How a $40 investment changed Luke Cook’s life and the 5 things his new startup, Cuppa, taught him

- November 30, 2022 4 MIN READ
Luke Cook
Cuppa founder Luke Cook
It’s not very often that I sit back and acknowledge how far I have come in the last 2.5 years.

I have grown as a person, met some incredible people and wake up everyday LOVING what I do.

The story

Prior to the conversation and purchase of said $40 poster, I had spent the previous 2.5 years developing an app and an idea in which I thought was going to be the next big thing.

I was 100% committed to this idea, spending day and night working on it, selling my apartment and using the equity to build the app (and sustain living whilst I did it) and dealing with a mental load that almost sent me into a massive mental spiral.

Enter 2020 and COVID! The app I built ($200k + of personal capital) was based around experiences with hundreds of suppliers who overnight shut their doors and with that client revenue was pulled.

I was left with nothing except a bruised ego, 1 month’s worth of money to pay for rent and a lot of anger at myself for putting my young family through it.

I reached the lowest I had ever been… crying most days!

A walk to my local coffee shop, a conversation with my business partner Jill (who tragically passed away earlier this year) and a quick purchase of a $40 poster would absolutely change my life.

The idea was to launch a virtual café, host conversations with experts & personalities and help people start their day with positivity and inspiration. The community needed it… but the real reason was so did I.

So I went online and downloaded a licensed image of a café, logged onto Office works website as couldn’t leave the house, purchased a backdrop / poster (as I hated the virtual backgrounds and still do) and got it delivered just in time for my first broadcast with media personality Gus Worland who is also the founder of the incredible mental health charity Gotcha4life.

Since that day, and over the course of the last 2.5 years, that $40 backdrop has delivered

  • Conversations with 400 experts, world champions, story-tellers and personalities
  • created over 30,000 minutes worth of content
  • worked with 130 different businesses (Google, Atlassian, Mirvac, NEC just to name a few)
  • impacted over 60,000 unique individuals
  • and even saved a life.

The poster is still with me at home where I still mainly broadcast from! However the growth of Cuppa continues to touch people in more places and spaces. Even the poster has evolved into a version for the studio and pop up events. You never know maybe my dream of having a café, studio and event space will happen one day soon also.

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The real thing I wanted to share though is what the last 2.5 years has taught me!

1) Making a difference does make you happier 

After the first month of conversations, we received 100’s of emails of thanks from those that tuned in every morning. We realised at that point that we were making a difference and gee that felt good and still does to this day!

It has nothing to do with money, status or possessions, it really doesn’t! Don’t get me wrong, there are days where I still hate myself for the money I spent and the position I left my family in when I lost it all. But that is the past and I wouldn’t be as strong as I am if I didnt go through the pain.

I know exactly who I am now, what I stand for and what I want my legacy to be! And all of this has come about through making a difference

2) Growth comes from conversations, especially when it’s with people that are different from you 

I have said this before and am very honest with it. Prior to launching cuppa I never sat down and had a proper conversation with a First Nations person, a person who was a paraplegic, someone who is transgender or even a world champion.

I can say this with absolute truth…. Having difficult conversations with people that are different from me has changed my life. I am a better person overall and know now that for us to come together as a society and grow together we all have to listen to each other’s story.


Be careful of the conversation thief in your life…. AKA technology! Take the time to explore the incredible humans and their stories around you by having more in person conversations. #lifechanger

3) Always evolve, but never lose sight from where you started

I feel like I am blessed with the ability to create ideas out of nothing. Maybe it has to do with being an only child growing up and working out ways to stay entertained.

Cuppa gives me the ability to be creative all the time and I am SO excited for what we have coming up in 2023 as we evolve our business even further.

As our business enters an exciting phase, I will never lose sight of the humbled place we started and who helped along the way.

I will never forget the emails of thanks, the laughs shared with the experts in the pre show, the amazing advice that is given every time we press live and the incredible clients that have been with us from day one.

4) Show up with a smile, even if you don’t feel like giving one

During the early stages of Cuppa when I lost all my money and livelihood there would be days where I just didn’t want to do the show as I was caught up in a real mental struggle.

Some days it took all my energy to do the show with a smile and give out positive vibes.

More often than not, the person I would be interviewing would get me out of the funk I was in or if they didn’t someone who was watching would send an email of thanks which boosted my spirits.

I am not saying hide how you are feeling, I am just saying that sometimes if we make the effort you also will get value out of it.

5) Your story is the only thing that matters

I am so grateful now that I have the ability to share my story through posts like this, in the Cuppa show, to businesses that get me in and to my friends and family.

It is something I never really thought of before until I started hearing the incredible stories of others and how they changed me and our community. I have said it before but will say it again!

Whilst no one will ever walk in my shoes, I really hope they follow in my footprints on their journey to finding their own path

Thanks for taking the time to read this! Put a comment below with what resonated with you the most and why.

Also feel free to share it with others who may need to hear this.


Click here to visit Cuppa or Click here to find out more about me