Start your own business – a mental experiment

Imagine that you are starting a new business. What would it be? Why did you choose it? Why would you choose a personal enterprise over working for somebody else (or why wouldn’t you)? What rewards would you be looking for? What personal costs would you be prepared to tolerate? Would you attempt it alone, or would you look for partner(s)? What are the ways you could fund such a startup? Would it be local, or seek a wider market?

Thor May
Brisbane, 2015



Preface: This is a discussion paper, not a researched academic document. The reading list at the end is mostly a collection of contemporary links from the Internet and pretty accidental, not edited for quality. Where a topic is of broad general interest comes up with friends, I have adopted the practice of posting discussion starters like the present one on in the hope that others might also find them worth thinking about. The perspective in this article is mostly Australian, but the implications are global.




1. Introduction

Join the two million Australians who claim to run their own businesses. Well, at least try as a mental experiment! That will give you a better idea of how THEY think. Snap opinions are easy on this subject, but to get something worthwhile out of it (even a business incubation!) dip into the websites listed below, and others. Some of the links are about official help and requirements - you have to know this stuff. Others sites are shopping lists of what you need in the way of attitudes, ideas, time and money. Note that this article is just a primer. You need many more stories from people who have actually walked the walk of starting a real business.

These notes will firstly attempt to set a factual context for the business environment in Australia (international readers will need to adjust this for the relevant local conditions where they live). The second part will imagine the process of establishing a business to fit the situation of this particular writer. My situation is likely to be quite different from that of other readers, so there is a challenge here for them to try their own mental experiment.

When Albert Einstein set out to explain the freaky nature of relativity in physics to a baffled general public, he resorted to the “mind experiment” of a train traveler relating to the landscape outside the train window. It is likely that he did the same for tracking his own ‘abstract’ ideas in mathematics. The fact is that creative thought mostly works by analogy, and developing this skill is one of the keys to what I call active thinking. It is therefore amusing, and a bit sad, that many of those who fancy themselves as intellectuals, or “thinkers” find it an affront to their elevated dignity to wrestle with any mind experiment involving business, the magic of bootstrapping an income from street cunning, shrewd psychology and more than a bit of daring. Perhaps, temperamentally, they prefer to collect a clerk’s safe wages and stick to the brave café talk of how things “should” be.

2. What is a business, anyway?
– The official view

What a business actually is depends upon who you ask. The Australian Tax Office (if we are talking about Australia) has one idea, or maybe a dozen ideas since their regulations are impenetrable. The police have more expansive ideas, given the sizeable amount of organized and disorganized crime in Australia and every country. In the public mind, "the big end of town" refers to those businesses which employ sizable numbers of people and usually have a company structure. "small business" traditionally refers to the myriad of little shops, services and trades businesses found in every community. With SMEs, or "small and medium enterprises" we think of those small factories on the edge of town with half a dozen workers, but actually the term covers a host of different undertakings, from some financial institutions to various franchises to import-export agents, and so on. A new term, "startup" has come into the lexicon. 'Startup' suggests a new and disruptive technology or method trying to establish itself on a wing-and-a-prayer, but hoping to be bought out for a billion dollars by scouts from a multinational corporation. Most startups are, of course, much more prosaic undertakings than that, but a large number of them do indeed turn on making use of the Internet and other electronic technology.

3. Is business about reward for risk?

Reward for calculated risk is a foundation concept for the traditional idea of business. The deep psychological division between an employed workforce and the businessman/entrepreneur who employs them has always turned on claims of risk.

When Johnny or Jenny leave school, their parents may see several kinds of prospective future:

a) Johnny or Jenny may get a job as a public servant, federal, state or local. The idea is that he or she will have a secure, reasonably paid career in a vast bureaucracy, and if they keep their hair parted, will eventually retire with a decent pension. Johnny or Jenny can almost guarantee that they have a job for their working lives. Well, that was the tradition. These kinds of jobs constitute 15% of the Australian workforce. The reality is that in 2015 redundancies are a common news story in the public sector, a tendency driven by the political cycle. Education and healthcare positions span both public and private sectors and tend to operate under a somewhat different service ethic to more bureaucratized sections of public employment.

b) Johnny or Jenny may stake a career by working for a private company, large or small. If it is a very large company, the prospects will not be radically different from public service life, except that he or she may switch employers in the course of his or her career. In smaller enterprises, the experience may be less secure, promotions more accidental, and periods of unemployment a real prospect. Nevertheless, with minimal personal initiative, he or she may still live a productive and happy life. 97% of private sector workers are in workplaces with between 1 and 19 workers.

c) Johnny or Jenny decide to be independent business people themseves. They pool their pocket money and try to trade bling on eBay, or sell badges outside sporting venues, or flog clapped out motor cars across state borders. Whatever. The 'whatever' means that they may lose whatever money they have, fail, and have to start again. And fail again and again, until they become street-wise enough to make some real money. The path is uncertain, and when push comes to shove the number of Johnnies and Jennies willing to take the risk of losing everything is always limited. When entrepreneurial Johnny or Jenny does succeed well enough to pay some taxes, and especially if they get around to hiring some of those less inclined to risk, the politicians will love them.

4. Are there really two million businesses in Australia?

No. I doubt it greatly, if "business" implies an entrepreneur seeking reward for the risks and initiative arising from independent enterprise.

The two million figure is quoted by governmental public relations offices, public servants, working with legal definitions of businesses subject to tax and amounts to 17.2% of the Australian workforce. 28% of private sector workers are self-employed. 1.1 million self-employed people do not employ anyone. 1 million self-employed people do employ others. I am drawing these figures from the Independent Contractors Australia website (ICA 2013) where they also offer a useful (2010) breakdown of the overall employment implications for the country. "When all self-employed people are combined with the employees who work in their businesses, up to 75 per cent of the total workforce (88 per cent of private sector) work in small and medium businesses. The following table shows how the figures are constructed."

5. The real Australian workforce

The truth is that since I left high school in 1961, there has been an accelerating revolution in the Australian workforce. One underlying marker of the revolution is the decline in trade union membership from about 45% (male) in 1992 to 18% in 2011. This revolution is scarcely discussed in official media, and has not yet entered the factoids taught in schools and colleges about what life is really like on the mean streets outside. You could call this vast workforce change "the outsourcing, contractor and franchise revolution". It is problematic that this revolution is almost ignored in the public narrative, because it has irreversibly altered the psychology of large sectors of the Australian workforce, with flow-ons to many areas of life, including politics.

Let us suppose you are a long distance truck driver for a transport company. The company hires you full time on a fixed salary, and may pay some overtime when necessary. The company management is naturally incentivized to extract maximum value from your employment by pushing you as hard as possible. It is natural for you to resist the pressure, and to seek to optimize your own working conditions. If there are many drivers like you, and especially if there is a shortage of good drivers, you may act collectively with your colleagues to exert pressure upon the company. Now supposing the transport company decides to no longer hire truck drivers. Instead, it will engage independent contractors. The company may offer the contractors a lease-back package on semi-trailer rigs, but the contractors, who are in reality the truck drivers, are now called independent businessmen by the taxation department. The rigs they now "own" put them in debt for up to a couple of hundred thousand dollars. The maintenance costs are high. The drivers are responsible for their own welfare, working hours, insurance and holidays. The trucking company gives them "work", but accepts no responsibility and can drop any driver at any time without obligation. The drivers-cum-businessmen live with constant insecurity and will push themselves to the limit. However their "business" has little prospect of growing, and their actual incomes are at the pleasure of the trucking company, and effectively static.

The long distance truck driver story is repeated with a thousand variations now throughout the Australian workspace. City delivery drivers, even those who once worked for the post office, are now "independent" contractors with their own vehicles which they thrash into the ground, working long hours to keep their contracts.

