Why being an entrepreneur wasn’t what I thought it would be

Preparation is often said to be the key to success in business and although for the most part I would agree, there are some things that you can never be fully prepared for until you jump in and give them a try. In spite of not being completely naïve when I started Next Marketing, I quickly discovered how much I didn’t know, and how much being an entrepreneur differed from my expectations.

Even after years of running and growing my business I am still being surprised, and it’s not all bad. Running my own business has been far more exciting and satisfying than I ever thought it would be. I have learned so much, and am still learning, but there are a few things that have surprised me about being an entrepreneur.

There’s a fine line between positive thinking and over optimism

If I wasn’t positive and optimistic there’s no way I would have gone into business for myself. Taking the leap of faith that is starting your own business requires a certain amount of self-belief and positivity to start with but it’s easy to slide into over optimism and end up being disappointed when things just don’t happen as quickly or as easily as you expect. I have had to develop flexibility and learn how to adjust my expectations without spiralling into negativity.

Self-doubt never goes away

When I first started my business I suffered from self-doubt. We all do, but what I didn’t expect was that even years and a thriving business later, I still occasionally find myself wondering if I have what it takes. That niggling inner voice has never completely gone away and it probably never will, the challenge is not to listen to it.

People don’t always react positively to my success

I personally find this strange, but the more successful my business becomes the more it seems that other people interpret me talking about my successes as arrogance or superiority. It’s not everyone, and luckily I have plenty of positive people around me to make up for them but it can be hard to shake off the negative comments at times.

If I want praise or reassurance I have to give it to myself

Positive feedback from clients is fantastic and I love receiving it but I probably spend at least 80% of my time telling everyone else it’s going to be ok and hear very little reassurance myself. When you run your own business, nobody is going to pat you on the back for working extra hours or give you an employee of the month award for hitting your sales targets. Positive self-talk is something I have had to master from very early on.

I can never completely switch off

I’m not talking about working 18-hour days, seven days a week, I am always thinking about it. Ideas will drop into my head while I’m lying by the pool on holiday, at 3am and when I’m spending time with friends and family.

In spite of the surprises, disappointments and occasional setbacks, the entrepreneurial journey has taught me so much and given me so many amazing skills that I wouldn’t change it for anything. We never stop learning and I’m sure there are plenty more surprises ahead.


About the Author:

Jo Macdermott is the Chief Marketing Consultant at Next Marketing in Melbourne. She has 15 years of marketing experience, is a Certified Practising Marketer and is a sought after marketing media commentator. Jo specialises in working with small and medium businesses. Follow her on Twitter here.