What would you do if you could do anything?
Garrett Gee found out for himself at 25 years old when he sold his company, Scan, to Snapchat for $54 million.
His journey began just years earlier as a new student at BYU in Utah, when he had bought his first smartphone. He wanted an app to scan products and compare prices. So he decided to make one.
There was no app building class at the University, so he joined graphic design and computer science classes to learn the skills he needed.
He attended one course three times, and his Professor, John Richards said “When I asked him why, he said, ‘Because I am here for an education, not a degree.’ He didn’t know what the word ‘entrepreneur’ meant when he met me in the first class.”
Garrett got two senior students, Ben Turley and Kirk Ouimet to join him: “I was that naive freshman who had a cool idea but didn’t know anything, and they were both the legit seniors with awesome reputations of being the best on campus.”
He offered them shares in his ‘company’ and 3 months later, Scan was launched. Garrett recalls the way the app took off: “At first I was just excited to have something that I had thought of, designed and worked on live in the app store. I thought that was cool. If the story would have ended there I was feeling pretty good about myself.”
“When it started to get downloads I thought that 2,000 was cool; I thought 10,000 was crazy, and then it just got to the point where I thought that this was out of control when it started to get a download every second.”
He pitched the app on Shark Tank in 2013. He failed to get funded by the Sharks, but kept knocking on doors, from Menlo Ventures, to Facebook, to Lady Gaga. His perseverance paid off, and Garrett raised $7 million. Just a year later in Dec 2014, Snapchat bought Scan for $54 million.
The story could end there, but that’s where it starts.
With the money in the bank, Garrett and his wife, Jessica, wrote down seven life goals:
1. Become closer as a marriage and family.
2. Be good friends to the people in our lives.
3. Live a life of service and compassion.
4. Learn to find happiness with less.
5. Become more open minded and open hearted.
6. Love and respect nature and the planet.
7. Create life long memories.
With these goals, they decided to leave the money in the bank, travel the world and give back to others.
Garrett says “A new house and cars didn’t feel right. We didn’t need that stuff. So we started joking about putting our money in savings, selling everything and using those funds to travel the world. Where would we go? What would we do? And as we began to add more plans to our bucket list, it just became real.”
They sold all their belongings in a garage sale and Garrett says: “We will travel until that runs out. Perhaps some of my entrepreneurial skills will come into play and I’ll figure out a way to make that money stretch further and further.”
“Or, if I’m really good, $45K will give me enough time to make our travels fuel themselves, or better yet, profitable. Anything is possible, right?”
They are now budget travelling around the world with their two young children: Garrett says “I believe the best way to show gratitude for the blessings in life is humility, and one of the best ways to show humility is to live frugally.”
In the last year, they have travelled to Tonga, Tahiti, Fiji, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, Fiji, Hawaii, Bahamas, and now around America.
They set up a blog, a Youtube channel and Instagram account called “The Bucket List Family” and they are giving back to help families in need everywhere they go. They’ve volunteered with charities as they travel, and bought local artisan wares and given them away on their social media channels.
Jessica says “We are always looking at ways we can help others, rather than focusing on ourselves. We want to pay it forward.”
Every week the Gee Family keep giving back, living in the moment, and paying forward (This week they just gave away a trip to the Bahamas to a family and posted the surprise visit on YouTube).
The magic of their story is while it took the million dollar payday to make them think what they could do if they could do anything, they’re still just living off the money they made selling what they already had.
It wasn’t getting rich that made them rich.
It wasn’t the money that changed everything.
It was writing down their life goals – and living them now.
What are yours?