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Fail Forward

Author: Henri Ghijben

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Failure is only negative if you don’t learn from it
Fail Forward is the weekly podcast hosted by entrepreneur and family man Henri Ghijben. In each episode you’ll hear from Henri and guests as they share real-life experiences of positives born from failure, reflections on the lessons learned from ‘losing it all, and what fuels Henri’s desire to help others overcome personal and business challenges in order to create the lives they want to live.

Who is Henri Ghijben?

Growing up in Bury St Edmunds, Henri’s first memorable experience of failure left him with the lasting ability to never get lost. It proved to be the first of many times Henri would fail forward. But it wasn’t until he faced losing his home, business and possibly even his family, that he realised the truth.

Failure is only negative if you don’t learn from it.

Against the odds, Henri has rebuilt from rock bottom. He’s now on a mission to help others avoid making the same mistakes he did, to help those facing failure see that there is a way back and that by failing forward they can enjoy success again.

Ever thankful for the love and support of his family, the loyalty of his team and the help of business owners who helped him when the chips were down, Henri now lives in Southampton where he runs HRG Tree Surgeons, has growing property management and investment businesses and runs mentoring programmes for business owners, entrepreneurs and directors who are on their own growth journeys.
109 Episodes
Sales! It’s the one thing people fear the most.  In Episode 108 of the Fail Forward Podcast, I tackle the essential skill that every business must master: sales. It’s all about output, the more you do the more you will create. I draw the distinction that marketing is NOT sales. Marketing lays the groundwork by attracting prospects, but sales close the deals and drive revenue. We’ve all experienced the clucky salesman who is trying to sell you something you don’t want or need. The first thing to get across is we are not like those sales people! We need to respect each other’s space and time.  Stop beating around the bush - people hate small talk! Stop thinking you are taking up their time, you need to believe that you are going to help your customer and provide value for the problem they face. Tune in now and start mastering the art of sales! If you’re enjoying the Fail Forward podcasts, follow me on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok or LinkedIn for all the latest on my mission to help business owners Fail Forward.    Facebook LinkedIn TikTok Instagram
In this episode I talk about burnout - how it affects us and our business. Working with 43 business owners in the tree surgery mastermind I now deal with so many who are in burnout.  But what is burnout? It’s when you put all your effort into your life and your business and you end up frazzled, overwhelmed, left with no energy, you feel numb and neutral about everything. It’s awful. So how can we avoid it when we are always on the go? Having gone through 3 of the toughest months since returning to work after my stroke, I share 8 tips with you in this episode. These are the things that I swear by and am currently doing myself.  Whether you're currently experiencing burnout or seeking proactive measures, this episode offers valuable insights and actionable advice that will help restore balance. Take a listen and as always, I’d love to hear what you think! If you’re enjoying the Fail Forward podcasts, follow me on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok or LinkedIn for all the latest on my mission to help business owners Fail Forward.    Facebook LinkedIn TikTok Instagram
Episode 106 of the Fail Forward podcast is out now! Click the link in my bio to tune in today! In this episode of Fail Forward, I’m joined by Natasha Britton, a former beauty industry expert turned successful business coach. Natasha shares her journey of turning a passion into profit, overcoming obstacles and finding success in unexpected places. Natasha's story begins with her childhood dream of owning a salon, despite facing skepticism and becoming a mum at 17 she persevered. In 2013, she partnered with an investor turned business partner, and together they founded their first company.  However, Natasha encountered numerous obstacles along the way, from struggling to attract clients to accruing significant debt. Despite setbacks, she persisted, investing in marketing strategies and mentorship programmes to move her business towards success. A pivotal moment came when Natasha separated from her business partner, allowing her to redefine her business model. With renewed focus and determination, Natasha doubled her sales almost overnight. He entrepreneur spirit continued in lockdown, with the salon forced to close, she turned her mindset to setting up an online coaching business helping other salon owners. Natasha imparts invaluable advice on mindset, prioritising high value activities, strategic planning, streamlining systems and tracking performance. Through her coaching program, she now empowers all sorts of service based business owners to achieve financial freedom. Natasha's journey serves as a testament to resilience, adaptability, and the power of embracing failure as a stepping stone to success. Tune in to Fail Forward and learn how to turn your passion into profit with Natasha Britton! You can find out more about Natasha on her Facebook page -
In this episode, I interview Andy Taylor, who shares his journey from partnering with his dad’s fencing business to selling it for seven figures, and then setting up other businesses, offering valuable insights along the way. Andy's entry into a family business marked the beginning of relationship dynamics and growth hurdles. He emphasises the importance of maintaining a balance between familial trust and professional conduct. Scaling the business posed challenges in establishing efficient systems and processes. However, personal growth emerged as a cornerstone of Andy's journey, with a focus on continuous self improvement through meditation and exercise. He candidly shares his struggle with negative self talk and depression, highlighting the power of seeking support and being open. Eventually, the process of selling the business proved to be a difficult and stressful experience for Andy. It didn’t go to plan, and in the essence of the podcast Andy learnt from these mistakes and has now set up a training school to help others who are embarking on selling a business. Find Andy on Facebook - Andrew Paul William Taylor.
