Jimmy Hayes: How Your Community Can Turn Passion into Profit


Joining me on today is one of the hardest hustlers I know, Jimmy Hayes, who co-founded his business with his best friend and travel companion, Doug Barber.  These are two hardworking guys who left New Zealand to develop an incredible high-end travel gear company called Minaal.

They turned their incessant love of travel and their disdain for the drudgery of “normal” jobs into a sustainable business where travel is automatically built in. 

Coming up with your own products to sell can be quite difficult, but Jimmy has to give credit to Doug for his passionate dislike for the travel gear he was using at the time, and having the vision and the gall to believe he could create something better.  That coupled the great feedback they received from potential customers during the prototype phase (myself included) gave them momentum and pushed them to continue past the inevitable hurdles that come with any startup.

Crowdfunding has been a game changer for the product development industry, and Jimmy threw everything he had at their Kickstarter campaign.  They blew past their $30K goal in 6.5 hours, and ended their funding with $343,000 in funding.  Unbelievable!

Jimmy credits this successful campaign to the work they did through the testing and sample phase of development.  He says that for a successful campaign, you’ve got to be in there with your customer base, soliciting feedback and using that feedback to make your product better.  If your target market is included in the process of building your product through their feedback, they’ll have a much greater personal investment in the final product because their direct input went into producing it.  You will have created a customer for life by including them in the process.

The seeds for your success come before the Kickstarter.  People who help in the development phase write the story of the product, and have incredible buy-in to your success.

Creating products that they would want to use and to be seen using just naturally led to their aesthetic and branding.  Jimmy’s big on being authentic in life and business, and this desire unsurprisingly led them to a branding that the average traveler can relate to.

Jimmy considers his job with Minaal done when two customers meet and get married all due to their Minaal bags: “I want a user marriage!”   

All joking aside, the future for Minaal is something Jimmy’s thinking about.  They’re constantly taking a look at what’s working and what isn’t, and what they enjoy doing as they plan the future.  He sees much more customer interactions and being facilitators for a community of people with shared values.

Some of the issues they’ve experienced is not being able to fulfill so many orders.  A great problem to have for sure, but it’s something they’ll be working on in the near future.

On a personal (and business) note, Jimmy’s really working on managing the business and his time better while he’s on the road.  It’s difficult to get work done while traveling full time, and he’s looking to scale back and strategize his travel more in the coming year, removing the concept that “every ticket is a one way.”

Jimmy’s enthusiasm for building a business around what he loves comes out in everything he says.  You’re gonna love this interview with one of my favorite Kiwis!


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  • How did they become so passionate about their products that they pursued them for so long before actually seeing an ROI?
  • What went into preparing for their Kickstarter campaign?
  • What does the future hold for Minaal?
  • What does Minaal’s marketing look like between Kickstarter campaigns? 
  • How do you manage your business and your time when you’re on the road traveling so much?
  • How has being nomad impacted your personal life?


  • How belief in your ideas can push you through the obstacles you’ll encounter as entrepreneurs.
  • How crowdfunding can give more than just monetary benefits to a potential or growing business.
  • What it takes to have a mega successful crowdfunding campaign.
  • How Jimmy approached the branding of Minaal and how he made it so very personal and authentic to him and his style.
  • Why they hold retreats for their people to build their company culture and brand.
  • Plus much more…