For many aspiring entrepreneurs, it’s commonly assumed that the world of entrepreneurship is filled with independence, where you can be your own boss and the only thing you need is a million dollar idea that’ll change the world. The rest will fall into place.
Unfortunately, these lavish misconceptions couldn’t be further from the truth.
In reality, the entrepreneurial landscape is fraught with difficulties – think long hours, working seven days a week, great highs but devastating lows, plus a constant feeling of uncertainty and the looming question of “will this actually work?”.
As someone who has always been curious about the entrepreneurial lifestyle (in part because a) I’m a freelancer working on my own personal brand and b) I’m also an aspiring intrapreneur for the current company I work for), it seemed fitting that I attended the Kick. Start. Smart event in Melbourne, Australia — a conference where misconceptions are debunked and successful entrepreneurs just generally teach us how to kick ass in business.
From making your mark in a big way to perfecting that elevator pitch for funding, here are the three biggest lessons I learned about entrepreneurship, as someone who is still quite new to the industry:
Go Hard, or Go Home
Since you’re in an industry that thrives completely on new ideas, standing out from the crowd is absolutely paramount.
A prime example of this is Daniel Flynn, co-founder of Australian business Thankyou. The company was born in 2008 in response to the World Water Crisis, where at the time, over 900 million people worldwide did not have access to clean drinking water.
WIth this in mind, Flynn launched a line of bottled water that would fund water projects overseas. However in order for the product to really gain momentum, it needed to be stocked in Australia’s two biggest supermarket competitors Coles and Woolworths, both of which held 70% market share in the industry.
So how did he get their attention, you ask? He pitted them against each other, by flying helicopters with a banner over the two head offices in a marketing campaign that went viral with a reach of 15 million, more than 100 mentions on national media, and approximately 42,000 page views.
But the best result? Both Coles and Woolworths said yes, five hours after properly meeting with them and the viral marketing campaign had launched.
Go hard or go home, indeed.
Ask Yourself: What’s Your Individual “Why”?
Simply put, there has to be a bigger purpose to your project, other than making money or being famous.
By answering why you do what you’re doing, it gives way to the next creative phases of your entrepreneurial journey – the “how?” and “what?” stages. What goal do you want to achieve and how are you going to get there?
I’ll never forget this great quote from Dan Gregory, CEO of The Impossible Institute:
“No one has the same thumbprint as you, so it’s an opportunity to leave your own unique imprint on the world.”
Don’t Give Your Problems Bigger Airtime than Your Solutions
We’ve all been there before – just as you are about to reach a momentous high, it suddenly comes crashing down and you’re back to square one.
More often than not, these events will happen at the worst times, but it goes without saying that you just need to keep getting up, knuckle down and get back to work. Fake it until you make it and have a mentor that shares your values, who can provide sound advice when worst case scenarios happen.
During the event, our MC Phill Nosworthy, who is the founder of successful coaching company Switch Inc., quoted Maya Angelou:
“Back then, you did what you knew to do, but now that you know better, you’ll do better.”
Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Considering that the Kick. Start. Smart conference was my first foray into the world of entrepreneurship, I’d say my intention to leave the event renewed and inspired was a resounding success.
Not only did it motivate my drive to be an emerging intrapreneur, it also gave me personal insight into just how much blood, sweat and tears entrepreneurs pour into their careers.
It’s noteworthy to mention that the conference is actually the brainchild of Lisa Messenger and Collective Hub, an entrepreneurial publication that successfully went against the evolving notion that “print media is dead” by creating an entrepreneurial magazine with a layout of a lifestyle magazine. You can learn more about them here.
To view the full list of speakers and their businesses, see below:
Daniel and Justine Flynn – Thankyou.
Dan Gregory – The Impossible Institute
Lisa Messenger – Collective Hub
Natalie Bassingthwaighte – Chi Khi
Bruce Poon Tip – G Adventures
Trent Innes – Xero
Justin Dry – Vinomofo
Mark McDonald – Appster
Emma Seibold – Barre Body
David Bromley – Bromley & Co.
Aleczander Gamboa is a freelance writer, editor and media all-rounder. Along with working in the lifestyle and arts sectors, he's now immersing himself in the exciting world of web development and technology. He also tweets too much for his liking about reality shows he's too emotionally invested in. You can view his full portfolio of work here.