First of all I’d like to say a big thank you to all the team at My Entrepreneur Magazine for welcoming me as a columnist. It’s not until acceptance like this that I take my nose from the grindstone and realise just how far I’ve come.
I still believe I have a lot to learn and I love doing just that on a daily basis, but during my time as an entrepreneur and marketer I’m hoping I’ve collected a few nougats of wisdom to share with you.
Where it All Began
For my first article I’d like to take you back to the beginning to give you a little more insight into me as a person. You can then make your own mind up as to whether I’m worth listening to, or not. I understand that you have limited time and when you do read an article you need it to not only entertain but to have the dual purpose of being informative and valuable. As a specialist in proximity marketing I am always aware of the gift consumers and subscribers give when deciding to engage with my content, so if you do stick around, thank you, I promise to add value to your own entrepreneur endeavours.
You know as an entrepreneur that this way of life is a mind-set rather than a choice. It’s a character trait we seem to be born to and difficult to explain to anyone else.
I grew up with two entrepreneurs, one an antiques dealer who launched global businesses and another who fought the usual expectations of college, uni, stable job to join my father in these adventures. Both were incredibly successful business people and I learned a lot from the moment I could talk as I knew exactly how to sell on a market stall and, eventually, around the world.
Although the lessons are vast there is one very brief discussion that keeps me going every day. For my nine year old self at the time, this conversation was akin to someone turning the light on as I saw, without a shadow of doubt, my future mapped out before me.
My father and I were driving along in his white Mercedes van, the one which had the gear stick fixed with fibre glass and always carried a range of antiques in the back – just in case we happened upon a buyer. As we passed a huge house with a swimming pool, gardens and an elevated winding drive I turned to my father and said, “I wish I could own a place like that someday”.
His response, as clear today as it was back then, almost three decades ago and after he has passed away, is still as clear as day, he said, “You can have anything you want as long as you’re willing to work hard enough for it.” He was right and that has stuck.
A Wibbly Wobbly Business Journey
My journey to success has not been easy and some would argue (including myself) that I’m not successful yet. I still have many hurdles to jump, targets to smash and dreams to make true before I’ll happily settle on my laurels. Through letting my heart rule my head my life took a number of diversions that made me stray from the straight path to success but I have absolutely no regrets as I feel I now deserve any triumph I earn.
It’s no secret that I left school and home at 14 to set up a shop in a building that had a flat above it. It was a rough area and someone needed to be there to keep an eye on break ins, while I’d adopted the mentality of a post pubescent teen and decided I could go it alone and be independent. I followed my dad’s footsteps into antiques, buying and selling, believing this was where my destiny was an entrepreneur. Although I made a success of the many retail businesses from book shops to health food stores, I knew, in my heart I didn’t quite share the passion my father did that made his eyes twinkle and his laugh reverberate off every wall when he flirted with a sale.
A Pet Hate that Leaves a Bitter Taste
Knowing I needed an education I took myself back to school and ran several small businesses while obtaining my degrees. That could have been quite simple had it not been for an abusive husband who hated my independence and passion for self-development and two children who needed their mummy (that was me).
It seemed much easier after the divorce to manage these aspects of life and I felt, for the first time that I was actually doing something right. I’d work while the kids were in school and study as they slept, yes I had no social life and I did look a bloody mess.
It wasn’t easy but it was worth it and the children do value money today as they add up their material gains in “mummy hours”. They’re not spoiled as they’ve eaten beans on toast for weeks and rejoiced when I’ve won a contract.
Could Luck Make You a Millionaire?
Is this luck? I don’t think so. It was blood, sweat, lawyers, psychopaths, hard work and a whole lot of love that got me where I am today which is why, when someone expresses envy or calls me lucky I have absolutely no patience, and it usually shows with my response.
I believe, as I have since I was nine years old that the majority of people can have anything of mine they may be slightly jealous of simply by working hard. By not expecting it to be easy within 6 months, by not giving up at the first hurdle and by realising that if you want something badly enough it is worth fighting for.
You can have anything you want as long as you’re willing to work hard enough for it. The truth is, most people aren’t.
That’s what makes entrepreneurs different.
Martina Mercer is a freelance marketing consultant, editor and copywriter. Her clients include big brands such as Tax Rebate Services andSunday Woman Magazine. Martina writes for a variety of publications such as Huff Post, Forbes and Moz. She has over 15 years experience in marketing, SEO and copywriting.