Dr David Dugan was working in the Australian Navy and running
multiple businesses on the side, but witnessing a natural disaster
finally gave him the wake up call to leave his full-time job and
become a business coach and mentor. From having zero clients
to mentoring hundreds, David made a series of decisions that led
him to build a solid seven-figure coaching business. The following
are some of his key decisions.
Since 2000, David Dugan had been mentoring the leaders of leaders as an executive
coach in the Australian Navy, and he also operated multiple businesses on the
side such as a dental practice and asset protection company.
However, he wasn’t planning to leave his full-time job until he encountered a
After witnessing the disaster, David realised that he’d gone as far as he could in
the military, and he wanted to grow and live out his purpose even more. Around
that time, David met Roger Hamilton, a futurist and social entrepreneur.
“At the time I wasn’t sure whether I should try stock market trading, sell property
or launch an online business… But instead of trying to follow many different ways
to create wealth through other people’s journeys, Roger got me to focus on my
strengths, which lay in my network and leadership. Just having an awareness of
this helped me to simplify my options, leave the Navy and pursue something even
David combined two things he loved doing, coaching and business; and embarked
on a career as a business coach. However, the start was rocky: his wife had just
given birth to their first baby and stopped earning income, his house sucked out
all of the family’s cash reserves through a major renovation, and David had to
cover the ongoing monthly cost of $10,000 for his property portfolio. Just as a
plane only takes off against a headwind, David used the pressure to succeed.
David reached his target of $10,000 within the first couple of months, and soon,
through his one-on-one coaching, he made over $180,000 in his first year. However,
he knew his business model wasn’t scalable as he could only take on so many
people at any one time.
Joining Crystal Circle, a high-level mentoring group for entrepreneurs led by
Roger, helped him move his business to the next level. Roger asked him the simple
question: ‘What is truly important to you?
“The question got me thinking, and I had a realisation that entrepreneurs are
ordinary people doing extraordinary things - just like the people I served with in
the navy. They shared the same spirit, skills, and mindset. Both groups were putting
it all on the line and worked together to achieve the common goal. The only
difference being those who served in the military had the huge support of the
government whilst entrepreneurs had nothing. I wanted to be that support for
With Roger’s guidance, David channeled his military experience and understanding
of what it means to operate on the highest level into his coaching. He decided
to offer support to the most innovative risk-takers, the entrepreneurial elite, by
introducing group coaching, mentoring and events.
By becoming clear on what he stood for and how he wanted to be seen, David
began to attract a greater number of clients and quickly doubled his business. The
success came from his clients.
As a solopreneur, David was experiencing great growth but over revved the ‘work’
engine before switching gears and growing his team.
Initially, David worked with consultants on a project basis, which gave the business
a significant step forward; it was also critical to bridging the gap to having full-time
team members. Over the course of 18 months,
David hired a full-time PA, Business Manager, second coach, and a part-time events
producer and graphic designer. He is currently looking to hire a third coach and an
administrative assistant. Establishing the right team helped David to get his time
back and focus on the company’s growth and vision whilst achieving even better
results for his clients. A testimony to his clients’ results is seeing his clients’ average
year-on-year profit rise by 274% last calendar year.
“When we started Elite500, we’d have around 30 entrepreneurs coming to our
events, and the number of clients was just under two dozen. Now, we have 170
entrepreneurs attending our events, and by the end of the year, we’ll have over 200
entrepreneurs in attendance. Our core product went exclusively from one-on-one
sessions to the combination of group mentoring and one-on-one sessions.”
David is currently launching a Board of Directors programme that is designed for
entrepreneurs who have matured in their businesses, need a higher level of mentoring,
and are scaling their businesses. He has also increased his revenue tenfold
with a year-on-year growth rate of over 35%. Such growth has put the business
solidly in seven figures.
“With our current momentum, we are expecting our business to triple in the next
two years, our team to increase by 50%, and we will introduce two more products
which will be more leveraged and training oriented.”
In addition to his business goals, David has a clear sense of mission and purpose.
“Entrepreneurs are the backbone of every country in the world. They employ more
people, take bigger risks, and are the innovators. United, this wave of entrepreneurs
will create positive change for the planet. We know social entrepreneurship is a critical
component and that’s why we introduced the fourth 500 milestone: inspiring
entrepreneurs to take their businesses to the level where they donate $500,000 to
worthy causes. We’re building a global community of likeminded entrepreneurs
who are creating a world of abundance. They are building a legacy that will allow
our children and future generations to grow and flourish.”
What can you do today to bring more meaning and purpose to your life?
What have you been wanting to start but haven’t yet found the time, courage, or motivation?