While not everyone has a business idea in them, some people just stumble onto one. This is what happened to prosecutor Peter Michie, who started his own dive school after taking it up as a hobby.
Peter Michie was busy working for the NSW Director of Public Prosecutions when he started to look for a hobby to de-stress. He started diving and quickly fell into it, training as a dive instructor and helping out dive schools on the weekends. After 20 years working in law, in 2008 Michie decided to throw it in and open his own dive school- Bondive, aimed at one-one diving experiences with divers and their instructors.
However, starting a business isn’t always as easy as it looked. “All I knew [about starting a business] was about defrauding a business – after all those years prosecuting!” Michie laughs.
With every business, there are plenty of obstacles that have to be overcome when getting started, but for Michie one of the biggest was explaining the name. “Visibility and product awareness were big things, but also explaining what the name meant. Enigmatic is one thing but I hoped people can take different things from the experience. A taste of Sydney, Gallic flair, or the sophistication and extravagance of Bond.”
Michie knew that he had to seek the best advice in order to get his business started and so enrolled himself in a course he thought would help. “I enrolled in a one year Advanced Diploma of Travel and Tourism at Macleay College. I was fortunate enough to have met some wonderful lecturers who mentored me in my first years (including after I left the College). Many ran their own businesses part time and lectured part time- a great blending of experience and teaching aptitude. Studies in business related fields such as HR, Marketing and event management were practically very helpful.”
While professional advice is beneficial, Michie also recommends seeking support in your private life.” Try to surround yourself with a network of mentors friends and family – ultimately it is up to you but the support is comforting.”
After his fifth year in the business, Michie offers the following advice to those businesses just getting through their first year of operation:
1. Don’t get discouraged even if you make a loss in your first year
2. Spend every available minute talking and listening to people
3. Develop a thick skin