Not once did I think I would fail. It wasn't possible. My needs were simple and I just needed to make enough money to cover my salary. My biggest expenditure was my new BMW and the endless coffees that I drank down at the local coffee shop.
Starting a company was an easy decision. I didn't want to travel to Brisbane from the Gold Coast each day anymore which was more than an hours driving each way and I was ready for something new.
I had no preconceived ideas on what business should look like or how things should be done but I did have a number of mentors who were happy to provide advice and feedback when and as needed.
Like all good business people in the making, I wrote a business plan and started implementing it. Things moved fast and the business grew into Sydney and Melbourne within a matter of months. The world was our oyster and our dreams just kept growing.
After a failed business relationship with my then business partner, I learnt a lesson or two that was best to learn earlier rather than later in the business cycle. Fortunately, I owned the brand and all clients derived from my contacts. My business partner was also administration and didn't have a career in professional marketing. After paying some cash, I moved on and so did she. I am forever thankful for having had this experience because I grew in so many ways as a business person and as an entrepreneur. I picked myself off the ground and kept building the business.
I missed many things about having a business partner particularly the value in having someone to bounce things off or to get excited with when a deal came in. The reason for the separation is that it wasn't a fair 50/50 partnership. I had the credentials, contacts and dedication to work and she was admin - something you can hire. What I learnt from that is you never go into partnership with someone who brings to the table something that you can pay for. They really do need to have skills that complement your business model and of equal value to that of yourself or the funding you bring in.
It was only in 2004, when I had a new idea. This whole concept around helping small businesses around the globe grow through marketing. How can I create a meaningful business that helps those who either cannot afford a full time marketing director or who don't yet see the true value in a good marketing team.
Now in 2013, the company has come a long way and we are in the US working towards fulfilling our goal of 1000 clients in 5 years.
It's similar but different to the first business. While the ambition and drive is still there, years of experience tells me to take stock from time to time and make sure that I cross all my "t's" and dot all my "i's". I am less bullish but yet somehow more determined that making this business a success is the only answer. I have also realized that there is more at stake. When you have already made a success of a business, there is a fear factor that you may fail and what that means to you: finances, personally and professionally.
January has been good. I have gone through all the normal ups and downs particularly as I have moved to a new city. The plan is in place and already being implemented - with most things going to plan. It's a tad lonely although I have surrounded myself with people - but most entrepreneurs know this feeling and can relate. And of course, there isn't enough hours in the day and never a moment to spare.
Let's see how month two goes, but I am ready, eager and waiting to see the results.
Mellissah Smith is a marketing expert with more than 20 years experience. Having founded and built two successful marketing companies internationally, she is well recognized as a industry thought leader and innovator. Mellissah started her career working with technology and professional services firms, primarily in marketing, public relations and investor relations, positioning a number of successful companies to list on the various Stock Exchanges around the world. She is a writer, technology developer and entrepreneur who shares her thoughts and experiences through blogs and written articles published in various media outlets. Brag sheet: #2 marketer to follow on Twitter (2003), Top 150 Marketers to Follow (2015), Top 10 innovative marketers (2014), 60K+ followers on Twitter with 97% authentic.
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