Episode 60

How an injured army veteran became one of Canberra’s premier entrepreneurs

In this episode of the Future Tribe Podcast, we had the pleasure of chatting with Ian Lindgren, an army veteran turned entrepreneur who currently owns and operates four companies here in Canberra. After suffering a career-ending injury during one of his deployments, Ian was forced to forge a different career path which eventually led him to create his first and most successful company, PayMe, Australia’s #1 payroll services provider. As you can imagine, our guest has a bevy of knowledge regarding the steps behind starting a company and implementing a strong workplace culture. Additionally, Ian also shares how he and his wife are able to simultaneously manage staff across multiple locations who work in completely different industries. Later, Ian shares how he used many of the lessons learned during his time in the army to inform his business philosophy relating to areas such as competitor analysis and information gathering. The show concludes with our guest talking about the future of his businesses given COVID-19 as well as his commitment to using his success to help support the veteran community within Canberra.

What we talk about
  • Overcoming adversity
  • Developing a strong workplace culture across multiple businesses
  • Competitor analysis and strategic agility
  • Corporate social responsibility
Links from this episode
Transcript

Disclaimer: This transcript was generated automatically and as such, may contain various spelling and syntax errors

[00:00:00] Ian: [00:00:00] So I started PayMe at home with, with no clients. I think within the first six months we had a $600,000 turnover. The next year it was 9 million and then 15 million.
[00:00:11] Intro: [00:00:11] Welcome to the Future Tribe podcast, where we’re all about taking your future to the next level, whether it is interviewing guests or unpacking strategies, you know, we will be talking about getting things done and backing you a fellow optimistic, go getter.
[00:00:26] Ian: [00:00:26] And now as always. Here’s your host, the formidable fortunate and highly favored Germaine Muller.
[00:00:35] Germaine: [00:00:35] Hello, future tribe. Welcome to another episode of the podcast on this week’s episode, I’ve got Ian Lindgren from PayMe, uh, how are you today, Ian? No worries. Thanks for joining. Yeah, it’s a, it’s a bit of a cold cold morning, um, in Canberra.
[00:00:53] Um, but it’s nice to be talking to someone who can sympathize. Uh, with, with what I’m feeling,
[00:01:04]
[00:01:04] [00:01:00] hopefully, and then it will get too hot, but that’s camera for you. Um, tell me, tell me a bit about PayMe before we get started.
[00:01:11] Ian: [00:01:11] Oh, probably my Oregon pine mill is an accidental company. Uh, I don’t really use it when I sit back and think about it.
[00:01:20] It’s a bit of a storage of it all yet. I had 20, uh, 21 odd years in the regular army. And then got injured and my last deployment to, um, Egypt and Israel, uh, area called the Sinai peninsula, which wherever I worked, I got injured in there. Nothing too bad physically, but it’s effectively stopped me from working full time since the year 2000.
[00:01:44] So it’s a primer kind of came about, is that because I essentially had to work from home, uh, to do something I had to retire totally. Or do something. And, um, so I started, uh, PayMe at home with, with no clients. [00:02:00] Do you know about how to do or run a business? Uh, because I’d always been in the army. I think within the first six months we had $600,000 turn over the next, uh, year.
[00:02:09] It was 9 million and then 15 million, um, thankfully corn grow that fast every year. Cause it would’ve given me a lot more growth, but yeah, it just boils down to some simple recipes and we’ve had a great time. I didn’t stay inside a house and we’ve got a few offices around the country now.
[00:02:31] What color contractors.
[00:02:32] Germaine: [00:02:32] Yeah. That’s amazing. So looking at your website, you are Australia’s largest contractor payroll company. Um, have you stayed within Australia or have you thought about going across the pond so to speak?
[00:02:46] Ian: [00:02:46] Uh, we have actually operated all over the world. Uh, certainly didn’t, didn’t, didn’t, uh, uh, shy away from trying new business lines.
[00:02:58] But what I found was [00:03:00] for very good reasons, the Australian unemployment and payroll market has a lot of regulation around it to protect people like you and me and, and, uh, Australia, those protections, they aren’t there. And the rest of the world. So, for example, if I was speaking to an American company institution that someone needed to have maternity leave or, and that actually it was your responsibility.
[00:03:27] If you suck, if you paid someone in Australia, if they ask for it, but they were entitled at these types of things, blew people away overseas. So in the end, I, uh, I didn’t pursue that as mr. Lawrence, because the battles to convince people that when you operate in Australia, you’ve got to operate the way we operate too, like too, too large.
[00:03:48] So they’re having fun because there’s no use working unless you’re having fun.
[00:03:55] Germaine: [00:03:55] Yeah, no, exactly. I mean, I’m having fun. Cause I think [00:04:00] that that funding means that you’re passionate about what you’re doing or you’re at the very least you’re enjoying what you’re doing, which I think everyone should, should, um, aim to do.
[00:04:07] Cause that’s when you, I think do your best work because if you’re not really having fun or enjoying what you’re doing, then there’s probably something else that you should be doing that. Um,
[00:04:17] Ian: [00:04:17] and you can learn some, some huge lessons from that in business as your business grows, and people do business with people they trust.
[00:04:27] Um, if you have trust. You have fun and you’re really enjoy supporting each other.
[00:04:32] Germaine: [00:04:32] Yeah, definitely. And I think that that trust component is really important as well. I mean, you’ve been in business for a lot longer than I have, but, um, you, you do realize that it is all about trust. You can sign all the contracts and do all that fun stuff.
[00:04:46] Um, but at the end of the day, if, if there’s no trust in it, then, um, as I like to say, there’s no point turning back to sheet of paper with some ink on it. Um, if, if. Everything was to fall apart because, because what’s that going [00:05:00] to do at the end of the day?
