business strategy | June 02, 2013

Mistakes Spark Great Ideas: Business Speaker Debbie Travis

"Mistakes are something that creates solutions," business strategy speaker Debbie Travis says, "and very often solutions create magic." In her keynotes, she says that every entrepreneur has made a few big mistakes along their journey—and if they say they haven't, they're lying. Mistakes are actually a critical part of your success, says Travis, because they make you think of creative ways to get yourself out of hard situations. That's why you should embrace mistakes when they happen and try to glean something from each of them.

Travis herself made a big mistake in her career. And it was a televised mistake, at that! After seven years of filming Debbie Travis' Painted House, she says she wanted to try something a bit different. Instead of doing an instructive design show, Travis was going to do a reality-style design show (a concept that was only just taking off, making her idea extremely novel). The plan, she told the audience in her speech, was to go to the participant's house, rip it apart, and then film the owners' reaction when they came in to see it in the process of a renovation. The only problem was that they ended up demolishing the wrong house! Not only that, but they caught everyone's startled reactions on camera. "We had magic because all the cameras were rolling," she says. "Facelift launched and broke all records. And, actually, for the first time, [it] gave cable television network numbers."

When we're children, we're often taught not to make mistakes, Travis says. However, the ability to bounce back from your mistakes and learn from them is a valuable skill. While she doesn't advocate making mistakes on purpose—or repeating the same ones twice—Travis does believe that some of our best ideas come from the mistakes we've made. Given her tremendous success as an entrepreneur and TV star, Travis speaks from personal experience when on stage. In her keynotes, she shares personal—and often funny!—anecdotes about how she has made her mark in throughout her career. As the largest celebrity brand in Canada, Travis is first and foremost a businesswoman. She provides insight on how to make it in any industry by drawing on what she's learned along the way.

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