My Entrepreneurial Journey

By the time I was 28, I had lived and worked in 6 countries and 15 cities. I’ve had some amazing opportunities that I’m incredibly grateful for. However, deep down something never felt right.

It wasn’t until I was working on a $5 billion bid for a city changing infrastructure project that I first saw my future laid out in front of me. This project team was comprised of every age and stage of my life, from today until retirement. I suddenly realised that this path led to fit our lives around our careers. I saw that for many of my colleagues, our lives were reduced to maximising our careers, rather than our careers or jobs enriching our lives.

This didn’t make sense to me. What good is having money if you hate your job and don’t have the ability to take time off because your job depends on you or you are too exhausted to enjoy it? For me, I used at least 50% of my annual leave each year just to catch up on my ever-increasing sleep debt.

This was the nagging feeling I’d had for at least the past 8+ years, I was building a career, not living my life. This approach works really well for some and I was trying to copy them because for a large portion of my life that’s what I thought success was.

From the outside, I had everything. A high paying job that was flying me to be part of mega engineering projects all over Australia worth hundreds of millions of dollars. If I posted to social media all you would have seen was the airport lounges and 4 and 5-star hotels I was constantly living out of. On top of that, most of my expenses were covered so I had a reasonable disposable income. Despite all of this, I had never been more unhappy or lost.

I found myself at a crossroads, I was offered a life-changing promotion to join a large project as part of their senior management team. The moment it was offered I knew I couldn’t accept it because something had shifted for me.

I could no longer justify working 40 – 60 hours a week doing something I was good at but had no passion or interest in. Trading my life for a paycheck was no longer working. It didn’t make sense to sacrifice my time, health and fitness for the promise of a great lifestyle at some distant point in the future when there was so much to see and do right now. It didn’t make sense to rarely see my friends and family because I was working 9 – 12 hours per day and a shell of a person in the evenings and weekends. I clearly remember not being able to join my friends on a long weekend away because I was working on a public holiday.

It wasn’t until I got everything I wanted, living the life of a corporate high flyer, that I realised I valued all of the wrong things.

I knew I couldn’t keep this up. I’d had a pretty serious burnout almost every year of my career where I’d have to take several weeks out and do absolutely nothing.

Everywhere I had gone I had seen glimpses of another way, another life. People living on their terms, running their own businesses that added to their lives rather than subtracting.

Something inside of me had always wanted to start and run my own business, a feeling I had ignored for a long time as I pursued my career. My mum, dad and brother have all started and run their own successful companies so you might say it was in my blood.

Having turned down the promotion and walking away from my career, this was my chance to create my own business but I didn’t know where to start. After much discussion, I decided to team up with my brother, to help him turn his solopreneur videography operation into a commercial video production company. He would be the creative director and I would be his business partner focusing on operational excellence.

Early in setting up our production company, I was introduced to the E myth by Michael Gerber. All of a sudden, all of the pieces fell into place. I realised that all of my experiences and learnings led me to this point.

At the same time, I became truly aware of the reality of many entrepreneurs. Working longer, working harder and earning less than the job they left. Yet I knew from my consulting days that it was possible to build systems so this wasn’t always the case. I’d also met other business owners that ran their business instead of being run into the ground by their business.

Whist setting up the production company, I heavily invested my time and money to learn, test and improve. I set to work scaling all of my experience and learnings to fit the small business, tweaking things as we went. I was also studying from others that had run successful businesses, reading every book I could as well as signing up for every course I could find.

“Systemising my operational and financial system means that I’ve removed a lot of my admin headaches freeing me up to focus on what I enjoy doing most in my business.

I’m generating quotes without the guesswork then getting paid faster and in full, and taxes are easy because all of my bookkeeping is now in one place. I have been able to run more projects than ever because I can trust the systems to handle the time-consuming admin”.

Hayden, Founder and Creative Director, On The Day Films

It wasn’t a smooth journey but in less than a year I was able to step away from that business and Hayden is growing it himself into a sought after production company. I’m proud to see that in 2021 he has never had more clients and been more productive.

This is when I decided I wanted to help as many small business owners as I can. As soon as I made this decision, I felt energised and no longer felt like a square peg in a round hole. The more I talk about this topic the more I realised how passionate I am about this subject.

So, after a lot of testing, trial and error, I created the Business Accelerator membership to help business owners create their own Effective Organisation as well as to overcome the common feelings of isolation and struggle on the path to a business that adds to your life, not subtracts from it.

I hope you’ll join me in making business and life fun again!

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