[00:05:01] Ian: [00:05:01] Exactly. Exactly. And that affects the whole team, not just yourself, if you really have that kind of how you see that Cathy’s, you’ve turned him at work.
[00:05:11] Everyone feels the pressure, if something is.
[00:05:13] Germaine: [00:05:13] Yeah. Yeah. And it sort of makes you feel like, like, so feature theory. My business. We’re a, we’re a family business. Um, my brother’s involved in it and, you know, we, we try and sort of spread that, that family feel. And I, I just find that. Having that sort of level of rapport as well.
[00:05:32] It just means that you’re a, you’re a unit and you’re working towards a common goal and you’re helping your, you want to help your customers and your clients, and they become part of the family. And you know, when they’re doing it tough, especially given COVID and everything else that we’re sort of experiencing at the moment, working from home.
[00:05:50] Um, it’s I think just. It really important that you bring back those probably old school, um, or, or, you know, someone call them old school sort of business [00:06:00] values, but, um, It certainly stood out to me as important.
[00:06:04] Ian: [00:06:04] I think that is very true. Like your business, our business is a family business. Every single person in my family is in the business, including my daughter.
[00:06:13] And it really truly is a family business across all four companies. Because it’s a smaller company, a payroll company called just pies. And in order to protect ourselves and diversify, uh, w we have a car leasing company, uh, which is Pampers. I am in college and company, but otherwise just the marketing plug.
[00:06:37] Um, but we also have a room. A recruitment company on a campus, all this recruitment companies go to effecting people, which we did quite a few years ago, but it just gives us the stability, the variety for the family members to, to operate in and make sure we’ve got some longevity.
[00:06:55] Germaine: [00:06:55] Yeah. That’s because you, you run the, [00:07:00] the four businesses together with your wife.
[00:07:02] Is that right?
[00:07:03] Ian: [00:07:03] That’s right. Yeah, but Shane essentially for one of a better word and advice, and we have one external advisory. So that, to keep us honest, to ask what we’re doing, we also, outside of that, we have good side of the same thing. That’s I think very wise. So that done don’t actually make errors.
[00:07:27] Germaine: [00:07:27] Yeah, that’s amazing. It sounds like a truly sort of family business. Now, when did you start all this? Was it in the early two thousands? Did you say?
[00:07:38] Ian: [00:07:38] Yeah, after I got injured, I had about a year resting on my back cause I couldn’t move and then I tried to work again, but I just, I just couldn’t. And uh, although I tried to consult back into defense.
[00:07:52] It just wouldn’t work. So I started this January, 2005 with just myself and this office, [00:08:00] actually that I’m sitting in right now. And that’s where, that’s where I figured that I’d stay for them for the rest of my working life, because I was told about it. I wouldn’t be able to work any further from a medical point of view.
[00:08:12] Germaine: [00:08:12] Wow. Now, if you don’t mind me asking. How old are you now?
[00:08:17] Ian: [00:08:17] 58.
[00:08:18] Germaine: [00:08:18] 58. Okay. So you were sort of mid to late forties when, when all this happened to you, what was it like? Did you have a feeling of having to start a fresh, having to start a new? Was, was that, was that sort of one of the sensations or are the things you have to get past?
[00:08:33] Ian: [00:08:33] I always walk in it too. You know what, you know what it’s like when you leave school, it’s the best butterflies in your stomach? You know, you’ve got another career you guys are doing. That’s essentially what I likened it to. It was, do I take this big step forward, uh, into something? And, um, do I back myself and I did.
[00:08:53] More support me working full time in the public service. [00:09:00] And we went from there. I’m just following a simple recipe to what I thought was really important. Things that I’ve always just, you said before, the simple, old fashioned things in life sometimes are more effective than the more complex, highly theoretical ways that people were approach things these days.
[00:09:18] I always think that a leader. Uh, if you are faced firm and friendly, you’re a good leader. I’d probably get the word authentic these days, but that those are the things that I’m focused on rather than any greater theoretical approach to it certainly studied them. But that’s, that’s what it boils down to me.
[00:09:38] Germaine: [00:09:38] Give us an idea across these four companies. Um, I know we were talking about PayMe. In, I guess, uh, with a bit more focused, but across the four companies, how many staff do you sort of manage?
[00:09:51] Ian: [00:09:51] I’m not allowed to man. 20 eyes. So we have, I think 20 or 18 in Canberra. [00:10:00] I don’t in Canberra across across three companies, uh, of deacon, um, more worse.
[00:10:06] Men just size on a day to day basis. We have another  company spread between Canberra and Brisbane. And we have a manager that manages, uh, day to day basis, but, uh, three other day, but to start every day, uh, we zoom in and huddle with what we call huddle with everybody in the company. Every company runs to the same blade.
[00:10:32] Oh, wow.
[00:10:33] Germaine: [00:10:33] Okay. So across all four companies, everyone meets on zoom. Did you say every day,
[00:10:39] Ian: [00:10:39] every day,
[00:10:41] Germaine: [00:10:41] does that happen? Usually,
[00:10:43] Ian: [00:10:43] uh, guys for guys for about 10, 10 to 12 minutes, and it’s kind of the core focus of doing business for us, we follow what’s called the Rockefeller habits, which is a habit. If you have a habit.
[00:10:58] Then, usually it happens [00:11:00] every day. So a  ed, I stop at eight 45, where, where everybody zooms in and everyone goes across the three months important priorities that I’ve got to do today. Uh, the three or four, uh, interesting dot or that they, uh, that they had shaved yesterday. And perhaps I think probably the most important thing.
