Starting / Business startup

After many big ideas, here’s how I found the power to actually begin

Getting kicked up the bum is never pleasant. Especially when you’re doing it to yourself and deep down, you know you deserve it.

24 February 2016 by

When people ask about my entrepreneurial streak, I typically describe myself as being both blessed and cursed with a brain that is always coming up with new business ideas. The blessing being that I have the ideas. The curse being that I never acted on them.

I spent a decade ignoring all the entrepreneurial zingers that entered my brain in favour of playing Call of Duty. Every time I did, this lesson reared its head, and became progressively more painful over time:

“If you’ve got a great idea, and you ignore it only to see someone else doing it and being super successful in the future, it’s going to hurt. A lot.”

Some of the ideas I’ve ignored over the years:

You know those scooters which you see around town with billboards on the back? “I thought of that about 5 years earlier! It’s a multi-million dollar industry now!” I declared proudly to my friends.

You know how real estate agents now all use flat screens in their windows with flashy presentations about their available properties, instead of a piece of paper? “Hey! I thought of that about three years earlier when the price for flat screens started to drop. It’s a multi-million dollar industry now,” I told my girlfriend at the time, frustrated about another missed opportunity.

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Have you ever heard of Navdy? It’s a heads-up-display for your car which projects your navigation directions right onto your windscreen, a bit like a teleprompter. “It’s been dubbed ‘Google Glass for Your Car’ and raised twenty million dollars in funding,” I regretfully told my wife. “I thought of that years ago when in-car navigation was starting to become mainstream!”

"If you’ve got a great idea, and you ignore it only to see someone else doing it and being super successful in the future, it’s going to hurt. A lot."

She responded with a soothing “I know sweetie, you’re very clever,” in the same tone one would use on a child who’s just come last in a running race.

The Navdy thing was the point where shame kicked in because that’s when I finally realised the real reason why I’ve never taken action on any of these ideas. It’s because I’ve been afraid.

And, just as Master Yoda predicted “Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”

Which leads to this kind of conversation with myself:

“What are you some kind of moron? How many more opportunities are you going to waste before you grow some balls and do something? Your friends and family must think you’re pretty lame with all these ideas you never execute. Either that or they think you’re just a liar trying to sound like clever.”

Getting kicked up the bum is never pleasant; especially when you’re doing it to yourself. Especially when deep down, you know you deserve it.

It was a difficult conversation to have with myself, and though painful it was ultimately productive. It crystalised in my mind the fact that the next time I had a big idea, I would act on it no matter how afraid of failure I might be.

The power to begin ultimately came because I realised that if I lay on my death bed without taking a shot at any of the big ideas I’d had in my life, the self-hatred I would experience would be far worse than any defeat I could suffer in business.

The freedom that comes with this?


And exciting.

Have you got many big ideas? What’s holding you back?

Stuart Brown

is the founder of Launch Experts, a boutique digital marketing agency specialising in SEO and SEM for over 15 years.


  • > I spent a decade ignoring all the entrepreneurial zingers that entered my brain in favour of playing Call of Duty.

    And in one sentence, you’ve summed up my life.

    Although I do keep a notebook to record zingers/brain-explosions mid-combat.

    • Stuart

      Glad to see I’m not the only one!

      • If you’re as bad as I am, avoid fallout 4 and skyrim like it’s the black plague 🙁

  • Facebook is my downfall, if I calculated how much time I wasted on there instead of putting words into actions, I’d be a lot better off.

  • At this very moment, I have 6 business ideas ready to go. I call myself an ideas factory. The one I really still kick myself for today was a developing the idea that is now “ozbargain” a year before it hit the net…. oh and a friend and I were on the cusp of creating a poker league before the APL came to QLD and…

  • Hi Stuart, what a fabulous article and one I can particularly relate to. I too have a brain that comes up with lots of business ideas and you are right, it is both a blessing and a curse. I’m not sure what’s worse, not acting on any of them, or acting on all of them. Last year I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, having been incorrectly treated for depression for 12 years.

    Finally I understood why I went through periods of invincibility, particularly in the arena of business. In my elevated periods, I would have what I perceived to be world-class, life-changing ideas – things that I thought would bring fame and fortune, but only ended up costing me a fortune in website development, business cards, advertising and all the other costs associated with setting up a business. Sadly with bipolar, what goes up must come down and no sooner had I launched my new idea, the slide down into the deep, dark depths of depression would come and I would be barely able to change my clothes, let alone the world.

    In my stable periods, which were usually between the depression and the slow rise to hypomania (which could take several months), I was plagued by insecurity, fear of failure and imposter syndrome and would spend many hours (days, weeks, months) sitting on the sofa watching entire seasons of Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead and other light-hearted shows, ha ha.

    The wonderful thing about my diagnosis, is that I’m now on the right treatment, which means that whilst I still have ups and downs, they re within the realm of “normal”, rather than living on a perpetual rollercoaster. One thing I have gained however, is a very clear sense of my purpose, which is to help people just like me – small business owners who live with mental health challenges. I’m not sure it will lead me to fame and fortune or change the world, but I do know that it will change the world for at least one person and that’s fine by me.

    So run free, with unimaginable excitement and change the world, even if it’s just your own.
    With warmest wishes

    • Hi Sharon, Thanks for sharing your story about your struggle with mental illness. I have been dealing with depression for 10 years, and although have appropriate treatment, sometimes it gets the better of me.
      Over the past year or so I’ve been thinking about/wanting to start a business, but the last few months have been particularly tough mentally, so the idea has been put on the shelf for a while again. So naturally this makes me anxious about the decision to go for it or not, whether it will hinder my ability to be successful.
      So it is nice to see someone else who suffers from mental illness, and can do this flying solo thing!
      Good on you, and best wishes.

      • Hi Celeste. It is so hard isn’t it?? Many people who run their own business live with mental health challenges, but I do completely understand your concerns. What is the business you’d like to start?

  • My mind works just like yours did in the beginning…. my ideas sometimes annoy me! Two things hold me back, Fear and Money….

    Actually one thing really, Fear… Fear of failure and fear raising the funds.
    I received a quote for my “good idea” – a minimum $150,000 – that’s just for design & development GULP!!! that’s a big deal to me!

    My fear, possibly stems for all my stupid attempts at making money when I was younger and the internet was fairly new…. MLM programs – Yup, I’ve thrown thousands of dollars away on bogus “get rich quick” schemes. And lets not forget the party plan business, tried that once too.

    So now, here I am after loads of planning ….. talking myself out of yet another “good idea”! Ho Hum

  • Good to hear I’m not the only one. Get an idea then go and play Don’t Starve. Total procrastination.

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