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Episode 8 · 1 hr 20 minutes
Richie Harkham (Entrepreneur, Professional Speaker and Philanthropist)
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Richie Harkham's life story reads like an adventure magazine. He's not just the brains behind a globally recognised winery but also a philanthropist who has made significant impacts in Africa and Myanmar through his charitable works. A born entrepreneur, Richie’s journey has been anything but smooth. He's faced severe challenges that have only deepened his zest for life and commitment to making a difference.

We dive deep with Richie, chatting about resilience, the joy of giving back, and how business can be a force for good. Richie’s journey is a powerful reminder that success isn’t just about what you achieve for yourself but also about how you contribute to the world around you.

Key Takeaways

  • It’s Never Too Soon to Get Started With Entrepreneurship: Starting early in business can instil valuable lessons in perseverance, customer service, and innovation. Richie's journey from running a vending machine business at 15 to multiple ventures teaches the importance of an early introduction to entrepreneurship.

  • Adversity Builds Resilience: Facing challenges, both in business and personal life, builds resilience. Richie’s recovery from a severe motorbike accident and overcoming business failures exemplify how resilience can lead to greater achievements.

  • Business Can be a Force for Good: Integrating philanthropy into business models not only helps communities but also enriches the entrepreneur's journey. Richie’s commitment to building schools in developing countries showcases how giving back is integral to his business philosophy.

  • Passion Drives Business Success: Passion is a key driver in overcoming obstacles and achieving business success. Richie’s venture into winemaking, inspired by his grandmother, highlights how personal passions can evolve into successful business ventures.

  • See Failures As Opportunities: Viewing failures as learning opportunities is crucial. Richie’s approach to business challenges and personal setbacks emphasises the importance of learning from mistakes to avoid repeating them.

  • Be Adaptable in Business: Being adaptable and open to change is vital for business growth. Richie’s story illustrates the need to evolve business strategies in response to market changes, personal growth, and opportunities.

  • Networking & Community Engagement is Essential: Building and engaging with a community can significantly impact business success. Richie’s method of attracting customers to his cellar door through genuine community engagement underscores the power of personal touch in business.

  • Creativity Sets Your Business Apart: Creativity and innovation in marketing can set a business apart. Richie’s unique marketing strategies for his ventures, including his winery, demonstrate how thinking outside the box can attract attention and drive success.

  • Understand Your Finances: Good financial management is the backbone of any successful business. Learning from Richie’s experiences, understanding the economics of one’s business, including cost management and pricing strategies, is fundamental.

Links & Social Media

Tap Into Your Entrepreneurial Potential with Online Courses Australia

Do you dream of turning your passions into a thriving business or making a real difference in the world? Now’s your chance to learn from someone who's lived it. Meet Richie Harkham, a man whose life is a testament to the power of resilience, innovation, and philanthropy.

From creating award-winning wines to building schools in underprivileged areas, Richie’s journey is nothing short of inspirational. At Online Courses Australia (OCA), we’re thrilled to offer you the opportunity to dive deep into the worlds of marketing and entrepreneurship with Richie as one of your mentors.

Whether you’re starting from scratch or looking to elevate your existing business, our courses are designed to give you the tools, knowledge, and inspiration you need to succeed.
You'll learn not just the fundamentals of marketing and business management, but also the invaluable lessons that come from facing and overcoming challenges.

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Listen on:

[00:00:01.200] - Speaker 1

Welcome to the Learning Without Limits interview series. I'm your host, Melanie Bernicke. This episode, I chat with a well-versed entrepreneur where one of his goals is to give back 70% of his wealth. He's building schools in underprivileged communities, helping people who don't have the means to help themselves, and everything about his business is to give back. He's also a winemaker. He's got multiple businesses. He started working at the age of 11. His first business at the age of 15. He is incredible, and I hope you love our story today. Welcome, Richie Harkam. Thanks so much for joining us, Richie. Thank you.

[00:00:39.570] - Speaker 2

It's so great to be here.

[00:00:40.700] - Speaker 1

Awesome. I can't wait to get into your story because there's so much that you do and so many different inspiring things from an entrepreneurial level through to philanthropy. This is going to be a fun one.

[00:00:53.310] - Speaker 2

I know. Always fun with you. I always have a great time hanging out with you. Thank you.

[00:00:56.780] - Speaker 1

All right. So tell me, when it all started When you were younger, what did you think you might be doing with your life?

[00:01:04.300] - Speaker 2

It's really funny. I'm actually one of nine children. I'm second eldest of nine kids.

[00:01:11.150] - Speaker 1

Is he still in the good bossy section up top.

[00:01:13.480] - Speaker 2

Thank God. I feel sorry for the younger ones, but they have a hard 30 nephews and nieces now, which is great.

[00:01:20.850] - Speaker 1

I thought I was doing well at eight.

[00:01:22.790] - Speaker 2

I don't remember all their names.

[00:01:25.020] - Speaker 1

How's Christmas? It's just like cash.

[00:01:27.360] - Speaker 2

Just money. No gifts, just money. They love it. But when I was younger, it was really funny. I think I was a very dreamy kid, and I didn't really assert myself well at school. I remember we had a school counsellor, a careers counsellor, and I had a meeting with her, and she told me that I'd be a fantastic cleaner or janitor one day, and that would be my profession. No offence to cleaners or janitors, but I just suck at it. I think we all have those in our lives. But what I think I wanted to do is... I remember when I was young, I went to Lameys Rub. My uncle, Efron, took me. I was about seven years old and I watched this opera, and I watched the composer lead people and move his hands and the big, like Aura would play and the guitars and the drums. I wanted to be a composer. Believe it or not, my first job that I ever wanted was a composer.

[00:02:25.510] - Speaker 1

Did you study music as well?

[00:02:27.480] - Speaker 2

I am so bad at music. So I don't know where I came from. I just had that inkling. It was such a cool job to lead people.

[00:02:35.580] - Speaker 1

Yes. Bring it all together. Bring it all together. Yes. Well, that makes sense.

[00:02:40.840] - Speaker 2

It makes sense, but I've gone, obviously, in very different directions.

[00:02:44.310] - Speaker 1

Yeah. So what did you end up? Did you end up finishing school, studying?

[00:02:49.190] - Speaker 2

So growing up, I had my first job when I was 11 years old. I worked in a bakery. I was making $4.50 an hour as a bagel boy. I thought I was killing it at the time. I like that. I learned customer service really well. I learned so many people in the community now I do business, but they're like, You are that boy. Oh, wow. Everyone wants a favour. Everyone has a hot bagels in the morning, Sunday mornings. But I did that. But actually, where I got a lot of my inspiration in business was growing up. My father and my dad's family, my mom's family were immigrants to Australia. They came here, and my grandparents, no one even spoke English, and they worked, and they worked, and they worked. And watching them just try to make something of their lives for us really inspired me to want to do something as well. And my dad dropped out of high school when he came here. He was 16 years old, and he was in the fashion business. We called it the schmardis, is the word for it. And him and my two uncles are in the business together.

[00:03:49.430] - Speaker 2

They would be maybe late '20s, early '30s, and they were on fire. They were doing so well. But I used to sit in on their meetings, and I remember they said, Katie's best and last. Well, Back then, all the big ones to come, they used to have meetings, and they didn't know what they were doing. I'd be there before, but during the meeting, they were so confident. They would just sell whatever they could do. Yes, we can do it. Yes, we can do it. And then the buyers would walk out and they're like, Oh, my God, what are we going to do? And I actually really loved that hustle and the high and the challenge of it all. And all through my younger years, my dad was working, but I used to come to the factory, he's taking to bless all the dresses, like run He passed all the dresses and bless them. And he never gave us money. He made us work from a very, very young age. Yeah. And I just loved it.

[00:04:39.780] - Speaker 1

I think when your parents have their own businesses, because mine had theirs as well, There's some really good initiative that you take away from it. There's that drive, there's that wanting to be great. It really teaches you a lot. Rather than relying on external sources, you You can create this. And then that drives that passion and that excitement. A hundred %. And I think it is a slight addiction with the adrenaline and the rush of absolutely nailing something. I think I still have that adrenaline and that rush and the addiction.

[00:05:13.440] - Speaker 2

Same thing. But I just couldn't wait to start my own business. I was so excited.

[00:05:17.940] - Speaker 1

So you finished school and did you jump straight into your own business?

[00:05:20.630] - Speaker 2

I actually started my business when I was 15 years old. What? Yeah. I was in high school. I'm like, Okay, I don't work anymore in the bakery. I need to make money whilst at school. What can I do that will bring in the moolah whilst I'm at school? I love this. I had a friend who had a dad who did vending machines. I was like, I need to buy a vending machine. But before I had to buy a vending machine, I would just need to work out where I was going to put the vending machines. I went around to hostels at the time. They weren't backpackers yet. I went to the bosses and I said, Look, how much How much is Coca-Cola paying you? They told me how much, and I undercut them slightly. Or I'd say, Why do you want to get a commission when you give me my partner and I'll do all the work for you? I love it. You buy water for 30 cents, you sell it for a dollar 80, you I'd buy coke on sale. You don't understand. I have this amazing woman called Georgia who would run around for me.

[00:06:22.120] - Speaker 2

It was this kick-ass woman in a little mini dress.

