Andy Smith, co-founder of Lifestyle Tradie and award-winning trade business owner, is a down-to-earth entrepreneur. A plumber by profession, Andy still keeps it real – and that’s what makes him such a relatable guy, f-bombs and all.
F*uck, life is too short
When Andy’s dad, Normie, was diagnosed with cancer, the doctors said it wasn’t too big a deal. The family was told treatment could wait until after Christmas.
“We were told it wasn’t aggressive and it would all be okay. After Christmas, the growth had become too big for surgery. He had three months to live,” says Andy. “I thank my lucky stars I had the freedom to walk away from the business to spend time with him. All he wanted was to be with his family.”
For Andy, being able to spend that special time with his dad is one of his life’s major achievements. It also provided him with a new perspective as a business owner.
“I had the same mindset as many business owners. We all think no one can run the business as well as us. This experience showed me it’s important to give our people the chance to step up. I found out my business ran really well without me,” he says.
While Andy points out it’s not about chest beating. It’s about helping other business owners understand life is too short to be too proud.
“I reckon 99 per cent of business owners couldn’t walk away for three months, like I did. This really motivates me in the work Ange and I do with trade businesses through Lifestyle Tradie. It really opens people’s eyes to what’s possible,” he says.
Losing, winning, living
This year, Andy and wife, Ange, are celebrating a significant milestone. Lifestyle Tradie is turning 10. It is a pioneering business in the tradie education space, and has literally changed the lives of thousands of members.
If you’ve been to a Lifestyle Tradie or Next Level Tradie live event, you’ll know both Andy and Ange are dynamic, confident presenters who absolutely believe in the power of education to turn tradies into better business people.
It is a message that comes from the heart.
After leaving local high school in Year 10, Andy began a plumbing apprenticeship when he was 16 years old. He proved to be good on the tools, working in a few plumbing businesses before starting Dr DRiP Plumbing.
It was a wild ride, with huge highs and rock bottom lows.
“It almost broke our marriage,” says Andy, matter-of-factly. “I knew how to be a good tradie, I had no idea how to be a good businessperson.”
Andy and Ange resolved to figure it out. And they did.
“We started Lifestyle Tradie because we didn’t want other trade business owners to repeat the same mistakes we made. We know it works because we dug Dr DRiP Plumbing out of a hole, and it’s now a thriving business,” says Andy.
“At Lifestyle Tradie, our systems and processes are tried-and-tested. We find lots of trade business owners waste time and money trying to work it out for themselves. We know this works. Why reinvent the wheel?”
It is certainly not all beach life and barbecues for Andy. There is hard work in the mix, too. However, he’s got more time to commit to Ange and the kids.
Freedom, it’s personal
By his own admission, Andy is a competitive guy. While he’s never been a sports superstar (by his own admission), he has been involved in sport from a young age. His success in business means he has the funds and flexibility to support the kids.
“Sport teaches life skills like teamwork, work ethic and how to push through the pain barrier. For kids, it hopefully keeps them busy and away from negative influences. Our kids, Hannah and Isaac are excelling at sport, and I am super proud,” says Andy.
While Andy advocates hard work is the foundation of life, everyone needs to let their hair down (if they have any!), to stay motivated and energised.
“With the freedom we have established at work, we’re creating memories with the family – we’ve been fortunate to create some incredible memories,” he says.
Ultimately, who can ask for more than that?