David Bookman is the Co-Founder of Buttons Support Services- a disability support work marketplace, connecting people with a disability to young and passionate support workers in the community, to see if you’d be interested in interviewing him for the podcast.
David discovered his passion for all things disability awareness, advocacy and equal opportunity, while working as a private disability support worker. He felt compelled to drive change and support those who need the right opportunities to succeed and thrive. While there was existing agency presence within the disability space, David noticed a gap in adequate equal advocacy for both participants and support workers, as well as appropriate matchmaking services between the two in a way that builds sustainable connections. As such, David and his co-Founder Ryan created a service that encourages young people to get involved in the disability space, as well as matching support workers to participants in a way that is appropriate, honest and supportive.
Thank you for joining us here at The Corporate Escapists. Please introduce yourself to our reader. They love to know about you, your passion, and how you came to find and follow your passion.
I discovered my passion for all things disability awareness, advocacy and equal opportunity, while working as a private disability support worker at Flying Fox – a not-for-profit that provides life changing social opportunities for people with special needs. Through their camps, I learnt how to be myself and have fun and how that is a superpower in itself. I co-founded Buttons Support Services because I want others to unlock their superpower.
Bob Proctor once quoted ‘To believe in the things you can see and touch is no belief at all. But to believe in the unseen is both a triumph and a blessing”. How important is it to you to have the belief within one’s self?
Self-belief is the foundation for growth. It can help one uncover and identity opportunities, find creative solutions, and with self-belief, you grant yourself permission to make mistakes because you know you’ll learn from them in order to move forward. Self-belief also really helps with staying motivated and consistent in whatever you are pursuing.
Although it is also important not to be overly confident as well, we all need to be self-aware. At Buttons, our motto is “we have confidence in knowing what we know as well as the confidence in what we don’t know”. It allows us to understand better when to back ourselves in or seek out help and feedback.
Tell us what the word “Entrepreneur” means to you?
An entrepreneur is someone who looks at the world to solve problems through creative thinking, cultivating culture and hard work. While the road to entrepreneurship is often filled with unexpected detours, roadblocks, financial risks and dead ends, an entrepreneur does not lose sight of the problem they are trying to solve. Some of the qualities that entrepreneurs share are grit, determination and perseverance.
What has been one of the biggest business ideas you have had and how did you have the trust and hope within yourself to implement it?
Starting Buttons was by far my most ambitious business idea. My co-founder Ryan and I never really had discussions on whether we thought we could execute the idea – it was either assumed or it didn’t matter, because we were going to give it our all regardless. Having existing professional experience in the disability sector, a great support network to encourage us, and us still being at uni students who had a higher risk tolerance – it was the perfect mix in hindsight to kick-off Buttons.
Running your own business can be scary. Success requires moments of trust and hope to push through to the next level. Tell us one of the moments you have had to push through to take your business to the next level?
We went through a process of raising capital which was incredibly educational and academic. It really forced us to get out of our comfort zone and pitch Buttons – something we feel very passionate about, to investors, who were strangers to us. However instead of viewing the process as a challenge, we saw it as an opportunity to bring on the right people to share our Buttons journey with. Being able to recognise the highs and lows in running a business and living with a balanced view is a really healthy approach.
What is your favourite quote about inspiration?
I have two favourite quotes that inspire me everyday.
“What man actually needs is not a tensionless state but rather the striving and struggling for some goal worthy of him”, by Viktor Frankl
“Life is very short and anxious for those who forget the past, neglect the present, and fear the future”, by Seneca.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to start their own business?
If you can start a business out of your own sense of purpose, it’s a great start because that purpose will become your primary driver throughout. If that’s not possible, I strongly advise to find great people or mentors and learn as much as possible from them. It is really important to have trusting individuals around you who can provide input and steer you in the right direction. Also, it is fulfilling when you can share the journey with others who believe in you and support you. I wouldn’t be where I am without my co-founder – Ryan. I can’t praise his qualities enough, so find yourself a Ryan.