[00:06:25.100] - Speaker 1

And you were 15.

[00:06:26.460] - Speaker 2

Yeah, this happened. I was a bit older. I still had her a long time, but yeah, I would just tell her what to do. She'd be my employee, but everyone was scared of her. The trick was to go to Coles or Woowers when the Coca-Cola was on sale because you could buy Coca-Cola cheaper from Coles or Woowers on sale than you buy for Coca-Cola. So it was a big hustle. But my parents' garage was filled with soft drinks and drinks. I didn't have bags of coins. It was epic. That was my first business.

[00:06:50.800] - Speaker 1

I love it. The coins, the coins in the bag.

[00:06:53.190] - Speaker 2

I had it for a few years. It was fantastic.

[00:06:54.810] - Speaker 1

How many vending machines did you have?

[00:06:57.390] - Speaker 2

In their peak, I probably had four vending machines, had a Mr. Who pinball machine, had two pool tables. It wasn't about where you had them. It ended up being how good quality the venues were, what venues they were. That was really good.

[00:07:15.740] - Speaker 1

Wow. I love that you learned that so young. So once you were studying, I just want another Georgia. I need a Georgia in my life, though.

[00:07:23.750] - Speaker 2

She's amazing. Everyone needs a Georgia. We're still very good friends.

[00:07:26.970] - Speaker 1

That's amazing. So did you go to Uni after school?

[00:07:30.960] - Speaker 2

I finished high school. I crammed. We spoke about cramming before this. I got 91, which is pretty good, 92. Just after cramming. My school was under average, actually. And then I did I did a commerce degree. I did an accounting degree at Sydney Uni. But at the same time, my grandfather used to own second-hand bookshops. We opened up one in Sydney in Rose Bay called the Manuels Bookstore. I always loved family-run bookstores.

[00:07:59.540] - Speaker 1

When I I used to grow up on the inner West, there was one in Balmain, and I would always go to the family-owned bookstore over the big departments. There was just something, I don't know, homely about it. I love books, but I'd sit in there and chat to the people that owned it.

[00:08:13.310] - Speaker 2

It was amazing. But he used to follow I was all asleep whilst he was working in the shop. If people would want to buy a book, he'd be sleeping. It was all cash back then. They just leave the money on the table and walk out and not even knew what was sold.

[00:08:24.020] - Speaker 1


[00:08:25.050] - Speaker 2

But that was my first business value, actually, was that one. Oh, really?

[00:08:29.220] - Speaker 1

Yeah. Tell me about it.

[00:08:31.100] - Speaker 2

It just was we were ahead of our time. We couldn't put them online. It was a wrong... I think every shop in that spot has failed. It was a wrong location. But it was a great business because we used to go to Deceesta State. We put in a trading post, Deceesta State. We'll take a lot. Someone passes away. You buy all their books, you get a thousand books. Fifty out of a thousand books are really valuable. Maybe five are like end of sets, which are worth a thousand dollars to the right people. But back then there was no internet, but it was a cool business.

[00:09:02.630] - Speaker 1

The marketing for it just wasn't available with the technology.

[00:09:05.380] - Speaker 2

It was hard whilst I was at university. I did that accounting degree. Then I couldn't wait to do my first big business, and it was a backpacker. I still I'm 21 years old. But we could be here all day talking about my businesses. Oh, my God. I did backpacker hostel in the city, I took a hostel, turned into a backpacker's hostel. Did really, really well. I lived behind nine kids. We never did our own washing It was like a laundry mat at my mom's house. So moving out of home, I didn't really know how to do my own washing. I had no life to do it. You're lucky.

[00:09:38.200] - Speaker 1

My mum made me start doing everyone's washing at 10:00. I didn't do it.

[00:09:41.940] - Speaker 2

I was in the city, there's no way to do washing. I'm like, Hold on a second. And there's an opportunity here. There's no laundromats here. I opened up a laundromat next to the backpacker's hostel called Wash & Go. It's still there today. Brilliant. And it was a vending machine laundromat. So one employee, it was a massive hustle. We killed it. We sold it after two years.

[00:10:00.680] - Speaker 1

That's amazing.

[00:10:01.590] - Speaker 2

It's been really was.

[00:10:01.750] - Speaker 1

I love that you see the opportunity, but you seize it because people sometimes see the opportunity and sit there and think about it for so long, then it passes.

[00:10:11.720] - Speaker 2

I think it's the entrepreneur. It's one thing to be able to see an opportunity other people don't see, but to take that risk which other people wouldn't take and to jump in. Look, you're going to be wrong 90% of the time, but that 10th time, it's going to be a hit.

[00:10:26.950] - Speaker 1

In saying that, we've been chatting about in different interviews that we do, the success in failure. I guess this is one thing when you just throw yourself into it, and it'll either work or it doesn't, but not to have that fear around it not working, but try and make something work and then know when it's right or wrong.

[00:10:45.190] - Speaker 2

100%. C. S. Lewis says, Failure are the finger posts in the road to success.Oh, I like that.You need to fail to be successful in life. If you think about it, if everything was easy, Everyone would be so successful. But those which can fail, pick yourself up, dust it off, learn from what didn't work, which is the most important thing. I don't make the same mistake twice and then go again and apply yourself again. I've had so many failures in my life. We'll talk about it later, I'm sure. But a lot of my things have failed, and I've learned so much from it. But my biggest thing is I don't make the same mistake twice. Now, that's my biggest thing with failure.

[00:11:26.150] - Speaker 1

I think such a great advice for anyone who is looking to start their own business There's this acceptance around the fact that some things will work and some things that won't. And what's classified as a so-called failure is really just a really good learning curve rather than having this attachment to it, which holds people back for the future.

[00:11:43.090] - Speaker 2

A hundred %. It's about being adaptable. When you fail, you learn that everything's not going to work out and you're not scared to go again. I actually set myself up for failure sometimes just to keep my failure muscle. Just to keep that. A hundred %. And I actually highly recommend it for people. Go somewhere, go to a coffee shop and say, Look, I don't have any money, or I don't have money today. Can I get a coffee? And just try to persuade the person. Use your charm. Use your win. You see? I feel sick in the stomach. We all feel like that. But go somewhere no one knows you.Yes..

[00:12:16.480] - Speaker 1

Have a go.Not to the local across the road. How are we going? Yeah, bring it back in five minutes.

[00:12:20.700] - Speaker 2

Or try for a drink at a bar.

[00:12:23.080] - Speaker 1


[00:12:24.270] - Speaker 2

Wow. Or even better. Look for the most gorgeous person in the room and ask them to buy you a drink at the bar.

[00:12:31.380] - Speaker 1

Yeah. It never hurts to ask. I do always think it never hurts to ask or to try things. But there's some things that I probably still wouldn't ask for. I'd probably just go without coffee for a day. I think that-But it's a good thing to do because it pushes you Out of that comfort zone.

[00:12:46.190] - Speaker 2

And it's a real skill that we lack in today as well. We all want to be safe. We all want to not get hurt. We all want to... And I'm one of those people, naturally. We're all naturally like that. But the ones that are successful are the ones that can push those bounds to know themselves, to know they feel so scared on the inside, but I'm just going to have a crack.

[00:13:04.520] - Speaker 1

Let's do it. I love it. What's that? Feel the fear and do it anyway. There you go. Yeah. So I need my glasses. I know we skipped I found a few things, and it's going to come back into there. Okay, yeah, that's where I wanted to go with that. Sorry. No, it's great. It's perfect. But it's just like, how do I just bring it back into where I wanted to go. Yeah, no problem. Cool. So talking about knocking yourself down and pulling yourself back up again. You do a lot of talks on resilience. And within that space, how did you find your strength when it comes to resilience? Obviously, you've seen your parents go through business. You've seen them come from another country and build themselves up and make something. Where does your personal inner strength so that you know how to trust your gut? Where did that come from for you?

[00:13:54.490] - Speaker 2

It's a very good question. So in business, you're going to learn resilience. Are you going to sink or are you going to think or you're I'm going to swim. And every business owner knows that. And me, from a very early age, I knew that you're on your own a lot of the time. But for me, my journey really was when I... I know you probably know this about me. Seven years ago, I had a really bad motorbike accident, a near-death experience where I was nearly killed. Just to give you a little bit of context, before that, I was the fittest, strongest, successful. I was on top of the world. I was invincible, almost. And basically, I was I was riding my Harley Davidson one afternoon. It was actually April 14, 2014. I was riding my Harley Davidson. I turned right into Biriger Road. I remember the wind on my face, and it was a big full moon in the sky. And up ahead in the distance, there was a car, a white car parked in this station wagon parked in a driveway. And as a motorbike rider, you're alert, you're looking, you slow down as you approach, had no lights, no indicator on.

[00:15:03.100] - Speaker 2

It was an old man in the car. I could just make out there's an old man. I thought that he had swung me and I went to accelerate past him. And rather than braking, he started coming out as I was going. Then when I worked out, I could just get around. If you touch a break, he pushed harder on the accelerator. It was at that point, I just braced I knew that he was going to hit me, and he went, bang. His car pinned my leg against my motorbike. Oh, shit. I just felt a braking feeling in my body. He crushed my whole leg from my knee down. And it was... I had no pain. He slammed on the brakes. I remember second by second, he slammed on the brakes. He pushed my motorbike into oncoming traffic. And it was at that point, I could just see a car coming towards me. Headlights were on, and I thought I was going to die. My whole life just flashed in front of me. It was a really crazy point because you would think that you're going to just be so scared of dying, but I actually thought about all the good things I've done in my life, and I was ready to die.

