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Dragons’ Den Star Michele Romanow on Success and Working With Heineken

As a serial entrepreneur and Dragons’ Den personality, Michele Romanow knows a thing or two about the hustle. She also understands when to shut it off. It’s why she’s teamed up with Heineken to inspire those following in her go-getter footsteps to take a moment to try out the beer brand’s new device known as The Closer. So, what does it do? This smart bottle opener shuts down users’ work apps when they crack a bottle of Heineken so they can enjoy some much needed chill time. We caught up with Romanow to find out more about her drive, advice to young entrepreneurs and her secrets to balancing it all.

What’s driven you to be so successful?

“Honestly? I’ve tried a lot of things and I’ve taken more shots on goal than most people in a lifetime. I’m constantly failing, and I have a hard time taking no for an answer. I started six companies before I turned 35 including a cafe, a commercial fishery and now Clearco, the world’s largest e-commerce investor. You must have a thick skin and incredible conviction and belief in one’s product and oneself. And even then, it’s still really hard.”

How do you strike your work life balance?

“I look at work life balance in a year not a day. Lots of people need to have balance every day—work 8 hours, sleep 8 hours and have personal time for 8 hours. That’s never going to happen with me—to make incredible things happen in this business you need to sprint. So, I try and look at it over a year—in a year did I travel enough, did I see my family enough? That’s a much better benchmark for happiness for me.”

When do you use The Closer from Heineken?

“I love using The Closer from Heineken after a big sprint where we have the whole team working together to finalize a new product or get an important project out the door. The Closer is perfect for forcing me to shut off for a bit and connect with friends and family in real life; it’s a great tool to keep me honest.”

What does a night of R&R look like for you these days?

“I’m a huge foodie so any time I’m able to have a great meal with friends filled with pasta and wine, I’m at my happiest.”

What advice would you give to young entrepreneurs trying to make it without burning out?

“Focus, focus, focus. At the beginning it’s easy to get distracted with the million tasks you need to do to keep a business afloat. But businesses die of gluttony, not starvation. Work on the hardest things first and give the most attention to deep work, the small stuff will come on its own.

“Whenever I’m starting to feel burnt out, I remind myself why I’m doing what I’m do. At Clearco, we’re completely changing an industry and making it easier for thousands of entrepreneurs to start and scale their business without giving up their equity. It often feels impossibly difficult but so rewarding to be leading and seeing the impact we’re making on millions of founders across the world.”