Here, internet entrepreneur Fred Schebesta, Founder of financial-product comparison website Finder.com.au, draws on his personal experiences to share the 10 things most entrepreneurs would never want their peers, employees and customers to know.
“Many entrepreneurs love to portray their business and leadership successes – but never the other side of the coin,” Schebesta said. “Business ownership completely changes your perspective on life. The truth is, the mind of an entrepreneur works differently to others, but it’s rarely shared outside of their own business success stories.”
Schebesta founded Finder.com.au six years ago, aged 26, having sold his first business, Freestyle Media, for $1.3 million. Below are the realities of entrepreneurship that most entrepreneurs don’t want others to know, as told by Schebesta.
1. Working hard is a survival mechanism – working ‘til you bleed equals success. This is what entrepreneurs realise very early on. Hard work achieves mediocrity. Entrepreneurs work harder than they ever did for anything else in life, often putting everything else on the line. They realise results only come when they push themselves over and above the odds emotionally, physically and mentally. It’s a surprise for many in the early years.
2. You hardly notice you go to business events more than events in your personal life. If entrepreneurs have a business relationship to nurture, everything else flies out the window. Business meetings, deal closures, events and their own employees trump family birthdays every time and that doesn’t seem to faze them.
3. You’re offended by those who work fewer hours than you. Entrepreneurs don’t envy those who clock off from work; they are offended by them. Entrepreneurs can’t understand how anyone can switch off. Personally, there’s nothing more frustrating than receiving an ‘out of office’ auto-responder in your inbox. In our world, it means ‘I don’t care’.
4. Nothing gives you a bigger high than a remittance advice. No matter how long entrepreneurs have been in business, when the remittance falls into their inbox they feel the need to celebrate. Entrepreneurs constantly need affirmation, and this is one of them.
5. You’re resigned to the fact you’ll never have a suntan. An ‘LED-monitor complexion’ goes hand-in-hand with owning a business. Internet entrepreneurs, in particular, work better at night, and sleep in. It’s not unusual for us to lose track of time and be working until 0300 and coming in at 1100 the next morning. If you see someone tired and pasty in the hallway, they’re most likely a business owner.
6. You know you’re money-driven and secretly think it’s your strongest asset. Having a clear passion and goal is what gives entrepreneurs direction. Ultimately, the key objective for all business owners is to make money, yet entrepreneurs don’t dare mention it’s their primary driver. They will often talk about ‘contributing’ and ‘serving’ the community – this is rarely the reason they get into business.
7. Your ‘brave face’ is the one you wear more than any other. Because many entrepreneurs put everything on the line to make their idea happen, they are often just holding it all together emotionally. Entrepreneurs need to keep people around them motivated and believing in their idea. Showing their vulnerability is never an option. Even when giving up is on the mind of an entrepreneur, they’ll never let you know about it. They may call their mums on a Saturday night for emotional support.
8. You wish social events would end quickly so you can get back to strategising your idea. The flow of creative business ideas never switches off for entrepreneurs – social situations just get in the way of their real passions. It’s not unusual to see eyes glaze over in social situations as friends and acquaintances listen for the nth time about the entrepreneur’s new venture.
9. Your biggest collection is self-help books. Entrepreneurs are emotionally and mentally stretched in chasing their dream, and personal shortcomings can sabotage their business decisions. Self-help books help them climb over their personal flows, and give them the self-belief they need to succeed. Not only do entrepreneurs enjoy reading these books, they know deep down that they need them.
10. Making a profit each year is your greatest possible personal achievement. A good year’s profit can be greater than the birth of a child – that’s because the business is the entrepreneur’s child. The profit is confirmation that the dream they’re chasing and the sacrifices they’ve put in are worth it.
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