The personal journey of an entrepreneur: the 6 truths that nobody tells you

Industries are being disrupted at an exponential rate – its now a case of disrupt, or be disrupted. The internet and digital technologies have changed everything! Before, the internet was a facilitator for businesses, now it’s a creator. More and more people are moving away from traditional ‘roles’ and ‘employees’ and are working freelance ( is a great example of this). They’re taking control of industries, starting their own businesses and from this influx of self-made CEOs, society is much more open to the idea of the ‘entrepreneur.’ Here are 6 truths (or what they don’t tell you) about being an entrepreneur:

1. It’s hard work!

The real truth is, it’s a tough slog. The hours are long, there are little if any holidays or breaks and it comes at great personal sacrifice. You don’t get to go to friends’ birthdays, or have nights out on the town. Your company has to be 100% of your focus and you have to be prepared to accept the risks with the reward. “All progress depends on the unreasonable man.”

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2. You need to surround yourself with the best of the best

From my personal experience, one of the best pieces of advice I can give to young entrepreneurs who are moving and growing past self-reliance is to start surrounding yourself with the people you want to become. One of the greatest perks of being an entrepreneur, and the most important thing to get right, is choosing the team you work with. Hire people that are smarter than you, that inspire you and whose company you enjoy, because you are going to see a lot of them!

3. You should always foster and support your A-team

Once you have built your community, don’t forget to foster it. I spend a lot of time giving back, whether through charity work, mentoring others or speaking at schools and conferences. It’s important to build a great community around you, champion other peoples causes because it will inspire you to do better and, at the end of the day, be better. It will also build an ecosystem that supports the entrepreneurial ideas we want for the next generation.

One of the greatest perks of being an entrepreneur, and the most important thing to get right, is choosing the team you work with

4. Don’t forget to celebrate the small wins – they lead to big wins!

Having covered the challenges, you now are privy to the glories. Being an entrepreneur means getting to celebrate the incremental victories and please, ensure that you do. The first run of business cards, the first sale, the first ‘thank you’ email from a client, celebrate these. Revel in these moments, and share the celebrations with your team, it gives you the motivation to keep going.

5. You should never stop being curious

You will constantly be learning, sometimes it’s natural, organic, sometimes it’s learning through a baptism of fire. Often you will have to learn the hard way. But, know that every day you’re challenged, every day you get better, every day you grow and develop to become smarter, savvier and more successful.

6. It’s hard – but it’s worth it

Starting something on your own and seeing it grow will be the most rewarding thing you have ever done. This year I opened a second head office in Melbourne and before that, I had a number of flooring experiences with WINK Models. Seeing our first billboard as I drove over the ANZAC bridge, the physical product of the journey was an experience like no other. Hitting that first million, signing our 500th model, winning our biggest international contract, these are moments that I can’t explain the feeling to you if you’re not an entrepreneur. It’s worth all the late nights, and then some.

So, here is the main truth that nobody tells you

It is challenging, all consuming, exhilarating and addictive. It takes a certain type of person, and it takes no prisoners. But for entrepreneurs, there’s nothing else for us. It’s what we’re wired to do.

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Taryn-Williams-Leaders-in-HeelsTaryn Williams

Former international model Taryn Williams is the Founder and Managing Director of WINK Models, a leading Australian commercial modelling agency. Taryn founded WINK Models in 2007 to create a positive change in the industry she loved. While modelling and working as a photographic advertising producer, she knew she could improve the existing landscape with an agency that provided clients with a higher quality service while providing a fair and supportive environment for talent. Now, with revenue close to $3m for 2014/15, she is proud of the team she has built in Sydney and Melbourne and is looking forward to national expansion.