Hot off the press – Dave Brailsford joins Manchester United. Fear not, you're still in the right podcast! Dave Brailsford, the mastermind behind Team Sky, transformed our nation from one of the worst cycling nations to one of the best.   His secret? Marginal gains. Dave's mission was simple: improve each aspect of the process by 1%. Bike frame, wheels, brakes, rider, sleep, food, clothes—nothing escaped scrutiny. And it worked, creating a powerful momentum.   This philosophy is crucial for anyone in their job, business, or day-to-day life. When striving for improvement, break it down. Big problems can be overwhelming, leading to procrastination and inaction. Break it into sections, focus on small improvements, and watch the compound effect take hold.   What marginal gains could transform your business? I'm eager to hear your thoughts.   All the best, Henri #MarginalGains #NeverGiveUp #Entrepreneur  
How much time do you lose blaming others or getting angry?   I used to get so angry when things would go wrong. I’d get home and rant at my poor wife Sarah. It was all such a big drama! I wasted SO much energy all the time.   This episode is about being accountable. I am where I am today because of my own actions and things that I have done. As soon as I stopped blaming other people and looked within and said, “what do I need to do?” things changed.   It’s about putting your ego aside. We waste so much energy getting angry over things we have no control over.    Work on yourself, what do you need to do?   Stop wasting time. Focus that energy on how to build yourself and your business. We have such a limited amount every day, use it towards something worthwhile. Anger is actually a great emotion when it can be channelled to your advantage.   But as always, what do you think? All the best,  Henri   #Anger #NeverGiveUp #Entrepreneur #BlameGame
Ever been labelled as… An anxious person? A negative person? A depressed person? That you’ve imposter syndrome? Yes?  Then this podcast episode is for you! I’ve felt all those feelings too. That I am winging it, out my comfort zone, stressed and sad. But just because you feel a certain way, it does not define you. When I started this podcast, I really felt imposter syndrome, but I did not let this define me, I just recognised that I felt it in certain moments. The problem is that when we give ourselves a label, we start to believe in them. We all have feelings, and they are either positive or negative. Its about using that sadness to find happiness. For example, what do you need to do to change your future which will make your past better? Your self-talk will define who you are and how you show up. Don’t magnify the negativity! This podcast is about recognising that “sometimes” in a moment you will have those feelings – its normal, it’s part of life – but does not need to define you.  I’d love to hear your thoughts on this episode? All the best,  Henri #Failure #NeverGiveUp #Entrepreneur  
Do you recall, I did a past episode on finding your winning formula? What do you need to do to be the best business owner, husband, dad, friend and how do you turn up as your best self? This episode focuses on what you need to do to create it. Don’t you find routine goes out the window at Christmas? In those two weeks you lose your rhythm, wake up at no set time, forget what day of the week it is. I found last Christmas I was a bit lost because of this. I got into a negative mindset, then I suddenly realised I had got out of a routine. The people who are disciplined and have a routine are consistent for their families and their business success. But how do you do this? You need to be selfish to be selfless! You can’t do it all the time but the people who create success are those who still turn up even though they can’t be bothered. They push through.  It takes 90 days to create a new habit. The first 30 days you’re motivated, but the tough part is between 30-60 days. How do you get through that bit? Don’t accept the routine that you’ve got, work out what you want that makes you feel good, keeps you focused and allows you to turn up as your best. Even if that involves trial and error. Move it from a chore to a habit in 90 days. Turn good intention into habit in just 90 days. Do you agree, have you managed to do this? I’d love to hear your thoughts!   All the best, Henri #Failure #NeverGiveUp #Entrepreneur
