I guess we all have this glorified vision of starting our own business.
One fateful night sitting around with friends and a nice bottle of wine leads to one of those 'eureka' moments, that seeds a spiral of excitement and passion for your new business venture.
Investment and capital flood in because, of course, your idea is brilliant and before you know it - you've turned over a million pounds.
However, we don't live in a movie - and the reality of your start up business going in a direct upward trajectory isn't exactly a true representation of reality.
For the past two years I've had more media exposure and social media following than I've known what to do with. To be honest, most companies would give their right arm to have that level of positive exposure. But when you're still in the start up phase of your business, that press exposure can be both a blessing and a curse.
The truth is; being an entrepreneur is hard. It takes guts to leave a stable job behind, a constant and worrying low bank balance and sheer overwhelming determination to keep going. In all honesty, there are more bad days than good, but it's those singular moments of triumph that keep you pushing forward to that faint light at the end of the tunnel.
But most importantly, for every start up entrepreneur and successful ones that I've met - money has never been and will never be their main drive. See for them, money is only one factor in their success.
For every budding moneymaker, they chase the 'Niche Market', that ever-elusive gap that is just screaming to be filled (no pun intended), that will undoubtedly make you rich beyond your wildest dreams. See - I studied business at school, college and university and throughout the whole of my education in business I was taught, to a point of exhaustion, that the most important aspect of starting a new business is finding that 'niche market'.
Well let me tell you - it's like searching for the Holy Grail, it never really exists.
I have met so many passionate and determined people who constantly come up with the next 'big idea'. You know, the one that will make them rich.
A shaving foam assistant, a waterproof radio, a new type of digital marketing, a style magazine...the list goes on. But the fundamental flaw of all those individuals' thoughts was bottom line - money. How can I turn a quick profit on this idea and make a million. The truth is, you can't. There is no such thing as easy money, and if you find it - I guarantee you'll find a string attached somewhere down the line.
But those people who drive their business idea forward with a fundamental passion for something they love, that's where success lies. In following your dream, your passion and your integrity to provide something which you personally love and others do too.
The truth is, being successful requires a level of integrity and authenticity, for you and your brand. If you create something with the sole purpose to make money - 99 times out of 100 you will fail. People will see through your transparency and not support your venture. But - if you approach your new start up with a level of care and passion, people will see that too.
Creating a brand is like molding a person. People like nice things; they warm to them and want to help. Good customer service, a great authentic brand and good people behind that organisation who people can relate to mean that you will grow and develop your company into something people will love and respect. Turning your dream into a tangible and of course, profitable reality.
But following that dream is tough. It will be one of the hardest decisions you will ever make. Rome wasn't built in a day and neither will your grand idea - but that's ok - because nobody is expecting you to be a success over night, only yourself.
If you're like me, the type of person who really can't work for somebody else - then take a leap of faith and follow your heart. But be prepared for sleepless nights, working until 2am and that feeling that not matter how hard you try, you keep hitting a brick wall.
But, you're not alone. J.K. Rowling was turned away by 20 publishers before somebody took a leap of faith on her Harry Potter stories. Oprah Winfrey was between jobs at the age of 30 and even Walter Disney himself faced bankruptcy 3 times.
See the thing is - starting your own business is probably one of the hardest, most challenging things you'll ever do in your life. But the rewards of it being successful are so much more than a slightly bigger bank account. It's a level of self-satisfaction, knowing that through your own hard work you have turned a simple idea into a thriving enterprise, business, brand, commodity, not-for-profit or even charity.
For me - that's my biggest drive. Knowing that I am capable of taking my ideas and turning them into something that I can call my own. Feelings that you can't win, find, be told or even achieve if you decide to follow the pack and live a life of 9-5.
So why do I put myself through continuous financial struggle, heartache, sleepless nights and even disapproval from friends and family?
Because I know, in my gut that I can do something that may one day change the world. Maybe I was born with this feeling, maybe I'm too stubborn to accept the status-quo or maybe I am just too damn independent for my own good - but if you don't work hard to make your dreams come true; you'll just sit at a desk working for somebody who did.Suggest a correction