As a part of our series about entrepreneurs who transformed something they did for fun into a full-time career, I had the pleasure of interviewing Luke “the Dingo” Trembath. Luke is a one of a Kind personality whose fun loving spirit and contagious energy has made him a mainstay on television for years. The former pro snowboarder is the co- founder of “Find Your Grind” A self-discovery platform helping individuals define their road map to discover who they are, where they are going, and the first steps to get there. A leading voice of the action sports world & beyond, where he has done everything from announcing high profile sporting events, The MTV MUSIC music awards to starring in five seasons of fuel TV’s “The Adventures Of Danny & The Dingo”. Once you’ve met him, you’ll agree — there’s only one Dingo. A true social chameleon — The Dingo’s ability to find common ground with anyone and adapt to any social situation makes him the perfect role model for kindness and acceptance among today’s youth.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a bit about your “childhood backstory”?
Thank you, I grew up in Australia, south of Melbourne in a small beach town called Mt.Martha. I think I grew up like most Australians, Outdoors and obsessed with Skateboarding, BMX, surfing and snowboarding,my older brother Reece was on the ski team, I started snowboarding at age 6, it was my first love for sure. Well i snowboarded a lot, I started competing at age 9, I was nationally recognized by 11, but did not win the “The Nationals” until I was 13. At 13 I had already been on trips to America & Canada with Australian team. I competed in the JNR worlds in France when I was 14, I blew my knee out but I had the opportunity to move to America and train at the Steamboat Springs Winter sports club. I left everything I have ever known, moving to The States to train, after one year I moved to Mammoth Lakes, California and was enrolled in homeschool, I would continue to snowboard and school, at that time I had no other option but to live on a couch at my friend’s house in Mammoth, so i did just that, by 17 I had become a pro snowboarder & started Grenade Gloves.
What was the catalyst from transforming your hobby or something you love into a business? Can you share the story of your “ah ha” moment with us?
It was snowboarding first for me, I turned my hobby into my job, but it was the journey along the way. I started working in media at a young age, I hosted the US Open of Snowboarding when I was 18, I had started Grenade Gloves at a young age, I had been a part of different industries along the way, I was learning all about business, taxes, making products in foreign countries, shipping products all over the world, i would say the “ah-ha” moment for me with Find Your Grind was looking at everything I had done in my past, successes and failures. & put them all in a pot. I have been working since i was a teenager, yet no one has ever asked me for my degree. So if i can peel back the curtain showcase all these jobs and industries than I’m doing my part. there are so many job opportunities out there, you just need to look. We live in a time where you can put your lifestyle first. Nobody wants to be defined by their job? Why not make your lifestyle your job. Do something you love. Wake up everyday with a smile on your face, so many of us have to work at a job we hate. You should not go through life hating what you do.
There are no shortage of good ideas out there, but people seem to struggle in taking a good idea and translating it into an actual business. How did you overcome this challenge?
I think lots of people have great ideas, but a great idea will need a great team, i have always known in the years of being in business that you are only as good as your team, i would say that your idea needs to be backed up by the amazing team you put around you. In the case of Find Your Grind it was with our founders, Nick, Natasha & Mike, the four of us bring so much to the table and all have such different backgrounds, diversity is key. We know that there is a problem and we are here to solve it.
What advice would you give someone who has a hobby or pastime that they absolutely love but is reluctant to do it for a living?
Take a look at all avenues — what other jobs are within the hobby that can maybe fit to you? Just because you’re not fit to make money — to do it as a job — are there other areas within what you love that you do fit? We like to put lifestyle first and Find Your Grind, what lifestyle do you want to lead? Then find out what those possibilities are and go after that, rather than backing into a career you don’t like. Put your lifestyle first and put yourself into a career you love!
It’s said that the quickest way to take the fun out of doing something is to do it for a living. How do you keep from changing something you love into something you dread? How do you keep it fresh and enjoyable?
It’s really tough, no matter how much you love something, if you do something over and over and over again, then add on the stress of it being your job, you will eventually hit a point where you hate some part of it, you have to always look at why you loved it in the first place and go back to that feeling of why you first started. Find ways to challenge yourself , that always helps to keep things fresh.
