I'd be lying if I said that there weren't quite a few things that have held me back as an entrepreneur, and been the catalyst to 'not being an overnight success story'. 

After 17 years in business, I have created my dream job. I work for no-one. I answer to no-one. I go to work everyday with enthusiasm because I don't have to go to work - I just love every single bit about my job.
What holds entrepreneurs back from succeeding?

Over time and a little bit of maturity, I have realised that I even love the hurdles that cross my path and now that the business is bigger, there is nothing more satisfying than when an obstacle comes into our path, our team feel empowered to come up with the solution, without even consulting me. 

At first, I felt a little not needed... then I realised that what had happened is that the business had grown up and my team want for nothing more than for me to do the things I love to do and keep building this dream that we now all live.

Looking back, there have been many things that have stopped me in my tracks and held me back from being an entrepreneur who reaches their full potential.

Fear

The fear of the unknown is definitely at the top of the list along with the fear of failure. We embrace failure, yet if we didn't fear it, wouldn't we just make more mistakes and potentially lose our ability to achieve the goals we set in front of us?

Believing in oneself

As an entrepreneur, my glass is half full. Mostly, I believe I can do anything - and achieve anything. But when doubt crosses my mind, I take a step or two back. Are my dreams to big to fulfil? Never more so than today, does this represent an issue. Am I doing too much and am I capable of executing all the things I want to do? If you believe in yourself, anything is possible. 

Too much believe and not enough work

The dreamer of entrepreneurs who believe that they can do anything they dream about, but forget that you actually have to execute on that dream in order to achieve it. Hard work and rolling up your sleeves is the only way. So many people have great ideas, but they never execute it. John Mossop of Vissler and I had the idea for freelancer.com 17 years ago. We built it with the tools we had in front of us at that time, but never took it to market. Stupid! We both use to sit there and think it was a genius idea. What could have been!!!

Perfection

I am a born perfectionist. I want the perfect life, the perfect business, and everything in it's right place. Fortunately I was given by the gods the perfect dog, and I count my blessing but other than that, nothing is perfect. We can strive for it, but know that 80 percent is ok but micro managing is not.

People

Hiring and firing the wrong people or not keeping the right people on the journey that are capable of taking your business to the next level. Hire slowly, fire fast. We all know it... but how many of us do it?

Money

There is never enough money in the till. Seriously, how long is a piece of string. What many entrepreneurs forget is that you don't always need investors to realise your dreams, and bootstrapping may be tough (not for the faint hearted), but the reward is much higher.

Product/Service Readiness

Many entrepreneurs believe that they need a product before they can sell it. Nope, you don't. Pitch the idea to your ideal client, and make them your beta site. No brainer. Allows you to know you have your first sale and keeps you to a deadline.

Time to market

No real deadline in place is often an issue for entrepreneurs. 2017 is not a deadline. Use a GANT chart, and timeline the execution of delivering your product or service to the market.

Wasting investors money

Yes, no hot air balloon sponsorship is going to have people knocking on your door. It's just brand awareness to a few. Think before you spend. Treat investor money like you would treat your own. Don't overpay for things and incentivise staff rather than giving big pay packets.


Mellissah Smith is a serial entrepreneur and business leader with more than 20 years' experience in marketing.
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Mellissah Smith

Mellissah Smith is a marketing expert, author, writer, public speaker and technology innovator. Having worked with more than 300 companies across technology, medical device, professional services, manufacturing, logistics, finance and health industries, Mellissah has a well-established reputation as an experienced marketing professional with more than 20 years experience. As the founder and managing director of Marketing Eye, she has taken the company from startup to a multi-million dollar enterprise with offices in Australia and the US. Mellissah is also the Editor in Chief of Marketing Eye Magazine, a quarterly magazine that cover marketing, entrepreneurship, travel, health and wellbeing. #mellissah #marketingeye

2 comments

  • James
    26/11/16

    Some genuinely prize content on this internet site, bookmarked.

  • Claire
    09/09/16

    It reminds me my entrepreneurial adventure during more than 2 years. It has not been as successful as excepted but I learnt so much within those 2-3 years of work experience such as dealing with investors, HR issues (technical recruitment), agile marketing methods due to new technologies and especially remaining humble. I think humility is so important to building a great organisation.

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