EVERYONE MEET MIKE!
Mike encapsulates everything we stand for at Uninhibited and to top it off grew up as a local to us. What better person to kick off this little section of our blog and be our first local legend!
We only recently met Mike at an event called “Radlivin” in Sydney, however to our surprise he grew up in the ‘burbs of Melbourne right around the corner from us both! (small world hey!) After getting to know Mike further, we soon came to the realisation that he was no ordinary guy. Currently living in Sydney, at age 27 Mike has already run a leather Macbook sleeve business (at age 16!), created and sold a global WordPress blog design agency, created a health & fitness app, co-founded an organic skincare brand, designed a website for clothing brand “ZANEROBE” and lots more! Can you tell he studied entrepreneurship!?
Get your daily dose of inspiration & check out our interview with Mike below where we discuss the hows/whys and of course the Uninhibited!
What did your life look life after graduating high school?
I was young, stupid, painfully shy, obsessed with punk rock and so keen to travel!
I guess like most of us I had a shitty job and spent all my money partying on weekends. All I really wanted to do out of high school was see the world. It didn’t take much to convince a few friends to join me so we spent eighteen months working and slowly saving enough money to travel for four months. I enjoyed living out of home and paying no rent, but I knew there was more out there and other cultures fascinated me.
Even at that point I was pretty convinced that I was going to have my own business of some sort. I worked at Rebel Sport but it was only because I wanted to start my own sports store. My ideas were generally either bad or basic, but I had fun dreaming of what could be.
What entrepreneurial projects have you started/worked on to date?
Too many for someone my age. I think that means that I’ve had too many bad ideas or a short attention span more than anything else!
When I was 17 and knew I wanted to travel, my dad told me that the easiest way to save money would be starting my own business and selling my own product. That kind of turned out to be horrible advice as its not that easy and I didn’t know much but it was the best thing he could have ever taught me as from then on I had this mindset of there not being any rules as to how you spend your life or make your way.
I started a marketing consultancy where I freelanced for brands and small businesses when I was in uni. I thought I was pretty cool at the time making a decent wage with my shiny new car with big company logos all over it haha. While that was going I saw blogging taking off, was a decent designer and figured I could learn how to code so I started a blog design agency out of my bedroom. I had moved in with some friends in the burbs by that point and employed one of them to work on it with me.
I sold that and used the money to hire an overseas developer to make online marketing plan software that I had thought up. I sold that too but neither sold for much. It was still cool to sell a business though!
I moved to Canada and started the least successful business of all time while I snowboarded for six months. That was almost a detox from the responsibility of working so hard and having to worry about what money was coming in and out every week.
I came back from that completely recharged to do something bigger and better. Around that time I thought up BodyWise, the app that I’m working so hard on building to this day. That was over two years ago now!
What are your current business ventures?
I’ve got a 9-5 job these days with clothing brand ZANEROBE (an old client of mine) which was a bit of a shock to the system, but it’s not your typical job and I do really love it. Outside of that I spend my time working on two things:
BodyWise (www.bodywiseapp.com) – a free health & fitness tracking app for the iPhone that 70,000+ people around the world have used to create and track a healthier lifestyle
Botanik (www.botanikboutique.com.au) – an organic skincare online store that I started with a friend of mine late last year. It’s early days with this one and Romy is mainly the brains and work behind it but its good to be learning through my own online store
When did you know a regular 9-5 job was not for you/what was your turning point?
I think for me there wasn’t really a turning point. I knew I was always going to run my own show and start my own business. What my old man said when I wanted to save to travel taught me that now is as good a time as ever, but I grew up around his business and always had the arrogance and confidence to think that I can do most things better. I definitely wasn’t always right but I think when you think like that you know that you’re not built to conform to a 9-5.
How did family/friends react to your business ventures?
They’ve generally been pretty supportive but it really is a lonely thing starting your own business, especially when you’re young as you have few others to relate too. Your friends either look at you with astonishment which is embarrassing or bewilderment which isn’t much use.
That kind of leads you to find people who work on your sort of wavelength and you end up making good friendships with some amazingly talented business owners.
Do you think there is a lack of encouragement for careers that go against the grain in suburbia, creating almost a creative void?
Yeah, absolutely. I just don’t think the suburban environment considers it an option. It’s hard to make money from creative pursuits in the suburbs. It sucks but its the truth. Without encouraging creativity you lose all kinds of ideas that spawn off it. Suburban is safe and it’s comfortable. There’s nothing wrong with that if you’re happy, but if you’re not happy and satisfied with what you’re doing look elsewhere.
Think about your life as a teenager. You go to school where they teach you things that end with a big question about what job you want to end up in. You don’t see inspiring careers in the suburbs. By the time an interesting brand or business concept reaches the suburbs its been franchised and lost its soul. That’s not always true but by and large its just the way it is.
Because of that most people that want to do cool shit and be as good as they can be move away early.
What advice do you have for school-leavers wanting to pursue non-traditional careers?
I hate to say it because I kind of love my upbringing and still have a soft spot for Ringwood, but get out. Get out and travel. Meet fucking interesting people. Work in jobs that you can learn from – not just earn a few dollars. Read. Practice. Put the time in. All your heroes and the people that seem to have the best lives all worked 100x harder than it appears to get where they are. Put the sweat in.
What is it in your life that feeds that burning desire in your heart to follow your dreams?
I guess if I search deep down there’s got to be a chip on my shoulder fuelling my passion to keep getting better. I was a dick to some people in high school and really didn’t like who I was. Classic ‘I was bullied so I bullied others’ teenager stuff, but I was always ashamed of myself. Once I got out of school I guess I’ve always just wanted to be better than that person I was.
Fascination plays a huge part too – I kind of like everything in life and its led me to never be bored. Without being fascinated with a lot of different things you can easily drift. Fascination is always dangerous too because you need discipline to know when to stick at something and when to explore something else.
What are your hopes and dreams for the future?
To be happy. I don’t think there’s much more to it than that. I could give a long answer, but I think that’s better than any.
For more about Mike & his latest projects head to www.michaelhalligan.com.au or chuck him an email at email@example.com! He is very open-minded and willing to help you in anyway he can (we know this from personal experience!!) You can also follow his more personal adventures on Instagram at @mrmikehalligan!