[00:16:19.000] - Speaker 2

It was a really crazy experience. The car veered off and missed me, and I slid off my motorbike before it landed on top of me, and I ended up on the road And the second I touched the road, I tried to get up to get off the road, which was my first instinct, and I couldn't move. My bones, my tibiafibula came out of my leg, had compound fractures, I shattered my whole knee, and I was blood was coming out of everywhere, and I was screaming. And it was crazy because I wasn't screaming from the pain as much as shock because I couldn't believe that a second before, I was a strong person, and one second later, I'm on the ground My legs shattered, and I knew that my life would change forever. I was actually screaming out, Why God? Why God? Why me? Why me? I couldn't understand that it could happen to me. Yeah.

[00:17:10.990] - Speaker 1

Especially when you're doing things right in life. You go out there, you're doing all these great things. Yeah. It's like, well, you weren't doing anything wrong in that moment either. Yeah.

[00:17:22.120] - Speaker 2

It's the first time I just knew that I wouldn't get out of this so easily. I knew that feeling. I had it in my gut, and I waited on the side of the road for 25 minutes. What for an ambulance comes, is rush hour traffic. What followed after that was all the... Can imagine motorbike accident, all the cars stopped every which way. I thought I broke my neck. Because I landed on my helmet. I shattered my helmet. It was so lucky. It was miraculous that I only had a leg injury, but I didn't break my head, had no brain damage on my neck.

[00:17:57.280] - Speaker 1

The other car would have...

[00:17:59.040] - Speaker 2

In It's moments. Moments of seconds. It's inches. It's so crazy. But what followed for me was five years of pain and suffering or four years of really intense, eight operations Patients, seven which failed. I spent hundreds of days laying in a hospital bed. I was in and out of hospital for four years. For more than 20 hours a day, I was laying in hospital. Self isolation, anxiety, depression, loneliness, chronic pain for three years. I couldn't walk. I was on a steroid called Forteo, which I injected in myself for a whole year, which gives you anxiety, depression.That.

[00:18:41.370] - Speaker 1

Was to stop the pain?That.

[00:18:42.600] - Speaker 2

Was actually to strengthen my bone. I stopped breathing. I came back to life in an operation. I've been two first in the world operations I had, and it was just a very long journey of my life. And I think going through that, I was able to find the strength within myself, which is normal, right? Either going to sink or you're going to swim.

[00:19:06.730] - Speaker 1

But there's something special about that when you've been through such a traumatic experience where it is life or death. And pain, when it becomes that chronic pain, it's that cycle. There's drugs, there's this, and it's just this cycle of everything. And it really plays havoc with your natural state of being.

[00:19:29.770] - Speaker 2

I think I think just a shock, and I think we've all had this in our lives. Everyone's gone through a divorce or a breakup or an injury or a death in a family, or everyone needs to find resilience. We've all had our issues in the past, and I think The initial part is a shock and led me to what I speak about as return on resilience. Return on resilience is actually about finding an opportunity in bad things that happened to you, finding an opportunity in bad things that happened to us. And It's actually you need to go through the stages. By helping people and through my own journey, I worked out four different stages that everyone will go through in order to find an opportunity. Can you talk me through them? Yeah, sure. So the first one is identity. So identity is about finding hope, is knowing that we're never going to be the same people ever again. We're not. Life is going to be different. It's like with COVID, everyone had an identity crisis. We couldn't be the same people that we were. It's about accepting that it's okay, which takes to the next stage.

[00:20:35.450] - Speaker 2

Actually, in identity, it's about hope and finding purpose, a new purpose. Then the second one is integration. Integration is all about integrating everything that happened, integrating the shock. Kubula Ross puts it, the stages of grief that you have to go through. Denial. In my case, I wanted to deny that it only happened to me. I laid in my hospital there, I think, This is not real. It's not true. It's not going to happen. Then you get to anger. I was angry at the driver. I was angry at myself for riding motorbikes. Then you do bargaining as a third step. I bargain with God. If only I could turn back time, if only I can have a redo. Then we have depression, which is the turning point. You get really sad. Life is tough. I'm sad. I'm not going to make it, which leads to acceptance. Accepting a new reality, accepting the new you, accepting you can get through this. That's the second stage is integration. And the third stage is inner influence. Inner influence is finding the influence within yourself to overcome whatever you're going through in your life. And how do we do that?

[00:21:47.850] - Speaker 2

What are your two most core values, Brené Brown speaks about? But it's about actually digging down in your loins and finding that inner strength. And it's now taking it outward because the These first two stages are inwards. And I'm going to learn this and find the strength to inspire other people, which is a four-stage. And in inspire, it's actually about helping other people. If you go through these four stages, you'll come It's about finding an opportunity at some point. But it's about being adaptable. Return on Resilience is about getting through something because things are always bad, always going to happen to you. But if you're adaptable and if you can go through these four stages without How bad things, you don't grow in life. That's what it's all about.

[00:22:34.460] - Speaker 1

I really like the phrasing that you've used as well, Return on Resilience. There was something that a gentleman put to me last year. We were working together in learning deeper meditation and different states of being. He always would say, you need to look in to be able to look out. I think within a lot of society, we look out to look in. We're looking at what everyone else here is doing to then be able to value ourselves here. But what you're saying, return, this is our natural state of being. We are naturally this. We naturally just are. To be able to go through these stages, to not be looking out here, but bringing it back in and finding it in here. And once you have that internal love and that internal connexion, it never leaves you.

[00:23:25.330] - Speaker 2

A hundred %.

[00:23:26.280] - Speaker 1

And it doesn't matter. You could be divorced, you could be on your own, you could not When you have this love and this internal power that's naturally there for everybody, it's not something you earn or you gain. It's there. It's about acknowledgement. A hundred %. And then when you see that and you feel that...

[00:23:43.630] - Speaker 2

A hundred %.

[00:23:44.240] - Speaker 1

To be able to share from that space. A hundred %. It's the best gift in the world, and you can give it to yourself at any moment, but you have to go through the crap. And when you said that, when you go through depression, you have to... We build ourselves up in these building blocks, I find. And then to literally broken down to all the barriers being stripped away and you're left bare. The beauty in that is that when it comes back together and your own pieces of your puzzle, which will be a working movement of art till the end of time, but there's just so much power in that. And we give it away, I think, too easily. So when you've come from what you're experiencing, and I really like the steps that you do. And when people do that, they return back to themselves. A hundred %, yeah. And I think, what a beautiful thing that you've been able to break down and teach.

[00:24:35.120] - Speaker 2

It sounds beautiful, but it's going through it was hell on Earth. I woke up and people have to have the space to go through stuff, and they go through the struggle and allow themselves to grieve and to mourn. I talk about these steps, but whilst you're actually going through it, it's very, very, very hard. It's dark. I mean, where I ended up was right at the end of my journey. Can you imagine I went through three years of on her, poked, prodded. Every time you have an operation, you build up your hopes that you're going to get better, you're going to walk again. And then the hammer, they saw, they cut, they drill. And then you wake up from the operation, you're in morphine, you're in and out of consciousness for two weeks of hell on earth, intensive care, whatever you want. And then you got to learn how to walk again and you go through all the physio to the point I couldn't even lift my leg up anymore because I've got no more muscle left. And then after six months, you're not healed and it's failed. You got to do it all over again.

[00:25:33.110] - Speaker 2

I went through that and I finally healed. I did the first in the world operation twice. And then I had a very minor operation at the end of my third year, and I was walking again for the first time. I was like, I'm healed. I'm done. I needed to have a very small operation to get a screw out which had moved in my leg. I went back to Germany where I had four of my operations. I did the operation, came back to Australia, and I started feeling really unwell. I went to have a nap. I had an apéro. I had an apéro spritz with one of my friends, as you do. I needed some life in my life. This is a few weeks after the operation.

[00:26:10.000] - Speaker 1

Some form of normality. It was my seventh operation.

[00:26:14.070] - Speaker 2

It was a very minor one. I remember sitting there and I felt liquid coming out of my leg. My leg had split open and it was ooosing with golden staff. I went to the hospital and after For three and a half years of hell on Earth, I had a golden staff infection, which was inside of my joint, which they couldn't heal, and they were going to chop my leg off. I had more than a 50% chance of having a leg amputation. I couldn't even get a surgeon, and this is at the end of my journey, and had no more strength to give. It was actually at my lowest point that I had some of my biggest breakthroughs, where I just gave up. That was the most amazing feeling in the world is just to let go. I had so much on myself, so much I had responsibility and I wanted to get better. But when I just let go, and at the end, I just didn't I got excited and I didn't get sad, but it was hard. It was really, really hard. But I was okay. I was like, Look, if I have a leg amputation, I'm just going to try my best that I can do.

