Alex Brownbill is my first guest for my new blog. He is the Founder of Voyage Financial in Fremantle. The business is focused on providing the full suite of financial services to its clients and developing long term relationships that last. Alex’s ethos is one I share; to remove money as a source of fear and live life to its fullest. Alex’s attitude to life is refreshing, considering how many negative influences are flashed in front of us every day. It begs the question. Has he been born with this, or is it learnt?
Alex feels he was born this way, and being entrepreneurial too, and he certainly acknowledges how large a role his father has played. There were many mornings Alex fondly remembers, where he and his four brothers were up early thanks to his Dad. Alex’s Dad was extremely influential, encouraging him to start small ventures as a child. Alex’s very first venture was the local paper run at seven years old. Very early starts, “Thanks Dad”.
Personally, I admire his tenacity. In his next venture as milk delivery boy, full of youthful wisdom and experience, Alex announced to the owners of the milk run that he wanted to buy them out. His employers gave him a humorous look and said “best you go home and talk to your parents.” This was Alex, aged 13 years…… In hindsight, Alex admits it probably wouldn’t have worked! With such strong habits forming, it was just a matter of time before he would walk his own path, eventually coming across an idea that would be a good fit.
Alex is the first to admit it hasn’t all been smooth sailing. He recalls his foray into professional life at KPMG. He just wasn’t able to stick it being employed! Feeling no sense of freedom to do what he needed within the framework of a working day, he found himself stuck with little motivation or drive. Alex was wincing as he said this, “I just felt like everyone was being plugged in and going through the motions. Having your career all mapped out for the next ten years didn’t appeal”. Frankly, Alex found that pedestrian, and it wasn’t for him. His characteristic individualism saw him out the door at KPMG, but it seems less a walk of shame, more a badge of honour. As entrepreneurial great Richard Branson says, use these failures as learning experiences. Alex feels it’s how you deal with it that counts. I agree with that.
There have been moments when Alex has been faced with the question – take the risk or play it safe? He used an interesting analogy for this – looking over the edge and deciding whether to jump or not. Alex was faced with needing to make a decision about whether to take the risk and start Voyage Financial. He had just finished up with Aussie Loans. Realizing the growth potential in the industry, he decided to launch Voyage Financial and offer a complete financial service. I was quick to ask why, and Alex just as quickly answered, “because I knew it would work”. In answering how, Alex said he used a payout from Aussie to finance the start-up. He and his partner Lucy lived with her parents for nine months and Theo, their son, also a cause for excitement, came as a surprise during this period of time, so to say Alex was under a bit of pressure would be a slight understatement.
Coming away from our interview, I believe that Alex is an inherent risk taker. He loves the excitement and uncertainty that comes from creating his own path. Let’s hope those risks continue to pay off!
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