Bali: a picture-postcard scene. Golden beaches, palm trees swaying in the breeze, surfers emerging from the waves with sun-kissed skin. Brian Swan walks along the shoreline, surfboard in hand, seemingly without a care in the world. Years ago, the former robotics engineer swapped his unfulfilling 9 to 5 for an uncharted career as an online entrepreneur. In 2008, along with his wife, Rhonda Swan, the Unstoppable brand was born. Collectively, the Swan family, including daughter, Hanalei, became known as the ‘Unstoppable Family‘. The ‘Unstoppable Branding Agency‘, led by CEO, Rhonda, continues to collect accolades, including a top 7 ranking in Forbes magazine’s, ‘Top….firms for entrepreneurs in 2021.’ Brian’s most recent, solo venture, ‘Unstoppable Beard’, saw the launch of a range of sustainable, eco-friendly products for beard care. The brand is yet another homage to Brian’s respect and concern for the natural world. As a surfer, he knows only too well the toll that pollution has taken on the worlds’ oceans. The brand is eco-friendly & sustainable, which is a reflection of Brian’s commitment to practicing what he preaches.
A Difficult Childhood
Given Brian’s surroundings, and his undeniable success, you’d be forgiven for thinking that he leads a charmed life. The serial entrepreneur – and co-founder of the ‘Unstoppable’ brand – exudes a calm, confident air – a picture that belies the turbulence affecting his early childhood. Brian’s world first started to unravel at the age of 6, in the wake of his parents’ divorce. Too young to understand the full implications, it wasn’t until age 9 that he learned his father was gay. Brian’s siblings bore the brunt of cruel jibes and mindless bullying. So intense was the scorn that his older brother spiralled into substance abuse. Things got worse when it later transpired that Brian’s father also had AIDS. All too aware of his fate, the father was determined to travel with his kids and let them see as much of the world as he could. Sadly, having endured endless medical treatments, Brian’s father passed away. The 16 year old promised his dad that he’d ‘get a good job’, even though he recalls the look in his father’s eye that said, ‘You’re an entrepreneur…’
The Battle For Survival
Brian hid these entrepreneurial dreams in his heart; it took another momentous event to spark him into action. He recalls how his wife, Rhonda, actually “quit his job for him”. Stuck in his corporate role, as a robotics engineer, Brian couldn’t see how he could support his family if he chased after a fruitless dream. It took just 6 months for Rhonda to prove that there was money in online work – pulling in $47,000 in one month. It took a year and a half, in total, to convince Brian to give up his job and join her full time.
Things were smooth sailing for the next couple of years until a legal battle – over an ill-fated land development deal – threatened to scupper their dreams just as they were beginning. The Swans, & many other families, lost everything in a land development fraud ring. The loss of finances definitely hurt, but what stung the most was the reaction of their supposed friends. Many took the opportunity to urge them to return to their corporate jobs and give up their ‘fanciful’ dream life.
The World’s First ‘Digital Nomads’
Brian Swan responded in the only way he knew how – with grit, determination, and forgiveness. He had distilled life into a number of choices. “We can either choose to live in pain and anger, or choose happiness”. When his parents divorced, when bullies picked on him for his father’s sexuality, when his father died and left Brian to fend for himself, he had never once succumbed to bitterness. Likewise, he and his wife decided that whilst they still had a viable business plan, and their dignity, they’d rebuild their empire and prove the naysayers wrong. In 2008, the Swans embarked on a ‘golden era’ of travel, self-discovery, and success. They sold all of their belongings and set off to forge out careers as digital nomads – a phrase which was coined to describe their lifestyle.
And that, in short, is Brian Swan’s unique gift – his zen-like ability to filter out negatives and proactively chase happiness. A pursuit that has taken him worldwide. He truly practices what he preaches, beginning every day with a positive focus that will set the right tone for everything that follows. His days start with a surf at first light, followed by exercise on the beach. On the way home, he picks flowers for his wife and writes an appreciation letter in her gratitude journal: an act which not only makes his wife happy but, symbolically, one which represents his relentless desire to look for the beauty in life.