Mike Smith lived up to nobody’s expectations. He is a skateboarder from a town of 2,000 people, and he barely graduated from high school. Now, he is a motivational speaker, founder of the nonprofit Skate for Change, founder of a skatepark, creator of an online television show. And, he has an amazing story of how a hole-in-one putting challenge launched his career. Ask him sometime.
BS: What are you working on now?
MS: I just sold my TV show [ The Harbor] to Jostens, which means over 27,000 high schools across the US, Canada, and 42 countries are going to have access to my new school web-based show.
Also in April I’m going on a 30 day long Wienerschnitzel tour called Hot Dogs for the Homeless with the goal to give away 50,000 hot dogs to rescue shelters all across the United States and raise money for Skate for Change chapters.
BS: What are the risks you take with your work?
MS: I think the key to everything that I do is to continue to take risks. My whole goal with everything I’ve done is to be not just a step ahead but maybe a step and a half ahead of everyone in my industry. I want to continue to push not only my nonprofit organization but push myself personally as I continue to figure out ways to inspire young people and ways to create new companies.
BS: I think you fall solidly into the “everyone is creative” camp. What do you wish more people would do with their creativity?
MS: I think one of the saddest things I see today is everyone is so afraid. They’re afraid of trying, they’re afraid of putting themselves out there, they’re fearful of what it takes to actually go for it. I think I would love to see more people sacrifice their time and talents and the money to make their dreams come true.
BS: Who are your collaborators and co-conspirators, and how do they influence you?
MS: I have an insane team of people that believe not only what I do believe – in the power of the things that we can create together. Friends that own clothing companies like RUCKUS apparel, my friends over at Wienerschnitzel, the team at Dude Be Nice & Yea.Nice, SecretPenguin & RoRoFlix.
All of those companies my friends own. And it inspires me so much to work with people who created something from nothing just like I’ve done.
BS: What lesson keeps appearing in your life?
MS:I think how hard you’re willing to work and how you treat people along the way is a lesson I continue to learn. I have in no way have perfected this, but I continue to strive to make sure that I’m hard-working and treat people well. It’s at the top of the things that I do each day!
See Mike’s website.
– More interviews