[00:11:23] What are the stocks that are holding you back? And that could be stuck like the computer systems program or my husband’s being a pain. If your partner’s splitting apart. And just to give a bit of a laugh or it can be something serious, just boring as a team together, everyone gets synchronized and that can be things like, Oh, I haven’t been able to communicate with a launch leasing yesterday.
[00:11:46] I haven’t been able to communicate with primate and it usually it’s just a human factor and we just get over it on the spot sorted out and a sort of airflow and afterwards, and it gets the whole, whole group synchronized every day.
[00:11:58] Germaine: [00:11:58] Really amazing and interesting. I’ve [00:12:00] never heard of that, that sort of approach to it.
[00:12:03] And, and I can see the real benefits and no doubt. Um, it also, I think helps. Everyone operated as a family. Cause you’re sort of sharing the things that are the annoyances, the little wins, the little, the little, you know, not so great things mixed in with, with all the, all the good stuff. Um, have you guys been doing that even before sort of this work from home COVID sort of situation that we’re dealing with?
[00:12:26] Yeah,
[00:12:26] Ian: [00:12:26] we’ve been doing it since 2010 hours, so. Um, six to about 2010, I essentially ran the companies with the Milwaukee support and the team support and just did the best I could like anybody does. We all do our best. We all try to analyze, you know, how can we do it better? And like, most people, I was stuck in that rock of having a weekly meeting, which essentially goes over everything that we covered through the dots through the week.
[00:12:57] And then we came across the [00:13:00] Rockefeller habits, which is based on John D Rockefeller and the way he did, he performed his daily functioning. And the way he started work every day was a team. He walked to work. Uh, with these senior executives and I effectively huddled, I told them, do we have the things that were going on?
[00:13:17] Uh, and then they, then when I got to work, you know, talk to their, to their team members and everyone was synchronized. So that’s essentially where we took that process up. And then it goes on from, you have this kind of, so the way you do business, you go de de de de. Uh, so you get the same process all through the day.
[00:13:38] You get to Friday, and Friday’s the day we, where you cover off on the key pieces of information that you might’ve heard of, uh, during that week, what the competitors are up to there. Um, you might, uh, I think mostly we do. So we have this, this routine is that  moms and  [00:14:00] where the quarterly meetings are actually even focused on signs.
[00:14:05] If we stick to that. Everybody doesn’t matter what company you’re in, or even if you moved down to Canberra for a little while from Brisbane or from our Perth office, come to Canberra, you just synchronize rotting. You just realize that you’re in the same office.
[00:14:18] Germaine: [00:14:18] Yeah. That that’s amazing. I mean, it’s really that sort of, you used the word bait and I would say you sort of, your heartbeat sort of starts to sink and then, um, Without getting too sort of philosophical.
[00:14:30] I mean, the, the staff are really are the humans buying a company are really the, the part bait of a, of a company. So you’re just really synchronizing it all across the board so that, um, you are all on the same page, your you’re sharing the wins, the failures. Um, and, and I think it gives a nice opportunity.
[00:14:49] 10, 10, 15 minutes. Isn’t a significant amount of time. Um, but it’s enough that you can. Quickly rattle off any, any points. And then if someone has, you know, someone hears it and goes, [00:15:00] Oh, I know exactly what I needed to talk to Jermaine about when this happened to me six months ago, this is the approach that I took.
[00:15:06] Or, you know, when, when X, Y, Z company, isn’t very responsive, all you gotta do is call my, um, at, at regional whatever. And you just, just sort of solve those problems that. If you’re doing that weekly, it starts to become this droning like 10 to 15 minutes is, is worst case scenario. Bearable
[00:15:25] Ian: [00:15:25] was, there’s an art to it.
[00:15:27] You know, you should stand up because once people sit down, they get all relaxed and nice and comfy and cuddly and they tend to waffle a bit something it’s just, boom, boom, boom. And you threw it. And then the day starts. And anything that, anything that was raised during the day, that’s like a stock. Well, then you talk about Flon and of.
[00:15:48] Germaine: [00:15:48] Yeah, definitely. I think, I think you can fall into the trap of sitting down and getting a coffee. That’s warm. You know, you, you don’t really want to get into the day. I need just end up. Oh, you know, if [00:16:00] we, if I rattle on for five or 10 minutes and then maybe the next person will, and that’ll become a half an hour, 45 sort of minute excuse to not, not get your day started and just procrastinate,
[00:16:10] Ian: [00:16:10] um, trust and things like that.
[00:16:12] But I’m sure you’ll ask me about that later. Trust is just so important and knowing everyone’s strengths and weaknesses really just enhances it.
[00:16:20] Germaine: [00:16:20] Yeah. That, that, that is something that I want to touch on. Now. That’s why I asked you how many people you manage and you’ve got remote locations as well, or, you know, locations that are remote to where your base from.
[00:16:31] So you’ve got 18 staff in Canberra based out of deacon. And then you’ve got, say another 10 spread out elsewhere. How do you. How do you manage what everyone’s doing and how do you keep, keep on top of everyone’s tasks? And, and especially as you sort of scale up, because when it was just yourself would have been very easy, cause you just check in chicken with yourself and make sure that you’re on track.
[00:16:55] And then what was sort of the next jump from that? So six months now that you said you’re doing about [00:17:00] 600 K in revenue.
[00:17:01] Ian: [00:17:01] Yeah. I think for me, the key thing is, is having the right staff. Staff that have the same core values as you so you’d know yourself from running a business, you tend to be the work.
[00:17:14] Holly has been, people would characterize you as a workaholic. Someone, if you’ve got something to do, you don’t. Go home at the end of the day, or you don’t leave it on done. And, um, to find people that can actually work in the same way, even though they’re not there yet is difficult. So for us, we, we, we, we, we have a set of core values.
[00:17:39] The we, we, uh, we have one that’s very simple, uh, uh, just, uh, just four of them. And, um, and from there, uh, we, we, we, uh, bring people along and trying them and we find that probably about. I mean one out of five people get through out our probation period because it’s, [00:18:00] it’s hard to demonstrate the same core values that we have the desire to know that the people out there that are using our services actually pay us.
[00:18:09] So they’re the people got no, no, no boss or, or anybody else. It’s the people that you’re giving them, giving, giving services to, because ultimately like, if you don’t please them, then your business goes out of business. And your job disappears. So, so yeah, no, we, we, um, we focus on, on the core values, what people display, um, how, uh, how have their written expression, their, uh, verbal expression and, uh, yeah.
[00:18:40] Yeah. And just willingness to, just to Gideon and do, do the jobs throughout the day and not just. Um, I’m not saying it’s terrible clock watch, but you know, if you have a 1230 lunch break for an hour, you just have your lunch breaks throughout the day sometime. Because you never know when your clients are going to call up and need your help.
[00:18:59] And if you have a [00:19:00] team member that’s willing to just put the lunch down, uh, go and help them and then come back and finish their lunch and maybe take a half hour earlier off that day, because I missed the whole lunch period. That’s a great private business model, you know? And it doesn’t take away. I don’t think it takes away from the fact that you’re, you’re, you’re removing any of the satisfying for the payable because you were give to your time and they give to you on.
[00:19:25] So that’s a, that’s a good team environment.
[00:19:28] Germaine: [00:19:28] That’s it. I think like you mentioned, especially given that given what, what services you guys offer, um, Australia is very legislated. There, there are a lot of rules and things in place to make sure that everyone’s, it’s it’s fair. Um, and I think that’s, that’s a very good, um, but you shouldn’t see it as sort of this rigid thing because, um, Just cause your lunch breaks from 1230 to one 30, like you said, if something goes wrong at 1225 and it’s going to take you half an hour to fix it, you would hope that someone would fix that rather than saying, stop, [00:20:00] start at five minutes in and then say, okay, it’s my lunch break.
[00:20:03] I’m going to go fix the problem later, despite, you know, having started working on it and despite it being a clear issue that needs to be,
[00:20:11] Ian: [00:20:11] and I feel that people should feel comfortable. To ask, because I think I’ve been in some places in my life where I haven’t been comfortable to ask for time off. If I can remember when my wife had her second child and I asked my boss for time off.
[00:20:26] And he said, no, when my wife had her second child, I was 20,000 kilometers away in Vietnam. So you don’t have any time off go on and ride later. I didn’t, I didn’t agree with that. And I don’t know. Yeah. We showed it to people. If you’ve got a swimming carnival on today for one of the kids that swimming carnival is never ever going to occur again, if your son or daughter comes number one to die, you’re going to miss it.
[00:20:53] So go and do it. But what we, what we just ask in return is just extra couple of hours, one [00:21:00] day or something simple, a real flexible model.
[00:21:03] Germaine: [00:21:03] Just just make up for it. Yeah. I mean, it doesn’t have to be, you know, as, as we were talking about it, doesn’t have to be that rigid, you know? Okay. You, you miss out on this period of time, make sure that every, every hour is counter or gross else is going to come back and say, you know, Jermaine, what where’s, that where’s that 15 minutes that you should have given us?
[00:21:21] Um, because that’s not what it’s about. It’s about sort of collectively working towards this goal. And, and often it is just helping clients and, and, um, making sure that they’re happy now. Talk to me a bit more about PeyMe. So, um, you guys do contract and contingent worker payroll. So are you a software company or are you
[00:21:44] Ian: [00:21:44] not?
[00:21:46] What we really are in simple terms is we’re an outsourced payroll company. So I’ve used some industry language there, uh, and that’s forum, uh, [00:22:00] optimization on the, on the, on the website. But really what it is is when I, a person goes to a recruitment company and says, for example, an information technology contractor goes through a recruitment company, gets a job site in defense.
[00:22:15] Uh, quite often, these people are well paid.
[00:22:24] They’re experts in this field go like that would normally be high bar recruitment company. The recruitment company’s core business is to place people in the job not to give complex payroll services. So if I, for example, need car laces, salary, sacrifices, salary, packaging, superannuation, salary, salary, packaging, and some flicks when they get paid.
[00:22:49] And how do I get paid? Um, I requested services on the recruitment company app sources, the payroll to us, how they do that as a matter [00:23:00] of conjecture and probably out of the scope of today. But, uh, that’s really what it boils down to is we’re an answer was pyro company.
[00:23:08] Germaine: [00:23:08] Right. Okay. So you, you effectively, yeah.
[00:23:12] Just provide payroll services as, as just one sort of business system that is independent of
[00:23:19] Ian: [00:23:19] exactly. And I know that it doesn’t sound all that exciting. But, you know, from, from when you’re an employee, uh, and you look around at your payroll element within your company, uh, you know, you just wait for your pay each week.
[00:23:35] What we do is we act as the outsource payroll components for the companies that we look after and we have more contact with their employees on pay issues. Monday again, it’s a routine go aside Monday morning. It’s coming. If they talk streets on in him, then we text them, call them email, but usually call them, say, hello, Bob, haven’t got your [00:24:00] time sheet yet.
[00:24:00] And they might have some issues that the supervisor’s not there. So they haven’t gotten it approved proven company. In most cases, won’t pay them that way. Because I used to be a contractor. So what we do is if we understand that the supervisor’s not there, we still assure them that we’re going to pay them.
