Fortune Favours Freedomm

In 2015, I started my own company, Lifeboat Scooters, born out of a mix of passion and desperation. Built on a dream, funded by passion, and backed by reputation, that ethos would eventually carry my products to tens of thousands of scooter riders all over the world. However, to start, I was selling locally made handlebars to other riders in my hometown of Brisbane, Australia. The first small batch I had produced was officially sold out, so I was overdue for a re-up. I took every cent I had to my name and ordered as many handlebars as I could. It was $3,000 and that got me 40 pairs of handlebars. That was everything I had, but it was everything I needed.

I formulated a plan to launch an online scooter store, where I could sell my Lifeboat products alongside other more established brands in the industry. However, others in the industry were not so keen on seeing me get established. Only one out of the five major distributors agreed to supply me, stating that since I didn't have a physical store, I didn't really have any skin in the game, like I wasn't invested enough. Some had policies, some just didn't want to piss off their other retailers, but the verdict was out: if I wanted to play with the big boys, then I needed my own physical storefront.

But remember when I said I spent my life savings on a batch of bars? Opening a physical store was simply not on the cards for me. I had launched multiple physical stores for other people, so I had a pretty good idea of what kind of costs would be associated. Slat wall alone costs thousands of dollars. So, I stuck to my guns and launched my online store with my own gear and product from the one supplier who would stock me. The online store was launched, a team was forming, and the hype was building. Orders weren't exactly flying out the door, but my bars were moving just enough that I could scrape by each week… just!

The owner of a shoe company in the industry and I started talking and discussing the possibility of forming a partnership. I had the idea, the vision, the riders, and the experience, but I was missing a crucial resource for any fledgling business: money. That's where Chris from Vex came in. He offered to put up $10,000 to help secure a lease and build out a physical store.

I fully intended to take Chris up on his offer. In fact, I was scouting locations and getting estimates on fitouts. I was moving full speed ahead. I mentioned it to my friend Reece, who told his pie-shop-owning entrepreneur dad, Muzz. One day, while Muzz was picking Reece up from a ride, he came over to me and, rather forwardly stated, “$10,000 is nowhere near enough. If you need money for your business, come to me”. Next thing you know, we're at a McDonald's pricing up my dream scooter shop. "We're gonna need bond, a sign on the roof, decals on the windows, slat wall, a computer, a printer, not to mention the stock." It didn't take long to hit the magic number: $50,000. Muzz was officially in for $50,000.

I was flat broke. My wife was paying all our bills, and I was surviving off handlebars, rationing the profits into cans of baked beans, 7/11 coffees, and Subway's infamous $2 toasties. But I was delusionally optimistic and beyond desperate to hack together a system where I could earn a living doing what I loved.

I got the most minimal version of my product ready and released it. (the bars).I put together the best website I could and launched it. (with barely any product on it)

All I did was start.
And like planting a flag, I posted on the internet saying "This is what I'm doing!"
And for me, it worked out better than I ever could have imagined.

It's undeniable that I was lucky. Every day of my life, I wake up pinching myself. I spend each day in awe at the breaks that have gone my way. But I wouldn't say it was without input on my part. Increasing the surface area of luck is a concept I heard about much later in life, only to realize how accurately it describes a lot of my journey. I wasn't consciously increasing the surface area of luck when I started my own brand and launched my own online store, but in doing so, I created a larger surface area around me that luck could land on. I never could have gotten the first offer, and I'm almost certain I would have never gotten the second.

Imagine you're a dot and there's a small circle around you. That small circle is your luck surface area when you tell people around you about the thing you want to do. When you start doing it in any form you can, regardless of what limits restrict you from doing it to the level you wish you could, when you start telling every person you meet about it, and start wearing shirts and hats about it, and start posting on the internet about it every day. That small circle explodes in size.
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