Celebrating our 100th milestone episode!  Firstly, I want to personally thank you all, we are now No 1 in the Entrepreneurship Podcast charts and rapidly climbing all the other podcast charts. I have loved producing them and hearing how they have impacted your life and business. Over the past two years, we've explored topics like business, addiction, self-improvement and personal growth together. In this special episode, I delve into the power of collaboration through joint ventures and partnerships with business coach Jay Allen. We discuss key aspects such as the difference between partnerships and joint ventures, the risks of going into business with friends, shared control and budgeting and the importance of having an exit strategy. Remember, your business shouldn't dictate your life. Choose the life you want, and let your business serve that vision. To celebrate the 100th episode we’re offering a downloadable check list guide on what to consider when entering joint ventures or partnerships [here]. Thank you for being part of this journey. Here's to a hundred more episodes of growth, collaboration and making a positive impact together. Your support means everything, so please subscribe, review our podcast, and spread the word! With gratitude, Henri   #Episode100 #Entreprenuer #FailForward  
I left school with no exams, just this unconventional award at the school prom, “most likely to go to prison award”. My mum was so proud. This episode delves into the heart of the narrative of this whole podcast — the recognition that failure is part of the journey towards success.  Drawing from my experiences of business setbacks and overcoming drug addiction, I explore the concept of reinvention. Breaking free from the cycle of habits, stepping out of comfort zones all prompt the need for change.  I went through about a dozen counsellors for my drug addiction and the last one clicked with me he simply asked, “who do I want to be in 5 years” and he helped me set the intention for this new direction. Yes, you are going to have to deal with difficult things, we can blame other people, our situation, external factors and become the victim. But it’s all about acknowledging the value of difficult times, and never giving up. Dark times are part of the process. As always, let me know what you think. All the best,  Henri #Failure #NeverGiveUp #Entrepreneur
If you’ve recently been questioning, 'How do I charge less?' maybe now is the time to ask yourself, 'How do I charge more?' Dive into the realities of business finance in Episode 98, where I share my personal journey through the challenges of running a low-margin business. Money in the bank doesn’t always mean profit, especially in sectors like tree surgery.  We'll explore the traps of competing on price, the importance of distinguishing between cash flow and revenue, and why being the cheapest often leads to more stress. Learn the value of focusing on your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) and delivering more value, rather than cutting prices. Understand the significant impact of effective sales and marketing, and why moving away from the lowest price can lead to a smoother, more successful business operation. The race to the bottom is never going to create success for anybody unless you’re a supermarket!  A crucial listen for anyone navigating the complex waters of business finance.  As always, let me know what you think. All the best, Henri.
In this episode I delve into the challenging but common experience of encountering trolls and negative feedback online. Something I experienced first hand, and still do, but I have learned to handle criticism, whether from strangers, or even friends and family in my case, and turn it to an advantage.  If I listened to the trolls I would not be in this position: position No 2 in the Entrepreneur Apple Podcast, top 10 in business and within the Top 50 podcast in USA for Business and Entrepreneurship. If you are trolled, most people’s immediate response is to retort and defend. I know I did to begin. It’s a pure fight or flight response. But I shifted initial defensive reactions to responding rationally and with integrity. The fact is they are only trolling you because you are making them feel uncomfortable about what they are doing in their life. You will face imposter syndrome head on and question yourself as you become more visible on platforms like social media and podcasting. But I encourage you all to step outside of your comfort zone.  Bizarrely, the unexpected advantage of trolls in increasing the visibility of your content due to the way social media algorithms work. So, in a way, each troll contributes to spreading your message further. Thanks trolls! My message is clear: don't be deterred by trolls, when you are trolled it’s a sign you’ve made it!  So - just keep on keeping on.  All the best, Henri.
