Working differently


At the start of this year I set myself some targets to achieve. In working towards them I’ve discovered the potential to live and work in a different way to what I had ever anticipated. Right now these are no more than possibilities, but I find the prospect exciting.

As I write now I am still in discussions to get involved in two different businesses. One is a well established massage shop on a busy stretch of road in one of the more affluent suburbs of Melbourne. It looks good in theory, the premises is well set-up, and on the surface the potential to make a handy profit is encouraging. The delay right now is getting some concrete details to hand. They’re disorganised, which is frustrating, but also works in my favour. They want to sell quick so they can return to their home overseas. Because a good part of their business is cash their profits are formally understated, which drives the asking price down further (not a mistake I’ll make). On top of that they’ve failed to market the business, which means their is potentially a decent upside (especially with a large hospital around the corner). Overheads are low (the masseuse are paid per massage), and there is a manager in place.

I’m still only 50/50 of agreeing to buy, but if I do think I can likely get it for about 25k under the market price – and I’ll have income from day one.

The second prospect I can’t really write off as I’ve signed a non-disclosure agreement. What can I say? Well it would be going into partnership with an industry expert in a new enterprise. The Au/NZ market will be locked up, it’s a product/service which has become very trendy/popular, there is built in residual income and great potential to franchise out. Investment on my part would be relatively low, and one of the surprising attractions of the proposition is the possibility of doing some work in the business very different to any I’ve done before. Get it right, and I think there is a great upside in it. Right now I’m waiting on a business plan so that I can formally assess.

There is a third prospect which I’ve virtually discounted – acting as an agent for a niche software provider. Not really my thing, though the software falls within my area of expertise.

On top of that I’m halfway through re-positioning my business, which will soon necessitate a website revamp and the kick-off of a new marketing campaign. I meet with the marketing guru on Friday.

Now, let’s just say all these things happen – which is a big maybe. On the one hand I’m receiving income from the massage business, anywhere between $1,000 – $2,000 a week without really getting off my arse. I visit occasionally, I pick up the takings, I do some marketing, I might even get the occasional massage. Now add to that the second prospect, which might take up a day a week of my time, maybe more down the track. Initially I expect to get very little out of it, but assuming it tracks as we hope (I know, another big assumption), then the income from that will very quickly grow – potentially to a several thousand a week (and more if and when we get the franchising going).

Finally there is my business. With these other things going the pressure is off. That’s good because it gives me the space to do it properly, something I haven’t managed till now. In my ideal world I might only work 3 days a week in this, but given my rates that’s enough to live on even without these other things. The way I’m positioning it now is that in 12 months time I can live off retainers just about without pressing too hard for extra work. I will, nonetheless, and if everything goes as I desire it I’ll be farming out the extra work to others and keeping the cream for myself.

Of course, reality right now is very different and these things live only in the realms of possibility. Fine – chances are it won’t happen as I’ve mapped it out. But if not this, then there are other variations, and that’s what I’ve learnt.

I don’t need to work 9-5, Monday to Friday, if I do it right. I have the resources right now to get involved and make a difference. I can mix and match these possibilities within limits, and find a way to make a living through disparate activities. I find this a very attractive idea. Multiple streams of income is a lovely notion, and I’m spreading the risk in different industries and markets. I love the variety of it too. I’m the personality type that always needs a challenge. To work the one job, and for the man, is way too limiting, besides being boring.

This, maybe, is the new way of living and working. Different things, different jobs, different possibilities. I get engaged in different ways, am stretched in different directions. Just the idea of it excites me, especially because I know it can happen. There’s a big challenge, but none of this is out of reach.

I have to be careful of getting greedy, but I’d like to get an online business going too.

Going for broke


Model of knowledge entrepreneurship. Used in S...Image via Wikipedia

Sitting in the crowd last night listening to a bunch of enterprising people describe their start-up experiences I realised something I probably should have known long ago: I'm an entrepreneur. Whether I am engaging in entrepreneurial activities or not my nature makes me one. I'm always on the mental move. I get restless doing the same things too long and take great delight in developing, building, creating things. I'm fortunate to be naturally creative. Ideas, good and bad, spring from me all the time. It's hard to settle to one thing when so many different things are happening.

It was almost a relief acknowledging it. Much of what was presented last night resonated with me on a general level. Entrepreneurship is a state of mind. Somewhere in it there is the fuck it attitude, the go for broke mentality fully aware of the risks but willing to take them on with eyes on the end goal. For me I get supreme satisfaction at striving for something, in simply achieving. The rewards are nice when they come off, and a powerful motivator, but I think in a lot of ways the dollars are just a nice way of keeping score. To do is like a fever you can't shake.

Earlier in the night I'd had a chat with a guy who had been involved in 44 start-ups – a serial entrepreneur. He epitomises much of what I mean: the thrill is in the chase. My father is like that, and I take after him. And in the room last night there were another two dozen or so of like mind. I had a drink and a chat with many of them, swapping stories as well as business cards. We all knew the score, the hazards and challenges of the business, and all were sympathetic and understanding.

It was a stimulating, invigorating environment. I felt very much at home. As I always say, you have to be true to yourself.

Unfortunately I seem, as my sister tells me, to have an entrepreneurial attitude to relationships also. That's one thing I'm looking to end.

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