Dale Beaumont struggled with dyslexia all through high school and never went to university, but made his first million by the age of 26 — ironically, by writing a series of best-selling books.
Today the 38-year-old business coach and founder of Business Blueprint is a multi-millionaire who works part time, travelling the world with his young family four months out of every year, reports News.com.au.
Mr Beaumont first realised he was dyslexic at around the age of 10 when he noticed he had much more difficulty reading and writing than other kids, but through years of "painful tutoring" was able to develop "little hacks and workarounds" to deal with it.
"To this day I'm OK at reading, it just takes a lot of mental energy," he said.
"Writing, if it wasn't for spell check on computers I would have no chance. For anyone who has learning difficulty, there's always another way, just hang in there and find another path."
After finishing his HSC two decades ago, Mr Beaumont decided to skip university and go straight into the workforce. He started working for an adult education company, but "only lasted about six months".
"I just found everything moving so slow, it was really hard to get things done unless you had some kind of control, so I decided to start a business," he said.
While he did "OK" in the HSC with a score of 83.3, the teen from western Sydney was a successful gymnast, making the state and national teams — which he credits with teaching him about hard work, discipline and goal-setting.
His first business, co-founded with Brent Williams, was a teenage education company called Tomorrow's Youth — which is still operating today — teaching motivation, life skills and personal development to young people.
"After that I got into publishing books, which is quite ironic given I struggle to read and write," he said.
"What happened was we were trying to build this education business and one of obstacles we faced was people saying, 'You're 19, what makes you think you know anything?' We really suffered from a lack of credibility, so we thought, 'How can we manufacture credibility? Well why don't we write a book?'"
Their first book, a pocket guide for teaching young people principles for success called The World At Your Feet, was only about 80 pages but sold around 7000 copies and was a "big factor" in helping grow their education business.
A few years later, Mr Beaumont decided to publish some more books, creating a series called Secrets Exposed. In the space of three years he published 15 books in the series, which collectively sold 250,000 copies.
"I was able to make my first million at the age of 26," he said.
He then started and sold two companies — one in web development and another in real estate — before founding Business Blueprint in 2009, providing coaching for small and medium business owners to "bring them into the 21st century".
Over the past 10 years the company has generated nearly $40 million in revenue — and now Mr Beaumont wants to train other business mentors to follow in his footsteps via a new venture called Coach at Scale.
"There are anywhere from 1.2 million to two million small business owners in Australia, we work with about 500 of those every year, we're never going to reach everyone unless we train up other people," he said.
Mr Beaumont, who has an 11-year-old son and nine-year-old daughter, says he has "done really well" financially but "I could probably have been a lot richer if I wanted if I wanted to by just working my ass off and not taking any breaks".
"But we've decided we want to pack in as much lifestyle and spend as much time with our kids as we can before they grow up," he said.
"I didn't see my dad all that much growing up, I have no regrets because he was doing the best he could, but my wife and I decided 10 years ago we wanted to do things differently from our folks."
The couple decided to divide their time by spending two months working and one month travelling, a schedule that has seen them visit 85 countries as a family over the past 10 years.
"That's what I'm big on with helping business owners, to say making money is important and we want you to be profitable, but why are you in business to begin with if not to create more lifestyle and opportunity for the people you leave?" he said.
"That's the message I'm drummed into my clients but also try to live by myself."