In this latest episode of the Fail Forward Podcast, I ask are you unknowingly sitting upon a goldmine?    After losing my tree surgery business, I initially believed that my industry was one of the hardest. But as I rebuilt the business, I realised I had always been sitting on my own goldmine.   Key Insights from My Experience:   Diversification of Income: I learned the hard way the importance of having multiple income streams. Uncovering the Hidden 'Goldmine': Inspired by Napoleon Hill's "Think and Grow Rich," I share the story of a gold miner who finds gold by merely changing his direction in the mine. This taught me to look closer within my current industry, recognising its potential rather than constantly seeking new ventures.   Focus Over Expansion: Initially, I expanded to nine revenue streams but soon realised the importance of focus. I scaled back to concentrate on three core businesses, understanding that spreading myself too thin diluted my efforts.   Investing vs. Spending: I emphasise the significant difference between spending money and investing it wisely. I suggest considering various investment opportunities like stocks, crypto, property, watches, and artwork.   Concentrating Efforts for Success: The episode is a call to action for listeners to stop being distracted by every new opportunity and instead, focus on maximising the potential of their current business.    It's about finding and nurturing the one 'goldmine' you already have. I hope this episode inspires you to look within your current ventures for hidden opportunities. Let me know what you think? All the best, Henri.   Facebook LinkedIn TikTok Instagram   #motivation #businessowner #entrepreneur #mindset
In this episode of the Fail Forward Podcast, I take a deep dive into the role of workplace culture, reflecting on my own journey with two invaluable team members, Sophie Rogers and Mike Netley. This episode is dedicated to them! Twelve years ago, when Mike started, it was just me, Mike, a van and a chipper. Sophie joined us nine years later. From those early days, my goal was always to create a safe and welcoming place to work, a place that genuinely looked after its people. This episode really homes in on the importance of thinking about how we, as business owners, look after our staff. Whether you already have a team or are planning to build one, this is a crucial aspect. The commitment from a well-cared-for team is tangible - they show up, they want the business to succeed, and they feel heard. It's about avoiding a revolving door of staff, where people leave due to confusion and lack of commitment. People don't leave bad jobs; they leave bad bosses! Looking after your team isn't just the right thing to do from a human perspective; it also positively affects your business's top line. When I was in the trenches years ago Mike and Sophie hung around. When I had my stroke, they stepped up and gave me the opportunity to take the time off. Without these people my life would be chaos. I hope this episode inspires you to reflect on your workplace culture and how you can nurture a team that is as committed to your success as you are. And finally, a huge thank you to Sophie and Mike for always being there.   If you’re enjoying the Fail Forward podcasts, follow me on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok or LinkedIn for all the latest on my mission to help business owners Fail Forward.   Facebook LinkedIn TikTok Instagram
Episode 94 of the Fail Forward podcast delves into the crucial question: 'Why invest in a business mentor?' The episode explores the two paths’ business owners can take—paying in time or paying in money. Henri emphasises the pitfalls of relying solely on free resources and fumbling your way through endless mistakes to get to your goal in 10 years (if you’re lucky that is). Or the impact of investing in mentors who have done it, learnt the lessons, and can now advise you against them so you can get you your goal in half the time. Henri recognises it can be a minefield in finding the right mentor, it can be like the “Wild West”. There are two spectrums, those coaching others who have just done a year’s training themselves, and those who are so successful with heaps of experience that they have forgotten what it was like in the early days or running a business. But one thing is for sure, all successful businesses that Henri sees in the property world and tree surgery world are all being mentored by someone. Even Elon Musk and Richard Branson have mentors, if they have why wouldn’t you? It is never too late. Find someone who has walked your path and work with them to accelerate growth in your business. Remember the best insights come from failures! Hope you like this episode, drop me a DM with your comments. Henri.  If you’re enjoying the Fail Forward podcasts, follow me on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok or LinkedIn for all the latest on my mission to help business owners Fail Forward. Facebook LinkedIn TikTok Instagram  
This episode is all about ditching excuses and taking charge.  I share the common reasons for not getting things done, like blaming past circumstances, the lucky fortunes of others and not having time. I challenge you to check how much time you spend on distractions like social media (hint: you do have time).  Success is in your hands, so hold yourself accountable. Skipping work today leads to a habit of not showing up. I encourage waking up with a positive mindset every day and building the life you want. Excuses just get in the way. So, you want to grow your business? Focus on the important tasks: Focus on the high-income generation tasks Stop getting involved in jobs you employ people to do Post on social media  Check your finances Call customers who have contacted you in the past month – you’ll have 5 customers right there Stop making excuses and filling your day with small tasks. It’s avoiding the big task that will make the most difference. Have a listen and I’d love to hear your thoughts.  Take care, everyone. Henri If you’re enjoying the Fail Forward podcasts, follow me on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok or LinkedIn for all the latest on my mission to help business owners Fail Forward.  Facebook LinkedIn TikTok Instagram  
