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Entrepreneurial Lessons from the Middleton Family?

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Carole Middleton wanted her daughter Catherine to get hitched to Prince William. She could see clearly, even back then, that the boisterous little Kate would be a perfect match for Diana's shy lad.

But how could a humble working class family get into the closed, upper echelons of British society? And Royal Society at that!

Lesson 1: Identify an opportunity

When Carole married Michael Middleton, a flight dispatcher, she quit her career as an air hostess. After becoming a stay-at-home mom, having hosted birthday parties for both her daughters, Kate and Pippa, Carole discovered that it was really hard to get good children's party paraphernalia. And, thus an idea for a company that delivered kid's birthday party decorative items based on choices from a catalogue was born.

For entrepreneurs-to-be this is one of the most important lessons to learn. Not just from this Royal business story but also major entrepreneurial success stories everywhere else.

Chanel took birth when Coco set up a small shop to sell hand-made hats, at a Parisian socialite's home, where she knew the mistresses of rich men would hang out. Look at another European Entrepreneur, Richard Branson's success story, he's seized every opportunity he's recognized, be it the potential for a student magazine at 16 or Space Travel at 60!

The point is if you really want to set up a business, expand the existing one, or just start a new venture, finding and identifying the right opportunity is the key. If you look at most entrepreneurs, the biggest business ideas didn't emerge from a brainstorming notebook, they went out and lived their life, found problems on the way and decided that they wanted to be the people offering solutions.

Lesson 2: Dream big. Start small.

Sure Carole may have wanted a prince for her daughter, but she didn't think she'd launch the family into Royal circles right away. Neither did she start printing catalogues for her decorative products idea right away. Carole Middleton started by making party bags for her friends when she realized that she was good at them, and well, there was a need for those things.

Once speaking to Daily Mail, UK, one of the Middleton family neighbors said, 'Carole was very pregnant with Catherine and couldn't possibly continue working as an air hostess in her condition. So while she was at home waiting for the baby she started making goody bags for children's parties among her friends.'

If you really think you've got the entrepreneurial spirit in you, how about giving it a trial run? Start by offering some of your services to friends and family for free or a small cost. Many people are passionate about being 'entrepreneurs', more than they are about offering a valuable service. They'll set up a website, print visiting cards and rent office space. Well, how about holding on to a job and starting small while dreaming big?

It was only a few years after Carole Middleton's Party Pieces took off, that Michael Middleton quit his job as a Flight Dispatcher at British Airways and joined his wife fulltime.

Lesson 3: Patience & Hardwork

Like most businesses, the Middletons started Party Pieces from their Garage, today experts estimate its worth 30 Million Pounds. Because the company is a private partnership, Party Pieces has never had to make their books public. Many say that the business value has risen considerably since the engagement and subsequent Royal wedding.

However, you shouldn't be hoping for a Royal connection to boost your bottom line. The Middleton's have run Party Pieces for over twenty years now, and they've made many millions before Prince William came into the scene. Carole and Michael worked very hard, and while they took calculated risks for their business, they never went overboard. It is said that the Middletons hated being in debt, like any good old working class Brit family and worked hard to stay out of it.

They started from their shed in 1987 and have three offices in the UK currently. And how exactly did they do this? Carole Middleton revealed it all in an interview with Party Times, the website launched by Party Pieces. Here's what she advices those who want to set up their own business, "Mmm... it's great fun, but not for the faint-hearted. I still work through to the early hours to hit a deadline and never take our success for granted."

These are some of the things you can learn from the now-royal family's entrepreneurial background. But there's much more, like expanding and diversifying your business. Party Pieces has a Party info-based website, an online Cake delivery venture and is offering Party Paraphernalia for adults too. Besides this, one can also learn that independence of thought, without fearing judgment can be very crucial for the entrepreneur. The Middleton's started their entrepreneurial adventure, when entrepreneurship was frowned upon in Britain, and the rigid class structure was very much alive, making it hard for people to rise up the ladder. Which is why, Katherine was the butt of all jokes at the expensive Private School she was enrolled in, because she came from a working class family! Well, Princess Kate and her family sure showed them all how to blaze their own path.