It should come as no surprise to many that the type of people who become financially successful enough to become investors on shows like Dragon’s Den and Shark Tank isn’t afraid of hard work.
It takes a certain type of drive and ambition to amass the wealth of money and knowledge necessary to become an investor on these shows.
This is definitely the case for Dragon’s Den investor Bruce Croxon. The co-founder of Round13 Capital—a venture capital firm—has been working since the age of 12 (something that isn’t even legal in today’s day and age).
His first ever job was as a caddy on a golf course. However, he attributes his decision to focus on business to a job he had shortly after graduating high school.
Life as a Roughneck
After graduating from high school, Croxon took on a series of manual labor jobs as a way to earn money to pay for his education.
His first such job was on as a roughneck on the oil rigs in Swan Hills, Alberta. Croxon described the work as gruelling physical labor.
The job was to remove thousands of feet of oil pipes from the ground, clean the hole, and then put them back. He worked for three weeks straight, before getting a break for just three days.
Croxon said the job paid more than anything he’d ever done in his life—he was making thousands of dollars a paycheck. However, it was hard work—he still has scars from oil contamination that would seep through his coveralls and into his pores.
It made Croxon realize he wanted to make a living using his mind, rather than his body.
After working as a roughneck, Croxon began in the summers as a tree planter in northern British Columbia.
It wasn’t as gruelling a job as a roughneck, but it was still hard on the body. He worked similar hours as he did in Alberta—now, he was working for three consecutive weeks before getting a single day off that was mainly used for resupplying.
He got paid depending on how many trees he planted. Croxon said he planted more than 3,000 trees a day on average, earning between $300 and $400 per day.
Croxon enjoyed the job because it allowed him to be close to nature as well as work at his own pace and control his own destiny—the ability to control his own destiny is something Croxon values. tremendously.
How Croxon Broke into the Tech Sector
Because he was making so much money in such a short period of time, it allowed Croxon to do basically whatever he wanted for eight months of the year.
Croxon began working on various startup projects and businesses. He said whenever he ran into hard times, he would think about how hard it was planting 3,000 trees a day, and use that as motivation to succeed.
Eventually, he founded Lavalife—the popular dating site that produced $100 million in revenue. Croxon advises people interested in following in his footsteps to be courageous enough to go after what they want, but also realize they’ll have to work incredibly hard to make it a reality.