Eight steps to shifting to an entrepreneurial career

I’m a diamond merchant based in Brisbane, but diamonds haven’t always been my life. I bought a courier business when I was 19, and my main patch was Elizabeth Street in Brisbane, where all the gem, gold and diamond merchants were.

I befriended a diamond merchant who agreed to teach me everything they knew, and after four years as a courier, I was ready for this new challenge! I started picking out diamond orders for jewellers, learning the entire business from the ground up.

In somewhat of a tangent I decided to pursue my love of sport and become a personal trainer. Weirdly, this is what led me to where I am today! A few months into personal training, a friend asked me to create an engagement ring for them. This led to more custom orders and the setting up of my diamond wholesale business: MAP Diamonds. Ultimately, selling diamonds is just selling a commodity, there’s no love. So I made the conscious decision to do more of what I love – and so Diamondport was born. Here are my eight steps to getting into whatever career you’re really passionate about…

Get support

Hire a coach. They’ll guide you to reach your own conclusions and help clarify your vision or plan. I didn’t have a business coach in the beginning (I do now) and boy do I wish I hired a coach sooner.

Baby steps, or giant ones

There are two distinct ways to go when it comes to changing career. One, create a side gig while working at your current job and the second is to take the leap.

Back yourself

If you know in your heart you can do what you’ve chosen or that your idea rocks then go for it and back yourself. Sure, bounce ideas off your friends and family but also feel free to continue in the face of negative opinions

Set big goals

I’ve just set the largest goal for myself to grow my business. Many people would laugh at me for setting it. But, you know what, I’m a fair along to achieving it. I’m proud to say that in the past six months alone I’ve increased my turnover by 200 per cent.

Get organised

Use technology and be efficient. Even if you think you’re organised now, there’s always a way to step it up. Software has changed so much even in the past two years. Automate as many administrative tasks as possible and be prepared to spend a little to save a lot of time, especially when it comes to software and processes.

Surrounding yourself with epic people

Do what you’re great at doing and do the things you love. If you hate it, pay for somebody to do it. It’s that simple. This assumes you have some set-up budget. If not, learn the task and then sub-contract it the minute you can afford to do so. This also allows you to tell whether they are doing a good job or not. If somebody working for you isn’t working out, take action quickly. There are plenty of fish in the sea and when you find your dream team your business will really take off.

Keep going

It’s going to get hard, know that, and keep going anyway. You’re going to make mistakes, just make them fast and keep going. As long as you’re learning and seeing improvement you’re on the right track, just keep going.

And finally, …

Take a day off, pull the circuit breaker. Go and do whatever it is that’s your thing on a regular basis to allow you to recharge and refocus.

Ashley Portas, Founder and Owner, Diamondport

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