Inc Magazine is an entrepreneurial stable. It is one of the most popular magazines in the world for entrepreneurs and people who run businesses. One of my good friends Kevin Daum, a guy that I met way back in 2002 in Sydney, Australia, is a New Yorker who submits regular articles to Inc Magazine that are read by thousands of people.
As I read the article, "I thought I knew you - Entrepreneurship changes people - and not always for the better", I reflected on my own experiences.
Has entrepreneurship changed me? Is it for the better?
I met Caryn Kopp in unusual circumstances - for me at least! In the restroom of the Nascar Center in Charlotte, North Carolina at around 10pm at night.
Apparently, as she later explained, she saw me earlier in the evening and thought I was beautifully dressed (thanks to the great designs of Sass and Bide in Australia). Her immediate reaction was to think that perhaps she didn't wear something that was dressy enough. She noticed the long, blonde hair on the black dress and the risque spikes that turned what is otherwise a pretty dress into one that is there to be noticed. She then looked at the name badge and although, like most of us, she had trouble focusing on the small print, she noticed the spelling of my name on the badge. It's unusual.
"This is the girl I have to meet at the conference," she thought.
Prior to this, our friend Jim Weldon, had connected the two of us as he thought we would have some synergies with our businesses. The only problem was that Caryn was too busy to schedule a call in the week I was available and it was postponed to the following week.
You never know who you will meet in the bathroomA lot of good things happen in the bathroom according to Caryn. After all, her business was born out of a gym bathroom some years previously. "Who knows what happens in the men's room!" she says with the same enthusiasm that she has for life, business and creating relationships.
If one of my "normal" friends were sitting there, in that room, they would be terrified. They would have ran out as fast as they can, without looking back. Everyone was talking, almost all at once. They all had their ipads, iphones and pens and paper ready to hear - you are not going to be believe this - JACK DALY. Not that you wouldn't believe that someone would go and see Jack Daly, but because most of the people in the room had seen him speak on sales, not once, not twice, not even three times - but more than 5 or 6 times - BECAUSE he is that good and everyone in that room knows that to build their businesses, they need good management, strong marketing, and SALES. And, when it comes to SALES there is no-one more qualified or better at giving small businesses insight, than Jack Daly.
Brian Heather is a serial entrepreneur; young, dynamic, good looking and with a real social conscience. Not only is he in the business of sustainable environments, landscaping and water proofing, this 30-year old business man is changing the landscape of green buliding.
It may be a buzz word to many, but let me assure you, being green is more than meets the eye. Brian is a much sought after entrepreneur who has landed himself in the spotlight with his inaugural Ted Talk on June 23 on "The importance of reconnecting our cities to nature" as well as the natural charisma of an entrepreneur who is really going places.
His business, Solterra Systems, is a fully licensed electrical, landscaping and waterproofing company that focuses on integrating environmental technology into buildings.
This can range from green roofsproducing food, through to rain screen siding systems that protect the building from the elements with plants.
What can communities be doing more of to connect their cities to nature?
The first step is attaching an ROI to the benefits associated with being in nature for all humans. For example, they estimate that the average American spends 26% of the day being distracted; think text messages, facebook, telephone or advertising. But right now technology is very much a part of what we do. The issue is that there is a loss of productivity in the workplace and people have, in general, very un-balanced live that is enhanced by the fact that technology plays such a huge role in what we do and how we live our lives.
He's been with Marketing Eye for 4 months.
I work in Marketing Eye's Sydney office - every day, as does he. In fact, he and I sit no more than one meter apart but this close proximity evidently has no bearing on our track record of communication. Sure, we talk all the time about visual communication and client work and then there’s the phone that rings 50 times a day and it's a really busy time for Marketing Eye at the moment as we all step up to bring everything we can - but 3 actual conversations in 4 months?! That's appalling. In fact, I'd go one step further than that and say it's *beep* disgusting.
Business expansion has been exhilarating, hard work, fulfilling, adventurous, rewarding and above all, something that I am proud to say that I have made the steps to do. There is still a long way to go and the road looks very long, windy with ups and downs going far into the distance. Hopefully, I will pick up some hitchhikers along the way to keep me company and that the car will be full of people all wanting to head in the same direction. No doubt, there will be people who will want to get out along the way and those who will feel car sick but then, miraculously, they will get over it and start enjoying the scenery and the ride.
Never for a moment have I been mistaken that this is not going to test me and every single person in my team. It singularly has been the bravest thing I have ever done and although I am a person who sticks to a plan, I never imagined for a minute that I would be living in Atlanta, in a hotel room, desperately wishing that I was home in my comfy bed with my Maltese Schnauzer, Pip, perched beside me. Nor would I imagine that I would leave her for long periods of time in the care of another.
Starbucks isn't my favourite coffee blendIt's funny, this morning I wished I had a jar of vegemite beside me and coffee that didn't come in a Starbucks cup. Vegemite reminds me of home and I have deliberately not brought it with me for the journey so that I open a new chapter without being so glued to the past that I can't get out of my normal routine. It's the lack of comforts that somehow gets me through.
I personally will never wear the shoes of an entrepreneur though because I can't have that cauldron-of-ideas bubbling without strategy and planning the detail. That's me. There are entrepreneurs and then there's me.
The past few years has seen us as marketeers witness the tip of a technological iceberg.
In a world where the word ‘Facebook’ is now as internationally recognised as the ‘Coca-Cola’ and ‘OK’ of yesteryear, we can conclude that social media and with it, social media campaigns, are the order of the day. Businesses won’t maximise business without an effective social media presence - it is essential to play in today’s extremely competitive business environment and create long-lasting communications to build brand image and trust.
40 isn't old anymore - not like what I thought when my very own parents arrived at the same age. My mother had five children by the time she was 31 years old and by the time she was 40, she felt like she had done it all. It was time for retirement.
While the first week was the most exciting time of the year to date, the second week was riddled with sleep deprevation, home-sickness and a case of missing the basic home comforts that I have come to enjoy.
On top of that, I realized that although getting new clients was relatively easy (for today) it is twice as hard to get everything else organized around that from an administrative point of view when you don't have your entire administration team at your disposal.
And... the time difference means that instead of 12 hours a day at work it was now 16 hours a day with little time to spare and if I was really lucky, I would get Sunday off, but probably not, because there is so much to do.