From The Ground Up Documentary – Starting a New Biz in 5 Days

August 6, 2021

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To start all over again, from the ground up…What does that mean and how would that look? 

If I looked in the mirror today, would I recognise myself? I’m 99.999% certain that I’d see and feel the same hunger that radiates out of my core. The innate drive and hunger that forces me awake at 5am, the lack of an ‘off’ switch which keeps the non-stop ideas pinging back and forth inside of my head.

Six years ago, I managed to hone in and take action on the blurry vision that my imagination had been nurturing. From the millions of ‘good ideas’ I had, I decided to single out the best one and buckle down. Together with my ever-supportive and talented wife Leelou, we built our first successful business, Free the Bird Wedding Photography

It wasn’t without sacrifices – I gave it all up to get this business off the ground. It wasn’t easy but I knew, in my heart, that this step would move the needle closer to my unrealistic goals. That meant saying goodbye to my six-figure salary as an electrician, selling my brand new top-of-the-range dream ute, and leaving the security of the ‘normal’ 9-5 grind that I’d been brought up to believe was the only way. 

Why did I have this faith in myself?

Why did I think wagering my comfortable way of life and my relationship with Leelou was worth the risk? 

Did I even see it as a risk? 

I guess I wasn’t too scared to jump again because I’d already seen all the way to the bottom. The lowest of lows. And despite it all, I proved to myself that I had everything I needed to not only survive but to THRIVE. 

Every dream requires an element of risk and sacrifice.

Shoved out of your comfort zone, you’re forced to step into the unknown and the challenges that come with it. 

And more often than not, the bolder the action, the bigger the reward. 

Everything I’ve done in my career has started with an idea, with zero clues of how and when I’d get to the ‘destination’. And not gonna lie, the lack of control and ‘knowing’ always leaves me feeling uncomfortable every step of the way.

But still, I bit the bullet and gave it all up to pursue my passion, my calling. 

Free the Bird Wedding Photography was started from the ground up. We sold my car, travelled to the States with barely any money and shot for free. Hustling to pour the foundations that would support the growth I had hoped for, we eventually built a website, got featured in notable publications and won awards.

Enquiries started pouring in from every avenue. From dreams to reality, Free the Bird quickly gained momentum and became a six-figure business within the first 12 months (fact check).  

Maybe it was luck. Perhaps it was just good timing. Have times changed since then? Could I do it all again? 

Go undercover and start a business from scratch with no clients, no portfolio and no gear?

What’s there to lose besides my ego? And as they all say, you don’t know unless you try. So, I did.

Join me as I hustle a new wedding photography business ‘from the ground up’, in only 5 days, with just $2,000 to kick-start it all. 

This one’s not to be missed. 

Reflecting on the big stuff, I look at my WHY. What makes me the hustler I am today. Have a peek through the curtains and see the intricate pieces that put me together.


I hope that this documentary and my story can inspire you to chase a life that’s meaningful to you. 

The next Wedding Photography Summit will take place on 22-23 November 2022. Join the waitlist.

Meet the Author

Obsessively wordsmithing and hyping the living daylights out of anything and anyone, Mel is our word nerd and coach from Melinda Harcourt Copywriting.

You’ll also find her regularly dropping hot website/ biz tips inside the Business Map and yelling at people for downplaying their wins (“big” or “small”, every win is still a win).




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