As a kid I grew up with an overwhelming sense that we never had enough.
“Do you think we’re made of money, we can’t afford that,” my mum, a single parent who was on a low income, would say to my brother and I.
Like many families, there was a sense of lack. And this sense of lack created a frame for me that money was unstable, unsafe and ultimately, that there was never enough of it.
This feeling drove me to want more. I was eager to make money as soon as possible.
As a kid I sold horse sh*t, chocolates and mowed lawns. But what I really wanted was proper employment.
At 14-years-old I walked from shop to shop in Townsville asking for a job but being so young with no experience no one would hire me. Eventually a menswear shop called Stag gave me a shot after I offered to work for them for free for three months in exchange for a reference.
In my first week I outsold everybody on the floor. Needless to say, after three months, I got the reference and nothing could stop me from working and making more money.
Around this time we moved to Brisbane. I got a job at a gym where I’d work the morning shift before going to school. At 3.15 pm I’d catch the bus to my after school job at Sizzler and work there till close.
Just before I turned 16, I moved out of home and had to pay to live and I found it very hard to save. I wanted all the things I’d never had; lollies, delicious food, clothes and movies.
A big thing for me was being able to spend money on my mates and pay for them to do things.
In hindsight I now realise this drive to make and spend money was about filling two voids.
The two voids I had as a kid was money and friends. I think subconsciously I was hoping sharing money would buy me friendship. Even in my early entrepreneurial days I’d flaunt my success to attract women.
From boom to bust
My first real business venture went bust when I was 23. I was a shareholder in a security company but was treated like an employee.The business went down and I got nothing but debt to pay. This didn’t scare me off business, I just wanted to go and learn more so I could do it again. So I went and worked with Steven Covey, American educator and author of bestseller ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’, to learn all I could.
I moved to the Gold Coast and got myself a killer apartment overlooking Broadbeach close to the action. I also had a five-bedroom house for an office and I brought in all my mates
to rent office space and we just had an amazing time. That next year I think I banked three quarters of a million bucks as a joint venture partner.
I bought a convertible Porsche, and a convertible BMW, expensive clothes, and dated hot chicks just in it for the money. I’m like, okay now I’ve got the money I’ll feel great, but I didn’t feel great.
After every purchase I’d feel great for two weeks and then I was like, ‘F*ck, I’m back where I was. What is still missing?’
Jim Carrey said, “I wish everyone could have all the money, success and fame they desire so they’d realise that’s not the answer.”
I just didn’t know who I was. I’d been this weird kid that thought if I can just cover up my differences with something else maybe I’ll be attractive to the outside world.
I was attaching my identity to everything outside of me and I had this feeling in my gut, that just wasn’t right.
The joint venture eventually broke down and I was exited from the building in a really unhealthy way. Three days later I walked into a flight centre and two weeks later I was packing a backpack with hiking boots and I was off… to find myself.
I went all around the world over six months and spent around $70,000 to go to all these spiritual places to find myself.
When I eventually landed back in Australia, I was like, ‘Dammit! I’ve been looking in the wrong places. It’s not outside of me, it’s inside’.
I walked off the plane in a stupor, realising I had a new journey to go on.
A journey to purpose
It took quite a few years to find my purpose.
But once I was back from my trip I decided to move from the Gold Coast to Sydney.
I piled all my stuff into the passenger seat of my Z3 and sped all the way to Sydney. I remember driving over the Harbour Bridge excited about my new life.
I got into another business partnership and again I made them a lot of money. However, the pattern repeated – make money, get burnt, start again.
After a two year hiatus from that pattern I got approached about an Australian franchise.
The negotiation went for five hours and the deal was no money down from me, all payments to come out of money generated from sales only, with no extended liability. If I walked away I’d have no liability. I’d learnt a few great lessons by this point.
The franchise had made $320,000 over about a two year period. I came in and it did $6.9 million in nine months. I was closing 50 per cent of deals on the phone and taking home 50 per cent of the revenue. At the three-month mark the guy says, ‘We’re going to have to change the deal’.
I said, “You change the deal and I’m out. I know I’m your golden boy and I know what everyone else around the world is doing. The deal stands.”
It went back and forth and got a bit edgy but we kept on with things as they were for a time.
About six months later I was in another partnership that failed. The partner got a legal suit put against him and I got pulled into it. Meanwhile, he transfers two large sums out of the partnership account into his. It went bad from there. Luckily though the lawsuit got dropped.
Then the global franchise began struggling, and a new buyer tried to mediate between us. I was done, “You guys can all get… I’m out, this is not where it needs to go. I’m leaving!”
These events taught me to trust and connect with my intuition. By now I was asking myself, what did I want to do with my life? The quest for purpose began again. Although this time I knew no amount of trips would lead me to enlightenment – I had to look within.
Connecting the dots
After my experience in growing businesses fast I decided it was time to help struggling business owners to do the same.
I held my first event in North Sydney and had maybe 16 people in the room. It just felt right. It felt good. Then I kept going… and going, and going. The rooms filled up fast.
I started asking the right questions. What do I love to do? What am I really good at? What if I could do this by myself?
I love helping people. I’m really good at business, I’m really good at marketing and I kill at sales. I also really enjoy teaching people. I was driven by this. I connected the dots and created a commercial framework to do what I do now. I let intuition in, and decided to back myself. I’d found my purpose – helping business owners succeed. Helping people succeed.
It’s in the pursuit of experiences that we uncover what we love.
If you’ve ever felt not good enough, if you’ve ever felt like something was missing, if you’ve ever known deep down that there’s gotta be something more for you in this life, then this journey is just as much mine as it is yours.
I started from nothing. I know what it’s like to have all the odds against you.
If you’re ready to rise up and live to your full potential, then I’m ready to help.
Start your personal and business transformation now by clicking the link here, and together, we can take on the world.
Latest posts by Kerwin Rae (see all)
- The six things I did to get into shape! - November 12, 2019
- The 11 things that could KILL your workplace culture - November 5, 2019
- What the reptilian brain is and how it’s affecting your relationship, family, and business - October 29, 2019