“Maybe it won’t work out. But maybe seeing if it does will be the best adventure ever.”
This quote inspired me 5 years ago when I first moved to Australia, fresh out of university, completely in love, with less than $1000 in my bank account. It continues to inspire me as an entrepreneur navigating the mental, emotional and financial rollercoaster of bringing a new idea to life and running my own business.
These two sentences quite simply sum up an empowering, adventurous curiosity that really can lead to magical things– in business and in life.
So often fear holds us back: fear of failure, rejection, disappointment, financial instability….the list goes on and on. But all these risks are a part of life and we may experience them despite our absolute best efforts to avoid them.
If we lean into fear, embrace it, and run towards it, I believe that’s when we really start living a full, authentic, and incredible life.
I’m still on this journey myself, an entrepreneurial expat living in Melbourne, in the thick of the scary, uncertainty-filled (but also very exciting) start-up life as the founder of a sustainable circular fashion rental business called FRDM.
Here’s my top 5 tips for moving to a new country, starting your own business, and taking big exciting risks.
1. Follow your passion(s)
You don’t have to have it all figured out right away. It’s okay to explore different things that make you happy or you think might make you happy. If you’re starting a business purely just to make money, become rich or famous, or because it seems fun, it’s going to be much harder to succeed than if you are truly passionate about what you are doing and why you are doing it.
Ironically the idea for my business, FRDM, was born out of frustrations I experienced as I was exploring my own passions. Constantly having to buy new clothes as I moved locations and changed jobs in my early 20s left me feeling like I never had anything to wear (even though my closet was technically full) and also feeling financially stressed and environmentally guilty.
Having discovered my passions for ecommerce, sustainability and my love for solving problems creatively and strategically through my different moves and jobs, I knew this was a problem I could passionately create a unique and powerful solution for!
Often, as in my case, following your interests will lead you into ideas and opportunities you didn’t even know existed! Passion is a powerful force that can help you stay strong through tough times, keep you motivated, and also help you truly enjoy each moment of the journey.
2. There’s no one right way to do things
There is so much content out there about how to start and run a business. There are blogs, vlogs, podcasts, and articles detailing the journeys of successful brands and founders or offering step-by-step advice on how to be successful. Most of this content is great– it’s inspiring and can be really useful.
But if it’s taught me anything, it’s that there’s not one single, straight path to success. Some of the largest, most innovative companies have broken all the rules or had tumultuous journeys.
Don’t compare yourself to anyone else. You have to experiment to see what works for you.
Test and learn. Try something and see if it works. If it does, build on that. If it doesn’t, try something else.
Stay creative and passionate and you’ll get there in the end!
3. Seek as much advice as you can (but don’t listen to all of it)
You don’t know everything in the world. Especially if you’re an expat like me navigating new systems, rules, and unfamiliar consumer markets of a new country. And definitely if, like many of us, you’re just starting off with an idea and a whole lot of passion.
You’re going to need help.
You’ll need experience, expertise, skills, and advice. Seek out feedback, knowledge, and tips from as many people as you can– industry experts, investors, marketers, potential customers, etc.
Everyone will have an opinion but ultimately, you can decide what feedback, ideas, or advice to take on board and implement.
4. Trust your gut and don’t be too hard on yourself
Starting a business can be confusing, emotional, and just plain draining. It involves constantly putting yourself outside of your comfort zone and making big decisions.
If you’re following your passions, testing new ideas and models, and getting overloaded with advice and opinions, you’ll ultimately need to trust your gut.
Don’t be too hard on yourself. Sometimes you’ll make mistakes but you’ll always have another hurdle to tackle so back yourself and keep moving forward.
At the end of the day, you are out there in the big-scary-start-up world, trying to make big things happen– go you!!
5. Go big or go home
In my case, this is literal. I moved to Australia knowing that if things didn’t work out– if I got my heart broken or ran out of money or just couldn’t hack it, I could always return home to regroup and start over.
Everyone’s situation is different, you may not actually be able to afford to put everything on the line (and that is completely fine!) But if you’re going to try something– do it wholeheartedly. Maybe it won’t work out. But maybe seeing if it does will be the best adventure ever.