[00:27:24.160] - Speaker 2

And I found a surgeon that believed in me and trusted me. They get an asterisk against their name if you have an amputation. I found one which is finishing his career, Professor Neil, and he liked my attitude. I said, I'll work harder than anyone will work, but I want to have a go. I want to have a go. He gave me a go and I can get up. I can almost run now. I can jump.

[00:27:46.930] - Speaker 1

That's amazing.

[00:27:47.700] - Speaker 2

I train, I do yoga. I'm fully healed after four years of pain and not being able to walk. It was one in a million, almost. So you are able. Everyone is able to achieve something. It doesn't matter what you're going to. It doesn't matter if it's hard in the moment. There's no light at the end of the tunnel. Keep pushing.

[00:28:03.730] - Speaker 1

I love it. Then can you talk me through that operation that was unique as well? Can you just-Sorry, I'm just jumping in. So sorry. Yes.

[00:28:12.390] - Speaker 2

I thought that would be a good time.

[00:28:15.460] - Speaker 1

Thank you. Will that lead into you giving… If we lead into- A heart angel.

[00:28:21.700] - Speaker 2

Yes. I lead in a heart angel, boy. That's the plan. You're liking this chat?

[00:28:25.480] - Speaker 1

I'm loving this chat. Thank you very much, Lee.

[00:28:27.580] - Speaker 2

All over the place. Thank It's great.

[00:28:32.770] - Speaker 1

Just good energy as well. It's very different to the other ones as well, to like. Yeah, me too. Everyone has been very different, which is great because it just takes you on a nice roller coaster of emotion. It's just fun. All right. Cool. Awesome. Richie, can you just tell me a little bit about that first off operation that you had twice?

[00:28:59.180] - Speaker 2

I What I did in Australia had failed. I was in a really bad place, and I used a doctor friend of mine in Los Angeles to research the four best trauma orthopaedic surgeons in the world. As an entrepreneur, we look, we don't give in to what people tell you. And I realised that doctors wouldn't talk to me because I wasn't a doctor. They just wouldn't speak to me, but they would speak to my doctor friend. And three out of the four wouldn't even look at me because they said, You're too far gone. This is my first year of my accident. The best in the world, Professor Christian Kredek in Hanover, Germany, he said, We can have a go. Basically, it's the first graft of a knee transplant from a live donor. From a live donor? From a live donor. They have brain damage.

[00:29:51.000] - Speaker 1


[00:29:52.190] - Speaker 2

They harvest their brain damage. They keep them in a ventilator. The heart's still bumping. Yes. They harvest their joints and their organs whilst they're still alive, and they transplant into me the live tissue. Basically, with a knee, it's never worked because there's no blood flow and they're always dead when they do transplants. He used 3D software technology to work out exactly what in my knee was broken and needed to replace, and they cut exactly the joint from the donor, and they'd match it, and they'd use their meniscus and tissue, and they take out stem cells from my hip, from my iliac crest, and they put it in, and they put inside a live heart from somebody, a live tissue. That's fascinating. Yeah. Basically, the second donor, which was the last one, it was really sad. I rushed over to Germany. I had the operation. When I was lying in my recovery room, I actually heard this young boy's story, and it really touched me. He was a young boy, and he was in a Mercedes Benz with his mother in Hanover, Germany, and they were waiting in a traffic light on a sunny day. And a truck came speeding around the corner, smashed into the back of the car, squashed the car.Oh, my goodness.Like a can, and the mother died on the spot.

[00:31:16.790] - Speaker 2

The boy, like all donors, hit his head on the dashboard. They tried to save him. He was a teenage boy, and they flew him to hospital. They couldn't save him. It was too far gone. His father He didn't know what to do. It's very hard to get a child donor because they were in shock, and his dad lost everything. His wife and his only kid in one second. He waited to allow his son to become a donor, and he said, Okay, I'll let him become a donor. And his son. I met all these people who got a young girl, got a heart, another person got a liver.

[00:31:56.920] - Speaker 1

They were all in the hospital when you were.

[00:31:58.560] - Speaker 2

Well, I met some of them, and I heard about some of them, yeah. They were all there in this recovery room, this recovery area. I was just really touched by this boy about his story about it. I also wanted to do something to give back. We have an option as a donor, we're allowed to communicate through an anonymous letter to a donor's family. I didn't want to write a letter because what do you write to someone who's lost everything? But I felt like it was my duty because no one else had written one and explained what had happened to me and how bad I was and how thankful I was. And I can never repay him or his son for his done. But one of the things I do, which I've done from a long time ago, is I built schools in third-world countries. And I wrote to the dad, I said, I want to build a school in your son's honour. So there'll be a plaque at the front, the third-world country. Then if kids are not in school, they start working nine years old. Girls are going to marry from twelve years old, and they'll have an opportunity to change their lives.

[00:32:55.640] - Speaker 2

And your son's spirit can live on through all these children.

[00:32:59.810] - Speaker 1

Well, That's amazing. Just the fact that he could be so generous in a moment that's so difficult. And then for you to take that on board and say, No, actually, I want to do something great with this as well. Yeah. And that's your business. Sorry, don't mind me. That's okay. Yeah, so your business, Hark Angel. Yeah, it's a charity. It's a charity. An Australian charity or a global?

[00:33:23.120] - Speaker 2

It's an Australian charity. So what happened was I thought, Okay, I'm going to build the school for this for the father. I was already doing charity work before, but I thought I would build a school in the son's honour, and I created a wine to help me raise money for the school. I think of a name of the wine, and the boy was like an angel to me, so I called him the Hark Angel.

[00:33:45.050] - Speaker 1

Oh, I love that.

[00:33:46.570] - Speaker 2

That's just you. Then I built the school, I opened it, and I remember at the opening of the school just seeing all these little kids' faces and how excited they were. They have now a middle school. The first one was a middle school, and they don't have to drop out of school. They don't have to start working at a young age. The parents were so happy. I thought, Hold on a second. Is my return to my resilience? There's an opportunity here. That's when I created my foundation. After my accident, one of the benefits are I died, I came back to life, is I don't do things in-halves. My goal, I think my whole life, would be to do 10 schools, but everything in my life now, times by 10.

[00:34:28.340] - Speaker 1

Oh, I love that.

[00:34:29.510] - Speaker 2

To do 100 schools in the poorest place in the world. And you know what? In three years, I've done nine already.

[00:34:36.130] - Speaker 1

That's amazing. In only three years.

[00:34:37.940] - Speaker 2

Three years. Wow.

[00:34:39.040] - Speaker 1

And considering the last two years we've had.

[00:34:41.640] - Speaker 2

So whilst it's been operational, so 16 to 19, I've done nine schools. We've been closed for the last two years.

[00:34:50.630] - Speaker 1

That's amazing.

[00:34:51.360] - Speaker 2

Yeah, so 2000 kids in the schools.

[00:34:53.110] - Speaker 1

I have no doubt that you're going to hit your target of 100 schools. I don't think I'd question you on anything. I think you'd give it 200 % And it's just all in and I'm going to make it happen no matter what. And so to drive funds for that, is that just through your wine or is that through... How else do you drive funds through to your charity?

[00:35:09.450] - Speaker 2

I'm the biggest benefactor. I plan on giving away 70 % of my wealth in my lifetime. I have a few different businesses, but I love raising money for charity. And my trick with charity is I've never run someone once and ask them for money. I inspire people to give money. So I I show people through my journey, and I encourage people to come on my journey with me in charity. So I actually have trips every year where I take maybe 30 people, and they spend six days each in that country. I do it for a month, so I can have up to four groups or five groups, and they take part in what I do. They immerse themselves in the school in Hawk Angel. They learn another culture. They learn from a community. They learn about themselves. They learn more than they give to other people. It's all about the perspective in life. And people in these countries have a term they use. It's called banking resilience. Every time you go through something tough, you bank that little bit of resilience the next time when you really need it in your life. But these people bank their resilience every single day of their lives.

[00:36:15.520] - Speaker 2

Their lives are hard. They live hand to mouth. That means all the money they make today goes to food that they'll eat on that same day. To make it so a child will have to work from nine years old is hard to sell your daughter, which is a reality of the life that we live in, the world that we live in today. I don't know if you know that, that 21,000 UN report last year since COVID, 21,000 girls a day in the world are being forced into marriage, and 90% of them are young teenagers, probably 12 or 13 years old. And what goes hand in that is female general mutilation. 4.1 million girls this year, UN report, will be exposed to FGM. In this day and age? Yeah, it's a lot. My first experience was with that. That was my first inkling to help in charity was because of that. Wow.

[00:37:14.140] - Speaker 1

I feel quite ignorant, but I really didn't know that those numbers were so high in today's-I think with Harkangel, with me and why I do this work is, these are voiceless people.

[00:37:29.820] - Speaker 2

No one knows. No one wants to talk about it because they have no power. They're not rich. They have no value. The press doesn't like to talk about it, even. So it's up to people like me to give a voice to the voiceless. And a child doesn't choose its life. No. An adult chooses its life. That's why I want to help children. We don't give them things, but we empower them to change their lives. We empower their communities, their parents, their families.

[00:37:57.670] - Speaker 1

Once you've set up a school, what's the follow-through, if any, or does that get handed over to someone else? Once the school is set up, do you still have engagement with the school, or is the aim just to set them up and then educate them well enough so that they are able to run things on their Are they still on their own or is there still input on that level?

