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Posted by Philip on 8 November 2012, 1:13 pm in , , ,

Random thoughts about starting stuff

There's a lot said about how to start businesses, projects and processes of social change. In my experience, there is no "right" way, but it helps to do it "your" way.

Having said that, here are some things that I have found helpful when starting stuff.


  • Start doing what you know and are passionate about.
  • Start small and grow.
  • Do things for free and consider it a marketing investment.
  • Ignore negative feedback unless it is repeated over and over
  • Be prepared to change what you do 
  • Say yes if people ask you to do stuff you don't know how to - then Google it.
  • Make mistakes, move on and don't make the same mistake twice.
  • Finances:
    - Open a separate bank account for all your business transactions, money in and out
    - Keep all business related receipts, file them in monthly batches
    - Start using online/cloud accounting services asap, like Freshbooks or Xero
    - Find a cheap, friendly accountant
    - Let IRD know you're starting a business and ask them for advice.
  • Social media
    - Use it!
    - You don't need a "social media" strategy, just like you don't need a "talking" strategy
    - If you would say it in public to friends or colleagues, you can put it on social media
    - Think of Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, LinkedIn etc as separate cafés, restaurants and bars. Having a presence on all or some of them is like putting flyers out or having conversations with different people or different places
    - You can set things up so that you only have to post something once and it will show on all your social networks
    - Blogging regularly will help Google put your blog/website higher up in searches.


  • Projects should have a beginning, middle and end. If you're not sure how or when it will end, break it down into phases that can end and will provide a chance for review and renewal.
  • All projects get messy in the middle.
  • Plan but be prepared to change the plan.
  • Be aware of scope creep but don't let it stop you responding to opportunities that arise.

Social change

  • Be prepared for the long haul.
  • Start by talking to people.
  • Ask them to suggest other people to talk to.
  • Scatter seeds - try several  things at once - see what works, forget what doesn't.
  • Be clear in your intent and allow opportunities and people to find you.
  • Keep going even if you feel like giving up, unless it's consuming you, in which case give up.
  • Read Getting to Maybe, The Answer to How is Yes and/or Solving Tough Problems.