Geoff Brown was working part time as a TAFE teacher in Bendigo. He quit.
Now he owns a successful publishing business, hosts ghost tours at an asylum and works with Hollywood director Tim Miller.
So how did he do it? What was the tipping point for Geoff and his partner Dawn throwing in their seemingly mundane jobs to follow their passions?
Stuck in a rut, Geoff took a risk.
“I was working part time at TAFE and studying full time to get an Austudy income when we decided to take a risk, work for ourselves and build something sustainable,” he said.
In 2014, Geoff and his partner Dawn Roach had established Cohesion Press – a small press publishing house that was operated out of their Bendigo lounge room. Cohesion Press focused on the horror genre.
On the side they also ran horror writer retreats at Aradale Asylum in Ararat and Beechworth Asylum.
“The business was doing okay. We had good writers for eBooks but were lucky enough to be taken on by a US distributor,” Geoff said.
“Then we got a call from the owner of Beechworth Asylum who offered to sell the business to us.
“We talked about it, decided to give it a go and moved to Beechworth at the end of 2015.
“It was scary as hell and we were taking a big risk but we decided if we didn’t give it a go we would be kicking ourselves.”
Geoff said it took a lot of hard work and long hours to make their new venture work.
“We renamed it and had to work hard to make people realise it was a new business. In the first 10 months we worked 12-hour days, seven days a week,” he said.
Beechworth Asylum’s ghost tours is now a sustainable business as is Cohesion Press, which has continued to grow.
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It has grown so much that Geoff has been working as a story consultant to Deadpool director Tim Miller.
“His PA got in touch and said Tim had read our SNAFU horror anthologies. They are very niche military, action-based horror stories,” Geoff said.
“He is working on a new animated concept and thought I had a similar creative vision to him in regards to what makes a good story.
“So he asked me to cull a pile of stories and let him know what he needs to read. I’m trying to pick out the gems for him.”
So four years after Geoff threw in his teaching job, is he ahead of his goals?
“At this point we are bringing in enough form the publishing business to support ourselves,” he said.
“We were looking at seven to 10 years to be sustainable, so we are very proud and know we have worked hard to do the very best we can.”
Geoff encouraged people considering following a passion as a career to take the risk.
“You need to be able to take the risk but at the highest possible standard,” he said.
“Learn the industry standards and exceed them.”