Would you believe it’s almost the end of the decade, (depending which logic you use, year 0 or year 1) and hasn’t 2020 been a doozy!!
If you’re anything like us, realizing that struck a bit of a chord.
Cast your mind back to ten years ago.
What were you doing in 2010? How old were you? What has this past decade taught you? Are you proud of an action you took? And what would you have done differently?
Because at the end of each year I do like to look back at where we have come, what worked and what didn’t.
And how we are going on our journey to build financial freedom and a lifestyle we love.
Who knew back in 2014 when we launched our first online course, that in 2020 through COVID they would still be going strong!
I know I’ve had an incredibly blessed life and I’ve also been lucky. But I’ve also worked damn hard.
And like everybody I’ve had some major setbacks.
One thing I’ve learned over the years is that the best way to have an amazing life is to create a PLAN for an Amazing life!
But even the PLAN doesn’t just happen.
Obviously we don’t have a crystal ball.
All I know is that the journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step…
For example, 10 years ago I was living at Mission Beach with my first wife, driving 55 kilometres each way to the boat ramp.
I had no website, no social media, finding myself chasing work the hard way after the global financial crisis and green zones locked up my most productive fishing grounds.
Actual fact I was sun burnt, exhausted and mentally burnt out.
It was a far cry from 1990’s when I was booked solid with international fishos catching multiple meterys a day in the Bohle.
Or taking a reef boat full of anglers chasing massive reds offshore on wonky holes.
Back then I had a new car and new boat motors every three years.
But by 2010 the reef boat was gone and I had a maroon Palmco punt with a rusted trailer, driving a white Ute with a cracked windscreen.
Not long after that, Cyclone Yasi paid us a visit and pretty much wiped out my house, my boat and what was left of my business. To top it off my marriage also ended and I didn’t get to see my kids much.
A decade ago our online fishing course lifestyle was not even a pipe dream.
I was virtually penniless, living back home with my parents, age 42.
Life, it seemed, was out to get me.
But you don’t get to age 42 without realizing that these things do pass.
My brother lent me his boat to do some work around Townsville, and I painted my parents’ house in return for freeboard.
Karen came into my life and we made a decision to move back to Cardwell. To rebuild the business and be closer to my kids.
And after 20 years in the charter industry, I knew I had to do things differently and get with the times.
After all, nothing changes if nothing changes!
We started a website (then called Hooked on Hinchinbrook) to receive all the inquiries instead of having to phone people back for hours every night.
We got a house 5 minutes from the boat ramp cutting 1.5 hours travel off my day. I also got a spot lock electric motor. OMG. Game changer.
And discovered in every cloud there is a silver lining because soon after Yasi, the fishing boomed and I was back catching metre plus barra virtually every day again.
Thoroughly inspired, I learned how to edit and started making short movies of the fishing.
It had always been my dream to make fishing movies and here I was beginning to do it. We posted them to Facebook and they were really well received.
But… Pretty soon the inroads I made to simplify my life started getting out of control again.
We started getting inundated with fishing related questions.
Literally hundreds a week taking hours to answer every night.
The charter business exploded and I was burning myself out… again!
So we started a blog to answer the most popular questions, saving me the trouble of replying to the same thing again and again.
Karen did an online course on business management and it was then we got a bright idea.
How good would it be to work from a laptop?
Why don’t we help all these people struggling to catch big fish and make an online course on how to catch barra?
Then we can serve many more people than we possibly could one on one.
So we did.
We learned how to edit and how to build websites. By being uncompromising about quality (with simplicity) we created a world-class course. We knew many people were starved for time like us, so we committed to making our course by step with no frills or fluff.
And in 2014, two weeks after our wedding, Barra Basics was launched.
We have now taught over 1300 students to catch big barramundi using the methods I personally developed. It’s been an amazing ride and we have been absolutely blown away by the success of our students. Plus we get to watch them take on sustainable practices as well.
One of our youngest students, Jack Centofanti, still at high school, has caught over 200 metereys already since doing the course.
But he’s still got a long way to go to catch Yoda here. Haha.
We bought our very own big boat Mood Swings to go to exotic places and film our travels.
Soon we needed a new website and Fish Smarter was born.
Just a mere 5 years after our very first website we were building our fourth!
In the second half of the decade, we have helped over 8000 students and literally millions of people have seen our blog and tips videos.
A decade ago I never would have believed I could have my very own game boat.
In fact a decade ago Unleashed (now our Mood Swings) was grounded in the marina after Yasi.
It’s not only our fortunes that have turned in the last decade. Check out Mood Swings then and now!
So here we are at the end of the year and what some would rightly term their annus horribilis.
Remember my motto: Nothing changes if nothing changes.
This is the time to look back and reflect on how far you’ve come.
If the trajectory is UP, pat yourself on the back.
And if the trajectory is down, don’t lose hope. This too will pass and in the next decade, you CAN turn it all around.
No matter what your troubles, everything is figure-outable.
I once heard a quote and it goes something like this.
A man overestimates what he can do in a day and underestimates what he can do in a decade.
And I can really relate to that.
It’s so easy to beat yourself up if you don’t reach your targets and make silly mistakes.
Sometimes we can be so hard on ourselves about what we didn’t do, we can’t recognize what we DID do.
Which is why it’s a good idea to look back over a longer period.
Like a decade.
And get some real perspective on what you have achieved.
Even if you’re stuck in a bit of a rut and can’t see a way out, know that pain is sometimes the best motivator.
You’ll soon get sick and tired of being sick and tired and take some positive steps to change.
In a free country like Australia, anything is possible.
Even though it may seem like the whole world has gone nuts and theirs no end in sight.
Believe me when I say I HAVE felt that way before and it turned out alright in the end.
Dare to dream.
And walk forward towards that dream, one step at a time.
Right now I’d like to challenge you to take 5 mins and reflect on what you’ve done well this decade.
And what you’d like to achieve in the next decade.
Feel free to reply in the comments below as I’d love to hear your insights.
Want more tips? Try our online fishing courses: Fish Smarter
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Until then, get out into the great outdoors and keep fishing smarter!