[00:24:20] Even though they are equipment company might not pay us. So it’s, you know, the recruitment company, my past, the following week, it’s either coming over those hurdles to that uncertain work arrangement that people have  and when we put some certainty back into it, so that they have a guaranteed payday. So it’s Monday time shooting Wednesday, page six gallery up Friday morning.
[00:24:47] If the money’s not in the bank and Friday morning, when you wake up, you just call us. And we have it to you within 30, 40 minutes.
[00:24:53] Germaine: [00:24:53] That’s amazing. So you’re essentially adding a layer of, of almost certainty, sort [00:25:00] of almost a certainty of being an employee in terms of your wages and what your, what your benefits are, but then, but then you’re a contractor.
[00:25:07] So I guess as a, as an employer, you, you get the benefits of not having the same risks or having, having sort of a different, different profile. Um, so it’s sort of. Um, basically someone who works with you, uh, with PayMe gets, gets the best of both worlds. Cause contractors generally have higher, higher pay rates, but then, um, intern, you know, you, you lose X, Y, Z employee benefits.
[00:25:31] So that’s really interesting. I didn’t, I didn’t realize that there was a market, um, to what you guys do. Um, is it, is it quite a big market, which is
[00:25:41] Ian: [00:25:41] Australia wide? And, um, we look after, at the moment, just under a thousand pieces, we pay it threats, right? Uh, we would probably four or 5,000 people, uh, but they do come and go.
[00:25:57] Um, but at the moment, [00:26:00] and that’s in every state. So we pay them on behalf of their employees. Yeah. I won’t go into the boring, you know, uh, uh, legislative sort of the hospital. It’s important. It is important that they know their employees. You know, we hide them on behalf of their employers and we, we quite often have such a Christ relationship with them.
[00:26:22] Talk with them on the phone. Rather than just send them an email. First thing is talk and you’re talking, I don’t understand that Bradley family, everything else. And wouldn’t, I’ve got problems like, you know, heaven forbid that we’ve had issues where it will have, uh, lost a partner. And they’re suffering financial stress and they don’t ask for their employer for some help.
[00:26:44] And we might just give them a couple of weeks worth of an advance. And so kind of look after yourself and then come back to us when you’ve come back to work and people like that. When those types of things happen, they stay with you. And they [00:27:00] value the fact that they might pay a little bit more for the service, but they have continuity of financial support.
[00:27:07] Doesn’t matter where they work. So we essentially act as a hub for them. And that might work for a site people for six months. Um, they might work for packs at another one of practices, clients, but timely is always paying them. Um, it’s uh, so I want to go to one of my entire, in the same person that provides them with tech support for the year, then outsourced tax agent provides them that support, and we’ve had people using, using new services, even college.
[00:27:42] And so there was a source since 2006.
[00:27:45] Germaine: [00:27:45] That’s that’s amazing. So, um, you, you almost become, again like this, this friend for these people that adds a layer of, um, cause cause being a contract, I would imagine I’ve never been one, but you do [00:28:00] jump from six month contract to six month contract, a three month contract, and then there’s you, you just become almost, um, this, this asset that comes in does what they need to do and then leaves that, that would.
[00:28:13] Obviously make it difficult to build ongoing work relationships with people because you’re just jumping from place to place. So you guys sort of adding that layer of, um, at the moment, as far as their pay is concerned and their tax and all that side of things. There’s this regular contract. Who’s. Um, and it sounds like you, you could almost, it’s almost in your interest to continue to serve them rather than necessarily serving the, the employers so to speak.
[00:28:40] So you can build
[00:28:41] Ian: [00:28:41] this up. Cool. We try to focus on both.
[00:28:45] Germaine: [00:28:45] Yeah, of course we really do,
[00:28:47] Ian: [00:28:47] but you know, we have four core values. The first one is general. Contractors are our priority. Um, and then everybody is important, which includes their own employer, the [00:29:00] recruitment company, uh, actions speak louder than words.
[00:29:04] So getting in there and personally helping women and growth through innovation, there are four core values. Keep it simple. And, um, and through that, um, certainly I think over the years is we’ve got more regulated in the Australian workplace environment. Oh, I’ve been mentor the industry, barristers employment, barristers, and I’m one of those people that really enjoys employment more and a, and contract law.
[00:29:32] So it’s very easy for someone that works in the contracting field to actually not know who their employer is to suddenly. They don’t have work worker’s comp insurance, for example, you’d think that wouldn’t happen, but it does happen. So I tend to put myself out there, which can be a risk sometimes. Uh, but I, I let people know, uh, in my opinion, from alignment.
[00:29:57] What is the appropriate way to go? [00:30:00] Personally, we started the Australian contractor community, which I don’t think I’ve, I think he would know about this shit, but, um, if something was started just before, um, or just after cut of it, uh, just to let people know, have a central central location for where contractors can come and get.
[00:30:17] Lyman advice on, um, uh, what is a country? What’s, what’s your employment status? What should your contract size? Should you have, are you an independent contractor or are you an employee boring stuff? Why not? But it’s not boring when it doesn’t work. All of a sudden when you’re in low course, you need to know what’s going on.
[00:30:38] So, you know, I have that there, and it’s a website which is Australian contractors. Uh, It’s about 90% complete and it’s also helping wherever we can find roles from, from some of our recruitment companies that we participate with. We’re just about to stop putting them out there because, [00:31:00] uh, people are advertising roles much quicker and bypassing bypass is the wrong word, finding new ways to employ people, given that they’ve got reduced number reduced numbers of people at work.
