Are you green and growing, or ripe and rotting?

Recently I’ve been dreaming of lying on the grass and staring at the sky. Just for a year or two. “Catch up with you later world!” I’d quip on Instagram (if I had an account). But I don’t dare, for the youth are breathing down my neck!

Settle in. This could take a decade … or two.

As I sat across the table from a marketing manager to discuss a new project, I realised I’d been here 10 years earlier! It was the fourth company, the fourth website, the fourth brief, but the same four people at the table. Am I stuck in Groundhog day?

Dear Business, we need to talk about ‘us’

by Peter Crocker We’ve shared some incredible times, you and I. What a rollercoaster! But – and I know you’ve noticed too – things have changed. We need to talk. I remember dreaming about you before I even knew your name. I’d talk endlessly about you to my friends, hoping that maybe one day we would get our act together. …

Could you be tempted to re-run the rat race?

by Peter Crocker It’s easy to get the impression that everyone in corporate land is quietly plotting their escape from the rat race to run their own business. But, it’s not a one-way street. In Flying Solo’s last Understanding Micro Business survey, 90% of business owners said that they would not seriously consider working for someone else, even in a …

We are the soul traders

by Peter Crocker Describing a ‘typical’ solo business owner is like trying to describe an ‘average’ person. But as diverse as we are, those in the flourishing soloist movement share many tribal similarities. We are the third bedroom dwellers, the kitchen table perchers, the café lurkers. We are the CEO, CFO, CIO, COO, cleaner, accountant, IT fixer, debt collector, sales …

Are you banishing the bland?

by Peter Crocker I recently saw an interview where the questioner asked, “What do you fear most?” The unexpected and thought-provoking response was “Living a bland life.” It got me thinking how from the day you’re born, the world tends to knock the edges off you. Your personality. Your aspirations. Your curiosity. Your imagination.

Do you have these four small business addictions?

by Peter Crocker In business, and life, we repeatedly make resolutions, take stock, turn over new leaves and pledge to give things up. Problem is, cold turkey never works (for me anyway!). So what to do? The answer, as best I can tell from dozens of failed attempts, is to skip the cold turkey and aim to turn ‘strict rules’ …

It’s time we celebrated the freedoms of soloism

by Peter Crocker Running your own show comes with plenty of challenges. But here we pause to celebrate the exhilarating freedom, flexibility and control that come from being your own boss. Flying Solo’s community survey consistently tells us the top four things that appeal to those setting up their own business are flexibility (18 per cent), control (17 per cent), working from home (13 …

Why can’t we live like we did that summer?

by Peter Crocker It seems to me that everyone has a golden age in the past or a vision of the future where everything seems idyllic. The question is, why is that time not right now? I recall one such golden summer in 2000, paying dirt-cheap rent for a house a few hundred metres from Freshwater Beach.

The soloist rollercoaster: Plotting my next mood

by Peter Crocker I wouldn’t describe myself as moody, however my non-scientific self-analysis reveals clear trends in the ups and downs of the small business journey. It seems we’re all in a spin cycle. Here’s how it works for me.

Is there someone you’d like to thank this Christmas?

by Peter Crocker In any business, there are certain individuals who have played a pivotal role in its success. Here’s your chance to show your appreciation with a public display of gratitude. I’ll go first. Gratitude in business is a topic that comes up a lot in Flying Solo’s articles and forums. One of our first ever contributors, Grant Hyman, …

I am an introvert. Now they tell me!

by Peter Crocker Ever since I started working from home, a question I often get asked is “Don’t you miss the social aspect of the office?” My response of “Not at all!” often raises an eyebrow. I had somewhat of a revelation recently when I watched Susan Cain’s TED talk outlining the ideas in her bookQuiet: The Power of Introverts in a …

“Shove it, Jack, I’m walking out the door!”

by Peter Crocker “Stick at it!” “Don’t give up!” “If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again!” While dogged persistence is generally a trait to be admired, there are times when bowing out is a far better option. Not to mention a whole lot more fun. A couple of memorable moments from my career are times when I’ve …

5 tips to staying motivated

by Steve Manning Working for myself and being able to do it from home is fantastic. But there are some downsides of course, and one of them is a lack of motivation on the odd occasion. The surf might be calling or the kids hollering, but you know you need to bunker down and keep working. After all, that thing …

Your future depends on your devoted dozen

You might have 100 Facebook friends, 250 LinkedIn connections and 500 Twitter followers, but when push comes to shove, your long-term success relies on the support of just 12 individuals. People often talk about those pivotal crisis points in your professional and personal life when “you find out who your real friends are”.

What would you tell yourself a decade from now?

by Peter Crocker In our survey, we ask the question “What career/business advice would you give your 15-year old self?” and we had some awesome responses. Reading through the hundreds of answers I noticed common themes cropping up. They were along the lines of ‘believe in yourself’, ‘invest in your education’, ‘don’t listen to doubters’, ‘take risks’, ‘experience life’ and …

Note to self: Man up! Your regrets lie waiting.

by Peter Crocker There’s that moment after a funeral, usually sometime after the third wine, where friends ask one another “Am I doing enough with my life?” Most of us tend to avoid facing the reality of our mortality, but there’s nothing like death to crystalise the mind. The admission that we want something ‘more’ from our lives and careers …

Anger management: Don’t take that tone with me

by Peter Crocker We’ve all been on the receiving end of spiky remarks or emails laced with venom. It’s not pleasant, but can anger in business be effective? Here we look at the issue of anger management. Everyone talks about the benefits of bringing your true self to work and having a real passion for what you do.

