Minding Your Own Business

May 27, 2007

No! It’s not a post about MYOB. Or Xero for that matter (but huge congratulations to Rod and the Xero team for winning the Technium challenge).

It’s now been almost two months since a couple of mates and I set up our new business. I thought I’d give you an insight to some of the things we’ve learnt.

It doesn’t just happen by magic

You’d think that setting up a company is a straightforward exercise. Not the case – or at least if you want to do it right. You’ve got to register the name, get incorporated, get a shareholders agreement, get a consitution, get family trusts sorted (if you haven’t already), get an accountant, sort out tax, get a lawyer, get ACC, find premises, get PCs, get phones, get power, get connected, work up a business plan, do some marketing, get a customer, keep a customer, etc, etc, etc.

Our philosophy has generally been “if someone can do it better and cheaper than us, then let them do it”. But that said, there’s still a truck load to do.

None of these things are big, but they just add up. There’s just lots and lots of to’ing and fro’ing. And new things just crop up every single day. (Thanks KiwiSaver).

Setting up a new business takes time, and costs money.

You’re wrapped in cotton wool as an employee

I never realised how “comfortable” it is being an “employee” until having our own company. First things first, you don’t have to worry about dealing with that long list above. You get a monthly salary (as long as you’re competent!). You get sick leave. You get statutory days. You get training. You get health insurance. You can have a bad day, and still get paid for it.

Cash is king

Due to the “invoice” cycle, it was over two months before we saw our first pay cheque. This was particularly tough since we’d all forked out a bit of cash each to set the company up, and we had invoices to pay ourselves, before we got paid. When starting out, cash is undoubtedly the king. It will be for some time.

And I’ve been sick the last three days – remember that when you’re not working, you’re not earning! Watch that cash!

Every second matters

When we’re working for our clients, every second absolutely counts. I mentioned above that as an employee you can get away with having the odd bad day. As a paid “consultant” you have to raise your game to ensure that you deliver the goods all the time.

Because every second can count

But the flip side of the coin is that every second can count. So if you put in longer hours, you can get rewarded for it. Money is certainly not everything, but it helps!

Flexibility kicks ass!

Being your own boss (or bosses) is immensely rewarding and the flexibility this brings is fantastic. It’s one of my priorities to spend more quality time with my young and wonderful family. If it’s a nice day I can go in later, or come home early, to spend more time with the children, and to give my wife a much deserved break. I can then make up the hours once they’ve gone to bed! Flexibility has been a big one for me.


Building something from nothing has been hugely rewarding. As is knowing that every decision made has (of can have) a direct effect on the business. Having that empowerment is pretty cool. (but with power comes responsibility!).

There’s a thousand and one other things I can brain dump, but that’s probably enough for now.

Overall, it’s been a really enjoyable past three months. Hopefully the start of a great journey. Business is going well. So far, so good.

I guess we’re minding our own business.

5 Responses to “Minding Your Own Business”

  1. vbignacio Says:

    Finding the right tax preparer can ease your burden at tax time. While finding a tax preparer isn’t too hard, finding a good one can be a challenge.

  2. benkepes Says:

    Awesome post Dan – I was going to say if there’s anything I can ever do to help just drop me a line. But reading the previous comment that might sound a little like fishing for work. Suffice it to say that 99.9% of the help that I give other businesses is pro bono and I do it not for financial gain but because it’s actually kind of fun!

    Anyway – great post and keep up the struggle – as you so rightly mention – it’s hard but it’s worth it!

  3. […] 28th, 2007 Great post over here by Dan about his early stage reflection on the pros and cons of the change to self […]

  4. […] 26th, 2007 Leading on from Dan’s post recently about his experience starting up a new business, I thought I’d share a story with […]

  5. […] 22nd, 2007 I’d previously posted about my experiences in starting up our new business, which is going terrifically […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: