From $5,000 credit card debt to business success
WHEN Brad Sharps finished school in Year 10, he only wanted two things in life: to travel and to start a business.
Jumping straight into an apprenticeship, Brad saved until he had enough to get to London, where he worked and saved more.
Then, at age 25, he spent 12 months exploring Europe and the Middle East. He eventually arrived home, ready to start his own business, with nothing but an 8kg backpack of clothes and $5000 worth of credit-card debt.
But in February this year, the 35-year-old picked up the keys for the first workshop his Kuluin-based aluminium and glass joinery would own, after nearly a decade of renting. It was the kind of highlight that kept tradies going, he said.
"It feels awesome. It was a high-five moment, I guess," Brad said. "I needed it, I think. Every now and then, when I reach a goal, it's a really good reward."
Brad prides himself on his ability to train and keep quality craftsmen in his business, Vision Solutions Glass and Aluminium, but he believes hard work and not business smarts have got him where he is.
"Dead set, I've only got a Year 10 education," he said.
"I'm not the brightest crayon in the box, but if you just get your head down and work hard, there's so much opportunity here on the Coast. It's good times here for us in the building industry, and if you work hard, you can go a long way."
The business fabricates and installs aluminium windows and doors, and aluminium and glass products. It's work Brad and his team never tire of, although since he and wife Kylie welcomed a baby boy to their family, he has been focusing hard on time management.
"To this day, I still bounce out of bed," he said.
"Sometimes work can get on top of you, but the way the business is moving and that, every day I'm just happy to be coming to work. I just find it easy.
"I'm not a businessman.
"I'm just a tradie having a go. So to be honest, I'm just flying by the seat of my pants."