We have known Luke since he was a teenager and to be able to be a part of his exciting journey has been inspiring! We were so pleased to get the opportunity to talk with Luke about his business 'Got Soul' and share his passionate life and ideas of positive living and choices with you. Read below to learn what it takes to start your own business, why it is so important to be socially responsible, find out about awesome ethical products and more! You can be a part of the 'Got Soul' journey and find out about great ethical and sustainable businesses by clicking here on the Got Soul website and by giving the Got Soul Facebook a like!
ROAR: What is Got Soul?
Luke: It started out as a question to help myself make better decisions, has it 'Got Soul'? I wanted to become more conscious of what I was spending my money on and be able to understand the broader and deeper sense of the whole product almost instantaneously, not just a key element of it e.g. organic, eco, fair trade etc
I feel that the word Soul captures that, but it can also be quite hard to define, so I've had to try and set some criteria to make it easier to find brands/companies that have 'Got Soul'. I came up with three standards that I feel best determine whether a product has 'Got Soul'.
1. Quality - The highest standards of quality throughout all their business. Including materials sourced, equipment used, branding, people involved, working environment etc
2. Care - They have a genuine care for the environment, their community and employees with policies and practices to support these views.
3. Cause - They are using their business as a means to solve/improve a social/economic or cultural problem.
ROAR: What encouraged you to step out on your own?
Luke: I don't think there was a particular moment that made me want to start Got Soul. I've always known that I wanted to create something of my own. About 10 years ago I made a life plan of what I wanted to achieve and by when, and one of those was to launch a project that I was passionate about and that 'made a difference' on some level before I was 30.
I'm really big on intuition too. Training yourself to listen to your 'gut instinct'. I'm not saying not to listen to other people's opinions and feedback, I mean at the end of the day what ever feels right deep down. Even if it might be the complete opposite to what everyone around you is saying, go with that, it will serve you right almost all of the time.
ROAR: What is some advice you could offer for young entrepreneurs?
Luke: Number One. Just start. Almost everyone I talk to has an idea that their passionate about but are resistant to make something of it. Why they don't generally boils down to one word - Fear. Fear of failure. Fear of what other people might think of them and their idea. Fear of how much time and effort it will take.
I think once you accept the fact that what ever you do, it's never going to be perfect and that it's about the journey, not the destination. The thought of starting something doesn't seem as daunting. Then once you have it out there begins the process of continual improvement and refinement.
2. Don't expect to be paid, but do plan to. If you're going to start something purely for the money, more times than not, it won't be a success. You need that passion there for the times when things aren't looking so great, when the cash situation is tight and the doubt creeps in about whether it was the right decision. If you don't have that passion, you'll more than likely pack it in and try something else (even though just another week might offer that breakthrough you were looking for). And don't expect that the money is going to walk in the door either, in regards to how good your idea is. Create a cash forecast and bust your ass to make those goals a reality.
3. Surround yourself with good people. Find those important people that have already done and succeeded in what you are trying to do and just ask them for advice. You'd be amazed at the amount of time people will give you if you are genuine about sourcing out help on how you aim for achieve what you want. Second is to take a look at the people in your inner circle and assess whether they are helping you head in the direction you are wanting to go or are hindering it. This can be a tough one to swallow, but it is extremely important.
ROAR: Who has inspired and motivated your journey?
Luke: My mum would be number one. She has an unbelievable work ethic and is an eternal optimist. She raised four kids practically by herself, working multiple jobs at the one time to put all of us through a good school. She's now 61 and has more energy and focus than anyone I know.
Business wise, I know it might sound like a bit of a cliche but Richard Branson is the man! His autobiography is the definition of a brilliant entrepreneur. His recent work with Virgin Unite and the B Team are also extremely inspiring. I'm also a big fan of legends Elon Musk (Pay Pal founder and most recently founder of Tesla Motors), Blake Mycoskie (TOMS) & Tom Szaky (Terracycle).
Lastly, and I know a few of my buddies are going to give me some slack over this, but Kelly Slater. I think he is the greatest sports person in history. I know that is a big call, but there's no one else that has dominated at the highest level of any sport for so long. His competitive spirit is legendary, now aged 42 and hungry as ever to win another world title. Absolutely inspiring!
ROAR: Can you give us a bit of background of your life up to this point?
Luke: Well I'm a country boy at heart, but moved to the coastal town Newcastle when I was 12 after my parents divorced. I wasn't the most astute student, I was more interested in making my own way. So I left school at the end of year 10 and started working anywhere I could find it. I then joined the ARMY Reserves when I was around 20 and went to uni to study business.
After getting my degree I worked for a variety of different corporate consulting/training companies, mainly because I got to learn twice as much as I would working for a direct service/product company (all of the training we were doing for our clients l was also benefiting from haha). These skills I learnt ranged from sales, management, risk analysis, OHS, project management, customer service, lean business practices, public presenting and many more. I've made some amazing friends and mentors from these years and am extremely grateful to all those who helped me get to where I am now.
By then I was then ready for a bit of a break and to start Got Soul, which is now starting to gain some momentum. I have some exciting developments coming up over the next couple of months! I can't talk about them too much right now, but you can join the Soul Circle (Got Soul's network) and follow our social media to keep tabs on what we've got planned.
ROAR: Why do you think it's important for a company to be socially responsible?
Luke: I don't think it's just important, I think it's an absolute must. We factually know that we are now living beyond our means. We use the equivalent of 1.5 planets to provide the resources we consume each year. This means it now takes the Earth one and a half years to regenerate what we use in one year. Now mathematically this is clearly not sustainable and is why I don't understand why more enterprises can't see the obvious reality. If they don't become more sustainable, they (and us) will eventually fail.
Which leads me to my next point, that it makes good business sense to do so too. People want to relate more to what they are spending their money on now. They want to buy things that are aligned with their morals and lifestyle. It's not longer about who's the biggest, the best or most expensive, it's about 'who know's me the best'. 'Who understands me and what's important to me'. This is why I believe in Got Soul so much. I want to lead that movement for those brands and companies that act and think that way. Creating a place that makes it easier for us to choose better.
Thank you so much Luke for taking the time to share your passionate ideas and business with us. We hope you are all inspired to get out there and support ethical and sustainable products! View the 'Got Soul' promo clip below.