten, accomplished beauty expert and author of the beauty cookbook, Cooking Well: Beautiful Skin (Hatherleigh Press; 2009), and international bestseller, Natural Beauty: Homemade Recipes for Radiant Skin & Hair (Hatherleigh Press/Random House; June 25, 2013) is known for her distinctive approach and expansive knowledge of beauty, which she frequently brings to various outlets within the industry.
For five years, Elizabeth was the Editor-in-Chief of Celeb Life Magazine, served as Contributing Beauty Expert for DiscoverBeauty.com and ShareCare.com, and had a monthly column in Beverly Hills Times Magazine.
Elizabeth took her creativity and entrepreneurial spirit elsewhere and began a career in songwriting. As a songwriter, singer, and guitarist, she released her album, Broken in 2020. It is available on all musical platforms around the world. Her lyrics were inspired by her poems.
A poet all of her life, Elizabeth selected poems for her upcoming book, The Stars Fell Into the Ocean, from her vast collection of poems written over the past several years. She has been featured in the Dark Poets’ Society, and her poems have been featured on several poetic peers Instagram accounts. She writes with soul, and opens up her world for readers to observe, so they feel as though they have a glimpse into her heart.
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”?
A native Californian, I grew up in Laurel Canyon, and was exposed to a creative culture from a young age. At age 10, my father introduced me to poets the likes of Edgar Allen Poe, e.e. Cummings, among others. I began reading poetry. It was incentivized by my father who would pay me a dollar for every line memorized, a dollar for literal interpretation, and a dollar for metaphorical interpretation. It became a way to teach me the value of a dollar and spend quality academic time with me, as well. Around that time, I began to write my own poetry! It was exciting for me to create my own ideas, seemingly out of nowhere, and put them down on paper. I had a new hobby. Writing poems.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
My favorite quote is by Marcus Aurelius. “The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.” This quote has meant a lot to me as a poet when trying to access that part of yourself that you will not surrender, the obstacle becomes the way, and it is only a matter of surrendering that one finds the emotion they were searching for.
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?
Just Kids by Patti Smith is a book that impacted me. Parts of it took place in Laurel Canyon, where I grew up. It’s the story of how with the encouragement from Robert Mapplethorpe, Patti Smith was able to find her voice as a poet. It also took me years before I took myself seriously as a poet and desired to put my work out there.
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?
When you want to give birth to your idea and put it out there in the world to stand on its own merits, that is exactly when it will happen and not sooner than that. What I mean is that you have to be prepared for all forms of criticism, negativity, etc., and trust that enough positivity and good reviews will come your way that you boldly launch your ideas into reality. Once you have held onto an idea for long enough, there is a sense of urgency with the timing, and you will want to get you idea out there for the world to benefit from.
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 or not their idea has already been created?
I would recommend simply doing online research through google to determine if your precious idea in fact exists. It may exist, but you may have a part that makes it unique, and that has not been thought of, so dig deep and do your due diligence.
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.
For a poetry book, one has to create a book proposal for a publisher. You will often find on the publishers’ website what needs to be included in the proposal for it to be considered complete. Each publisher is different, but one part that is a common denominator is the Critical Analysis. The Critical Analysis is where you read roughly 10 books, and for each provide 1. A synopsis; 2. Ways that it is similar to your book; 3. And a final paragraph of ways your book is different from it. This can take approximately 6 months in my experience, but it is rewarding when it is finished.
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.)
Five things I wish someone told me when I first began as a poet with ideas that landed on paper and launched into a book are the following:
- Do not write for anyone but yourself. In order to get to the truth of your emotions, you cannot be concerned with how others will perceive your work;
- Get a copyright on a work in progress. Don’t wait until your completed with your book to copyright it. As I wrote my book, several months went by where I had the majority of my poems completed, but there were still more pouring out of me, so I needed the protection of a copyright;
- It is going to take at least twice as long as you think it will. Everything from inception of what the poem is about and what range of emotions it will tap into, to writing what you feel, and then finding the proper placement among your other poems, to copyright, to printing to publication can take much longer than expected. So set your launch date “loosely” around a few month’s time;
- Don’t expect others to be your cheerleader. Be your own cheerleader. You are the best person to give yourself a pep talk to. You are the one who had the idea in the first place, so you are the only one who can have the kind of faith you need to succeed;
- Do not let obstacles stop you, rather let them show you the way. It is true that the only way out is through, so if you hit a road bump on your journey, keep pressing onward and you will prevail!
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?
Having also developed my own skincare line in the past, I can advise to seek the assistance of a copyright lawyer who can do a thorough search for you. That would be the first step to take so you know your idea is novel. Then, if it is a unique idea, for instance a collection of poems, immediately apply for a copyright from the government. Then, you are on your way!
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 would personally not want my thoughts and ideas to veer one way or another due to someone else’s input. I would want to keep my ideas pure, so my advice is not to hire a consultant for your invention.
What are your thoughts about bootstrapping vs looking for venture capital? What is the best way to decide if you should do either one?
This is tricky. I say, if you believe in yourself and have the funds then go for it on your own! But if you are not in a position to get to the necessary steps for your idea to launch, then there is no shame in having others invest in your idea. You may need to share part of the company, but that is the price for moving forward, and you want to move forward.
Ok. We are nearly done. Here are our final questions. How have you used your success to make the world a better place?
Yes. I am philanthropic and support the arts. I am in the Director’s Circle of giving at the LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) and was Vice Chair at an FIDF (Friends of Israel Defense Forces) event. I care very much about our community and our world, and feel it is important to give back.
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.
You know what?! I would have fun with this and invite schools to participate in creating one long poem that each student could contribute a line to. That way they express their creativity while being part of something bigger. It would be fun, and probably have the poem taken in a million different directions!
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.
My idol is Patti Smith. Her lyrical books take you on a journey you feel a part of. She was awarded the National Book Award for Just Kids, my top 5 favorite books!
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.
Making Something From Nothing: Elizabeth TenHouten 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.