John C. Maxwell once said that “Leadership is not about titles, positions or flowcharts. It is about one life influencing another.” This quote was set into practical by Drew Goodall and its outcome was positive.
Drew Goodall is a rich businessman in the shoe-shining industry and the owner of “Sunshine Shoeshine” who lives comfortably earning an annual turnover of 250,000 pounds. Drew had not always had things rosy and his journey to entrepreneurship was a result of his failed acting career.
In his late twenties after getting his degree in acting from the London Academy of Performing Arts (LAPA), Drew’s passion for acting lead him to take roles in blockbusters such as Snatch and About a boy starring Harry Grant. However, his early career success in acting started to dry up under the pressure of cruel reviews from a newspaper in the play of Marat/Sade which made him suffer a severe loss of confidence and eventually, loss of money.
Drew had the option of returning to his parent’s house, but he couldn’t because he felt that if he did, he would be admitting that his dream was dead. So instead, he stayed on his own. After a while, he was evicted from his house because he ran out of money and couldn’t afford his rent.
For about six months in 2001, Drew slept in old, wet cardboard on the streets and begged for food in order to survive. He was occasionally assaulted by drunks and other homeless people. Drew described his experience during this period as “brutal”. He was in the worst state of his life which had him suffering from depression in addition to homelessness.
However, his life turned around when a commuter encouraged him to try shining shoes to earn a living. Using his last saved money from begging, he bought a brush and a tin of polish which he used to shine shoes of wealthy businesspeople walking by.
While trying carefully to evade authorities who used ridiculous laws in penalizing homeless people, Drew spent six months polishing shoes on the streets of London. Because of his hard work and dedication, one of his regular customers offered to let him set up a tiny shop in the lobby of his office. This proved to be a formative moment for Drew, and he began to make money which eventually took him off the streets.
Drew decided to expand his one-man operation into a real business by employing other homeless people or people who have special needs. His expansion eventually led to the launching of Sunshine Shoeshine in 2012.
Now, Drew employs a team of eight people while earning annual turnover of 250,000 pounds (over $280,000). In addition to employing only the homeless and special needs people, Drew donates a significant portion of his earnings to charities which he uses to remind himself of the position he was once in.