Why do ordinary working people who, a generation ago, would not have dreamt of setting up their own business, opt into these often exploitative contractor situations? Of course, some welcome the opportunity to be done with would-be bosses and to work for themselves, however illusory their real independence is. Many however feel driven into a corner. They see that that the traditional employment option is even less desirable. Why?

The most potent factor in this equation is the casualization of the workforce. A game which every political party plays is to point to “increased employment” on their watch. What they rarely mention is that the “increased employment” is overwhelmingly in part-time and temporary employment. The working stiffs know very well however that most jobs they are likely to score will be part-time, short term, or carry a strong risk of so-called redundancy down the track. Faced with these options, contracting may seem like a much better deal.

In the real world, some of these contracting arrangements by businesses are so transparently an attempt to avoid responsibility that the Australian Tax Office may question what is going on. The ATO issues official guidelines to clarify for tax payers when they are in fact employees, or when they carry their own business tax liability. There is also a federal Fair Work Ombudsman whose office includes a mandate to arbitrate the fine line between contractors and employees (see Australian Government 2015f).

6. The Franchise Story

Just as the line dividing business status from employee status can be very ambiguous at the margin, so it is with the phenomenon of franchises. Franchises are like colouring-in books for grown ups. The simplest colouring-in books may number each space, so the child knows what coloured pencil to choose. Other books offer a little more freedom. Franchises may range from loose wholesale purchase collectives to intricately controlled retail outlets where the franchisee must follow instructions down to how much milk to put in a café latte.

The short story is that entrepreneurial flair is not required in some kinds of franchises, and may indeed be a handicap. This is just as well. To see why, enquire who buys what kind of franchise. In order to answer that question, we need to look at the overall sociology of the Australian workplace. Officially the age of eligibility for a safety-net age pension has been rising from 65 to 67, and now a prospective 70. When it comes down to general employability, young adults are considered to “lack experience” while those over 50 or even younger are considered to be “over the hill” and an embarrassment to the managerial class, who may actually know less than the prospective employee. Thus the window of general employability seems to be hovering at around 25 years. Personally, I expect to live to at least 100, so being employable for only a quarter of a life looks pretty silly. Still, that is the reality on the street. What is Jack Smith supposed to do when he is kicked out the office door at 50?

Jack Smith sends a few hundred job applications which are promptly trashed by 30 year old HR managers who have no idea or interest in what Jack Smith can actually do. He is hounded by Centrelink (the Australian government’s social security office) to keep sending these useless applications on pain of losing the pittance the government is paying to keep him from eating out of garbage cans.

Actually, Jack Smith has saved a few thousand dollars over the years. It’s not a lot, and he had fondly planned to spend it on a world trip after he retired at a ripe old age. If he is very lucky, he may even be able to take a bit of superannuation in a lump sum. One day, his eye is caught by a franchise advertisement. It is nothing as exotic as buying a taxi licence for half a million dollars. It is not buying into a new MetCash supermarket. No, the price is within his meagre range, and it doesn’t seem to require any special skills. Let us suppose, for example, it is a cleaning service and building maintenance franchise.

In the inner city areas of Australian cities apartment blocks are growing like mushrooms. Their inhabitants, renters or owners, or mortgagees, generally want a minimum of responsibility for care and maintenance. They have windy body corporate meetings, and appoint somebody to find contractor who will put out the trash cans, mow the lawns and generally do the muck work. Aha, swimming in the corporate shark pool are big contractor companies waiting to snap up just this kind of work at a high price. Will their executives actually do this muck work themselves? No, of course not. They will buy a fleet of box trailers, paint logos on the side, and sell “franchises” to people like Jack Smith.

