Where are you from?
I was born and raised on the Sunshine Coast. Yeah. Queensland Australia.
What’s your background?
I was born raised on the Sunshine Coast, spent the first 20 years of my life there. I went to a Catholic school for both primary and high school and even studied at the university there for a little while until I figured out it wasn’t the best thing for me and dropped out.
I would have been about 20 years old then and that’s the point where I just started to work through working towards running my own business and taking the entrepreneurial path in life.
Describe your life right now
You know, honestly I’m really really happy with with where my life is currently today and I really couldn’t ask for anything more than than what I have since turning 20. Around when I started working for myself which would have actually about 19 years old at that stage, the first five even six years of that was excruciatingly difficult.
Every day was spent second guessing my decision and just going through a lot of emotional pain through the difficulty of trying to cut your own path versus taking the more traditional route in life.
And it was only within maybe, honestly, probably the last 12 to 24 months where those feelings have subsided and I just feel like what I’ve done has indeed been the right decision and I feel very very happy with the decisions I’ve made that’s gotten me to where I am today.
What’s important to you and your life?
I’d say the number one thing that’s important to me and my life is freedom. The reason why I chose to do or take the path in life that I’ve chosen is I wanted to be able to design a life that would allow me to have the ability to pick and choose my battles to do what I wish, when I wish and have the ability to and have the freedom to decide how I can best live my life. So if I could summarize it in one word it would be freedom.
Running your own business can and cannot be a recipe for freedom. I think if I look at the first five or so years in business I had no freedom whatsoever. I had my back to the wall. I was doing more things that I hated than what I loved doing for a very long time. I felt like I wasn’t free. I felt like I was chained to my desk and had no other option than to do that or go broke, and have to get a job, move back in with my parents and try to figure out how to make it work.
So I think when you get to a period in your growth both personally and even in business, I think there’s a certain river that you’ll cross where the blood, sweat and tears and the hard work and the things that you hated to do that made you feel like you weren’t free — you’re able to create a system or get the right people in place to take care of those things that you don’t enjoy or you hated to do to give you then the ability to pick the things that you actually want to do and enjoy to do and then do that.
Although, I wouldn’t honestly say I’m 100 percent there yet but in the last 12 to 24 months I’ve moved into a position where that can actually be a reality. That to me is what has given me the freedom to really have the choice, not out of necessity, but the choice to say I want to do this. And this is purely from a business point of view but it also then carries over to a lifestyle perspective.
You know, since starting business at 18 19 years old, I’d not gone on a single holiday at all. The first time I went on an actual holiday where it wasn’t just an excuse to work somewhere nice and I’m doing more work than actually taking a holiday, would have been around about a little over 18 months ago. So it took me about seven eight years before I could actually go on a holiday. That’s putting work completely aside.
If I wasn’t able to get to the position where I needed to get to with my business then I know I would not have been able to do that. I would have probably come back from that holiday and there would not been any business left as a result.
So they very much go hand-in-hand together, at least with my life they do.
What specific experiences, people or events have shaped your view?
I remember when I was about 18 years old I picked up a book. It was from the author of Chicken Soup For The Soul. I think it was called Success Principles from memory. That was the title and I read through this thing front to back.
I’ve never personally read a book that moved me so much as that book. I think I was at a really critical point in my life where I was at that crossroads of which pathway to actually take my life. What is my professional career going to be?
Jack Canfield. He was the author of it and he had another younger guy co-author it. I read it front to back a couple of times actually and I went through the exercises to really define what my why was or what I believed it to be at that time and what I actually wanted the most out of life and what I wanted to do.
That access or that moment is what then put me on the pathway that I’ve maintained course, with a lot of variation, don’t get me wrong, but more or less remained steadfast in that direction since that very point. If I could put it down to that one point in time it would have been at the end of reading that book.
James Banks is the founder of digital agency Web3.