Perception is a funny thing; we all seem to judge one another by how we expect someone to be. However, in many instances, this perception is entirely formed from personal experiences and has nothing to do with the individual we are critiquing. This of course changes quickly when given the opportunity.
If you are here, you have probably stumbled upon me somewhere in the online world and for whatever reason, have taken an interest in gaining a little more understanding about the journey I am on. The reason I share this is that, much like you, life hasn’t been handed to me on a silver platter. The struggles, set-backs, and a convoluted path are all too real. What I can tell you though is this; with the right influence, a good mentor, and plenty of perseverance, everything can change as quickly as stepping out the front door.
So who is Dan Lawson?
Likes: Adventure/Extreme Sports, Backpacking without direction, Food/Culture/Language, a well-told story
Values: Authenticity, Passion, Honesty, Perseverance, Resourcefulness
Dislikes: Excuses, Clutter, Jealousy, Stagnation
I was born in New Zealand, the year 1988 and spent the first 2 years of my life on the road living in a house truck with my gypsy mother. Although she was young, a runaway herself, and had total freedom (yes times were different in the ‘80’s), she knew I was a responsibility that needed stability. She purchased a house in a small town near the Abel Tasman National Park – Takaka.
My father joined the household at some point in time but they separated again when I was 13 years old. He continued as an acquaintance for a bbq, a beer, jumpstart my car on occasion, or a place to crash when in town. Primarily, life was just my brother (5 years younger), Mum and myself.
Since we never had a lot of money, our mother always just did the best that she could with two growing boys. Looking back now; yes, the food we ate was ‘creative’, the clothing brands we wore – well, there weren’t any, and the entertainment provided was our own imagination. But never were we hungry, cold, or bored.
The ultimate shout out to my own success (and I am sure Luke will say the same), goes to our mother, Vicki Lawson. She gave us life skills that so many are deprived of, but more importantly, she offered freedom and belief outside of societal norms to achieve anything we wanted. This was incredibly empowering, and I am only just beginning to grasp its magnitude.
Throughout my schooling years, my results were average at best. Teacher reports never failed to say ‘Daniel has every capability to be a high achiever, but needs to start applying himself’. In my final high school years, I sold the idea to the school that the mandatory subjects, maths, English, and science were optional and that building a race car and doing another outdoor education class was more appropriate. I had zero interest in university in any way.
Without a clear direction, and the priority of keeping things interesting, I learned to operate heavy machinery at the age of 17 years… (my first word was “dig” while pointing at roadside excavators). I traveled the country while working and earned very good money, but I couldn’t see myself as a road worker.
I traveled North and Central America for over 15 months, explored various ways of life, and discovered employment opportunities. I returned to Auckland and attended University for the student life and study-abroad program. Multiple academic qualifications later, and a sizable government loan, I was still no further in finding my calling.
While drinking a beer that cost the last $5 to my name, I created a new position for myself in a transportation company by combining sales acumen, heavy vehicle experience, and a marketing degree. Sure, it was nice having a twin-turbo BMW to drive, the business lunches, and reporting directly to the GM but inevitability it no longer provided me with the development and challenge I required.
Little did I know at this stage, that I lacked direction, vision, and goals large enough to keep me satisfied. So again, I chose to run from it all – I lived with the Mayans in the highlands of Guatemala and learned Castellano (Spanish). I hiked the Inca Trail and kite-surfed in Peru. I traveled Mexico with my mother and almost started a backpacker adventure resort so I would never have to return.
I arrived in Sydney and reunited with my brother Luke, he introduced me to the world of online business and the dream that could be achieved. Sounded grand… and all too good to be true. There are many options to buy into pyramid schemes online (and offline) but in my opinion better to invest time into a more sustainable income source.
I thought that now, in my late twenties, I would be almost mature enough to be content with a well-regarded corporate job. I fell into recruitment with many other diverse and successful people, but for me it felt like a modernised ‘slave trade’. I later became Business Development Manager, launching a new tech product internationally with the top notch-perks and commissions. But, again it felt like I was trading my life for stress and little free time for anything I loved.
My first day back at work, after returning from the best kite-surfing holiday with my brother, it felt like I had PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). The famous quote “Do what you have always done, and you will get what you have always got” rang loud in my mind so I resigned on the spot and moved interstate. I joined not just my brother, but some other good friends from a few years prior who were now already earning 6 figures online and living the laptop lifestyle.