Despina Karatzias | Melbourne | Freedom To Pursue!

What made you take the leap into entrepreneurship?

I took the leap because I wanted the freedom to pursue something greater than myself with abundant opportunities to carve a life I love for me and my family! Before I took the leap to startwww.instituteofexcellence.com.au in 2014 I was a little apprehensive. Giving up security, comfort, decent work and great people didn't make sense to many around me. I tried to convince myself and had many sleepless night of why I shouldn't take the leap yet my calling was far too strong to ignore. There is a great quote I remember reading at the time that resonated with me. "If you don't build your own dreams, you will spend your life building someone else's dreams." My last day of full time employment was 30 June 2014 and I have celebrated 3 financial year cycles which I am immensely proud of.

 

What were the biggest initial hurdles to building your business and how did you overcome them?

The initial hurdles to building my business was the sudden shock of no regular income and loneliness that would sometimes zap my confidence. How I overcome this was by surrounding myself by other successful business owners and start ups like myself. I organised monthly networking breakfast events and interviews successful entrepreneurs. Like this blog, I love hearing how people got started and this was instrumental in helping me gain confidence as a new business owner and access to a great network.

 

Did you ever deal with contention from your family and friends concerning your entrepreneurial pursuits?

How did you handle it? What would you do differently in hindsight?

Albeit they have never understood my desire and pursuit of excellence my family and close friends have always been supportive. My parents have never had their own business nor a desire for business and "I'm following my dreams to help others." Is never something they could really get their heads around, especially as a mother with 3 young kids. 

 

What would you say was the single most influential factor in your business success?

Collaborations and relationships. Having a strong network of solid relationships in my industry gave me great opportunities to collaborate and gain some level of moment. So much power in building solid relationships in business.

 

What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started as an entrepreneur?

Accounting. If I could do anything again it would be going in to business with clear financial goals and clear budgets. I have grown to appreciate that business isn't about how much you make, it's how much you keep.

I also wish I said no more. Starting out I had a serious 'disease to please' and stretched my self very thin for very little return.

 

What advice would you give to an upcoming young and old entrepreneur locally and internationally?

Invest in your education or reach out to a business mentor to help you formulate a strategy and validate your idea. Jump with a parachute and have some level of a financial buffer to keep you going in the early days. Be prepared to work harder than ever before and celebrate everything.

 

 

 

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