So Jack Smith actually buys himself a job putting out trash cans and mowing lawns until he is 70. He will never make big money doing this, it is not much fun, and has zero status. However he is now an independent businessman. Independent? How much initiative does he actually exercise? To tell the truth, none. He doesn’t take any body corporate reps’ out to lunch and score contracts. He doesn’t even plan what has to be done.

Each morning he rings the air-conditioned office of the franchise owner, where some girl on the phone will tell him what his jobs are for the day. Then Jack heads off to sweat it out with his lawn mower. If someday the franchise owner declares bankruptcy and heads off to South America, Jack, who had no idea what was happening, is left with just a worn out box trailer. Hmm. This is a big chunk of Australian business in 2015.  

. Not all businesses are out to make a profit

We usually think of business in within the capitalist paradigm of existing to make a profit for the owners or shareholders (or, more likely nowadays in large companies, for its senior management class). However, another broader way to think of business is as an organization which exists to provide a product, or a service, or to provide employment. Thus rather than simply being vehicles to generate income for the owner of capital, the focus can be shifted to the product, the service or even to employment, and the profit motive dispensed with. Such a business would be called not-for-profit.

The classic Communist type industries in the 20th Century countries like the Soviet Union, the Peoples Republic of China and Vietnam typically had as their first priority the provision of employment for the population. Whatever the ideals, most of these businesses were notoriously inefficient, producing items of low quality, offering appalling service, and were characterised by poor moral. This was held up as a text book example of the perils of deviating from the profit motive found in capitalist economies. That is a rather simple minded analysis.

In most advanced modern states there is a proliferation of not for profit businesses. Their existence is rarely brought into the public debate, or explained in schools, but they are there and they are thriving. That bastion of capitalist enterprise, the United States, is brimming with not for profit enterprises. Jewels in the crown of American higher education, such as Harvard University, are not for profit businesses.

Australia has a whole branch of law dealing with not for profit businesses (see JusticeConnect 2015 in the reading list), as does the Australian Taxation Office. NFPs are also recipients of extensive grants, many from private business (ProBono 2015), and there is a multitude of advice around for setting up NFPs (ABC 2014; Hinton & Macluran 2014; Leimsider 2014; SocialTraders 2015). The diversity of enterprises under the NFP banner is extensive, ranging from local community groups to major undertakings. What a lot of them do have in common is that many of the individuals involved (not all) tend to be motivated by some idea of social beneficence rather pure acquisitiveness or greed. As with businesses in general, a percentage of NFPs do fail, but there is nothing inherent in their general design that sets them up for low levels of achievement. They are too numerous and too successful as a group to sustain that theory.

8. Who gets to start successful businesses?

Of course, there are millions of successful businesses in millions of fields, and innumerable ways to start them. Over a five year interval, there is also a high ratio of business failure, which suggests that the learning process can be painful.

However, about two thirds of American business startups (probably similar in Australia) are generated by individuals who come to business as to the manner born. That is, business people, even in small businesses, tend to come from business birth families, so it should be unsurprising that family businesses dominate the commercial landscape. More than 90 percent of the companies in North America and a majority of businesses located around the world are family-owned [Lannarelli & Bianco, 2015].

When children are raised in this environment, psychological architecture is there for creating new businesses. Really, this is similar to academic families, political families, families of clerks, families of social dropouts, and so on. If business is your trajectory and you don’t have this childhood preparation you are at an immediate disadvantage. If, as in my birth family, the worldview was quite anti-business and ignorant of its ways, then your handicap is doubled (what a pity we come to this kind of understanding decades too late..).

If indeed you are naked and clueless coming into the business world, yet still decide to wrestle with dragons, then the only sensible remedy is to get a job in the relevant trade and hope to find a mentor. The mentor, unless you are very lucky, can be hard to locate, but also crucial. Where you are least likely to find either the necessary experience or the mentor may be in most of the countless university and college courses which claim to teach business or management (whatever that is), and to offer certification. My own admittedly skeptical view is that those places exist deaden the minds of future clerks and flatter them with the cachet of a title.

