I first met Andrew Simpson when he arrived back on the sunny shores of Sydney from a long stint living in New York. We clicked, both starting new businesses, history in the ad industry, living in Bondi, and I guess in some way both pushing ourselves to shape a life that suits what we enjoy doing.
The thing I respect most in Andrew is that he knows what he enjoys doing, and does it. Sounds rather simple, but lots of us put so many barriers in the way of doing this. Andrew has so many passions and he is happy to switch, chop and change between them to make sure he is having a great time. He’s a strong-willed person under the causal, chilled façade he projects. The surfer, the yogi, the food monster (seriously, like a human vacuum) and I‘ve had the pleasure to witness him focus on creating a business he is passionate about.
Andrew has just co-founded start-up site mmMule.com, that allows people to get anything they want from anywhere in the world by rewarding a traveller with an experience – like drinks in a cool local bar – for delivering it. I’ve mmmuled some much hard to find (and totally delicious) coconut m&ms from the States to Sydney myself. It’s a fantastic way to get people connecting when they arrive in new cities and having the reward of getting that ‘thing’ you’ve craved or missed picking up when travelling overseas.
As Andrew explains below, starting mmmule.com as enabled him to blend two of his passions together, travel and owning his own business. I also appreciate that he is very aware that he’s still within the process, so it’s great insight to hear from someone in the ‘doing’ phase and what the journey has been like thus far…
L: Passion can be a polarising word, but what does passion mean for you?
A passion for me is something I am excited about. It makes me want to get up in the morning. It energises me.
L: So what is your passion, or what is it that gets you up in the morning?
A: Well that’s complex because I have a lot of passions! But, what gets me up at the moment is working on my business mmmule.com the travel site. Honestly, some mornings don’t get me up that well, but when I’m focused on my passion, and doing something that I believe in, and I want to do, I can. So I’d say, starting my own business and being independent from a full time job.
L: What is the feeling you get when you’re independent of a full time job or travelling?
A: I feel free, I guess freedom is one of the most important things for me. When I feel free, I feel alive, happy and energised.
L: So what led you to this path in life?
A: A lot of life experiences, and a lot of trial and error. Working for other people and only sort of enjoying it. I always knew something was missing and that I wanted to start my own business, but not really having the courage to do it, or feeling that I didn’t have the resources behind me. I always came up with some excuse or another… I’m not quite ready, I’ll do freelance work and then I’ll start, then 3 months later there is another reason, or excuse. I’ve always known what my passions were. I was fortunate to travel a lot, and always knew I wanted more and loved it. I’ve always been a creative person, and I really like the creative industry and advertising. I just had to figure out how I could merge my business and creative skills in advertising and my love for travel.
L: What advice would you give others, to create their own business based on something they love doing?
A: Stop finding excuses not to do it. Jump in and do it. Just start it, it doesn’t take much. You can do something in an hour that starts a particular business, something that gets it on it’s way. So many people put something like that off because they think it’s too big, too much of a challenge, but it’s not if you start really small. Then just keep going from there.
L: Do you see a difference in your life before and after the conception of mmmule.com?
A: I guess what I am doing is trying to set my life up so I can follow all my passions.
L: How would you sum up your business?
A: Difficult, but rewarding. Just because you’re following your passion doesn’t mean you’re always 100% happy. Life still has it’s ups and downs, but when it’s averaged out I’m super happy doing what I’m doing, I’m also aware it’s going to be a hard road ahead of me and I may need to tweak things along the way. I know it may not come through but I’ve got other ideas and things that I want to develop after that. So it’s about having a vision of that passion, and just keep trying, and trying (and trying!) I would sum it up as persistence at the moment.
L: How do you keep the persistence going?
A: I know I’m really interested in what I am doing and I know I have a goal for what I am doing. I haven’t reached it yet but I am driving towards them. Belief. I’m also pretty sure I’m going to get there.
L: So is your approach is to set goals, or are you more of a go-with-the-flow type person?
A: I’ve found that sometimes having the go with the flow attitude hasn’t worked for me, because having that attitude meant I put things off, that’s why I’ve tried to focus on goals this time round. When I started mmmule.com I changed. I wrote them down and thought this is what I want to happen and now I am trying that out. I’ve made focusing on goals fun. It’s like an adventure for me. When I’ve climbed a mountain in Peru, or done a trek, it’s the same concept for me now. I can see a goal far off in the distance and I am going to have to work damn hard to get there, and it’s going to be painful as shit. But I’ve always achieved everything in my travel and physical goals, so I don’t see why I can’t achieve this one too.
L: Do you believe your passion has to be your work?
A: No, but I believe that it’s ideal to combine your work with your passion. It makes 100% sense for them to be aligned. I know that is not possible for a lot of people, so you may need to find other ways to be happy.
L: What have you leaned about yourself in chasing down this goal for a business that fits your life?
A: That you can do anything you want if you put your mind to it.
L: What are you proud of?
A: I’m giving it a go, I’m following my passion, I’m breaking out of what is expected of people and going and doing something different that I believe in. I’m proud of the fact I don’t care if I completely fail at what I do, I will continue doing other things and trying other things and keeping on going on this path, as it’s the path I want to be on.
I recommend you check out mmmule.com if there is a special something you need delivered from overseas and you’re open to meeting and rewarding a traveller, just grab a coffee with them and offer some local insights or must-sees while in town. There is also a separate arm, Angel mmMule, which lets travellers use part of their vacations to deliver urgently needed supplies – like clothing, food and used electronics – to non-profits in need. So worthwhile!
Andrew can also be contacted directly on email, andrew@mmMule.com