[00:31:13] So we’re trying to help those employers, employees, anyone. Sounds like, wait. Yeah. I mean, I forget. It sounds like
[00:31:23] Germaine: [00:31:23] you’ve almost got this theme of just, um, and you know, I, I guess I preface this with the fact that I think business exists to help him well, but it sounds like all your businesses are really there to help people and sort of genuinely help people, not in the way that, you know, Apple, for example, or.
[00:31:39] Or an HP would believe that they’re helping people by selling them the latest laptop for $3,000, or it may be, but I’m adding actual help, right. Necessarily yet, you know, showing you the latest, shiny object and, and selling it to you now. You’ve been in business for 15 years, um, across [00:32:00] four businesses, I’m sure it’s, you know, 60 years worth of business knowledge that you’ve, you’ve managed to develop.
[00:32:06] Um, what are the, what are some of the things that stand out to you as sort of mistakes or things that, uh, you wouldn’t. Do again, or you’d give someone younger as a heads up, watch out for these things. Anything come to mind,
[00:32:20] Ian: [00:32:20] what are the, what are the things that, um, what are the typical mistakes you can make or things that you wouldn’t want to do again?
[00:32:26] Huh? That’s a good question. I think, um, I think the first one would be, uh, sharing that, you know, something, getting advice off of friends, uh, and thinking that it’s factual. I think that that’s important because you can even go to say a subject matter expert. And they’ll give you the wrong advice. So I find having a three security degree examination of something is just so, just so important.
[00:32:52] So I think that’s the first aspect. Second aspect of doing business is [00:33:00] recognizing that you’re going to fail sometimes. Uh, uh, not, not slitting your wrists when you do you just say, okay. Yeah, I’ve been kind of just invested, you know, X amount of time dollars and you’re going to fly. I figure I’ll give you a good example.
[00:33:17] First I have a sales company. I support was an oil and gas company and providing them with payroll support. We grew them from now on in Australia. Two, um, I think 200, 214 or so 15 people throughout Australia and the world and gas industry and another 250 in Papa, new Guinea. And because we, well, you were bad before Diana died.
[00:33:40] I worked at, in it anyway. We found that they couldn’t work to the same boat because I didn’t have employees that managed their contractors in the same way that we do so that when we needed to have, say, for example, a I time sheet and a, and an invoice to pirate on Tuesday. Oh, I didn’t really write about that too much.
[00:33:58] So I get to [00:34:00] the invoice to us on Wednesday. Well, when you move $4 million, I wait to pilot’s people of magically appear between one bank account. Yeah. And the frustration that was caused, uh, in totally with us was so large, that idea that we really had to support people that were foreign foreign AI companies.
[00:34:25] We’re in Brooklyn, Australia, $23 million contract. One time we went from, I would just discuss again. And we said, Hey, wouldn’t it be better if we just turned it off? So we did. The lesson we learned from that course, we put so much stress and we couldn’t deliver on our brand promises of waking up a guaranteed payday on Friday because the people we were helping couldn’t get us to the money and couldn’t get us to Tom shirts so that we’re leading them in the right time.
[00:34:52] So yeah, picking the right people, you know, not knowing that you knowing that you will make mistakes and had to get over it. Is is [00:35:00] just as important as well. And, um, and I think, um, it would be one other thing I would say. And, uh, and that is. Um, being aware of the hall environment that you’re working. It’s just so easy to think of something and a little tiny, you know, you exist in the school little eco system, but you actually exist in a really, really big one.
[00:35:22] And I guess the, the, uh, the outcome from that from me, We started with a small payroll company. We then we’ll put our own leasing company in. Plus we acquired quite a recruitment company and it gave us that stability, uh, because you never quite know when legislation’s going to change. So you don’t think about legislation when you start business, what can happen, payroll tax, all the, all those types of things, how payroll tax impacts on you as you, as you move into different States and territories.
[00:35:52] So, um, yeah, uh, looking at that holiday guy system, Miranda, the business that he got assisting and understanding it and [00:36:00] watching it very important.
[00:36:02] Germaine: [00:36:02] I think some really good points there. I mean, talking about just the ecosystem story it’s are the, or the, the, the a point there is that, um, it works both ways as well.
[00:36:12] Sometimes I think people can get too, too held up on what is really in the grand scheme of things, a small problem, or a problem that. No one else actually thinks is as big a deal. Um, and quite the opposite as well. We can get so sort of, uh, lost in a, in, in your own world that you don’t, you don’t see what’s happening around you and what’s changing around you because, um, in business, um, you you’ve got legislation.
[00:36:38] That’s just one thing, you know, you’ve got your competitors, um, who are always looking to not necessarily beat you, but, um, at least a win, win more. Then they lose. So, um, yes, they’re not sort of coming after you, but it’s important to keep sort of that, that, um, sort of eye on everything that’s going on now, speaking of competitors, do you, do you [00:37:00] guys have, um, sort of some, some clear competitors in the market or, um, and how do you, how do you handle that
[00:37:07] Ian: [00:37:07] Australia?
[00:37:08] Um, and when you actually good point, you made earlier on, you know, we are not, you know, the largest payroll company in Australia, Uh, um, because we don’t employ anyone other than the, the, I don’t know, on people within, within payment is let’s just talk about paying money. I only employ my team in payment, everyone we pay, we don’t employ every other payroll company in Australia.
[00:37:31] They do that, but they also have a contract with say the government to supply labor and workforce. And therefore they’re not a payroll company anymore. They’re actually under the under, um, the various state legislation. They actually are in a light behind supplier. And that contradicts with the fact that you’re providing.