Well, how about ME starting a business? What would I  do, where, how, why, in what manner … ? Ha, so you thought I had the answers. Why would I be writing this definitely very non-money-making blah if I did? Take whatever you read here with a grain of salt.

Should I sell cup cakes, or guitar strings, or words?

a) I know someone who makes a decent living selling Chinese bits for guitars on eBay, just because nobody will give him a job as an engineer, which is what he is actually trained to do. On the other hand, he is Chinese and can reliably and cheaply source a product in demand from the manufacturers. Without advanced Chinese language and cultural skills, I would have trouble competing in the same game. So this seems to be suggest a few rules for making a dollar:

i) Sell something customers want to buy. It is wonderful if customers actually seek you out. The seeking out is much easier if you have a web presence.

ii) Be able to reliably and promptly obtain (or produce) what they want to buy.

iii) If it is a niche or specialized product you are more likely to build a loyal customer base.

iv) If possible, source your product more cheaply than the competition – especially if it is a generic product without any special cachet.

v) Deliver the product promptly and honestly.

My Chinese acquaintance manages all of these things and so was able to rapidly build a small business with minimal advertising. It also happens to deliver a decent income. On the other hand, he has absolutely zero emotional attachment to the business. His business is strictly a survival tool. Perhaps that has pluses and minuses.

b) Some apparently very successful businesses most of us know about are West African scammers who clog our email in-boxes with spam. How do we know that they succeed? Well, from time to time the police have stories published about Mrs Blogs and her friends who have lost millions of dollars to these characters. Moreover, many of Mrs Blogs’ friends insist that the police are lying to them, and continue to deliver their savings to these confidence tricksters. Why do the West African gentlemen succeed so well? Thinking about this suggests another business rule or two:

i) Choose your customers. The West Africans carefully choose their customers for stupidity. What a wonderful stratagem.

ii) Tailor your marketing to your desired customers. For example, how do you choose customers for stupidity? You make sure that anybody with half a brain will reject the product. When I look at a West African scam email offering me $9 million dollars for nothing, I delete it immediately. I have selected myself out of the potential customer pool, which is exactly what the promoters want.

iii) The market for stupidity, or for any human vice, is vast and uncritical, and easiest to sell to. The hardest people to sell to (and the scarcest) are those who are knowledgeable, discerning and at the top of their game (though you will of course flatter the muggles that they are all of these things).

c) Where is most existing marketing actually directed? The question is important to ask because presumably professional marketers best know where to direct their skills. Well, there is no doubt that most marketing is directed at the most average part of a given population. “Average” here means the average population for buying baby shoes, or luxury cars, or breakfast foods … and so on. This suggests a couple more rules for most (not all) successful businesses:

i) If you are casting around for a business to start, you will probably have an easier time of it with something that is recognized by a sizeable customer base, provided only that the selling space is not too crowded with competition.

ii) If you are not personally knowledgeable about the activities and products that capture popular interests, then you might struggle to build rapport with the customer base. You are likely to make naïve product and marketing choices for that sector of the population. In fact, your heart might not be in it.

d) Customers for services appear to like buying from people who know what they are doing, and who can do it pleasantly. Sooner or later, most of us are likely to seek the service of a doctor or motor mechanic, or lawyer or plumber etc. We ask around in the hope of finding a professional who is competent, reliable, trustworthy and won’t charge us the earth. Sometimes that is a difficult ask. These service providers themselves, in their self-promotion, will seek to promise exactly the qualities we seek, and offer at least the illusion of some guarantees. So here we have a couple of other rules for those entering into a service business:

i) Know your field, not just the theory (as per diploma), but also the practice.

ii) Meet your clients’ expectations of competence, reliability, trustworthiness and fair charging.

iiii) Listen to what your clients actually want, not just what you think you should give them.

iv) Word of mouth is your best advertising, and greatest risk if clients are dissatisfied. 