Business success: Is ‘making it’ a myth?

by Peter Crocker It’s easy to look at other people, especially in business, and make the assumption that they’ve achieved their major business success goals. But have they? Turning 35 (or late early 30) this month got me thinking once more about life, careers and all that palaver.

Three rules of life

by Peter Crocker You may not take him for a great philosopher or self-help guru, but I found the rules of life Jerry Seinfeld shared on Denton’s Enough Rope a few years back very inspiring for business and life. He pondered the question “What are my three rules of life?” In summary, this is what he came up with.

The F word: Why you need to fail more

by Peter Crocker Fear of failure paralyses more would-be entrepreneurs than just about anything else. But success and failure go hand in hand. In fact, perhaps you’re not failing enough. I recently heard a prominent business person asked about the most important thing they learnt at university. Their answer: “Profit = reward for risk.”

Do working holidays work?

by Peter Crocker I’ve previously written about a copywriter who’d take extended working holidays where he’d write each day from 5am to 12pm before joining his family for lunch and sightseeing. But can it really be done? Rather than busting your gut for two weeks of pure holiday, could you stretch your trip length and budget by spending a section …

Caution: Career change ahead

by Peter Crocker Whether you’re loving, loathing or just knee-deep in building your business, it’s easy to forget that it won’t last forever. During a recent family holiday, we met up with a couple that we hadn’t seen for a few years. What they’d achieved in the intervening years made me feel like I was standing still!

Honesty in business: Let me be frank

by Peter Crocker Between political correctness and sucking up, butt-covering, politeness and advertising spin, the big and small business world is awash with meaningless conversations and wasted activity. Does honesty in business exist anymore? For example, during a recent stint back in corporate land, a friend of mine found herself in a group hug chanting a positive mantra to start …

Business networking wimp: Tell me something I don’t know

by Peter Crocker It’s fair to say that ‘getting out there’ and business networking – online or offline – is not something that comes naturally to me. Truth be told, if left up to me I’d slouch alone in my home office all day listening to folksy music with headphones on and ignoring the telephone.

Are you having a laugh?

by Peter Crocker If you take your business seriously, then it may be time to lighten up. Adding a dash of humour can be a seriously powerful and often underestimated tool.When you’re wading knee-deep through a prolonged business drama or a nightmare project, it’s all too easy to get sucked into a humourless quagmire. Even the daily routine of business …

How do you get in the zone?

by Peter Crocker Elite sports people often have a routine they go through before a game to help them get ‘in the zone’ to perform at their best. This powerful concept can apply to business professionals too. Also referred to as being ‘in the flow’, ‘in the groove’, or simply ‘completely absorbed’, the concept has been studied by psychologists for …

11 ½ resolutions to break in 2009

by Peter Crocker Okay, so they’re easy to make and virtually impossible to keep, but with every New Year comes resolutions. At Flying Solo we put our heads together and came up with these 11 ½ practical resolutions for micro business owners. Here comes 2009! Go and put the kettle on and get set to make some big promises.

Career paths: Are you who you wanted to be?

by Peter Crocker The other day, I caught the end of a radio report on recent research into career paths and happiness. The researchers asked: “Are you doing what you’ve always wanted to do?” and, “Given the chance, would you change careers?” Unsurprisingly, the answers showed that most people don’t end up doing what they really wanted to do as …

False economy: Beware the lure of the quickie

by Peter Crocker So your customer rings and says, “I need something fast, cheap and cheerful, nothing fancy. Could you have a quick look?” Don’t believe it. This is false economy and the result can be less than satisfying for all involved. Having done quite a few of these small ‘favour’ type jobs over the years, I can tell you …

I don’t love my work. Do you?

by Peter Crocker The philosophy of “Do what you love!” and “Find your passion.” implies if you’re not bouncing out of bed every day with fire in the belly then you’re in the wrong career. But seriously, are we chasing the impossible dream? Whether you run your own business or work for someone else, I believe it’s unrealistic to think …

It’s a wonder anyone starts a business

by Peter Crocker When talk turns to starting your own business, there’s never a shortage of someone to tut-tut to themselves… “Most small businesses fail you know.” “Never go into business with family.” “Don’t borrow from friends.” “Don’t work with your partner.” And so it goes on. True, it’s quite possible that it won’t work out. So based on this …

Do you need to believe?

by Peter Crocker As soloists, we tend to have a fair bit of influence over what jobs we take on, and what jobs we let through to the keeper. This is one of soloism’s great attractions. But deciding if a certain job is suitable isn’t necessarily easy. For me, it’s generally about the people. If you’re working with great people …

Successful business: Talent is not the key

by Peter Crocker The one fundamental attribute you need to run a successful business as a soloist is to be good at what you do – good, but not necessarily great. Yes, you need to be good enough that people will pay for your services or products, but you don’t necessarily need to be the leader in your field or …