[00:38:18.490] - Speaker 2

It's actually a lot of work. I actually tell the communities once the school is built, the work is just beginning. Make them sign a massive certificate, like a deed, a contract, which states that basically they have to keep their kids in school. Their kids have to go to school. They won't work. They have to keep the school neat and tidy. That they want to help them make something of their lives. But once I have a school in that community, we are family. I consider them my family. And I tell them that when in the opening of the school, I'll be back there twice a year to check on the school. My guy, Tun Tun,, which is in Myanmar, he's there every month, and he lives there whilst we build the school. So he gets to know the communities really, really well. And I love all the families in the communities and all the children in the communities because we just don't build schools straight off the bat. It's a long We're in the process to get to work out that we're going to build a school. But the major thing is that they really want a school.

[00:39:21.240] - Speaker 2

They really need a school. That they are the poorest of the poor and that they will contribute 20% in the building of that school. But I will forever be thinking of that community and forever looking at ways that I can help them become better because these are poor people. To give an example, I teamed up with an amazing charity called Bikes For Life, which is an Australian charity. Basically, they take old bikes. People drop them at Manly Council. Bikes For Life will get volunteers, repair the bikes, ship the bikes over to Myanmar. Then all the kids which live too far to walk to the school I disperse the bikes to those poor kids, and they get there. I love that. So many different ideas. Solar power, four water, hygiene. I work with Henry Shine to give them toothbrush and toothpaste. I take them over in my backpack every year. Whatever I can do to help that community, they're family to me. But I'm always checking on them. They're always accountable. The principal is always giving us. We get reports every year. How many kids passed, where they were last, who were tracking, Whether there's 25% more chance of attendance when there's a Harkangel school, year on year growth.

[00:40:36.880] - Speaker 2

It's a big thing.

[00:40:39.000] - Speaker 1

That's amazing. I love that you consider that community family because I think sometimes things get put in place to help, and there's the right motive behind it. But sometimes there's just not that supporting factor. I think when you come to it from the different angles, it really gives people a chance for success because when they know they've got that support, and when you know, as even a human, you need to be accountable, you do the work. I think that's the difference and that respect level for yourself grows and for what you're wanting to learn.

[00:41:11.740] - Speaker 2

I think we're an amazing time in the world right now where all their parents and grandparents didn't finish primary school. They're all poor farmers, and they work. They work themselves. And the women, the women work harder than the men because they're going to take care of the house, and then they're in the fields, they're pulling out weeds. It's It's a hard, hard life. And it's the first time that they're able to see that their children, they can sacrifice their children working to have the opportunity to have a better life. And why do children work? Not because they're bad parents, but they can't afford to pay the rent.

[00:41:44.420] - Speaker 1

They can't afford any other way.

[00:41:45.300] - Speaker 2

They can't afford any other way in their life. Wow.

[00:41:48.860] - Speaker 1

It's really remarkable. We'll put all the details. I'll share it on our socials as well. See if people want to get in touch to see how they can contribute. Definitely. Definitely. I think always it's always the more people supporting each other, the nicer it will be. We were talking about the wine that you produced as well. That was working in. You created a specific wine to raise funds for these charities. Now, you've got your own vineyard. I love wine.

[00:42:23.880] - Speaker 2

Good. Me, too. We can be friends. We are friends.

[00:42:27.140] - Speaker 1

Can you talk me through With the property, what made you get into one? Where on the land? Is that a family tradition? How did it come about? As one of your businesses that supports your other charities, which is amazing within How does that... How did that come about for you?

[00:42:49.380] - Speaker 2

I think when you have business, one of the most important things is passion. You're passionate about what you do. As you know, you're very passionate. I've seen a lot of your work.

[00:42:58.010] - Speaker 1

Thank you.

[00:42:59.710] - Speaker 2

I didn't intend on actually going into wine ever in my life, to be honest with you. But my grandmother, Aziza, who a lot of the wine is called, used to make natural wine for a family in Israel in 1950. They lived in temporary housing, no electricity, no running water. She's an amazing woman. She used to get grapes from a famous winery there called Yaden in Zirkon Yaqob. She used to make wine under the house in clay pots. Wow. And throughout our lives, Aziza used to... She was just the matriarch of the family. She was just such a special woman. She would bring a whole family together through her cooking, through her wine. She always had a garden, and she was just that calming influence in the family. So I always had it in my blood. I actually found a photo when I was seven, and she's given me a lesson on Chardonnay.Oh, my God. I love that.On I'll show you after.

[00:44:00.750] - Speaker 1

I love it, granny giving you the lessons on Chardonnay.

[00:44:04.040] - Speaker 2

She's amazing. I was very young back then, but back then.

[00:44:07.510] - Speaker 1

Never. Always ready to learn.

[00:44:10.690] - Speaker 2

It was actually my dad who found the property, and he really wanted to go down this path, but he had nine kids, and I just finished up, actually sold that backpack as Hostell. I thought, Okay, why not? Let's have a go. Why not? Why not? But I love, basically, you get to take something from nature. It takes something from nature, and nature is perfect. I can help it become something amazing without touching it too much. That you and I can enjoy and get drunk and be married and elevate our spirits on. Wine making is like no other that you can't control the weather. There's uncontrollable elements, right? In wine making, you can't control. And Every year is a new challenge. No two wines will ever be the same. Which is the magic. Which is the magic. But every bottle is a different story. Every year is a snapshot of time and place, which I can share with you. You open up a bottle, which we will later, and in that bottle, I'm going to remember every single thing that happened in that vineyard in the year. The rain, the hail, the wind, the insects, the fights I had, how it was made, what went wrong, what went right.

[00:45:26.520] - Speaker 2

And it'll always take me back to that time and place. That's That's why I love wine so much.

[00:45:31.660] - Speaker 1

I love that. Then you're talking about having it be natural. Why is that important to you to create something that's not really been touched? Because if you think about most mass-produced wines, it's machines. You've got machines, and then because the fruit's being bruised.

[00:45:48.190] - Speaker 2


[00:45:48.940] - Speaker 1

Sorry. I've had this all day, I don't know. It's all right. The air conditioning doesn't help. I've got this really annoying tickle.

[00:45:59.970] - Speaker 2

Can I just get another glass of water quickly if I can. Thank you, ask me. Wait. Sorry, I can speak for hours.

[00:46:10.670] - Speaker 1

Don't worry, so can I. We're on 52 minutes. Yeah, cool.

[00:46:16.330] - Speaker 2

We're on 52 minutes? Yeah. Holy. That's good.

[00:46:19.020] - Speaker 1

We aim for about 40, but we're a bit slow in the beginning anyway.

[00:46:23.910] - Speaker 2

You can cut stuff out. I'll edit the hell out of it.

[00:46:26.530] - Speaker 1

The first one we did, I think, ended up being about an hour. We aimed for 40, but again, she's not-How they edit it. Yeah, that's how they edit it. But if the content's great and it's engaging, then I think, again, leaving some things in its natural state quite nice. It's not forced or… But I get to pass it on. I don't have to edit these. They get to choose. I just need to go back to mass-produced wines. Okay, and where was I talking about that? Natural wines, yes. When you're thinking about It's like these mass-produced wines that always almost taste the same. They're using the machines to shake the wines. The wine is getting brews, so then they add the sulph, and they're adding all these extra things to it, which when you're doing something in its natural state, I'm assuming you pick by hand, it's all delicately done. And are you leaving out the preservatives or the fining process?

[00:47:24.920] - Speaker 2

Yeah, it's very topical, this topic. There's nothing wrong with mass produce wines and wines with sulph. Sulphur actually comes from the Earth. A little bit of sulph is okay. We choose to make wines with zero additives for the most part. Our reserves, which stay in barrel and we bottle age for a lot longer. It has a touch of sulph in them, but Nine % of our wines have zero additives, no fining, no filtration at all. And basically, as you said, the natural wine movement started because of industrialised wines. You'd be able to take any quality of grape, strip back everything and add it back artificially. But what do you lose in it? You lose the soul of the wine, which is what I believe is the towa, the land of where it comes from. So the Hunter Valley has certain characteristics of that land which will give wine certain flavours. And every time you add something, you can mask one of those natural characteristics. What I want to give you is everything that happened in that vineyard in that year in that bottle. So you're basically drinking the Hunter Valley, essentially. It's a snapshot of time and place.

[00:48:33.950] - Speaker 2

It's a lot harder to make wines in that start because we go for super high quality every step of the way. We were the first people in the Hunter Valley to be making natural wines. I think before the natural wine Moving started in 2008, 2009. But I only produced 20,000 bottles of wine, that's it, as opposed to millions. Because it's so much harder to make my wines. And we sell up before we bottle them.Wow.Yeah, it's all allocated.

[00:48:59.040] - Speaker 1

That's a nice position to be in.

[00:49:00.520] - Speaker 2

It's all allocated. It sells out really quickly. We're at a very exciting time right now. We're about to actually release the new vintage.

[00:49:09.100] - Speaker 1

I'm excited about that. Can you tell me as well, with the bushfires, Australian farming, first of all, we had the drought for a fair few years, and sometimes that's not a bad thing with some wines, depending on what you're doing with it. But then the bushfires, we were able to produce a vintage after the Bushfires.

