Last week I had the pleasure of shooting pictures at the Small Business Boot Camp held in Karratha by the Karratha and Districts Chamber of Commerce and Industry

The Chamber is a very dear client of Pilbara Site Pics  and I treasure the relationship we have built so whenever I am asked to work for them I jump at the chance.

Clients like the Chamber are one of those in business you know are your “jewels”. Great client – fabulous staff, open minded and willing to let me do my creative thing.

So the Business Boot Camp, the brainchild of the KDCCI, is a focus to give local small and medium businesses a real workout and test their boundaries.

This year was no different.

In fact one speaker stood out from any other I have seen in my years of either myself presenting and working alongside amazing speakers or attending a seminar as a business owner.

The speaker of note was the rather outrageous character – Beechworth Bakery founder, Tom O’Toole. Tom took a broken down bakery some 30 years ago; that limped across the financial line with an income of just over a hundred thousand dollars; to the bakery world icon it is today with 6 shops and a turnover of over $16 million CASH.

Not very good at school – he boasts his younger brother beat him to high school and that he was kicked out of primary school as he outgrew the desk. He claims he never graduated pre-primary, finds it difficult to add up and wears his graduation from the Disney academy like a badge of honour, in fact, he wears his whole lifelong negatives and struggles as a badge of honour.

Despite some difficulties, his focus hovers over us like a cyclone in the presentation and the energy of darting from one subject to another with animated dances around the stage followed, by some equally colourful language, was nothing short of supreme entertainment. This man is somehow hypnotic.

He’s hypnotic because he is real.

He LOVES being alive

He is raw.

Tom O’Toole is a dreamer who refused to be told he couldn’t dream. A kid “never very good at school” who knew how to bake bread, who went and followed his dreams and today is applauded by those wanting to find out what makes him tick…how did he do it?

He got real. He stayed away from DreamTakers – he ate them for breakfast and he just did what he was passionate about.

He bakes bread, he talks to people, he listens and he loves his staff.

Tom O’Toole’s story  reminds me of my daughter Courtney, who always wanted to be a mermaid and has faced many hurdles in her short 27 years, some hurdles that would totally cripple many lesser humans. So she worked hard, we invested in a collaborated photography business in Karratha ( a clever little idea between Pilbara Site Pics and  Courtney’s CB Snapz)  and called it “Endless Captures”, we got creative and followed Courtney’s Mermaid dream…added gowns and mermaid tails and now…she works as Ariel , the Little Mermaid and we bring mermaids to the shores of the Pilbara beaches and in doing so create fantasy for other ladies and little girls in specialty photography shoots.

Pretty simple.

Think outside the everyday box, be passionate…

Follow your dreams.