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It's interesting to go through this process and realise that after 10 years, some sort of switch has been turned on, and we are picking and choosing our clients. We can't scale fast enough to cater for our burgeoning growth. Scale for most businesses isn't hard as long as you have the right processes in place. But for us, it is extremely difficult.
I feel more "entrepreneurial" than at any point in the past 12-months which is hard to believe given that Marketing Eye continues to grow, innovate, expand and further cement its position as a world-leading SMB marketing company and this journey is something that I live with every single day.
A catalyst for change is the inate desire to be better. To do things in a way that transcends what may be normally expected, and sets in motion a purposeful action leading to an end goal.
Still calling hotels my home, but albeit for only a short time more, I woke up excited for what the day will bring. Today, I will re-engage with my Australian team and work together with them to build Marketing Eye in Australia by 40 percent over the next 12 months. We have everything in place ready to go - and its incredibly motivating.
The sun was shining through the blinds and as I looked up, I had a moment. It was as if everything stood still. Nothing moved. There was silence.
And yet, there was clarity.
I am packing up my personal belongings to bring them back to Australia with my dog Pippa in tow. It doesn't mean that I am giving up on the US. Actually, quite the contrary. I am increasing my investment in the country and its people, to further drive business success in the region. I am ready to press the accelerator to top speed without a second thought for where the brakes may be.
Australia and America have long been tied
Historically, Australian companies that have expanded into the US have benefited immensely from foreign exchange rates. After the initial shock of start up costs, companies see the silver lining of building businesses in the US and bringing US dollars back to Australian shores.
But what I didn't take into account is how I would actually make it happen. You see, like many entrepreneurs, I have struggled with working in the business and trying to at the same time work "on" the business - never quite getting the mix right.
At long last, since I made some smart strategic business moves last year, including changing management, I have become the entrepreneur I always wanted to be. I am implementing our business plan that was written so long ago, and it feels really good. There is a sense of satisfaction that is growing deep inside me and I believe in every single thing that we are doing.
First day back in Atlanta and I am excited! I cannot express to you how much I love my US team and how inspirational each and every one of them are.
It's been a phenomenal journey, one full of great surprises, obstacles that were easier than expected to overcome and an incredible amount of love and support that has led Marketing Eye's success.
Like all bosses that are a nuisance, I asked for a photograph of a couple of my team members who were sitting in a meeting with me this morning. They are quite use to it - as they know that nothing makes me more happy than to take their pictures and share it with the world.
This year is going to be great. Actually, better than great - it is going to be awesome!
I started the morning with a "pep talk". There are a few changes that need to be implemented and sadly, I have to divide my time more evenly with Australia, so I won't be here so much.
Inundated with calls from friends, its refreshing to know that through my experience with business expansion, others are able to rethink their business strategies and look at their own business potential.
The US market for my business is 27 times bigger than Australia and as such, a lucrative opportunity exist for businesses like mine that have a strong product or service to capitalise on the market opportunity.
Marketing Eye provides a bespoke business solution for companies that do not have in-house marketing capabilities providing small to medium sized businesses with a complete outsourced marketing department for just $2,000 per month. This includes an experienced marketing manager backed by a team of graphic design, branding, public relations, web and online specialists, all under one brand - no freelancers or outsourcing.
Melbourne is a city that has grown on me. I have lived here for most of the past 10 years and it really has been the perfect home away from home. As a Queenslander, it took some time to get use to the weather, and talking about it all day long, but other than that, I have learnt to appreciate the finer things that make Melbourne and Sydney for that matter, so special.
As the plane landed, the first thing that came to mind is that I needed to get a coffee from my favourite barista. Secondly, how easy it is to walk through customs with the new technology that alleviates all the queuing that takes place in every other airport in the world.
Having spent so much of this year in Atlanta and the US as a whole, it strikes me that I have been "bitching" too much.
"No good coffee."
"Too many diner style restaurants."
"Business people are too aggressive."
"Everyone's homes look the same - boring."