Aaron Wallace

When Aaron Wallace is faced with a challenge, he repeats a mantra: ‘Competence equals confidence.’

The founder of the eponymous grooming line for black men is always trying to stay a step ahead of his fears and not let them get in the way of his ambitions. He likes to remind himself that all experts were once amateurs and that, more often than not, it’s the fear of risk that holds us back, rather than the risk itself.

‘Starting in business is like walking into a dark room,’ he says. ‘At first you can't see anything; you're fumbling around and then eventually you find the light switch and can see what’s going on.’

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What’s really at stake?

For Aaron, the risk isn’t in failing, but in not doing something. This is as true today as it was when he first started out in business, leaving a steady job in the charity sector to open his own barbershop.

‘The very first risk I took was deciding to go from employment into self-employment,’ he says. ‘I didn’t see much growth where I was and I knew that I wanted to work for myself.’

Aaron says that, at the time, he wasn’t indecisive but rather scared of the unknown. When it came down to it, he knew he had to see where his passions could take him. ‘There will always be another “job” job, but there’s so much time you have to take a big risk and go for something that you really want.’

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There will always be another “job” job, but you have to take a big risk and go for something you really want.
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Calculated risks

After several successful years running the south London barbershop, Aaron pivoted into products. His clients had been asking him for recommendations for products for black hair, so he saw a gap in the grooming market. Aaron launched his own line of beard and hair oils, shampoos and conditioners, which is now stocked by Liberty, Saks and Asos.

Aaron says he thinks of himself as a calculated risk-taker. The most important work he’s done in the last few years is cultivating greater self-awareness about what holds him back. He had to remind himself of this lesson recently after a conversation with potential new investors. ‘The knee-jerk reaction was to think: what if I can’t keep up with their demands?’ he says.

Aaron says he had to ask himself if it was legitimate risks causing him to hesitate or a fear of growth. ‘Once you’ve alleviated all your doubts, it’s only fear that remains,’ he says.

Cut the negative self-talk

‘The benefits of positive affirmations are really important in countering imposter syndrome. It's so easy to have negative self-talk. And it's very easy to do it without even realizing you're doing it.

‘I would often catch myself having negative self-talk and, because I’ve been reading about it, I’m able to recognize it. In those moments, I ask myself: why am I being mean to myself? I’m able to catch the negative self-talk and replace it with a positive affirmation. Now, whenever negative self-talk comes up, I have a positive statement to replace it with.’

Superscript champions change-makers and empowers businesses to take risks by making business insurance accessible, intuitive and uncomplicated. Giving entrepreneurs the confidence to go all in.

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