A​re you starting a unicorn business?

We recently had a meeting with an awesome start up, actually one we are considering investing in.
We met the CEO many moons ago, before he was a Dr, and although we lost touch with him a couple of years back, we were happy to reconnect with him and see what he had been up to in the last couple of years.
And, he had been busy.
Starting a tech company is no easy feat and he is doing an incredible job, securing a number of key contracts within the first year of business.
And, when he was pitching to me for VC, he said something that rang in my ears. Once he said it, he couldn’t ​un-say it.
He said  something along the lines of: I’m not like you guys, this is not a lifestyle business – it’s all about ​creating a unicorn business.

I asked him something that I doubt he has ever been asked before:

​He didn’t hesitate. He was on a mission, and well, it was a meeting to try and persuade us to invest, so I don’t blame him. He had unwavering conviction that he had started the next unicorn tech company.

What’s a unicorn? It’s basically any privately held start up company valued at over $1 billion. The term created 2013 by venture capitalist Aileen Lee, choosing the mythical animal to represent the statistical rarity of such successful ventures.

There are unicorns in the world. Yes. But they are rare. Really rare. And, they take a certain amount of expertise, hustle, grind, grind, grind and…well, luck.

And, we love and respect the people building their own unicorns. We need them in the world. We actually love to be involved and help them (particularly with sales and marketing, and sometimes even VC).

You see, we’ve been there before. Working hard, grinding away. Learning lessons, failing forward, moving quickly and getting paid. But, there was a stage where we thought ‘why are we doing this?’
We thought :we’ve got to build a sustainable business that will support our lifestyle.

If we were in it for the money, or for the ​recognition or even just for helping people, it would be easier for Tom to have stayed in medicine.
But, we were in it for a little more.
Yes, we want to help people. Yes, we want to build a business. Yes, we want to change the world. But you can’t change the world by changing everyone else.

You need to start with yourself and how you enjoy your life. 

Some people love the hustle and grind life. I myself, grew very tired and burned out on it quickly.
So instead, we have chosen something different. A lifestyle business. One that I know I will be doing when I’m old and grey. Not because it earns us a tonne of cash (which it does) but because I enjoy it and the lifestyle that I lead doing it.

I get to meet some of the brightest and most intelligent people in the Country. I get to help them bu​ild​ businesses that impact the whole medical industry of ​Australia and even the world! I get to change the perception of what life is really like. The other day, I was speaking to a Dr who also happens to be a mother of 5 (yes 5!) children and was able to map out how she can continue to use her skills as a doctor to have a medical business, whilst she home schools her kids! If that isn’t changing the way we use our skills as a Doctors, then I don’t know what is.
So, back to my original point ​: there is something that every entrepreneur needs to really think about when starting a business.

Are they in it for the lifestyle or are they in it for the hustle?
You can answer that question whilst I sip my tea.

You know what my answer is.

If yours is the same as mine and you need a hand with it, register for a free strategy session with me. I’ll tell you how to grow your business and enjoy your life.
It doesn’t have to be one or the other.

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Mare Forfa

Mare Forfa