Nick Woodman, CEO of GoPro managed to achieve what most people can’t. He turned his passion into a business.
Everything started when the young entrepreneur left for an extended surfing trip to Australia and Indonesia. By then he could not have known that he was about to create a multi-million dollar empire. While he was surfing he noticed that no surfer wanted to take the role of the cameraman, specially when the waves were good.
Like every other successful entrepreneur Nick Woodman discovered the problem and came up with a solution.
He built a homemade water and shock resistant mini-cam which was quite affordable for his surfer friends and himself. At first it was called “the invisible camera”, which could be fixed to the board comfortably, so the surfer could concentrate on what he was good at. Then he financed his business through the sale of clam shells, which he found at the beach and turned into necklaces. He did all this while living off his Volkswagen Bus. He received additionally two $ 100,000 checks from his father, who was a prominent Silicon Valley investment banker.
When he came back from his surf trip, he invested two years of his life in order to create his first market-ready GoPro 35mm Hero camera. Afterwards he drove to many tradeshows in his van in order to promote is new camera.He then hired his college-buddy Neil Dana to run the sales department.
GoPro generated $350,000 in revenue its first full year of sales.
Woodman had given himself a time frame of 4 years to achieve his dreams of starting a business, otherwise he would have entered the workforce. Luckily, he managed to fulfill his wish of making a few hundred grand a year and thereby becoming independent.
Today the GoPro is one of America’s fastest-growing digital imaging companies. Used by extreme athletes, adventurers and Hollywood. Woodman’s company made a revenue of $521 million in 2012 alone making him a billionaire at the age of 36.