Emma Isaacs – Dances with Fear

Business Chicks ‘ CEO Emma Isaacs – Dances with Fear


We’re pleased to bring you Part 2 of our interview with Emma Isaacs, CEO of Business Chicks

Entrepreneurs are a different breed to business owners.
Never satisfied with the status quo, they are risk takers, they thrive on chaos and always have their minds on the next big project, they look fear in the face and dance with it.
Emma Isaacs is blessed with these attributes, speaking exclusively to Gravity Coworking, she gives us an insight into the mindset of a serial entrepreneur.


1.As a past president of EO (the Entrepreneurs’ Organisation) can you explain how important it is for entrepreneurs to surround themselves with a network of like-minded people?

“We live in an age where people do business with those they like. We do business with people, not companies.
“If you think about the roles you’ve been successful for, or the opportunities that have been put in front of you, you’d probably find that most of them came about through the people you know.
“And this pattern is going to continue for the rest of your life.
“The greater your network, the greater the opportunities that will be available to you.
“It’s absolutely essential that people invest time in developing their connections and surrounding themselves with people who will lift them higher.”

2.Talking about surrounding yourself with inspiring people, what did you and Bill Gates chat about when you met him?

“Years ago I was invited to a very intimate party in Sydney (with about 15 people) where Bill was the guest of honour.
“We didn’t know he was going to be there.
“We knew it was a special guest of some sort, but never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined spending hours and hours one-on-one with him on a couch in front of a fire just shooting the breeze.
“We talked about him starting Microsoft from his garage and Melinda and his kids and his house … it was well before his work with the Gates Foundation started in earnest – I don’t think it even existed back then.
“I’d love to spend more time with him now, knowing what he’s achieved in the philanthropic space.
“While his business achievements cannot be minimised, I find the Foundation work more fascinating and know that he’ll consider that work to be his legacy, more so than building Microsoft.”

3.As a mother of three children aged five and under do you separate work and home life or do you meld the two together?

“Running a high growth business and raising a young family can be like riding a rollercoaster – you just have to hold on and try enjoy the ride, it’s amazing what we’re capable of as women.
“Before I had children, I would have never believed there was enough time in the day or enough energy in my body to do what I do now, but your heart and your mind somehow expand to accommodate it all.
“When I’m in the office I’m 100% business, and when I’m at home I’m dedicated to being with my family.
“The only time that they mix is when my two big girls visit the office before kindy on some days.
“They love my team and my assistant often spends those mornings colouring in or playing games with them.”

4.Could you ever imagine yourself retiring?

“Simply, no, I’m not wired that way.
“We’re launching in North America next year so right now, that’s my focus, but even projecting way into the future – no, I think I’ll always be active in some sort of work.”

5.Can you share your top 3 tips for Entrepreneurs in 2015?

“They’re perhaps age-old tips, and not necessarily just for 2015, the best advice always stands the test of time:

  • Cultivate resilience: Being an entrepreneur requires the ability to cope with being knocked down, over and over again. You have to learn to keep getting up. I believe there’s a difference between being just a business owner and being a true entrepreneur. To me, entrepreneurs are the people that have bought and sold multiple businesses, and have turned around again and again and gone back for more. To me, entrepreneurship is about taking big risks, it’s about having your house on the line, and it’s about putting yourself out there. It’s about having a level of confidence and above all, it’s about being resilient.
  • Be obsessed with your cash position: This is a habit I practice every day – checking our cash position and staying close to our cash flow even though as a business this size I have an entire team who manage our finances. Knowing your cash position dictates your strategy and I see too many businesses suffer from poor cash flow or worse still, they go out of business, because they didn’t keep close to their cash.
  • Dance with fear: One of my favourite thought leaders, Seth Godin, who we were fortunate enough to bring to Australia for the first time this year, says that the question is not “how do I get rid of fear?” but “how do I dance with the fear?” I love this, because as an entrepreneur there are always going to be difficult times and the fear is never going to go away – you’ve got to learn to be comfortable with the discomfort.


Business Chicks was created to bring like-minded souls together – to give them a chance to swap ideas, share stories, and spark inspiration. To be part of this community log onto http://www.businesschicks.com.au/