Three Minute Squiz With… Peter Crocker

Peter Crocker escaped ad agency land over a decade ago and is the editor of Flying Solo – a community for micro business owners (1-5 people) or anyone that wants to be inspired to ‘go it alone’. He is lives on Sydney’s Northern Beaches with his wife and two daughters (and dog) and is a keen listener of The Squiz Today podcast. What a bloke!

How and where do you Squiz?
Every morning on the Manly ferry commute. I love the podcast so I can catch the news and still enjoy the view. I am now fluent in conversational World Cup and Malaysian politics.

Flying Solo‘s been going for well over a decade now and boasts a community of more than 100,000 micro businesses. Give us the Flying Solo pitch.
Flying Solo exists to support people who want to start and run a business they love. We provide inspiration, education and connection through articles, podcasts, events and online forums. The small end of town is often overlooked, even though the Australian Bureau of Statistics puts the number of solo and micro businesses (1-5 people) at around 1.8 million, making up over 70% of the total small business sector.

Best piece of advice for how not to go insane when working solo from home? Asking for a friend…
Set boundaries and stick to them. A friend of mine described his business as a time-hungry beast that sits by his side all day, every day, at night and on weekends with its gaping mouth drooling for time and attention. No matter how productive you are, you cannot satisfy everyone, even if you work 24/7. You need to be ruthless about how you spend your precious time. You don’t need to follow a 9-5 routine of course, but define and protect your limits in terms of business hours, annual leave and weekends.

A lot of people dream of throwing away their solid, well-paying job and giving small business/start up life a crack. What’s your advice?
If you have a strong, persistent desire to go it alone in business then I would say don’t let life slip by without giving it a go at some point.I have spoken at length to people who have a genuine desire to start something on their own, but they have a host of perfectly logical reasons why next year or the year after will be the ideal time more savings, reduce the mortgage, after kids, get more experience, better business plans etc.There are many perfectly valid reasons why now might not be the perfect time to start your own business. It’s just that this will always be the case.

One of the major problems I see are the Golden Handcuffs. The higher you get in your ‘real’ job the harder it is to escape it. Because, as your lifestyle expands to match your income you have little choice but to maintain your income to support it. And, whenever you consider starting your business, you’re always faced with the demotivating burden of replacing your existing income before you even start. The earlier you give it a go, the less there is to lose.

Flying Solo Founder Robert Gerrish coincidentally has just written a new book on the topic of home-based business called The 1-Minute Commute if you’re looking for inspiration and advice.

On that note, what is your favourite author and/or book?
My favourite book ever is On The Road by Jack Kerouac, something about the writing and atmosphere stuck with me ever since I read it at school. But the book that had the most impact on me was The Craft of Copywriting by Alastair Crompton. It’s a very old school (1979) book that first got me hooked on the idea that writing could be a profession. Having said that, 99.4% of the books I read are whatever trashy crime/detective stories I can get my hands on.

What’s your guilty TV-watching secret?

I cannot explain why, but I often find myself watching reruns of Escape to the Country. It’s a UK property show where people I don’t identify with at all buy houses I hate, in cold English villages I would never want to live in.

Name four people – living or dead – you’d kill to sit down to dinner with.

Robert Smith, Beyonce, James Corden and Andrew Denton. A lingering dinner where Denton interviews the others for a few hours over slow-cooked lamb shoulder, then we end with a lounge room version of carpool karaoke into the wee hours.

What skill or talent do you not have but wish you did?

I’d love to be able to write a song on an acoustic guitar. My guitar has sat lifeless under my bed ever since my 21st birthday.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?


What’s your no-fail dinner party recipe?

Beer. Shredded slow-cooked lamb shoulder with lots of salads and fresh buttered rolls. Beer.

What qualities do you most value in a friend?

Humour. Forgiveness. Energy giving.

What would you say is the most currently overlooked news story we should know about?

The speed at which education today is getting less and less relevant for job, and life, skills of the future. It’s possibly not that overlooked, but the more I work with 20-somethings and see my teenage kids in action, the more I get the feeling that the next 5-10 years could disrupt the workforce even more than we think.

*Buy a book using the links provided and we could get a little commission.

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