Karren Brady’s career advice on how to sell your boss on a passion project

APPRENTICE star and West Ham United vice-chairman Karren Brady answers your career questions and meets an inspiring CEO.

Here she gives a reader advice on how to sell your boss on a passion project


Karren Brady, Baroness Brady, CBE is a British business executive and television personality

Q) I like my job as a manager in an independent café, but I would like to challenge myself a bit more.

My boyfriend is in a band and we discussed how great it would be to have concert nights in the back room of the store.

I pitched the idea with one of the owners and he wasn’t enthusiastic as he said it sounded like too much extra work.

I’m so passionate about the project, though, and I feel like I could make it my own.

How do I make him understand that it’s a good idea and that I would be able to take on the additional responsibility?

Phoebe via email

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A) The first thing you need to ask yourself is whether the coffee shop is really the right place to listen to your boyfriend’s music.

If he’s in a heavy metal band, maybe the owner is trying to be polite, because he doesn’t like that kind of gig in his cafe!

If you sincerely believe that the band is a good choice and could generate decent revenue for the store, then you need to present your case from a business perspective.

If you can show him that he won’t need to put in any effort and still make a profit, then that’s a no-brainer.

Be prepared to tell them everything you will do to make the event a success, from promoting it to selling tickets, ensuring there are enough staff and arranging the layout. the room both at night and ready to reopen the following Morning.

Reiterate that you will take full responsibility for the event and that there will be no extra work for him.

If he still says no, then why not look for other venues you could hire for group nights?

I love your passion and ambition, so keep persevering – resilience is key!

A day in the life of…

Arti Halai, 52, is a media and presentation consultant. She lives in London with her tech entrepreneur and financier husband Zafar, 53, and their seven-year-old daughter Maya.

I wake up at…

6 o’clock in the morning. It’s “my time” until Maya wakes up at 7am. I like the calm of the morning. As I sip chai, I take in the view of the river from our apartment and think of things I’m grateful for.

Then we are on a military schedule to leave at 8:10 for the half hour walk to school. Along the way we play a game where Maya quotes Disney movies and I guess the title. I start work around 9:30 in our home office.

A normal day involves…

As a consultant, trainer and advisor, I help high-level business clients – usually CEOs or CEOs – hone their presentation and media skills before a pitch, keynote or media interview, so that they come across as confident, authentic and on point.

I do most of the executive coaching sessions on Zoom, during which we will overcome career obstacles or other issues. I’ve worked in TV for 15 years and it all comes down to communication – I always advise to keep it simple as clarity is key.

My day may also involve designing and researching a keynote or training program to deliver. My workload can range from heavy to light, so I don’t crash every day if I don’t have to.

After co-founding two companies in the 2000s, I am now self-employed and variety and flexibility are paramount. I stop at 3:30 p.m. to pick up Maya at school.

The best part of my job is…

Share your knowledge. I love it when people can see the difference our working together makes very quickly.

And the worst…

I like the flexibility, but if Maya’s sports day falls at a time when I’ve locked down a coaching session, I’d rather not reschedule a client. And, yes, I definitely suffer from mom’s guilt!

I relax by…

Read books about culture and relationships.

I watch The Chase when Maya is doing her homework – unless I help!

Then, before Maya goes to bed, we listen to an Indian prayer on my phone. At 10:30 p.m., I have nothing more to give!