In the early days, the list of challenges for an entrepreneur seems endless. The risk of failure can loom large and there’s always the temptation to chuck it in.
These five inspiring Australian entrepreneurs share how they slogged out the hard years to realise their dreams.
Kate Morris, founder of Adore Beauty
Morris was just 21 when she began hunting for bank loans to set up her online business. It was 1999 and the Internet hadn’t been embraced, so she received one refusal after another.
“There were plenty of days where I wanted to either chuck it all in, or just crawl under the doona and hide,” she says.
The antidote to disappointment was focusing on the small wins.
“One ‘yes’ was enough fuel to get me through the next 20 ‘no's’,” Morris says.
"My best advice is to keep chipping away day in and day out. There aren’t any hacks for hard work."
Rebekah Campbell, co-founder of Hey You
Dealing with the ups and downs of running a business was a challenge for Campbell, the chief executive of food ordering app Hey You.
“In the early days, I found it really tough to handle the emotional rollercoaster that these challenges presented,” she says.
“However, it's important to remember that both the ups and downs are only temporary and a part of the process.”
Chris Strode, founder of Invoice2Go
Finding the time to devote to a fledging business is a test for every entrepreneur and one that Strode knows well.
“I’d be working during my train commute to and from work, working weekends, working Christmases and Easters,” he says.
"My best advice is to keep chipping away day in and day out. There aren’t any hacks for hard work.”
Perseverance is key to success, so long as you truly understand your space enough...
Brett Isenberg, general manager of Octet Express
Jumping a major economic hurdle in the Global Financial Crisis soon after launching a fintech business proved to be a good learning lesson for Isenberg.
The company eventually found success by pivoting to create a parallel business, Octet Finance.
“Perseverance is key to success, so long as you truly understand your space enough to know there's definitely light on the other side, irrespective of how long that tunnel is,” he says.
James Wakefield, co-founder of InStitchu
Bootstrapping is a common road to business success, but Wakefield and co-founder Robin McGowan says it comes with some serious financial difficulties.
“There were many months where Robin and I went without any pay and lived off credit cards,” Wakefield says.
“During tough times we focused on the big picture and the end result. We have supported each other and I don’t think we would be here if either Robin or I would start this business on our own.”
Kate Jones writes for the business and money sections of The Age and Sydney Morning Herald. She also writes for The New Daily, TAC, RMIT and is a news writing tutor at Monash University.