Travis Fernandez has done more in his 23 years than most people manage in their lifetime.
The Mount Annan business owner was recognised as one of 25 finalists in the 2018 Young Entrepreneur Sydney awards last month.
The awards celebrate people less than 40 years of age who “have contributed to economic prosperity and built successful businesses” in Sydney.
Fernandez certainly fits the bill.
The former Ruse resident built his martial arts business from a single class held at Green Valley community hall, to a franchise with seven locations across two countries.
“When I was 12 years old my brother Terrence – who was 18 at the time – and I realised we were not making enough money through fundraising to pay for our trip overseas to compete in martial arts,” he said. “So we decided to start a business in the community hall. Eleven years later and we have more than 500 students.”
Martial Arts Spirit can now be found in Mount Annan, Prestons, Carnes Hill, Plumpton, Drummoyne, Green Valley and Tahiti.
Mr Fernandez said if he hadn’t found martial arts as a child, he could have gone down a dark path.
He hopes his business can encourage other kids to lead positive lives.
Mr Fernandez also runs a second business, Hidden Leaf Productions.
The videography company compiles videos for weddings, charity groups, organisations and more.
Mr Fernandez said he had reached success through constant efforts to keep learning.
“I studied at university and attended a lot of business seminars,” he said.
“I watched YouTube tutorials from successful business owners and I reached out to a lot of other businesses to ask what worked for them and how they achieved success. I am always trying to educate myself.”
Mr Fernandez had some advice for other young people looking to find success in business.
“Find something you love and chase that passion with everything you’ve got,” he said. “If you are happy doing it, then you are doing the right thing.”