We’ve discussed how people with online shopping addictions could have latent entrepreneur potential. We’ve covered the business-growing secret every luminary can learn from. We’ve even delved into why Australia isn’t the best place to launch a business at this point in history (see, tall poppies; our attitude towards fast cars).
What we’ve never covered, are the common traits Australia’s top entrepreneurs share. This, as well as the biggest lessons one might draw from their endeavours. To correct that, today we’re bringing you the insights of Pru Chapman, founder at Owners Collective and host of the One Wild Ride podcast.
For starters, Pru, who has worked with thousands of entrepreneurs and interviewed some of the foremost individuals in the ‘values-led’ brand space (think: Patagonia, Thankyou; Koala), told us, “Entrepreneurship is not for everyone.”
This is because it takes a particular sort of person to “take the massive risks required to launch your own gig, and put it all on the line each day” – someone willing to ride the highs and lows (many lows) of the start-up years, “as they work tirelessly around the clock for no certain return.”
“You could almost say that there’s a certain type of crazy that is reserved for entrepreneurs as they willingly venture to places that no businesses have been before.”
Pru told us families are often forced to look on “as a once stable and quite often financially secure individual pour[s] their life savings and every waking moment into getting a new business idea off the ground. What were once joyful (well paid) holiday times are replaced by monotonous days of endless work for little return.”
Such is the life of an early-stage entrepreneur.
It’s not all doom and gloom though. The journey, Pru told us, is often full of ups and downs: “For the entrepreneur, they’ve never felt more alive than in their startup years. Working within their zone of genius, forging new industries, and bringing their whole heart and soul to the table is nothing short of intoxicating. Fuelled by a vision of a better future and buoyed on by the smell of opportunity, they’re playing big, and there’s nowhere else they’d rather be.”
“They’re crazy, and they love it.”
“Having worked with thousands of entrepreneurs, and interviewed some of the leading entrepreneurs in the ‘good business’ space there are certainly some commonalities this special breed share,” Pru told us.
Courtesy of Pru, these are the common traits Australia’s top entrepreneurs in 2021 share:
“The ride of entrepreneurship is a wild one, typically peppered with setback after setback. Recently I interviewed Nik Robinson of Good Citizens who described ‘failing’ for 752 days & more than 2500 failed attempts to turn a plastic bottle into a pair of sunnies. Once they did though they were unstoppable, recently being invited to the United Nations and Tesla, among others, to speak about his startup journey.”
“This goes hand-in-hand with resilience. Entrepreneurship by its very nature is going where no business has gone before, which is typically met by roadblock after roadblock. It takes will power of steel to meet these challenges and continue on.”
“It’s not all doom and gloom, and with the lows come incredible highs. The inner voyeur of the entrepreneur is fuelled along the path of creation, with a willingness to try new ways of doing things, experiment with product design, lead into new verticals, and even create their own.”
“Putting it all on the line day after day requires a bucket-load of courage. If product design and cashflow wasn’t enough to contend with entrepreneurs now have a global pandemic to deal with. More often than not the decisions purpose-led entrepreneurs make are not the cheapest or easiest, and it takes innate bravery to stay the course towards their True North.”
“Not in a god or deity, but in a better future. Purpose-led entrepreneurs share a conviction that drives them forward every single day. It’s the beautiful combination of crazy that meets a higher ethical and moral standard.”
Pru also shared with DMARGE the biggest lessons she has learned from interviewing some of Australia’s top entrepreneurs. Read, weep and allow reality to smack you in the face, below. Then get inspired and realistic – a deadly combination.
Pru Chapman’s biggest lessons from interviewing some of Australia’s top entrepreneurs
“There’s nothing quite like learning from real-world experience, and now having interviewed over 50 of Australia’s leading purpose-led businesses on my One Wild Ride podcast I feel as though I’ve taken a ‘practical’ MBA. The lessons and learning’s have been countless, and have definitely impacted the way that approach business.”
“The biggest lesson that I’ve personally learnt is that good things take time… In our society characterised by instant gratification it can be easy to see only the end result, and not the years of work to get there.”
“If you’re truly pushing the boundaries (which is what defines entrepreneurship) it’s going to take time to get it right.”
“In my interview with Patagonia, Australian CEO Dane O’Shanassy reminded me that Patagonia has a 50-year history, and hence why it has such depth and breadth in the sustainable business world.”
“Following on from that,” Pru added, “a big learning has been around the brave decisions that we need to take as entrepreneurs.”
“Particularly for purpose-led businesses, whose products and services are not the cheapest and sometimes don’t even make sense to our potential customers – but when you know something to be true to your being you need to hold the course through adversity and those decisions will pay off.”