Isn’t it always exciting to hear other people’s stories, learn how they first started, know what they’re doing in everyday life, get behind the scenes access? It's because we believe we can learn from them, analyse what they’re doing, apply some lessons to our own life and figure out new ways to overcome struggles. It’s also inspiring and uplifting to see where others came from, realise that they’re not super heroes like we so easily make them up to be in our head. We all have ambitions, we all struggle, we all learn and grow, and we all have our own path.
Here’s Rick’s story. He co-founded Pozible, Australia’s main crowdfunding platform, loves coffee (maybe a little bit too much), and has a refreshing view on creative passion. Let's learn from him.
What’s your story? How did Pozible come about?
Starting Pozible was a natural path for me. I’m a designer by trade, I’ve always wanted to work with the creative industries to get cool stuff off the ground. I did my bachelor degrees study in mechanic and electronic engineering and didn’t enjoy it at all. I always spent a lot of time looking at design magazines, so I switched back to design when I did my masters degree. I’m glad I took that leap.
How do you know which way to go and what to pursue? Is it based on what you enjoy doing?
Passion is important because you can potentially be a lot more successful if you do something you enjoy and not only pursue something that makes money. If you want to make money there are a lot more ways to do that. Life’s short. It seems quite silly to me to sacrifice your life only for money, you could also make something you enjoy. It’s important to wake up in the morning and have something that you really want to do.
What struggles and issues did you have when growing Pozible? How did you overcome them?
One of the issues is that whenever you travel out of Melbourne, the coffee is never as good as here. (Just kidding.)
In terms of growing Pozible, like with any other startup, there are always struggles. You mostly hear about the good side of things, but never the bad side. The company has gone through a lot of hard times, even small things can be a challenge, like account management, making sure we have enough facilities, paying the internet bill, interacting with investors, managing money flow, learning to manage people.
Every day is a learning curve, it makes the journey exciting. You have to remind yourself about the things you don’t do that well, so you don’t make the same mistakes again.
Did you get investment when you first started out?
We bootstrapped for two years. I see a lot of startup companies now treating investment as a milestone of winning. I understand your company being recognised by investors handing you hard cash is a sort of achievement, but it’s not the final result. We shouldn’t be looking at investment as a safe zone, it’s really about what you want to make and do.
This can come back to passion. There are extreme ends of startup companies, one is driving towards passion, maybe they don’t really care about making profit or money, they just do what they want to do. The other extreme end is just being in business to make money, they don’t care about what they’re making. Neither side is pretty or good, finding a balance is important. You can’t just look at a company as a hobby, ignoring the revenue and growth. Eventually you might get taken over by a competitor. On the other hand, if you just want quick money, your company or product doesn’t have a soul.
Especially creative people lean more towards the passion side. You need to have passion, but you also need a product that people want.
What does risk mean to you?
When I started the company I was fresh out of uni. What did I have to lose? I had a few grand in the bank, that was about it. I asked myself, what’s the worst that can happen to me? Maybe I sacrifice a few years, but I get to have fun. So there wasn’t much risk involved for me.
Someone else who’s at a different stage in life might have a lot more to lose. If you can’t minimise the risk, try to increase your chance of success. Try to make sensible solutions, try to have a good outcome, and learn from others.
Any advice on finding your path?
It’s not about what you think is cool, but about finding what you are good at and doing that.
Where do you see yourself when you’re 80?
I hope I haven’t aged too much. I hope I have good health, and have those moment in the morning when I wake up and have something that I’m passionate about and can’t wait to get started, regardless of what that is. It could be building a product, it could be fishing. Something that interests me. I don’t want to wake up with an empty feeling where I don’t know what to do. I want something to chase.