[00:49:27.980] - Speaker 2

Because I think Hunter Valley is one of the first regions in Australia to pick, like around February, normally. It's exactly right. January, late January, February. Exactly right. So talk about resilience and community getting together. 17, 18, 19, 20 were drought. There were 50 degrees days. I lost more than some years, 60% of my fruit. Then in 2020, with the bushfires, we lost 90% of our fruit. So it has been really, really hard. So I didn't really have a release last year. 2021, which this year, was our first year where we could actually get a really good crop. A lot of rain last year. As I said, we're about to release a new vintage, which is so exciting.It's our It's our first proper release. We have a big party on the 12th of December at PMV. I love it.In Paddington.Yeah..

[00:50:20.730] - Speaker 1

Don't worry, we'll stick that up on the notes, too.

[00:50:22.960] - Speaker 2

But it was a really tough time, man. You have to push through. The whole story of the winery was a story of resilience. I didn't know That was what I was doing in the beginning. I didn't study winemaking. I didn't go do an enology. I learned from trial and error that great people around me. But I remember the first vintage, I spilled all the wine on the floor, all the Shiraz on the floor in between fermenting and pressing. I was just like, I want to come back. I want to go back to Bondi now.

[00:50:51.410] - Speaker 1

Yeah, I'm ready to go home.

[00:50:53.060] - Speaker 2

But that was a real story of persistence, resilience, and pushing with no light at the end of the tunnel. I remember at one At the age of 2011, I was sitting in my car and I was on the phone to one of my grape suppliers with my number one supplier. I was like, I can't take the grapes anymore. It's not working. It's too hard. I didn't make that phone call. But it was just year after year because not only you have to make great wine, but then you have to be unique enough to separate yourself from the pack. Then you have to have branding, and then you have to worry about the vineyards, and then you make the wine, and then all of a sudden, you have to sell the wine as well. It was really, really, really hard. It was so many times when I wanted to quit, but I just kept on going and I kept on going, and I kept on. That's the thing with me. I just keep on pushing. Yeah.

[00:51:41.780] - Speaker 1

Wow. Then in the middle of all that, you would have had your crash as well.

[00:51:46.000] - Speaker 2

I had my accident. I've had a few businesses. I do multiple businesses in one go. I had a big company called Skinny Blonde.We did really, really well.I.

[00:51:57.790] - Speaker 1

Remember that.

[00:51:58.840] - Speaker 2

Yeah, it was me and two other guys in Bondi. We made worldwide news. Did really, really well. I learned one of my best lessons, which I applied to the winery from that.

[00:52:09.770] - Speaker 1

What was that?

[00:52:11.360] - Speaker 2

That business was the more we made, The more money we lost because the core economics when we went into bottle weren't correct. We just didn't have enough margin. We were selling everything wholesale. We got so famous, and we sold, sold, sold, and the business ended up folding. It taught me one of my best. I'm an accountant. I should have known better, but it was make sure that the economics and the margin is always there. I was doing the same thing with the winery. Up until 2013, I'm one person. My dad's always there. He loves it, my father. But it's one person driving this whole thing. I was doing everything wholesale and export. And it was costing me just as much money to make the wine than I was selling it for. Because you have to sell for much more wholesale. And I needed to have a cellar door. It's a big job to have a cellar door. We weren't popular in the Hunter Valley. It's all families in the Hunter Valley. We're on a back street. And I remember my dad telling me, Don't do it. You're crazy. It's not going to work. And I've been around for eight years and no one knew it was in the Hunter Valley.

[00:53:17.020] - Speaker 2

And I remember I built the cellar door and I'm like, Dad, people will come. People will come. I promoted it. And I remember the first day, not one customer, not one person.

[00:53:28.970] - Speaker 1

Did your heart just sink? Sunk.

[00:53:30.640] - Speaker 2

Then I waited the second week and no one came. I said, Okay, I locked the door. I got a bunch of $10 notes. I drove around to other cellar doors and I waited for the... I wasn't stealing anyone. I was waiting for people I'll leave the cellar doors. I stopped in front of the car and said, Wait, what's your name? Melanie. I took it to that $10 note. I wrote your name on it, and I said, This is yours. Come to my cellar door. If you don't have the best wine experience of your life, this is yours. And I'll give you free wine. I'm three minutes dry from here. You can do it. Come. I love it. And they came, and then more came, and then more came and more came away, and it just spread. And today we've got 400 and something five-star reviews on TripAdvisor. We're number one for the whole Hunter Valley. We have 600, 700 people a week, and you can't get in without a booking.What?Yeah.That's insane.It all started with...

[00:54:27.220] - Speaker 1

You handing over a $10. Your tenacity The beauty is just brilliant because it's like, well, if one thing's not working, I'm going to make it work. Again, you're not sitting on your backside going, Someone hand it to me on a silver platter. I'm going to go out there and make this work. That's just something you can't teach people. It's got to come from the inside. A hundred %.

[00:54:47.030] - Speaker 2

I love it. It's called making strawberry jam out of pig shit is what I call it. Story of my life.

[00:54:53.830] - Speaker 1

Wow. I love it. I think that's just amazing. I think there's so much It has to be learned that you've just got to chase it. If you really want it, you got to go for it.

[00:55:05.940] - Speaker 2

If you want something enough, you will get it. That's it. If you have that drive in you, if you want to achieve something, you're the person that's going to stop. But no one else will stop you because people, they get encouraged by you. If you have that passion, they want to join in the passion.It's.

[00:55:22.930] - Speaker 1's magnetic. It's when you have this energy and it's like, Yeah, come on. You see people. It's It gets bigger and bigger and bigger, and it's just... It's yes. It's like people can't say no to that. A hundred %.

[00:55:36.320] - Speaker 2

So I try to use all of that and try to push that in a charity sense as well.

[00:55:41.180] - Speaker 1

It's a big part of my life. I just love that. Even the fact that you want to give away 70 % of your wealth, which means you want to live a great life, but you know where that is for you. And the fact that you don't need all the other BS that could potentially come along with it and that you're happy to help empower other people of lives is just beyond.

[00:56:02.480] - Speaker 2

I think for me, I'm a very unsettled person. I find it hard to concentrate a lot on a focus. I'm all over the bloody place a lot of the time.

[00:56:12.320] - Speaker 1

I was going to ask you later if you're a visionary or an integrator. I don't think I'm going to bother. You're 100% visionary.

[00:56:17.870] - Speaker 2

No, I make things happen. It's a lot of my job is to make things happen. I do that. But what I have to say is that for me, I actually never feel better in my life than helping other people. Another charity I'm involved with is... So with Archangel is when you see a child who's down and out or a child that's been working or a child that's been exposed to female germulation, sold and whose life is just gone and you're able to take them back and Give them an opportunity to change their life and then watch them grow, you're never going to feel better. Or if you're changing lives in any way, you're never going to feel better. If you're doing good in any way, you're never going to feel better. And for me, people think, I've got to do my own charity. I've got to be great. I've got to do this. It's BS. You can change one person's life and be good. And that's for me. That's what it is. And I love helping the most desperate people. I encourage you to come with me every Every Monday, I'm a director of a fantastic charity called Will to Live, and we feed a thousand homeless people a week.

[00:57:22.810] - Speaker 2

Will is exceptional. He's done this for eight years. He's out there 365 days a year. Rain, how shine, Christmas, New Year's, it doesn't matter. And he's changing lives. Every single person, we do a sausage scissor every day of the week. My mum comes with me now on Mondays.Oh, I love that.And we do it together. She's so busy, but she comes, she loves it. I leave there.

[00:57:47.490] - Speaker 1

That's in Sydney?

[00:57:48.660] - Speaker 2

In Sydney, Central Station. We need volunteers. If anyone wants to join, just shoot me an email. I leave there and I feel good about myself. I feel like I've done something something which is going to help somebody else. I pick up people which I have favourites always, and I try to help them. But you feel there's no better feeling in the world. These people go to bed hungry. No one will talk to them that whole day. No one will say hello to them the whole day. It's so sad just to see that. It's so amazing that we can make a difference. It doesn't matter how small, because it could be small to you, but you don't know how big it is for somebody else. Smiling. Just a little smile. A little smile can change someone's life.

[00:58:38.760] - Speaker 1

Say, How are you? How are you going? You change your day when you walk past somebody, and that's from someone who's got a roof over their head and food on the table every day. You have that day and someone just smiles at you walking down the street and says, Good morning. I'm like, Oh, hi. It shifts your energy.

[00:58:52.320] - Speaker 2

Again, it's magnetic.

[00:58:53.240] - Speaker 1

To do that for somebody else, it costs nothing. It's a beautiful thing to be able to give. And your time, when you give someone the quality of time and just a moment, whether it's conversation or helping, it means so much because I know what it means to me. And so giving it to somebody else, you probably required that even more than what I would.

[00:59:17.180] - Speaker 2

A hundred %.

[00:59:17.700] - Speaker 1

It's just the best gift you can give. And it costs nothing except your energy.