9. Getting Personal

Back to should Thor May sell cup cakes, or guitar strings, or words?  The obvious answer seems to be words. Unfortunately, words mostly come cheap. Why?

a) Pretty well everybody either thinks the word making game is something any fool can do, or they think it doesn’t matter anyway. You don’t agree? Go check out what wordsmiths are actually paid on average, either as a wage or on freelance contract sites.

b) I kind of already have a business, although it is an abuse of language to call it a business: Plain and Fancy Language House at . The idea behind PFLH is to untangle the English language murdered by the millions and millions of people and countless businesses that struggle with English as a second language. As a business model this sucks. Why? Firstly most of those people and businesses don’t think they need help, even if they do. Secondly, they avoid English language websites like the plague. Thirdly, most of them live in countries where the living hourly rate I have to charge in Australia would keep them in caviar for a year at home. Ergo, I’m lucky to make a few hundred dollars a year.

c) When it comes to words, fewer pays much better than more, provided the fewer words are dedicated to persuading uncritical minds to part with money. After all, at least half of the population in even supposedly advanced societies is functionally illiterate. Here is a quote from a Brisbane copywriting blog by Danna Flannery :

Freelance article writers get from about $5 for 500 words (eek) to about $50 for 500 words if they have no reputation to bring to the table. If you’re a star blogger or you’re an expert in your field or you are writing for big brands, you’ll be able to name a much better price….but if you’re a freelance writer, creating articles for online marketing purposes, you’ll be told a very disappointing price.

 Freelance copywriters get from about $50 per 400 words to about $400 per 400 words depending on the market they are serving. Those hard sell copywriters that do Viagra websites – $2000+ per page….although you will feel dirty as you roll in your money. So, freelance writing money is definitely in the copy (commercial) end of things.

d) Should I develop a knack for writing copy about baby shoes, or Viagra, or pop music, or football?  Perhaps you can do that. For me there might be an unfixable road block at this stage of the game. From about the time I could walk and talk, I’ve had scant interest in anything resembling popular culture. It has nothing to do with feeling superior or inferior. By fate or circumstance or built-in strangeness, I’ve always been the least fashionable outsider on the least travelled roads of the universe. Hell, I haven’t paid a hairdresser since 1968, and my shoes cost $12 from K-mart. What kind of business can I possibly develop? What do you think?

10. Citizens of the World and Nomad Entrepreneurs

The observations to this point have assumed a national identity within a national environment (in my case, Australia), pursuing fairly traditional approaches to income generation. Out there in the wild blue yonder are all kinds of other tribes and lone hunters who may have scant respect for borders in business practice, or concepts of citizen contribution to national welfare, or even for jurisdictional laws.

One group who now see the entire planet as their playground are many of the wealthy. So-called high net worth individuals may be mafia, or scions of inherited wealth, or fast rippers from the management class, or pickle factory owners who got lucky, or street-wise hucksters, or just dopes with a good accountant. Whatever the source of their independent funds, a whole trans-national economy including banking empires now exists to make life easy for them. They don't need my help, and conversely are improbable mentors for a free spirit with a soft heart like me.

Of more recent origin, the birth of the Internet has spun off countless businesses, often from a base of little invested capital, and some with proprietors of no fixed address. A class of digital nomads has self-identified in cyberspace and is rapidly accumulating their own sub-culture of behaviours and collection of gurus to advise and/or profit from newbies stumbling into their space (Andrews 2015, Bardos 2014, Cooke & Magnotti 2015, Flynn 2015, Godin 2012). For a good proportion of these nomads, advancing into the ranks of billionaires is low on their list of objectives. Many are content to just get by financially in exotic low-cost locations with no greater ambition than funding a cool lifestyle. As with all forms of business, the private reality of their lives will run from individuals in quiet desperation, barely surviving the dream to genuine bright sparks who have found a paying niche that fits their personality and preferred hours of work.

Where do you and I belong in this swirling vortex of possibilities? Time and seized opportunity will tell. The trouble is, we need several lifetimes to explore it all.



References & Reading List


ABC (2014) "Starting out in social enterprise". Australian Broadcasting Commission online @

Adonis, James (January 16, 2015) "Does your workplace resemble a kindy?". Sydney Morning Herald online @

Andrews, Dan and Ian ? (2015) "Tropical MBA" website ["This site helps people build profitable location independent businesses, and meet with others who are doing the same"] online @

ASIC (2015) "Starting a company - How to start a company". Australian Securities & Investment Commission, online @

Australian Government (2015) "Starting a Business". website online @

Australian Government (2015b) "How to start your own business". website online @

Australian Government (2015c) "Start your own business". Commonwealth Department of Education Job Guide, online @

Australian Government (2015d) "Starting and running your small business". Australian Taxation Office, online @

Australian Government (2015e) "Help available and eligibility for NEIS".

Australian Government (2015f) "Contractors and employees – what’s the difference?". Fair Work Ombudsman, website online @

BankSA (2015) "Starting your own business in Australia". BankSA website online @

Bardos, John (2014) "JetSet Citizen" website. [a source for digital nomads]. online @

BEC (2014) - Business Enterprise Centres Australia, list of resource links. BEC online @

Branco, Jorge (January 17, 2015) "Start-up Queen says Brisbane needs bigger business ideas". Brisbane Times online @

Browne, Melissa(June 27, 2014) "Starting your own business could be the best investment of all". Sydney Morning Herald online @

Business Mentor Services (2015) "Business Mentor Services Tasmania". Free service supported by Rotary Club donations. Website directory online @

Business Victoria (2014) "Start, run or grow a business in Victoria". [unlike most glossy but vacuous government and corporate sites, this one contains some genuinely useful information, Recommended] State Government of Victoria, online @

Business Victoria (2014) "So you want to start a business". State Government of Victoria, online @

Business Victoria (2014) "Checklist: Starting a business". State Government of Victoria, online @

Business Victoria (2014) "Licences and registrations - Be clear on what you need for your business". State Government of Victoria, online @

Business Victoria (2014) "Checklist: Buying a franchise". State Government of Victoria, online @

Business Victoria (2014) "Become an independent contractor". State Government of Victoria, online @

Business Victoria (2014) "Checklist: Considering buying a business". State Government of Victoria, online @

Cooke, Justin and Joe Magnotti (2015) Empire Flippers - a marketplace for buying and selling website businesses. Website online @

Drury, Barbara (January 21, 2015) "Create your own new job". Brisbane Times online @

Dyrsmid, Trent (Jun 12, 2012) "How to Start a Business with No Money - YouTube". Youtube channel online @

FCA(2014) "Franchising Your Business". Franchising Council of Australia, online @

Flannery, Dana (2014) "Words of Hard Learned Wisdom for Freelance Writers in Brisbane". DanaFlannery blog online @

Flying Solo (2015) "Startup". A website devoted to single-owner businesses, online @

Flynn, Pat (2015) "Smart Passive Income Podcasts". Website online @

Francis, Hannah (January 23, 2015) "Australian YouTube stars are million dollar hot property complete with agents". Brisbane Times online @

Godin, Seth (2012) "How to make money online". Seth Godin's Hub Pages online @

Government of Western Australia (2015) "Business Starters Checklist". WA Small Business Development Corporation online @

JusticeConnect (2015) "Not For Profit Law Information Hub". [Australia] Justice Connect website, online @

Kim, Sean (2013?) "Drop Out Of University To Start Your Own Business". website online @

Ham, Larissa (January 16, 2015) "Who's making money from Airbnb?" Brisbane Times online @

Hamel, Gary (December 2011) "First, Let’s Fire All the Managers". Harvard Business Review online @

Hamm, Trent (August 20, 2014) "50 Side Businesses You Can Start On Your Own". The Simple Dollar website, online @

