Nic Bevan is an energetic young businessman with a go-get-em attitude, carving out an impressive career as a creative entrepreneur in Mandurah.
The owner of multiple small businesses changing the local entertainment scene and helping to establish collaboration, he is also a DJ, avid traveller, skilled photographer and a much-loved mentor.
Turning 25 this year, Nic is one of the bright young minds behind events companies, Ugly DJ Co and Lost x Found Community.
He is driven, full of ideas and focused on turning Mandurah into a hub of fun things to do for young people, by young people.
Nic is the fourth profile in the new Mandurah Millennials on a Mission series, as we meet the young people from around the region helping to shape a new narrative.
The series aims to provide an insight into some of the fresh new talent who have grown up in our great city, and are just getting started making a name for themselves.
Introducing Nic Bevan
I met up with Nic and his business partner, Ollie Bazzani, at Scott's Garage where I interviewed them both last month.
Chatting with this dynamic duo for the first time, I never even knew the building above Spurs restaurant on the eastern foreshore existed.
But, since discovering the epic location and the awesome events on offer there this summer, I've been a bunch of times and loved every second.
These guys have vision and really have created something special for Mandurah.
Scott's boasts iconic views of the Mandurah Bridge, water as far as the eye can see and might just be one of the best places in Mandurah to watch the sun go down.
But, this latest business venture is just one of many Nic has already notched on his belt as a young entrepreneur about town.
I went to school at Frederick Irwin with Nic and remember buying a choccie milk or two off him from the store at the local train station.
While I like to think I've kept up pretty well with all of his endeavours since leaving school, it still surprises me just how much I didn't know.
All the behind the scenes work behind his projects, gigs that never quite got off the ground, a terrifying wake up call that threatened to end his career before it really began.
As I sit down to chat with Nic, I learn a lot very quickly and take the opportunity with both hands to dig a little deeper into the path that led him to this point.
And the most exciting part is, he's only just getting started.
'I've lived in Mandurah my whole life'
Growing up in our relatively sleepy coastal city, Nic describes life in Mandurah as pretty chilled out.
"I thought of it as this place for an 18-year-old kid to have fun and not really care too much about life," Nic said.
He would hang out with friends and go to parties, never taking things too seriously.
But he would also develop a lifelong love for entrepreneurship.
"I was 13 when I first started working at the kiosk in the Mandurah Train Station, mainly stocking fridges," he laughed.
"My neighbours owned that store and my parents had their own small business together, so I've been involved in small business from a very young age.
Growing up, I was surrounded by this small business environment and it's something I took a shining to.
"Growing up, I was surrounded by this small business environment and it's something I took a shining to."
After graduating high school, he went straight to Murdoch University to study exercise physiology.
This takes me by surprise after having just heard about his passion for hustling in the business world.
I think Nic can see the confusion cross my face as he quickly adds the degree didn't last long - a year to be exact.
"I liked it but didn't really see it as a career path," he said.
"I really enjoyed all the skills I had learned at the train station in a small business - that was something I was super interested in."
'I rolled the dice' ... twice
So, Nic rolled the dice and took on a commerce degree at Curtin University instead.
Which lasted less than six months.
"I felt like I was going to class and they were just teaching me how to put on my suit and tie each day to catch the train and live that office life," he said.
"Having worked at the train station for six years, I was dealing with those people on a daily occurrence and they did not look like they were living a happy life so that was a red flag for me.
"Obviously mum and dad have these expectations that you go to uni, get a degree, get a good job but it just wasn't for me."
So, he rolled the dice again.
"At that point, I was managing two out of four of my neighbours' small businesses and I was really enjoying working," Nic said.
"I spoke to the owners and they said they would mentor me and give me the opportunities to learn more about small businesses and I ended up managing all four of their small businesses."
A passion project
Along the journey of figuring out what to do for the rest of his life (a daunting task for the lot of us), Nic started what he called a 'passion project' with best mate, Andrew Britton - Ugly DJ Co.
Oh you've heard of Ugly? That's because this 'passion project' went on to become a game changer in Mandurah's entertainment industry.
Which was so much more than Nic or Andy ever anticipated.
"We both loved music and started DJing in people's backyards. For some reason I had a bunch of lighting equipment and he had the speakers, decks and could DJ, so we decided to do something with it," Nic said.
"That really took off, which was very unexpected because it was just something we both loved."
The super successful events company started providing the tunes for all sorts of gigs around town and in Perth - from private functions to nightclubs and everything in between.