What is it that you enjoy most about running your own business? What are the downsides of running your own business? Can you share what you did to overcome these drawbacks?
You get to determine where you are going and how you are going to get there. There is no play book that will guarantee you success, yes you can look at our other people/brands and see how they got there. That doesn’t mean if you follow the path of someone else you will get there. When things fail or go wrong, well you will usually be the one that has to deal with it. Having to let people go is the worst. I hate when people quit, its like losing a family member. Sometimes the most solid employee you think, is not happy or finds what they think a better place to work. Sometimes you can get caught off guard and lose your strongest employees. You have to power through and fill those shoes always. Sometimes you hire the wrong person. You lose time, time is the most important thing in any business. Always think smart, hire smart & check your tracks.
Can you share what was the most striking difference between your actual job and how you thought the job would be?
I am the CMO ‘The Chief Misfit Officer” my role is exactly what it sounds like. I’m a fun guy, i get to do the fun stuff,
Has there ever been a moment when you thought to yourself “I can’t take it anymore, I’m going to get a “real” job? If so how did you overcome it?
I have never really had a REAL job I think the last time I had that thought I was 17, I had just become a pro snowboarder, after moving to America when i was 14 if i didn’t make it by 18 I was going to move back home and become a plumber or a builder, well let’s say I never looked back after that. I’m 33 now i know I made the right decision.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I had some funny mistakes on the road, on tour with the group, when I first started speaking at schools with Mike, we were in the Illinois area, I was telling my life story and and when i get into telling a story i get in there, I used a couple swear words mid-story and it was a Christian school with Nuns present. I’ll never forget Mike’s facial expression, you just have to always be aware of your surroundings, working within schools you have to always be the best you. And when you do make a mistake, be the first to own up and acknowledge.
Who has inspired or continues to inspire you to be a great leader? Why?
Lots of people, I have been lucky enough in my life to have lots of leaders and mentors to look up to. Danny Kass, Rob Dyrdek, Ken Block, Lil Jon. I come from the action sport background and have been surrounded by the most talented athletes in the world, I admire the ones that went beyond their sports, the ones that built brands, TV shows, the ones the ones that give back, rather than taking your money and fame, build something to leave behind, create jobs, educate the youth, and show the world that you can be whoever you want. Don’t copy people, that never works. Take people’s great qualities and add them to yours, but always stay true to yourself. BE you. Now i have Nick, Mike and Natasha who inspire me everyday to thrive to be the best leader I can be.
How have you used your success to make the world a better place?
I link to think what we are doing right now is making the world a better place. I believe we are solving a problem. Most people I believe want to make the world a better place, it’s just finding the right outlet to do so.
We have done hot dogs for homeless tour, feeding the homeless all over the country and educating kids about the homeless. Nothing beats friends in a Wiener-Schnitzel Tour bus traveling the country for months helping people in need.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why? (Please share a story or example for each.)
How much you have to pivot, we have been going one direction full steam, one round table meeting and next thing we are full steam 180 going the other way. If its not working let’s find something that will work and fast.
What person wouldn’t want to work doing something they absolutely love. You are an incredible inspiration to a great many people. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
I have always been so drawn to Woodstock. To have 450,000 people in the one place at the one time with near to no facilities, they were a group of people in time that wanted to express our they feel. No violence. That’s the type of movement i want to be involved in, something that represents love and living, so much pain so much pressure on all. I just want as many people to get along as possible, this dividing of the world is so painful to watch, we are all human, let’s work together to make a better society for our race to continue on.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“It’s all about the journey, not the destination.”
I have been on my own since I was 14 years of age, I relocated to America to pursue my dreams, I feel that I have been on the journey of life ever since. So many people focus on the destination and forget about the journey. I will never have a destination, I will be forever on my journey
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.
Richard Branson, he is a true leader. His first company was a magazine called student he was 16, at that time he did not know he was dyslexic as i am. It was not until his 40’s and he had started hundreds of company’s and an executive pulled him aside and said Richard do you not know the difference between Gross and Net, he could not answer the question. Since he was a teenager he has strived in so many different industries, he literally could put his logo on anything and it would have the potential to succeed,
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.