Sometimes, when we are our lowest, it may feel very hopeless – but the beautiful thing about hitting our lowest point is that the only place to go from there is up and onward.
A 21 years old, Harry Sanders became a living example of that concept. In a few short years, he went from being homeless and living under a bridge to becoming a multi-millionaire!
Nobody would have ever thought he would be homeless
When he was 17, Harry dropped out of school and soon ended up homeless and alone. But only a few years earlier, no one who knew Harry would have thought that it would happen to him.
At only 13, after witnessing the downfall of his father’s boat licensing business due to badly executed SEO services, Harry decided to learn about SEO in order to help him.
Learning everything on his own, he was able to help his father and eventually, was even offered his first job at the age of 14.
“I was basically part time at school, part time at work, and even working on my laptop whenever I got the chance at school,” he told Forbes. “I was obsessed with SEO.”
At 16, he had come to manage the company’s entire search division and eventually, decided to quit school to start his own business called StudioHawk.
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At 17, everything changed
It turns out that Harry had been too ambitious for his young age and was not really prepared for the trials of leading a company. It was a brilliant idea, but starting a new business is hard and very lonely. He soon put every dollar he had into the business and couldn’t even afford to eat.
I’d spent most of my money on computer parts and sunk the rest into the business before it all went belly up.
At the same time, his parents divorced and his mother, now single, was not able to support him. At 17 he found himself homeless on the streets of Melbourne. He would couch surf and feel like a burden to his friends. Housing authorities sent him to live in a home with heroin junkies,
“It was terrible… to be honest I didn’t think it would be as bad as it was,” Harry said.
Every youth homeless shelter I approached rejected me and the only one that took me placed me in a share house with heroin addicts who would punch the wall at night and scream abuse.
Harry Sanders to Daily Mail
“Stranded, and not wanting to go back to another housing agency, I ended up staying under a bridge for a few days getting leftover food from the likes of Bakers Delight,” he added.
Rock bottom made him do it
“Once I had hit that rock bottom it was almost good in a way as I knew the only place to go from there was up,” Harry revealed.
And so, he gave himself a chance–the only chance–to get himself out of the bad situation he was in. Desperate to build a clientele and network, he started offering his services for free, hoping to convince anyone to hire him.
“I started really hustling to get my first few clients, telling them I would get them to the top for free and they could pay me after,” he told Forbes. “I was regularly putting in 100 hour weeks getting them top rankings so that I could get some money coming in.”
The important part was to be given the chance to prove himself.
I worked ridiculous weeks, cold calling, hustling, literally just anything I could to get those first clients in the door, because I knew that I could do great work for them, I just had to get them in the door first.
The journey was not easy
“The first year was a real struggle. I was on my own, and I had no idea the journey I chose to embark on,” Harry explained. “It was a very daunting and lonely experience, but it helped me grow and taught me a lot about myself.”
As time went on, the tide changed. He started to get new clients, including big companies. Suddenly he was pulling a profit and seeing success. He hired his first staff member–and then, 8 more a year later.
“Once I had that team of passionate individuals around me things really began to take off as we fed off each other’s passion and enthusiasm,” Harry said. “I’d gained strength from where I’d come from and never wanting to go back there. Now what gives me strength is my team. I couldn’t do without them.”
Just a few short years later, Harry has a team 10 employees and his company’s annual projected revenue is $1.3 million. He is now, at a very young age, one of Australia’s most successful young entrepreneurs and is the youngest board member of the AWIA (Australian Web Industry Association).
He shares his incredible wisdom
Despite being young, Harry has lived through a lot. That’s precisely why he wants to share his wisdom with the rest of the world.
Honestly the biggest thing that made the change for me was just saying yes.
“Putting up my hand to do things, scary things that I didn’t want to do but did because I knew they were good for the business,” he continued. “Take every good opportunity you can!”
At the end of the day, “the biggest difference between those who are successful and those who aren’t isn’t intelligence, it’s people’s willing to just start and fail along the way.”
The high points of life aren’t as great if you haven’t experienced the low.Harry Sanders
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