Think twice before becoming an entrepreneur

01 November 2016 Author :  
I am sitting here today, on Melbourne Cup Day, while most of my friends and work colleagues are taking the day off celebrating and I am realising my reality. I can't go. I can't even watch the race. 

It's not necessarily because of my day job, but like many entrepreneurs, I have taken on more than I can chew, and although I know there is light under the tunnel, my full time job for months on end seems to be my charity work, and I have taken my eye off the ball. I find its increasingly difficult to do everything - and at the end of the day, something's going to give.

I am exhausted

I can pretend that everything is ok, or I can talk about it and let it out of my system. I am exhausted and I have no-one to blame but myself.

Being an entrepreneur is not smooth sailing. Just when you think everything is perfect, something goes wrong, then another and another... Keeping your cool is hard, but I certainly try my best in that department.

There is only so many knocks I can take, and every now again (and it weirdly feels like this time of year), I feel very overwhelmed.

My mentors railed me in

So, when I officially became an entrepreneur in my thirties (not my twenties because I still believe I was just a business owner), everything changed. Not only did I have ideas for my own business, but I had a thousand other ideas too. Luckily for me, my mentors railed me in and encouraged me to focus. Which I did, and that worked wonders. When I finally was working "on" the business and not "in" the business, the business grew exponentially. I realised the formula for getting things done through empowering others to make decisions is the only way and if they fail, know that it is just a lesson in life for all parties involved.

Then I let loose on the other ideas and started the business bucket list checking off things as I go... and one of those things was giving back. Doing The World Incubator has been hard work, although I love every person involved and I can't wait to see where their businesses take them. It's almost like they are my babies and I get the opportunity to watch them grow.

Deciding to share my friends with Townsville and the rest of Queensland through the North Queensland Entrepreneurs Conference is a great idea - but hard work. I don't really put conferences together. The last one I worked on as anything other than a speaker was the University in Sydney for the Young Entrepreneurs Organisation (EO) which was a roaring success but definitely a team effort. This one feels more like a solo effort and I find the pressure is all consuming.

I love that I can share my friends

I love that I can share my friends who started with nothing, and have built big businesses, but managing everything from speakers through to driving people to the event is really hard work. I can't sleep at night worrying about the whole thing, to the point, I doubt I would ever do it again. It's not my game. Yes, on the day, it will be beautiful and having the backing on the marketing company makes life easier, but the whole success of the event lays broadly on my shoulders.

Why you need to think twice before becoming an entrepreneur

Why you need to think twice before becoming an entrepreneur is because once you have unleashed that side of your brain and you truly believe the sky is the limit - you never stop. There will always be something to do. You will never, ever be bored. You will take on more than you can handle and somehow you survive and get through it. You will be stressed no matter how 'chilled' you think you are. It's a guarantee. You will say and do things that you wished you didn't. You will keep learning and sometimes you will feel as though your head is ready to explode.

People will constantly disappoint you even after you thought you had seen it all and been through every possible phase of disappointment. It just keeps happening. Sure, you become more seasoned, but it's still tough, disappointing and stressful.

The up-side is that without risk, there is no reward. If you take a risk and give up your day job to start a business, the possibility of a high reward is enormous. I can speak first-hand on that one. You will be empowered, constantly learning, always challenged and have moments where you want to pat yourself on the back for that 'great idea' that is possibly your game-changer.

You will never work a day in your life. Getting up in the morning is easy, but you will wonder how you can get to work faster. No wonder Steve Jobs wore the same outfit to work everyday - one less thing to think about. I can attest to this being a great idea, but a tad boring for those who see you in the office. Yes, it might be your personal brand, but it does make you bland.

You will be set up for life

Financially, if you get it right, you will be set up for life, and maybe your family will as well. You will see and experience things you only ever dreamed of before, and would not have been able to had you not decided to take the risk of starting your own business.

The people you meet and what you learn from them will help you more than any education that you may have received beforehand. Life will only get better and more rewarding, and in that process you will realise that anything and everything is possible - all you have to do is believe in yourself.

Starting from nothing is sometimes better than starting with something. It means you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Many of the most successful business people didn't have experience in their industries before starting their businesses, yet went on to be very successful.

When starting out, starting with one business, and one idea. Only change it if you need to to become more successful. Don't try and be everything to everyone - that is a recipe for disaster.

Do think twice about being an entrepreneur. Are you brave enough? Do you believe in yourself? Are you prepared to be strong when you sometimes don't have the energy to do so? Can you take the hits with the losses? 

Then ask yourself 'why.'
The World Incubator

Mellissah Smith is the Chairperson of The World Incubator, a not-for-profit business incubator in rural Queensland. Currently the incubator is situation in Wherry House in Charters Towers, North Queensland and houses 10 startups. The World Incubator is host to North Queensland’s largest entrepreneurs conference with all proceeds going to helping rural and regional startups and farmers. Book tickets on

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