[00:59:24.220] - Speaker 2

I agree. And also to add to that, it's like, if you feel bad about yourself in any way, if you feel like you're missing something, purpose, anything. Get out of your head. Come along. You don't know how good it will make you feel. It makes me feel good. All of us are going through things. I'm not perfect. I'm the least perfect person, right? But when I do that, it makes me feel good. And I never feel settled except when I'm giving back or helping. My trips to third-world countries and being in communities with children and meeting elders and helping and knowing that I'm contributing to change someone's life, I never feel more fulfilled in my entire life than that.

[01:00:00.590] - Speaker 1

What a beautiful gift. So heading into the future, moving into 2022, what's on the philanthropy journey for you?

[01:00:11.080] - Speaker 2

I'm super excited. Unfortunately, in Very sadly, starting in Myanmar, where we have Hawk Angel, there's been a coup and the military government's taken over the country and the people are fighting a civil war there. We're going to have to pause our work there. My heart goes out to all those people that were doing so well before that and to see kids and families and teachers. I got an email from a principal there. She's dying of COVID. She needs money. The most amazing Heasing, elegant woman. And I was able to help her. It was so sad just to see, to experience that. So we're launching, though, in Kenya and Laos, one of the boys, which one of the The first kids that I sponsored in Kenya, Africa, on my first trip there in 2013. And we put him through... Back in high school, he was an orphan. He was a very poor kid. And we got him through university. We facilitated his sponsorship. The community Community Development, and we're hoping to launch Harkangel in Kenya and Laos this year. So really, really excited to get that back off the ground again. Yeah. So from Harkangel's perspective, we're going to get back out there.

[01:01:29.550] - Speaker 2

We're going to continue with the 100 Schools and help kids. With Will to Live, my dream has always been to rehabilitate. I'm not going to put bandaids. And feeding is so important because they go to bed hungry. But there's one in 20, one in 30 people which have the opportunity to get their lives back on track. So my dream was, which Will has taken up, and we've got an amazing board, is to do a cafe where it's a not-for-profit cafe. We have a site in Redfin, which we're going to open in four months. We started building. Wow. And we're going to have one homeless person at a time. We're going to house them. We're going to give them psychological help. We're going to teach them a skill, which is to be a barista, work in a cafe. I've got a style person. You're going to help as well. I am.

[01:02:15.310] - Speaker 1

I'm jumping on board for that one.

[01:02:16.820] - Speaker 2

And we're going to try to lift them up enough to be able to push them back out into the world.

[01:02:23.390] - Speaker 1

Just empowering people. Empowering people. I think we've said this a couple of times today, but the way you look and the way you see something, it's not just one dimensional. You know when someone needs to go to work, you need a good night's sleep. To be able to house them at the same time, look at it holistically. Education, empowerment, and then giving them the skills. It's such a nice way. It's a cohesive way of looking at it and really helping someone. They build that confidence and that self-esteem. What would it be to do it? Because you're right, bandaids, there are so many of them, whether it's addiction, whether it's whatever it is in this world. But there's so many bandaids. To get to the root core of the problem and work with someone from the ground up again. Because I remember going to a lot of therapy after I had a few things happen, and I had the funds to be able to do that. Not everyone has $300 a week to go see a counsellor or a life coach or whatever you want to call it. I was fortunate I did, but other people don't.

[01:03:27.740] - Speaker 1

How do you get help? You might get 10 free sessions from Medicare. When people have been through massive trauma, that's often not enough. It's a nice start. But to be able to help them, to be able to house them, give them the basic comforts to build themselves up to take that step back out into the world.

[01:03:48.590] - Speaker 2

Yeah. It's so true what you're saying, and you have to be a holistic approach. I believe Harkangel's motto is every single person is a whole wide It's not the wide world. So if you change one person's life, it's if you're changing the whole wide world. And this is exactly what we're trying to do. We're trying to take one at a time. But the other ones, it's so sad to see people with the most basic things. My poor mum buys socks and underwear every week because you think about a homeless person, what do they lack? Socks and underwear, towels. Their teeth are gone already for the most part. It's sad to see people which they don'tThey don't know where to start.

[01:04:31.210] - Speaker 1

Yeah, they don't.

[01:04:32.910] - Speaker 2

You have a sleeping bag, you have no phone, you got no alcohol issues or addiction issues, which comes with being homeless. Everyone has a story.

[01:04:41.530] - Speaker 1

Everyone has a story.

[01:04:43.050] - Speaker 2

But in the cafe, we also have upstairs, toilets, showers, a washing machine where they can have a shower, wash their clothes, get new clothes. In the back, we're building a commercial kitchen for corporates where we can make meals for homeless people. Anyone come off the street and get a meal. What I love about Will is he's got He's got this mantra where if anyone will line up for food, he doesn't ask them, Do you need food?

[01:05:07.490] - Speaker 1

Because there's weeks where people can just be doing it tough, and they'll feed their kids, and they may not feed themselves.

[01:05:12.400] - Speaker 2

Don't know what someone's going through. Never. Don't judge a book by its colour.

[01:05:16.650] - Speaker 1

Never, never, never.

[01:05:17.390] - Speaker 2

But I'm also speaking at a function. It's called Australia's Longest Lunch.

[01:05:23.580] - Speaker 1

That sounds like fun.

[01:05:25.310] - Speaker 2

Yeah, it's in Kingsland.

[01:05:27.100] - Speaker 1

I like food.

[01:05:28.420] - Speaker 2

It's on March 27th, I work in Brisbane.

[01:05:30.770] - Speaker 1

That's what your talk's about.

[01:05:32.360] - Speaker 2

Sorry. Yeah. I do speak every year for charity. I'm going to talk about basically children's rights in the third world and how we can help children in the third world. I'll give some stories of some children.

[01:05:47.650] - Speaker 1

The longest lunch, that raises money for the-It's child trafficking.

[01:05:54.680] - Speaker 2

Child trafficking, that's it. It's another charity called Project Rescue Children and Heartangel.So all the proceeds will go. That's magnificent. To a harkangel.

[01:06:04.500] - Speaker 1

You're just one good guy, aren't you?

[01:06:06.200] - Speaker 2

Can we clone you? I'm not that good, I promise you. There's a woman called Hayley and her team at Bink. They're putting it on. They're amazing.

[01:06:14.150] - Speaker 1

Oh, that's so great. So we'll put all the details up and a link to that as well if you want to grab tickets to attend the lunch. Come along. You have been an absolute gem to have a chat with. And I really do hope that there's more good people in the world like you. We can all be a great deal.

[01:06:28.230] - Speaker 2

Thank you. You're amazing.Thank.

[01:06:30.180] - Speaker 1


[01:06:30.340] - Speaker 2

For coming.Thank you.

[01:06:31.960] - Speaker 1

Great. Recording. Amazing. All right, Richie, here's our quick fire question. All right, I need a drink first. Are you ready? Hang on. Let's cheers. We've got a new vintage just opened.

[01:06:43.300] - Speaker 2

New vintage, Harkangel Sheraz, 21.

[01:06:44.700] - Speaker 1

Am I first to try this?

[01:06:48.300] - Speaker 2

You are the first. Not released yet.I'm not winning. Cheers.

[01:06:55.830] - Speaker 1

Like? Happiness in a glass. I know. That is good. I'm very fussy with my wine. That's good. It should be. Back to business. This might be more important business. All right. Top three business books.

[01:07:09.410] - Speaker 2

Okay. How to Make Friends and Influence People, Gael Carnegie. Sun Tzu, The Art of War. I haven't read that one. That's a good book to read. Outliers, taught me a lot of lessons.

[01:07:24.850] - Speaker 1

Have you read that book? No, I haven't. It's a great book.

[01:07:27.820] - Speaker 2

Okay. Ten Thousand Hours, Rule, To Master Anything. Yeah, it's a lot of good things.

[01:07:33.240] - Speaker 1

All right. That's going on my list to read. Christmas is coming. Good time to read a book. All right. I'll just wait for that. Best advice you've ever been given and by whom?

[01:07:46.220] - Speaker 2

I've been given a lot of good advice. I think my 105-year-old grandpa, before he passed away. He was 105. He'd give me so much advice. One thing that's really stuck with me, probably growing growing up, he said to me two things constantly. He said, dream big, aim high. The second thing he said was, not everyone's going to like you, but you have to be okay with that. They've just always stuck with me.

[01:08:15.650] - Speaker 1

Good advice. Good advice, grandpa. Favourite quote or mantra?

[01:08:22.680] - Speaker 2

So many quotes and mantras. Can I give you a few?

[01:08:26.710] - Speaker 1

All right. I'll let you have a decent. You're giving me one.

[01:08:29.770] - Speaker 2

Steve My drops, easy one. You can't connect the dots looking forward. You can always connect them looking backwards in life. We don't know what's going to happen in our lives or why things are happening, but when you look back, it's always meant to be very fortuitous for my life. An amazing man I met last year was on my podcast, Eddie Jaco. He passed away just a month ago. I love his quote. He says in his book, Shed Sorrow is half sorrow. Shared Happiness is double happiness. How amazing is that? Probably my two favourite quotes. Hold on, Ramdass. I love Ramdass. He says, We're all just walking each other home. We're all just walking. Moment of moment. We're not here for a long time. I always think about, I nearly died. I came back to life. I always think I'm going to die. I live another 40 years, I'm very conscious. It's only 14,600 days. I know that every day. It just makes Do you really want to live life and play hardest and do what you want to do and play the best you can? Who cares if you're going to not make it because you will make it in something.