Harris, Lia (November 02, 2014) "Organised crime: Money laundering is a multi-billion dollar business in Australia". Daily Telegraph, Sydney, online @

ICA (November 2013) "Independent Contractors: How Many? (Australia)". Independent Contractors Australia website, online @ "Business Loans Comparison". [interactive site for generating comparisons for the cost of business loans from a range of lenders in Australia]. InfoChoice website online @

Johnson, Gilly (2013) "The Mentoring Resources Hub". MRH (Australia) website online @

Lannarelli, Cynthia and David P. Bianco (2015) "Family-Owned Businesses". Reference for Business website, online @

Leimsider, Rich (07 August 2014) " bad reasons to make your social enterprise for-profit - and 3 good ones". Business Review Weekly, online @

LiveInAustralia (2014) "Business Visa Eligibility Requirements". Live In Australia website [Immigration Consultancy] online @

Maurice, Yvette (27 February 2014) "Five signs it’s time to start your own business - or just change careers". Business Review Weekly online @

May, Thor (2015) Plain and Fancy Language House – an editing and coaching service specialized in assisting users of English as a second or foreign language. Website online @

Mission Australia (2014) "Start your own business". Mission Australia online @

My Own Business (2015) "Learn how to start a business free". My Own Business website online @ (August 1, 2014) "How to start your own currency". website online @

Pinola, Melanie (5/09/1) "Should I Start My Own Business?". Lifehacker website online @

ProBono (2015) "Grants". Probono News online @

Queensland Government (2015) "Establishing a Business". Business & Industry Portal, Queensland Government, online @

Rampton, John (June 28, 2014) "50 Signs You Need to Start Your Own Business". Entrepreneur website, online @

SBMS (2015) Small Business Mentor Service Directory, online @

Small Business Solutions (2015), "Brisbane Southeast Small Business Coaching, Training & Mentoring". Small Business Solutions, Queensland Government online @

SocialTraders (2015) "Learn About Social Enterprise - FAQ". SocialTraders website online @

Tasmanian Government (2015) "Establishing a business". website, online @

Taylor Nicholas (2015) "Why not start your own business?" [property franchising]. Taylor Nicholas online @

The Age (~ 2015) "Startup" - a section containing articles on starting a business. The Age online @

Todd, Deborah M. (January 14, 2015) "Towards a post-office job world". Brisbane Times online @

VEA (2013) "The Nature of Business in Australia". [promo trailer video, but a useful summary] VEA group video, online @

Victorian Government (2105) "Write a business plan". Business Victoria website, online @

Wilson, David (October 1, 2010) "Grab a guru: how to meet your mentor". The Age online @

Zwilling, Martin (16 September 2012) "10 Reality checks before starting your own business". Forbes Magazine online @



Source of this essay

meetup group: Brisbane Active Thinking Meetup

topics already discussed:

comments: Thor May -



Professional bio: Thor May has a core professional interest in cognitive linguistics, at which he has rarely succeeded in making a living. He has also, perhaps fatally in a career sense, cultivated an interest in how things work – people, brains, systems, countries, machines, whatever… In the world of daily employment he has mostly taught English as a foreign language, a stimulating activity though rarely regarded as a profession by the world at large. His PhD dissertation, Language Tangle, dealt with language teaching productivity. Thor has been teaching English to non-native speakers, training teachers and lecturing linguistics, since 1976. This work has taken him to seven countries in Oceania and East Asia, mostly with tertiary students, but with a couple of detours to teach secondary students and young children. He has trained teachers in Australia, Fiji and South Korea. In an earlier life, prior to becoming a teacher, he had a decade of finding his way out of working class origins, through unskilled jobs in Australia, New Zealand and finally England (after backpacking across Asia in 1972).


academic repository: at   

discussion: Thor's Unwise Ideas at  

personal website:

Start your own business – a mental experiment (c) Thor May 2015 return to homepage