Ugly really started to grow and expand to include themed parties and collaborations as it changed the landscape of things to do for young people in Mandurah.
It seemed like every weekend there was a Could be Good or a Frankie's gig, which both fell under the Ugly banner.
"I don't think there was necessarily a gap in the entertainment sphere in Mandurah because, when we started the Ugly events, Hooch was in its prime and that was a real feature event in Mandurah," Nic said.
"But we were quite good friends with the guys that started Hooch and we thought it would be awesome to start something similar ourselves.
"The events were doing really well and we got it to a point where it was starting to provide a nice little income for us, so we started a couple of other different projects along the way."
Cue the beginning of Lost x Found Community - a business that aims to encourage collaboration between creatives to help them achieve their best work.
It also hosts a totally different array of epic events around Mandurah, many of which I have been to, that always deliver on good music, good people and good vibes.
Ugly is naughty and a little bit rebellious but has a bit more freedom to be a bit mischievous. LxF is Ugly's older, more mature brother but still fun.
Nic started the venture with his business partner, Ollie Bazzani, after the pair met in 2014 to discuss any entrepreneurial opportunities to work together.
Things had just started to ramp up with Ugly but Nic took on the exciting new project anyway, and said the two initiatives complemented each other nicely.
"Ugly is naughty and a little bit rebellious but has a bit more freedom to be a bit mischievous," he said.
"LxF is Ugly's older, more mature brother but still fun."
Describing themselves as "movers and shakers", through Lost x Found Nic and Ollie have done everything from raising the profiles of young DJs to play at the popular festival, Groovin' The Moo, to helping local cafes with marketing and social media.
A real wake up call
In my head, I am only imagining the kind of schedule Nic is trying to juggle working full time and running two companies that are just starting to take off.
Most of us can barely do just one of those things.
But Nic said it was a struggle for him at first too, before it almost claimed his life.
"I would start work at 4.30am every morning and work all day then Ugly started off as a Friday night event so I would do that and not get home til 6am the next morning - 26 odd hours later," he said.
"I had an incident one day where I fell asleep driving home and clipped the curb. Thankfully, I was alright but it was a literal wake up call for me.
"I was doing too much and needed to work out a bit more of a balance."
I was doing too much and needed to work out a bit more of a balance.
Following the frightening experience, Nic had to weigh up his options for his future and make a tough decision.
Continue with managing his neighbours' small businesses or pursue his own entrepreneurial endeavours?
"As a young naive boy, I decided to quit my job because Ugly was making me money and was a whole lot more fun than work," he laughed.
"Obviously those conversations with mum and dad were challenging at the time but, looking back on it, I made the right decision.
"It's definitely not taken the path I thought it would when we started but couldn't have turned out any better way."
Hurdles to overcome
Nic admits that while his career might appeal to those seeking more of a fun work/life balance, it isn't always easy.
Some of the challenges thrown his way have included working with difficult venues, chasing invoices and self-discipline.
"There's no accountability - you're not reporting to a boss or manager or someone who is telling you to have something done by whenever," he said.
"If you're being lazy or not getting your work done, ultimately that's going to reflect at some point in time.
"The other side to that coin is if you're not busy and getting results, what you're earning is based on the effort that you're putting in."
And while he said the events and programs his companies ran were always a lot of fun, you also have to put in that daily grind of hard work to enjoy the end result.
"People just see the events on the day but there can be a six week marketing plan prior to that and a couple of weeks time to get all the assets organised," Nic said.
"Then there's all the tried and failed events in there too because they don't all work out.
"And we have creative blocks all the time, especially when deadlines are coming."
But he wouldn't want to be doing anything else.
Or be in any other place than beautiful Mandurah, which he said he will continue to work hard to transform into a city of collaboration and creativity.
We want Mandurah to be a place that makes the most of its natural beauty but also has that vibrant city pulse.
"It's a balance between country and city - a peaceful coastal town but also a vibrant place with so much happening and lots to do," he said.
"Something that comes up in conversation all the time, particularly with small business owners here, is that so many people catch the train to Perth every weekend to go and do things - why can't people catch the train down here to spend a day, an evening, the weekend down here?
"We want Mandurah to be a place that makes the most of its natural beauty but also has that vibrant city pulse."
The next Mandurah Millennials on a Mission profile will take a dive into the life of one of Ugly's first DJs, who has since gone on to play to thousands of music lovers on Western Australia's biggest stage.