[01:09:38.050] - Speaker 1

I like that. Visionary or integrator?

[01:09:43.720] - Speaker 2

Both. I am what I need to be. I get shit done. I put out flies when I need to, but I love being the visionary. But the one thing is when you make wine, you are a visionary and an integrator. But to be a visionary, you need to just be doing that. If you're an integrator, you're doing a little bit of everything. So I do what I need to be, basically. You cross over.

[01:10:04.860] - Speaker 1

Most memorable mentor and why?

[01:10:08.870] - Speaker 2

Most memorable mentor. I think I've had so many amazing mentors at different parts of my life If I think back to my accident, I met a guy called Tony in hydrotherapy. He had a severe car accident. He was hit by a drink driver, and he was left with really brain He had bad brain damage. He had no motor skills, zero motor skills. I was so down, I think, on myself and everything. He was a Joker. He would smile and laugh, but he couldn't move. He'd be in a wheelchair, couldn't ride. But his brain was 100 %, but he couldn't do anything. And he just taught me that what I'm going through is not the worst. I'll be okay. Another one was just lessons that I got from people. Before I was injured, I was really lucky. I met Muhammad Ali, a boxer. I met him at a charity event in Los Angeles. He had really bad Parkinson's at that stage. And I got seated on his table. And I still love Muhammad Ali growing up. I still watch all his videos, his fights, his documentaries. He was just so charismatic and he was the best at what he did.

[01:11:23.770] - Speaker 2

And I really loved him. And here he is, he's sitting next to me. And he couldn't speak at that stage. And he's just pierced. He's had the piercing eyes, just staring at me. I just said to him, Ali, Bumbayé, Ali, which is the rumble in the jungle. And they chanted and he had this big smile in his face. He gave me his fist. I'll give you a photo, you can put it in the notes. I got along with him so well that his sister-in-law, who was a carer, invited me to see him the next day in his hotel. He was sitting there and he was biting on a piece of paper. He had really bad Parkinson's. He was so unwell Well, and he sat with me and he said a few words to me. And later, when I had my accident, I looked back and I remembered him and I thought how courageous he was to be so unwell, but it turned up to a charity event where they would use him and who he is. And he didn't want to be there. He didn't get anything out of it. He wanted to be at home.

[01:12:21.230] - Speaker 2

He travelled there and he did that, and he gave me a lot of strength. But I call mentors from everywhere, speaking mentors, business mentors. I I think it's a very powerful thing to have a mentor because they can guide you through there what went wrong and how to do things, which is what you need. No one can do things on their own. No.

[01:12:39.230] - Speaker 1

We need the guidance. All right. When you speak When you think on resilience, when you do your talks, have you had a response from someone in the audience that's really stuck with you?

[01:12:57.170] - Speaker 2

I have one which is really impact me. The first thing I think about is I was talking to school. I did a lot of schools to start with, and I was thinking, Okay, what am I even doing this right? Am I doing this wrong? Do I want to be here? And this young girl, she was a little bit overweight. This young girl came up to me and she said, After I spoke, I let people come up to me and speak to me. She looked normal, and she said to me, Every day, I don't want to live. I don't want to wake up in the morning. I don't want to get out of bed. I get teased. People don't like me. And hearing Hearing your story gives me strength to keep going, to keep fighting on hearing what you've gone through. And I realised then and then if you change one person, if you're speaking, you connect with one person, you're doing a great job. And I think that that for me was probably the most magical, the most important, the most cut through, cut through to my heart. Knowing that you actually really do make a difference from your experience.

[01:13:59.110] - Speaker 2

You don't know how you feel you say this speech.

[01:14:01.160] - Speaker 1

Yeah, but when you're sharing your experience, it also asks you to be vulnerable about that. Then when someone else in turn gives you back that vulnerability and that openness, that within itself is a gift to know that you're on the right path.

[01:14:15.870] - Speaker 2

But to think this poor young girl gets teased about her weight. She wasn't even much overweight or kids are so… They don't know the impact they're having on bullying.

[01:14:25.840] - Speaker 1

The pain that's caused through bullying and through nastiness.

[01:14:30.210] - Speaker 2

They really made me feel sad for her.

[01:14:32.230] - Speaker 1

To be able to know that in that moment, that little shift, it's like, well, hang on a second. I can get through this. I like it. I like it. All right. Favourite wine you've produced. Pressure.

[01:14:50.330] - Speaker 2

Okay, just because I'm releasing this wine this year, once in every 10 years when the stars align, and it's always at the end of a drought, so It's a 2020 Shiraz, where the vineyard only produces 10% of the yield. What it is producing is super concentrated, super rich, super big. It's an old vine Shiraz. We produced one in 2011, and we have a 2020 and sits in the best barrels for 20 months. Then we age it for three years. It's big, it's concentrated, it's rich, it has so much fruit and primary fruit.

[01:15:27.120] - Speaker 1

I love it. Do you think the 2020 is better than 2011?

[01:15:30.740] - Speaker 2

Of course, I'd say that. I'm still drinking the 2011. It's amazing. The 2020 is just new and fresh. Primary fruit is so big. That's really exciting.

[01:15:41.210] - Speaker 1

Can I find that on your website?

[01:15:43.020] - Speaker 2

No, it's been privately sold. We can drink We can drink a bottle together.

[01:15:46.310] - Speaker 1

We can drink a bottle together. I need to be in the inner circle. How do you start your day?

[01:15:53.250] - Speaker 2

Okay, this is a good one. I don't sleep much. I'm one of those people. I only sleep like Five and a half to six hours a day. I always wake up between, okay, if I'm not drinking or having a big dinner or an event, but generally, the majority of time, I wake up between 4:30 and 5:00. 05:00 AM. Every day in my life is rehab. I've been given the gift of walking again, and I work hard to keep that. It's always about putting muscle on my leg, getting better every day. A big part of that is yoga. So today, I actually did gym at 05:00 AM. I did a 90-minute gym session, and then I did nine minutes of yoga an hour later. I started my day at 9:00, but I do meditation afterwards. So I do gym, some walking, yoga, which is my breath work, meditation. You walk out of there and I feel like you own the day. And you own the morning, you own the day. If I ever have something which is really tough in my life and I need a problem solved, and this is a little hint I give to people, I wake up before other people.

[01:17:01.810] - Speaker 2

In the morning, your brain has the most energy, it's proven to solve your biggest issues. A lot of things get harder as the day gets along because you lose a lot of brain energy. So I use that superpower because everyone else is sleeping and I'm awake and I can conquer in the morning.

[01:17:17.930] - Speaker 1

The 4 AM superpower. We need some cape with that on. 4 AM superpower. Who inspires you?

[01:17:26.460] - Speaker 2

I like what you said before. I actually I draw inspiration from everybody. I really come into the world and I try to have really open eyes. I got inspired by a homeless person the other day. What he has to go through every single day of his life to survive. I get inspired by the people, the families that I help in Myanmar, in Kenya, that they struggle to feed their families. My parents inspire me, my friends inspire I look for the good in everyone, and I look for the inspiration in every single person I come across. I try to learn something from everyone.

[01:18:08.010] - Speaker 1

Nice answer. If you were to study in the future, what would you study?

[01:18:14.710] - Speaker 2

I just did a wine course, my W-Set 3. I've never formally studied wine. I love to go back and do maybe some more chemistry or a wine subject to try to get a little bit of that formal study under my belt. Yeah. But if not, that I'd say philosophy. I love to learn.

[01:18:35.960] - Speaker 1

Yeah. I want to study geology.

[01:18:37.970] - Speaker 2

Geology? Wow.

[01:18:39.510] - Speaker 1


[01:18:40.250] - Speaker 2


[01:18:41.370] - Speaker 1

But only through studying wine. It's the same thing. Because you're understanding the terroir. And it just... I always think, I can't wait. And I'm just going to sit there and study geology.

[01:18:52.750] - Speaker 2

It just fascines me. This is amazing. Yeah, very cool.

[01:18:57.010] - Speaker 1

Top three things you'd like to achieve in the next five Definitely roll out Hark Angel worldwide.

[01:19:06.940] - Speaker 2

We've been struggling because of COVID. I think Hark and Wines, I've been trying to do this pool club, bigger cellar door expansion in the Hunter for six years.Wow.Pool club.Pool club.

[01:19:23.880] - Speaker 1

Is it the right temperature up there?

[01:19:25.880] - Speaker 2

Yeah, it's really hot. I'd like to see that happen. And then I think as well, I've just really said I've got eight brothers and sisters. Not everyone's as successful as I am. I want to start them on their passive investing journey. I'd love to get them going. And maybe even very simple to pull it back, I suppose I'd like to maybe find love and start a family in my life. I think you've achieved a lot.

[01:19:55.310] - Speaker 1

Nice things to have on your five-year time golf. Richie Harkam, thank you very much.

[01:20:01.850] - Speaker 2

Thank you, Mel.

[01:20:02.840] - Speaker 1

Thanks for joining me for this episode of Learning Without Limits. I'm Melanie Bernicke. Catch you next time.


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