In our regular series, very important people takes us back to their very unimportant first jobs
Hi, Liam! Who are you and what do you do?
I’m Liam James Collins and I’m co-founder of The Coaching Masters, an online academy for people who want to train to be life, mindset, business or confidence coaches. We’re the fastest-growing online coaching academy in the world. So I’m really proud of that.
What was your #MyFirstMcJob?
Tom Hardy’s body double as Bane in the third Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises. Then I became a postman in Richmond, in South West London.
Hang on! Rewind!
I came out of drama school as a 20-year-old actor, and all of a sudden I was set with Tom Hardy, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine and Anne Hathaway. But then the acting dried up. So I thought: “I need a job where I can still get to auditions. I’ll become a postman because then I’ll be done at 12 midday.” I’d get into work at about 5am to organise the mail, tie it all up into bundles, put it in my trolley, and I was off like Speedy Gonzales. Then by 11:00am, I’d think: “This is brilliant. I’m off down the pub ...”
How did you get the other job!?
My agent sent me to this audition in East London. I didn’t even know what it was for. The first thing I had to do was fill out a document with my physical dimensions. There was about 100 guys sitting in this room. One of the women walked out and said: “Right, you’re all here for this one particular job apart from you Liam, you’re here for something different.”
She said: “All I can tell you is that we’re currently working on the biggest movie in the world and we’ve been looking for a body double for one of our lead actors for six months. You’ve just walked in and your physical dimensions are exactly the same as his, down to the last millimetre. One. Are you willing to shave your head? Two. If you’ve got any holidays booked for the next six months, cancel them.” Before I knew it, I was on set, completely wet shaved head, full Bane costume.
How did this all lead you to founding Coaching Master?
I’d gone from being Tom Hardy’s body double on the biggest budget movie ever, thinking: “This is it. I’m going to be the next big thing. I’m going to be the next Tom Hardy.” When the auditions dried up and I became a postman, I was really down on myself. I started listening to podcasts by Tony Robbins, Paul McKenna, Jack Canfield and all these life coaches. They made me think I could inspire people. I thought: “I could get up on stage. I understand the process of confidence-building, setting and achieving goals and breaking down limiting beliefs.”
One day, I had to deliver a parcel that required a signature to Tom Hardy, who lives in Richmond. I didn’t know what to say. “Do you remember me? I was your body double.” How would I explain: “Now I’m now delivering your mail.” I knocked on his door, he opened in a dressing gown with a big beard and didn’t recognise me at all. I couldn’t even bring myself to say anything other than: “I need your signature.” I went home thinking: “I’ve gone from working alongside this guy, thinking I’m going to follow in his footsteps, to delivering his mail.” I quit my job as a postman and threw myself down the self-development rabbit hole.
Why is alumni important?
I suppose the idea is that, in our parents’ generation, you had one job for life. Now, five jobs is average. Every time you move job, you want to be in contact with people you’ve worked with, so it’s great to be part of these alumni networks. I’m a big believer in the power of networking.
Is there a Dark Knight Rises alumni network?
Not that I’m aware of!
What would happen if you went back and did a shift working as a postman?
Towards the end of my time they started pairing people up, so it was a nightmare if you were paired with someone slow. As long as I didn’t need to work with a partner, I think I’d quite enjoy it.
What would happen if he went back and did a stint as Tom Hardy’s body double?
Tom is 12 years older than me and has filled out quite a bit now. I’ve lost a lot of weight. So I think I’m far too thin!
If you could go back in time and give yourself one piece of advice, what would you say?
I would say: study marketing whilst doing your posty rounds. If I just even just listened to a few eBooks or podcasts by the time I quit the postman job and started my own business, it wouldn’t have been such a trial by fire.