Our Secrets to Success calls upon successful business leaders across tech, consulting and finance, to share their perspectives on success - personal, professional and otherwise. Below Nisha Dua, Principal at BBG Ventures shares her secrets and advice to help you along your own path to success.
What does success look like / mean to you?
Creating new things. Constantly getting better. Learning something every day. I’m bored if I’m not moving forward because I think the best success is growth. Growth is not always fun by the way – sometimes it’s very uncomfortable – but it’s always worth it. (Did that sound like a lot of clichéd Instagram quotes? They are clichéd for a reason…)
What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?
Don’t worry about what anyone else thinks - you’ll be most successful if you focus on the things you love, and the things you’re great at. Lean into your strengths. (Also, start meditating. Now.)
What are your 3 biggest accomplishments?
- My black belt in Karate – 48 hours of some of the toughest physical and mental challenges I’ve experienced
- Launching #BUILTBYGIRLS – we’re creating a pipeline for more young women to get into tech, and VC
- Having the courage to leave the job I’d always wanted – I decided to leave Bain because I have multiple sclerosis and needed to focus on my health
Is it important to be passionate about what you do? Why?
YES! A thousand times yes. Passion creates a sense of ownership and it drives creativity – no matter how small the task.
What risks have you taken on your path to success?
Leaving “academy” brands (UNSW Law, Blake Dawson, Bain) to veer off the blue chip path to work in tech at AOL. It was the best thing I’ve ever done. It led me to a new career, the best boss / mentor I’ve ever had – who is now my partner in BBG Ventures – and a waterfall of opportunity.
Caring about what others think is it important or destructive?
Mostly important -compassion and empathy for others is integral to creating great relationships. (But be careful: if you obsess over what other people think, it can be paralyzing. You want to find the right balance of intuition, putting yourself in someone else’s shoes and the conviction to do what you need to do.)
What is the best (or worst) piece of advice you ever received? Why?
Best advice: “There is great freedom in discipline.” Worst: “You should focus on financial services as a specialization – it’s where the growth is; media/entertainment is dead.”
What was your 1st ever job and what did it teach you?
When I was 16, I was a waitress at a café in my hometown: 1) customer experience is everything – I spend a lot of my time thinking about that today when assessing companies for investment; 2) have your eyes on everything – it’s what can make you a great operator; it’s a skill that’s made me a good Chief of Staff, and a good GM.
Can you tell me about a time when you almost gave up? And what you did instead of giving up?
Giving up has never really been an option for me – my nickname used to be the “Little Doer/Dua.” I think there’s always a way through. Just keep going – you’ll get there.
Did you ever leave a job or opportunity too quickly or too late?
I don’t look back on too early or too late. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my career so far, it’s that the path is never straight. Even when you think you’ve stayed somewhere too long, sometimes it’s because the right opportunity or personal pivot point is biding its time to arrive at the right moment.
Who do you look up to?
My partner-in-crime at BBG Ventures, Susan Lyne – she has a gift for asking incredibly insightful questions (even about something she doesn’t have deep expertise in), and giving feedback in the form of constructive advice. My mum – because she doesn’t let anything bother her. She just keeps going.