This one is personal—it's my first recording since experiencing a light stroke on October 7th. During those three days in the hospital, I had some serious reflections. After my initial scan, they said I had something wrong with my head, I immediately thought I had a brain tumour. I seriously questioned my life and bargained for more years, for my kids’ sake. In this episode, I delve into filling your diary with purpose and learning to say no. The doctors told me to take it easy for the next 8-12 weeks, no work. My team are amazing, they managed things while I took a step back. I then realised how busy my life had become. Enjoyable, but busy with ‘things’, things that were not part of the plan. So, I cancelled everything.  It made me question how we say yes to so many things that are just not serving us. What about you? What are you doing right now that isn't serving you? Look at your schedule for the next two weeks. Ask yourself: Is this necessary? How does it serve me, my business, my family?  It’s actually quite simple, create a plan for the next 3, 5, 10 years and stop anything not moving you towards this. Life is not as short as we sometimes think. How much time are we wasting? If time is your excuse, check your phone's social media usage. Here is your answer! You do have time. My business partner, Jay Allen, says 54% of businesses fail due to a lack of a business plan. I didn't have one for years.  I’ve now changed that.  A huge thank you to everyone who reached out during this time. Your messages mean a lot to me, thank you. Have a listen and - as always - I’d love to hear your thoughts.    If you’re enjoying the Fail Forward podcasts, follow me on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok or LinkedIn for all the latest on my mission to help business owners Fail Forward.    Facebook LinkedIn TikTok Instagram  
Welcome to this episode of the Fail Forward podcast.   In this episode I talk to Chris Hawkins, the early morning DJ and "How to DJ" podcast host as he shares his journey into radio.   Stemming from his early days work experience at BBC Radio Shropshire where he kept his badge and just kept turning up and making tea, to his current role at BBC 6 Music. A true enthusiast of the medium, Chris emphasises the importance of dedication in the world of radio – noting it’s the 10,000 hours that it takes to get you noticed. It’s a full-time job as he gets sent 200 songs a week to listen to “you don’t want to miss the next Coldplay” he says.   Beyond his day job, Chris delves into the podcasting world with "How to DJ," offering listeners an intimate look into the life stories, inspirations, and misadventures of DJs, blending anecdotes from famous and lesser-known names. With insights into curating radio shows and club sets. A must listen for all music enthusiasts and wannabe DJ’s. Chris is also an advocate for open conversations about mental health, something close to my heart, and the unifying power of music through his role as an ambassador for Nordoff and Robbins Music Therapy. He cites young artist Hack Baker who very openly talked about his own mental health on the show, the outpouring was huge, and people still talk about that show says Chris. And of course, its no secret that the drink and drug underworld is prevalent in this industry and “some fall victim” including DJ Barry Ashworth, lead singer in the Dub Pistols, who talked of the highs and lows on Chris’s podcast.  The episode concludes with a nod to his dream collaborations and the reformation of iconic bands, “I’d love to see Talking Heads reform –at Glastonbury!” If you enjoyed listening to Chris and would like to listen to more of his “How to DJ” podcasts, click here, or join him for new music on BBC Radio 6 from 5am.   If you’re enjoying the Fail Forward podcasts, follow me on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok or LinkedIn for all the latest on my mission to help business owners Fail Forward.    Facebook LinkedIn TikTok Instagram  
Welcome to this rerun episode of the Fail Forward podcast. With me almost back to full fitness, I thought I would reshape this episode as it is become more important to me in the last few weeks than ever. If I had been working in rather than on my business without the relevant systems and processes in place, I would never have been able to take the time necessary for me to recover.  So listen closely because you don’t always get to chose whether you have to step back from your business, sometime life decides that for you and you have to be prepared…. OK - this is going to hurt. If you can’t take two weeks off, work flexibly in terms or hours or location, or completely switch off from time to time - your business needs to change. In fact if your business can’t function without you - you don’t have a business, you have a job! And it’s probably a very underpaid job as well… In this episode I unpick what it really means to build a commercial enterprise that works without you, how to balance ‘time in the trenches’ with working on your business, and how my 4 pillars of a successful business can help you. Join me as we explore the role of coaching and mentoring in helping you transition from successful sole trader to leader of a business that works even when you don’t. After all - I’m willing to bet you didn’t start your business to be overworked, underpaid, stressed and anxious! If you’re enjoying the Fail Forward podcasts, follow me on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok or LinkedIn for all the latest on my mission to help business owners Fail Forward. Facebook LinkedIn TikTok Instagram 
Welcome to this episode of the Fail Forward podcast.   In this Fail Forward episode I collaborated with Jay Allen of My True North and Add a Zero. Just to recap, Jay Allen is a qualified psychologist, former social worker, medically retired Sergeant Major of the British Army, business mentor and creator of the “Add a Zero” business growth methodology.   This is Jay’s second time on Fail Forward and if you haven’t listened, I highly recommend you take a scroll back to his first appearance.    This time round we are chewing the fat on all things growth and personal development. Fast pace and lively we tackle topics including;   > the power of lurkers in your audience,  > why a business owner should make themselves redundant at the earliest opportunity, and > whether you should even bother hiring a mentor.    Jay and I will be working together on the Tree Surgeons Mastermind, click this link to book your place today:    If you’re enjoying the Fail Forward podcasts, follow me on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok or LinkedIn for all the latest on my mission to help business owners Fail Forward.    Facebook LinkedIn TikTok Instagram
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Habia Khet


Feb 5th
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