Nineteen years ago, we invested in a company we believed in. The owner was committed and creative, although a bit off his rocker, and in 1997, technically no longer a part of the company. In 1985, he was ousted in a boardroom coup, and although this company had been around for 21 years and had proven itself worthwhile in its industry with innovative products, it was still struggling to find its true identity.
Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, continued to invest in his passions even after being thrown out. In the end, a long story short, he was hired back and instead of continuing with the standard, the norm, he immediately began the “Think Different” ad campaign. And as they say, the rest is history.
Did we invest well? Oh yeah, but what if Apple had crashed? Granted, we did the required research, but we were young and naive, and most of our decision to invest was gut instinct. We liked the new computers, we had a little bit of extra money at the time, and we figured, what the hell? The worst that could happen was we lose our initial investment. While that would suck, what’s the best that could happen?
It’s happening. The first trillion dollar listed public company in the world, Apple stock now sells at almost $200 a share.
Recently, we took another risk and decided to invest in another company we believed in. Two years ago, we traveled to England, Ireland, and Scotland, and in typical Stout Life fashion, we wandered off the beaten path and found BrewDog, an innovative, in your face, against the grain company with a goal of making craft beer a passion for others.
Started by two 24 year-olds in 2007, James and Martin risked and invested everything, and they started selling their handcrafted beer out of the back of their beaten up old van. Twelve years later, they now have over 1,000 employees, 70,000 shareholders, and 46 bars world-wide. Not without frustrations, they overcame doubt, lack of funds, and shut-downs, and still managed to remain authentic to their passions, and yes, remained a bit off their rockers, as well. After all, their investors are called Equity Punks and they run a unicorn fund (charitable activities to change the world). We are now proud Equity Punks and cannot wait to see how this young company blows up.
Wouldn’t it be lovely if all risks paid off like Apple and BrewDog? Well, then it wouldn’t be a risk would it? It would be guaranteed, and how many people do we know that follow the guaranteed path and are having the time of their lives?
Really, think about this? Not many. Our society, while slowly changing, still dictates that we go to school, graduate high school, maybe take a gap year, go to college, graduate college, get a job, and work for the next 30 years until retirement. Then, and only then, can you enjoy the fruits of your labor and have some fun.
But our time here is not guaranteed, and if you want to risk your time, ask yourself is it worth it? Nineteen years ago we were 20 something’s with our entire life ahead of us, and we invested in a company we believed in. Why would you not invest in yourself? Aren’t you a “company” worth believing in? Aren’t you committed and creative when it comes to building your life, hopefully, a bit off your rocker? You’ve been around for awhile. You’ve proven yourself worthwhile in this life, regardless of your age. Your products: your brain, your thoughts, your ideas, they are all innovative, and you have potential to become and create something larger than life.
So, why do we sell ourselves short and invest in somebody else’s belief of what we should be. We work hard to create the life that society dictates for us, and then work even harder to get out of it. What could happen if we actually invested in our passions instead of somebody else’s rules?
Is it worth the risk? What’s the worse that could happen? You find another passion. You find yourself along the way. You have fun. Maybe you crash and burn, but hey, now you know how to pick yourself back up. And the risk? Why, that’s worth it every time because you are investing in a “company” you believe in.
We did this. We took a risk when we invested in Apple. We did it again just recently when we invested in BrewDog and most recently we risked it all when we invested in the RV lifestyle.
Risk vs Investment
So is it a risk or an investment? Did you take a risk when you sold your house and bought an RV, or did you invest in an adventure? Did you take a risk when you said good-bye to friends and family, or did you invest in creating new ones? Did you take a risk when you knew nothing about black tanks or gray tanks, or did you invest in knowledge?
26 years ago, When we invested in the purchase of our home, we invested in the belief of our lives, our strength to raise our kids, our courage to become adults.
One year ago, when we invested in the purchase of our second home, our RV, and created our new company, Living a Stout Life, we again invested in the belief of our lives, our strength to grow a profitable business, our courage to become entrepreneurs. You can see the beginnings of this investment in the video below.
While we may not have a trillion dollar company like Steve built or 46 bars like James and Martin, I’d like to think that we are more similar than different, in that we all invested in our passions, and that…is Living a Stout Life!
(This article was originally published in #RV Magazine. #RV Magazine is digital, independent and focused on the latest RVs, trends and the needs of tech nomads, full-timers and van-lifers. It’s the magazine for people who never thought they’d buy an RV magazine.)