Robbie Dickson is living the dream. At the age of 39, Dickson has turned his love of Lamborghinis into numerous business ventures. Proof positive that you can make your dream a reality.
Dickson was recently featured in The Huffington Post providing lessons as a serial entrepreneur. I was able to grab his attention via email to pick his brain on living a dream.
Some of his ventures include Firgelli Automations, Attivo Designs, and co-founding the Canadian version of the Bullrun Rally (The old folks here will remember Cannonball Run).
Dickson is also the co-founder of Area27, a Formula One racetrack and driving school in Okangagan. Along the way, Dickson has had his shares of victories as well as setbacks. According to him, determination and following his passion was able to lead him to success.
“I was brought up in a very rough part of the UK, during the miners’ strikes where typically there was little chance of a job let alone a career. My poster on the bedroom wall of a Lamborghini seemed to be just a fantasy, but I promised myself one day I would have one. It was pretty tough to get out of that place and break away from small town mentality and think big picture, big plans and big business.”
Dickson was able to break away and follow his dream. It was after his move to Vancouver Canada where things became reality.
“My dream of owning a Lamborghini became my passion for auto racing,” says Dickson. “When I moved to Vancouver I realized we had no real racetrack to use which is when I met Bill Dorosso who had this crazy dream of building a Formula One racetrack.”
Dickson hooked up with Dorosso for what would eventually become Area-27, a full size racetrack built in BC’s Okangagan wine country.
“The track was to be designed by Canadian F1 legend Jacques Villeneuve who also had a dream of designing his own F1 track,” adds Dickson. “The match was perfect, so a group of fellow gear heads like myself created Area-27 (27 is Jacques Villeneuve race number).”
Dickson attributes success partially to finding the right people. He believes empowering them helps lead to ultimate success of any venture.
“Finding good people you trust is always, for me, the hardest part of starting a business. I hire smart people so they can tell me what to do. Some employees don’t feel comfortable doing that but when it works it works amazingly well, and when you find good ones you take care of them. However, finding them is not easy; it’s a certain personality type you’re looking for.”
Investing in the wrong people can also lead to setbacks according to Dickson
“I invested in one project that didn’t go anywhere, not because it was a bad idea but because it was ran by people who were not the right people for the task. I lost a lot of money over it but it was one of my earlier placements and I was still learning how to invest in other people.”
In addition to investing in the right people, Dickson believes that following something you enjoy can help you with success.
“Entrepreneurship is about turning what excites you in life into capital, so that you can do more of it and move forward with it. A business is simply an idea to make other people’s lives better, but you won’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing and by falling over.”