[00:37:50] Probably probably the people that they have been people in this business in the past, which undermine that relationship with the recruitment company and taken the part, the taken the, the [00:38:00] contractor or Y um, and themselves, which is not entirely full of, it’s not stopped for integrity. It lacks, integrity so much.
[00:38:09] So. No, I’ve actually just gone off. I’ve actually gone off on a tangent there for a second. Just the question
[00:38:16] Germaine: [00:38:16] that’s all right. Um, so we were talking about competitors and
[00:38:20] Ian: [00:38:20] sort of, yeah, so I keep a fair on my competitors as to how they operate for anyone that’s watched top gun, actually. Here’s a good one.
[00:38:30] Yeah. Yeah, you might’ve heard there’s a, there’s this we’re getting inside the enemies decision cycle where you observe how they operate. Certainly it was explained well, and top gun, but, or something, something I learned in the military observe how they operate. You orient yourself to, to acting a different way, decide how you’re going to act to the threat.
[00:38:54] And then you, you, you, you act in a way that’s faster. Then you can pay [00:39:00] this and then you do that faster and faster and faster and faster. Um, and that’s a practice that we get into again, we’re actually is we actually have a section called, we call it intelligence, um, competitors, competitors, intelligence, where we, we bring it up and we say, what are the competitors doing so that we can act, um, and not necessarily.
[00:39:24] Um, put them out of business or anything, uh, but hit of them. Cause I don’t like the term putting people out of business.
[00:39:33] Germaine: [00:39:33] No, I mean, that’s what your goal, it’s not to, it’s not to take something away from them. It’s just to reinforce what you’ve got. I think that, you know, Um, it’s it’s, it doesn’t have to, you know, they don’t have to be the same thing.
[00:39:46] You don’t have to attack someone to, to beat them. Um, you don’t even have to beat someone to be better and grow. Um, it’s just about having that loop and, and, um, that’s another definite benefit of that hotline because I think what [00:40:00] you’re doing there is really, um, Thinking faster by meeting every day. Yay.
[00:40:05] Um, where everyone else meets weekly or, or even quarterly what you’re doing out, meeting them. And therefore, I would think you’ve got 28 people coming in with what they’ve heard, what they’ve, what they’ve been told, what their friends and family have come up with to getting almost, you know, um, hundreds of ideas.
[00:40:25] On a daily basis or the potential for rather than every quarter. Um, I mean, I don’t know about you, but, um, generally I’m so busy that I forget what I even had for breakfast yesterday. Let alone ideas to, you know, to mention to someone that at all, you know, XYZ is coming up with this thing. But when it’s been done on a daily basis, You only need to remember it for 24 hours or it can be as simple as, Oh, did you see that TV ad for this company, um, where you wouldn’t mention a TV ad in a quarterly meeting because it’s a quarterly meeting, you’ve got much bigger things to talk about it.
[00:40:59] It’s probably a, [00:41:00] a full day event. So Hey, I think, I think you’ve got me converted and I think, uh, not, not that I was against it, but I think I’m going to talk to the team and sort of suggest that we meet for 10, 15 minutes every day. And. It probably even helps sort of at an individual level to come up with your, to do list.
[00:41:15] Cause, cause yeah, otherwise they just end up working on just pointless names. I think you’re
[00:41:20] Ian: [00:41:20] spot on. And in fact, what we find is that if, if Maria and I don’t get to work on time, uh, or if we get distracted, The team were already lined up in the, in the, in the board room, standing up ready to huddle. They just simply can’t go without it.
[00:41:34] It’s something I look forward to every day. It’s that exchange of information, ideas. And then, you know, we carry that on to having lunch with them every day. We all sit down where we can have a break and we break bread. I have lunch with them. And then on Fridays, when I started, you’re usually a low, low pressure die.
[00:41:53] We actually have a good team lunch and do some lessons, some professional development. And funnily enough, [00:42:00] yeah, I read the Cambridge, get to get the quizzes out of the camera Thompson and run through those. So we have a great laugh.
[00:42:07] Germaine: [00:42:07] Yeah. Yeah. That is, that is, that is really amazing. And it just sort of brings in that, that family sort of vibe, um, it’s almost like, um, you know, going up, I remember we used to do the, um, puzzles and all that stuff in, in the, in the newspaper and that’s sort of something you do on a Sunday, and you’re sort of bringing that to work on a, on a Friday, which is.
[00:42:28] Which is awesome. And it’s a nice sort of positive way to even get into your weekend so that your weekends, not, not so much de-stressing and, and getting prepped for another, another hard week at work. It’s it’s, um, you’ve got into that sort of nicer sort of mindset and moving into the weekend. Um, tell me a little bit about what you guys hope to do, do moving forward.
[00:42:50] Um, Is it, is it sort of, um, business as usual, or are you hoping to do some, some, um, different, exciting things moving forward across the different companies?
[00:43:01] [00:43:00] Ian: [00:43:01] We’re, we’re, we’re planning on expanding and growing. Put the payroll company is solid for a moment. The payroll company’s going very well. We have so much business.
[00:43:12] We’re actually slowing it down, coming in. And what we don’t want to do is we don’t want to over promise. And under deliver. So a car leasing business, uh, it’s focused on Canberra at the moment. We’re very lucky in Canberra where we’ve still got a good percentage of jobs of good hype. Anyone on any salary can benefit from having a college?
[00:43:39] Uh, there’s two ways to run a car the normal way, which is the most expensive. For most people like, you know, right. At least we’ll be able to have a much more cost effective way to run a company. So we’re going to be focusing on that. And of course our recruitment company, without in any way, addressing the people that are in pain, we’re looking at.
