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Why the entrepreneurial myth has made me MAD AS HELL!

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In the past week I have had a few coffee catch ups as well as coached several women who are either starting or are in the first 6-12 months of their business.

Firstly, I salute them and want to recognise them as brave pioneering women who are going for it in their life and career so awesome to see!

Secondly, I want to scream…the meetings also made me mad, real mad because of ridiculous beliefs many of them had about how business should be. Not because these women were stupid, no way, rather because of the BS some guru has sold and convinced them of.

Let’s be up front.

Since turning 40 I have found myself more straight shooting and likely to speak my whole and complete truth with no withholding, than ever before. This has meant that on occasion I’ve been unfriended on social media and given the cold shoulder at networking events.

Now like any human out there, ultimately I want to be liked, so these responses have been tough to swallow and not something I want to repeat. And so I want to be clear that I’m not writing this article wrecklessly with no care and compassion for others, quite the opposite in fact.

My honesty in sharing as always is because I want to be of service so I’ll leave this one to you to be the judge.

What was it that these women believed that made me mad as hell?

Basically they’d all been sold an unrealistic dream. They all had romantic ideas about how fast, how easy and how fluid their business growth trajectory would be. Of course it is totally possible in this digital age to get 2,000 likes and views overnight for your makeup or cooking tutorial shot at your kitchen bench.

In fact just this week Kerwin Rae achieved 30,000 views overnight for his Social Experiment project – but let’s be clear, he’s not in start-up mode and his success certainly didn’t happen ‘overnight’. 

Unfortunately getting 2,000 likes does not make a commercially viable business that works for you over and over. Or Candace Payne who recently shot to fame after giggling on camera wearing her newly purchased Chewbacca mask, and has now appeared on live television and received gifts and experiences for her family. She’s one in 10 million (and she has an awesome laugh).

Sadly, I see too many women being too proud to share that they are finding it tough, that their cash flow sucks or that they’ve really got no damn idea what they are doing or how they are going to make this small business thing work.

See, it’s not as simple as publishing an e-book or making an app and then sitting back to set and forget while you watch your bank account go kaching.

If you’re based in Australia like I am I can tell you – the tax system, our geography and small population aren’t sending you any rainbows. Compared to Ireland with only 6.5% company income tax or Singapore with 0% income tax for the first $100,000 earned, our 30% income tax on businesses in Australia means a major chunk of your precious earned cash is going to be sucked out of your bank account lickety split.

It is true that it is possible to start building something awesome sitting with a laptop on a stable table in your lounge room.

What’s really got me mad is the Pollyanna, everyone can be an entrepreneur, you can become a millionaire overnight selling cupcakes from your kitchen horse poo that many so-called ‘gurus’ from around the world are selling.

Maybe if you’re living in a country with over 300 million people that’s possible, but ‘Down Under’ with a tiny population of just 24 million it’s not realistic. One percent of next to nuthin is nuthin.

What am I mad as hell about? I’m mad as hell about the myths perpetuated about three key areas:

  1. Money
  2. Time
  3. Marketing

But first, let me give you a snapshot of my story…

When I started my first company Leading Value, I had laid a lot of ground work. Back then I was highly risk averse, I liked to play it safe and feel certain. As I ventured out on my own I had a healthy bank account of savings, I had been property investing for some time and knew if I hit a rocky patch that, essentially, I could sell a house to get out of trouble.

So I left my six figure job to pursue my dream and off I naively went.

I joined several international masterminds where I learnt self-confidence, networking and made some of the most amazing and long standing relationships, but I have to be honest, some of the business advice I learnt was shallow and very churn focused.

Sure if I could get 5,000 people to pay me $17 a month for 12 months then I would earn a million dollars. Sounds so doable!

But when you consider the cost of advertising, promotion, customer service staff, advertising and marketing to get the 5,000 people into your magic marketing funnel there goes all your profit. Not to mention the drop offs and lapses that mean you’re left constantly needing to fish for new customers.

My first year in business I made less than $30,000 – it was tough, a real what the heck am I doing kind of wake up call. And a big ego slap in the face after having a decent salaried job.

What it did, though, was make me get serious, look at my numbers, review my business model, and get focused on more leveraged, income generating activities.

If you want to read more of my two cents worth on the three things I’m mad as hell about, then feel free to read my rant at http://www.uqpower.com.au/_blog/UQ_Power_Posts/post/why-i-am-as-mad-as-hell/

For those of you who stuck it out this far but don’t have the energy to read the full rant here’s a summary for you:

  • Keep a sharp eye on your dollars and cents, be a stinge with expenses, don’t spend it before you earn it.
  • Be generous, be of service, take great care of your clients but still be ruthless with your time and schedule.
  • Don’t set and forget – make sure you know your market, ask questions about their pain and then launch something new every 90 days that solves their latest issues.

I hope that is of service to you, thanks for letting me get it off my chest.

Business isn’t all roses, it takes a lot of damn work and it’s the best self-development you will ever undertake.

If you’ve got a burning desire then do your homework, test the market and go for it. Just keep it real, value yourself and have fun in the process!

I wish you every success!

With Love,

Heidi Alexandra xx

www.uqpower.com.au

Heidi Alexandra Pollard

As a workplace futurist and company culture hacker, Heidi Alexandra and her team are the secret super power for Australia’s most innovative cultures and brands. Heidi Alexandra created a simple model, called The UQ Powerhouse, that codifies what makes healthy, happy and productive workplaces for the future. She believes it is possible for businesses to balance people, planet and purpose with profit and that together we can end workplace bullying, depression, anxiety and suffering. Find out more at www.UQPower.com.au

2 Comments

  1. Alana Dagwell

    June 13, 2016 at 9:06 am

    Brilliant article, Heidi. I’ve learned a few of those lessons myself the hard way.

  2. Melanie Hay

    June 14, 2016 at 2:15 am

    Love the honesty & transparency of this article Heidi. Great to see you achieving the success you deserve after working your butt off for years!

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