Whether or not Donnie Rust is full of grace remains to be seen but one thing is certain; he’s determined to make an impact on the landscape of business travel and entrepreneurial interests forever and thanks to co-founding The Lost Executive, he looks set to accomplish exactly that.
You might be under the impression that to be instilled with the necessary grit to make a go of things on your own, you need to struggle during formative years, but Donnie Rust is proof to the contrary. Having enjoyed a wonderful upbringing as part of a close-knit family in Durban, South Africa, he wanted for nothing yet strived for everything,
“I practiced martial arts from a young age, I wrote my first novel when I was 10, and was, frankly very indulged in every stupid idea I ever had, mostly because one of my parents would tell me I could and the other would tell me I should and so I never had any doubt.”
Don’t go thinking that this is a story of a privileged boy done good, however, as it was only with the benefit of hindsight that Donnie realised that his family were by no means wealthy, they simply sacrificed the non-essentials in order to give the younger members amazing experiences. Something else that contributed to this rounded upbringing was the cultural and political landscape of South Africa at the time
“Growing up in South Africa during the late 90s and early 2000s, everyone in my generation was exposed to a lot of things that weren’t seen or appreciated outside of the country. The violence, political uncertainty, culture and crime were all big factors, but I remember the sunshine, surfing, music and the cultural diversity of having friends from so many different backgrounds. I had a wonderful childhood.”
So, from a somewhat idyllic-sounding childhood, we can only assume that Donnie naturally transitioned into a series of high-flying and impressive jobs, right? Well actually, no. While he might have been secretly waiting for the call to join MI6, James Bond he was not, so with a steely gaze fixed on where he wanted to get to, Donnie began the treacherous climb of the ever-slippery career ladder.
After arriving in the UK in 2003, every less thank thankless job was, basically, undertaken by Donnie, alongside opening a martial arts school. When we say every job, we really do mean it, as he gained experience in cleaning, labouring, door-to-door sales, hotel managing, waiting and even night portering, to name but a few and then, a big break finally came in January 2008.
Taking up the mantle of a timeshare salesman in Tenerife, Donnie quickly excelled, only to be faced with yet more challenges,
“This was the hardest sales job in the world, especially as you’re within slapping distance of the people you are presenting to. I did very well at this, however, and learnt quickly how to build relationships. I made a fortune, but hated the job and eventually, the bottom fell out of the market and I went from penthouse living to sleeping on a hill, though the view was beautiful from my hill in Los Cristianos.”
Imagine you’re Donnie. You’re 6ft 6, confident and have always been encouraged to see your ideas and passions through to completion and you’re sat, on a hill in Tenerife, wondering what to do next. Would your first thought be to return to the UK to become a naked performer, whilst also entering the competitive world of publishing? No, probably not, but then again, you aren’t Donnie Rust,
“I realised that you have to look around and see what you have immediately at your disposal and turn that into a product. In my case, I’m tall, with no shame and the strong belief that I am funny. I used this to create my Naked Busker persona; a chap that sings song with only a guitar to protect my modesty and, at the start, hide the fact that I couldn’t really sing or play very well. While this was fun, it wasn’t exactly paving the way for enormous career success, so I jumped into publishing, which has been my passion ever since.”
Passion is the right word, as Donnie enjoyed a number of positions within media companies, before becoming Editor-in-Chief at a highly successful business title, for five years. Many people would have simply stayed in that role, having happily reached the pinnacle, but Donnie still wanted more; he wanted to make it to the top in a company that he co-founded himself.
Having decided long ago that he would never be satisfied with ‘run of the mill’ experiences, Donnie looked into how he could make a dent on the business-publishing world and together with Jerome Smith, he figured out a way,
“I enjoy travelling and I enjoy travelling for business. I hate being cooped up in an office and being stuck in one city, as there are so many new cultures, cities, and places to see. I’m a proper travel bug, but at the same time, I’m a bit of a travel snob, as I like travelling well and I think it’s something we all deserve. I don’t want the travel part of any of my journeys to be simply about reaching my destination, so Jerome and I decided to compile our tips and advice.”
And that’s how The Lost Executive was born. It’s all about offering business professionals that necessarily travel a lot with work, the opportunity to see new sides of the locations they flit through, while never undermining the reason for their visit. It’s about adding a little luxury and enjoyment to work. It’s about BLEISURE,
“Bleisure,is all about combining business and leisure, to create a magnificent work-life balance that can be enjoyed by everyone. It’s about opening doors for people travelling through work. Bleisure, will become the norm and employers should be focussing on making the travel part of any role the most enjoyable part.”
While he might have willingly urinated on an electrified rhino fence in his youth, on the say so of a trusted yet far worldlier companion, Donnie has become a force to be reckoned with. The moments that didn’t quite go to plan have shaped him and girded his determination to be so much more than “that tall chap wearing a nice suit”, which is why his list of goals left to accomplish probably won’t take him too long to complete,
“My Top 5 goals are to make The Lost Executive the number one travel website in the world, to enjoy at least one ‘perfect moment’ in every city, to write a bestseller, retire early and I want to kick the crap out of Joss Whedon, for killing off Wash and Shepherd Book.”
Well, four our of five wouldn’t be bad going, or a surprise, given Donnie’s acumen and experience, but with his mother telling him he can and his father reassuring him that he should, perhaps Joss Whedon needs to watch his back…
Linked IN: Donnie Rust