Story - Tom RossStory - Tom Ross

Tom's story

From shy teenager to successful CEO and community builder. A path filled with burn out, chronic health, elation and industry disruption, this is my story...



The early years

When I was 12 years old, my best friend right clicked on a web-page we were looking at and clicked 'view source'. The screen of code that appeared blew my mind. "You mean people build these things?". I immediately knew this was something that interested me.

We taught ourselves HTML and for years to follow would start countless web projects. Many of these projects never saw the light of day, some made us a few hundred bucks, but mostly, they were just an incredible learning ground.

Finding my way

Alongside these web projects, I embraced my inner creative. I learned Paintshop Pro, and later Photoshop. I began creating endless graphics and websites, eventually leading me to enter design contests. These contests taught me early lessons in working with clients. A successful run of contest wins developed into a more steady freelance career, alongside my schooling. The entire time I was building online communities, simply for the fun of it!

The entrepreneurial years

After several more successful ventures, I discovered my 'hustle'. After binge listening to a bunch of hustle pornstars and internalising their workaholic mantras, I became a working machine. Starting my company Design Cuts, I worked 18 hour days, 7 days per week for the first 18 months, culminating in a hospital visit, major stomach surgery, and years of chronic health issues to follow. These days I regularly speak out against burn-out and advocate for balance within entrepreneurship. Despite the tumultuous journey, Design Cuts flourished into a thriving community of 750,000 creatives. I'm so proud of what we've achieved, and the thousands of creatives we continue to help.

In my spare time, I explore my passion for community building and mentoring others. My podcasts, The Honest Designer's Show and Biz Buds have now attracted millions of downloads, and I get immense joy in providing value to my community. This website is simply the next step in my journey of making a positive impact, connecting with like-minded folk and trying to make my dent in the universe.


Health crisis


9-5 jobs

2 million

Podcast downloads


Community members