As Co-Founder at Capitalixe, Lissele Pratt helps companies in high-risk industries such as crypto, gaming, and financial services obtain the latest financial technology, payments, and banking solutions.
With 6+ years of experience in the financial services industry and her global perspective, the entrepreneurial-minded Lissele is a recognized expert in foreign exchange, payments, and financial technology.
Lissele was the first-ever female to be awarded top salesperson at her previous company and has recently been listed on the Forbes 30 under 30 Europe Finance 2021 list.
Tell us a little bit about your current projects. What exciting milestone would you like to share with our readers? (Don’t hesitate to delve into your achievements, they will inspire the audience)
Lissele Pratt: I’m currently working with some of the leading businesses in crypto, gaming, and financial institutions across the world. This is extremely exciting because many of my clients have been attained through my partnerships, referrals, and attending business events. Being a small business and working with these world-renowned clients takes a lot of hard work and commitment.
This year, this hard work was recognized, and both myself and my Co-founder Ivan Kovachev were listed on the Forbes 30 under 30 Finance list in Europe. This has always been a dream of mine. I am an avid Forbes reader, and whenever the lists were published, I would always scroll through them all hoping that one day I’d be good enough to make it on there.
Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey? Did you ever consider giving up?
Lissele Pratt: Being a woman in a highly male-dominated industry was tough. A lot of my male co-workers were unsupportive of me throughout my finance career, and when I decided to launch my own company, many laughed and thought I would fail. I can recall several times where my colleagues told me “women don’t belong in this industry”
This made me doubt myself, and there were many times at the beginning of my career where I experienced imposter syndrome. Being a female founder, you need to have thick skin. Whenever I experience any self-doubt now, I remind myself of how much I have achieved. I channel all the negative comments from doubters into drive, and this helps me work even harder to achieve my goals.
Often leaders are asked to share the best advice they received. But let’s reverse the question. What’s the worst advice you received?
Lissele Pratt: “Don’t start a business. What happens if you fail?”
In life, you will always come across people who put you down and doubt your abilities. As mentioned earlier, you must block out the naysayers. If you believe in your business and in yourself, you can and will succeed. I’ve found that self-belief and resilience are two of the most important qualities needed to be an entrepreneur. I left an extremely well-paid job in the city to launch Capitalixe. It was scary, and of course, there was always the chance that it wouldn’t work out. However, I firmly believe that with every mistake, comes a lesson. I embraced them and learned from them. I also truly believe that failure and success go hand in hand. If you’re not failing at anything then you’re not giving yourself opportunities for growth.
Resilience is critical in critical times like the ones we are going through now. How would you define resilience?
Lissele Pratt: To me, resilience is never giving up, regardless of how hard something may be. It’s being able to bounce back from mistakes and come back even stronger. As well as the ability to quickly recover from any setbacks you may face, and there will always be plenty along the journey!
When you think of your company, 5 years from now, what do you see?
Lissele Pratt: Over the next five years, I’m focusing on the implementation of our business growth and expansion strategy. I’d like to move from a small business to a medium-sized business, and there’s a lot of factors that will ensure this happens. This includes securing more clients and partners and extending our capabilities and offerings. To do this, I plan on scaling up my team, particularly on the business development side. I also plan on expanding to new jurisdictions and target sectors. So, I’ll be carrying out internal training sessions to ensure that everyone on my team is up to date with the recent trends in the payment sector.
You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success?
Lissele Pratt: I would say business leaders need to possess determination, perseverance, and a positive mindset. All three qualities work hand in hand and are instrumental to a business’ success. Determination helps turn your dreams into a profitable business. So many people have these great ideas that they’re passionate about. Without determination, though, these are never implemented or followed through.
Perseverance is also key to success. You’ll never come across a business owner who said their journey was plain sailing. When you launch your own business, you’ll inevitably come across obstacles and have to overcome these. Don’t give up when the going gets tough. Persevere and you will succeed.
A positive mindset is the most important quality I believe entrepreneurs should possess. One of my favorite quotes reads, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.” I honestly believe that your attitude can determine how successful you will be. As a business owner, this is now more important than ever. Attitude is contagious. If you’re optimistic and confident, the people around you are likely to be too. I try to set a good example for my team by avoiding negativity. Keep a positive mindset and you are more than likely to attract positive things into your life!
What have you learned about personal branding that you wish you had known earlier in your career?
Lissele Pratt: I think one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that people buy into people. You can offer fantastic products or services, but if your clients or customers don’t have faith in you, as an individual, they’re unlikely to want you to work with them. Trust is the most crucial component here. It’s great that your clients like you, but they need to trust you and feel confident in your abilities. Building your personal brand to position yourself as a thought –leader in your industry is crucial.
What’s your favorite leadership style and why?
Lissele Pratt: There’s this famous proverb that says, “If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. If you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.” It’s important for me that, instead of telling my team what to do, I help them find the answers for themselves. I do this by asking them questions. I think as a business leader, it’s important to ask your employees ‘why’ they’ve come to a confident decision or solution. I strongly believe that if you always provide your team with the answers, you’re enabling them to always seek you out for a solution. This stops them from being able to tackle problems themselves and limits productivity.
What advice would you give to our younger readers that want to become entrepreneurs?
Lissele Pratt: There’s no time like the present. If you believe you have a great idea, don’t put it off. I launched my business when I was 23. I questioned whether I should wait a little longer until I had more experience. Luckily, I went for it and am now running a successful business and following my dreams. You can always find reasons why now isn’t the right time to start a business. Maybe you have a young child, or you don’t think you have the money to invest in your company yet. But there will always be barriers. So why wait?
If you are worried about not having enough income to fund and sustain your new business, I would suggest starting it off as a side hustle alongside your full-time job. This way, you’ll have money coming in whilst you’re building up your business.
What’s your favorite “business” quote and how has it affected your business decisions?
Lissele Pratt: There’s a quote by Brian Tracy which I have stuck on the wall above my desk. It says, “There are no limits to what you can accomplish, except the limits you place on your own thinking.” There have been many times where I’ve doubted myself. But this quote reminds me that I am capable, and I just need to believe it. As humans, we’re programmed to fear the unknown and do not believe in ourselves. It’s important to constantly train your mind out of these ways of thinking.
Larry Yatch, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Lissele Pratt for taking the time to do this interview and share her knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Lissele Pratt or her company, you can do it through her – Linkedin Page