[00:44:00] [00:44:00] Uh, supporting other, other contractors and doing it and doing it in a while. I think this is really important doing that is legislative and legally, correct? So that the individual knows that they are our employee for short term period. Which finishes at the end of every, every, uh, engagement. I know that they’re employed and they have that regular contact with us and regular PI and they looked after.
[00:44:31] So I’m not saying that doesn’t exist in the rest of Australia, but if you get around Australia cipher with a recruitment company and ask recruiters, who is the employer of contractors, you’ll get an interview. You’ll get an answer from everyone except me. We’re not the employment. Um, the payroll usually employer.
[00:44:49] Uh, but really if you control somebody you’re higher and farther, you’re the employer.
[00:44:56] Germaine: [00:44:56] Yeah. Yeah. So especially in Australia with the, with the legislation in [00:45:00] place, you don’t have to call yourself an employer to be the employer in the eyes of the law. Um, you can, you can give yourself whatever terminology you want.
[00:45:08] I mean, even in a lot of cases, I think I’ve heard of a lot of contractors who are actually employees. If you look at the government, sort of the legislator definitions around it, just because you pay them, you know, for. Uh, in a different structure to, to what, what you would an employee, you for all intents and purposes, they’re an employee.
[00:45:30] You were just, um, illegally paying them as a contractor cause there’s a benefit better for you.
[00:45:34] Ian: [00:45:34] Exactly. And you know, we won’t do business with people that want to say to a worker, go and create your own propriety limited company. And then we’ll employ you. That that is contrary to the fair work act. And I’ll tell people that and I can choose to believe it.
[00:45:54] And then act within the war or if they don’t believe it, got it. Someone else or that came, but I’m [00:46:00] not getting involved in something that’s contrary to the law and puts that worker at risk. Um, so yeah, we’re that philosophy is something that we’re putting in across Australia, simple philosophy and it’s just integrity.
[00:46:14] And so we’ve got some ideas to expand, um, effective people and where they are business case. We’re investigating those in the last week of this month with our key, our key leadership time, and also considering a couple of acquisitions, as you know, unfortunately it’s a good time for acquisitions because it’s not, not a good time for many businesses, but I think acquisition can help people keep jobs and can help delivering those services to people that would lose them.
[00:46:40] If those companies went under. So w we see it as a good opportunity to do something, something more continue to help the community. And for us
[00:46:51] is on the veteran community. Really functioning on the unique skills that veterans bring to Australia [00:47:00] to the workplace, I should say, and understanding how the older victim like me is quite comfortably looked after through veterans affairs. And the younger veteran is very, very frustrated. I’m not, I’m not getting through to.
[00:47:15] To veterans affairs and another locations. And it’s not, Nope, not through lack of trying, but I’m trying to identify why that communication isn’t occurring without upsetting anybody. Uh, you know, it’s just a teamwork thing. So, so they’re, they’re things we’re putting out in our corporate social responsibility into, into, um, assisting veterans, having employment.
[00:47:37] A understanding of it. I moved from the, from the uniform job into a SIDA, a contract role, and lightly one of their lighter initiative within the system was security clearances. So long as we’ve got a job for them to go to, we can assist them with security clearances, which in the past were quite hard. So yeah, no, it was what are your plan?
[00:47:58] And, um, we’ve achieved [00:48:00] their five year plan every year that we’ve, since we first did it, which I think was about 2009.
[00:48:06] Germaine: [00:48:06] That’s that’s awesome. I think, I think again, it’s thanks for having a plan to help and assist with knowing where you want to go and where you’re heading as well. I think having that, that plan always helps.
[00:48:17] And I’m just touching on your point about the acquisitions as well. I think, um, rather than. You know, given that given the current climate for better or worse one, you can help a company that would otherwise go bust and then everyone else involved would, would suffer. But, um, also from, from the other point of view, you can acquire the Goodwill, the branding, the marketing, and the efforts that someone else has already put in, rather than going out there and having to expend a lot of energy and money, um, to.
[00:48:47] True. You know, what is really a gamble to see if you live in, get, get to that same position that as someone has. So, um, um, I think a lot of people look at acquisitions as sort of this negative thing or, um, sort [00:49:00] of this, I don’t even know, like, like a whale, just eating up the smaller fry, but. You’ve gotta look at it in the opposite as well.
[00:49:07] Um, I’ve heard of people who, who are not in a space at all, who don’t even have a business who just acquire a business because they’ve got the financial resources to, and get into business that way and then grow the business from there. So, yeah, that’s really exciting for me. Yeah.
[00:49:22] Ian: [00:49:22] Not something I went and looked, we manage it all centrally from here in Brisbane.
[00:49:27] Because these days, and I think this is how we kind of, it, we didn’t miss a beat. I think the only thing, the ball I was for wireless modems to, to help some people that didn’t have enough bandwidth at the home, uh, our infrastructure was it’s already in place to support remote operations. Yeah. Business continuity plan.
[00:49:48] They did it. I’ve met people in Brisbane, the Brisbane river floods. So we’ve gotta be able to work at home people in Canberra. It’s just the building burnt down. We’d have to offer right externally from home. So we’ve [00:50:00] always had that there and we’ve used it by the way and for, for real, with practices. So it worked well, and it also helps with acquisitions and expansions because you just bolt it on, continues to grow.
[00:50:12] Germaine: [00:50:12] Yeah. Yeah. Fantastic. Where can people find out more about you? And, um,
[00:50:19] Ian: [00:50:19] I wave, so I play my group. It’s just a very high level summary of the three companies, the three main companies. And it takes you, it takes you through to the websites. And of course likely I really can’t get past that. The writing. The raw addict, uh, he, the stories about, you know, successes and failures and, and you can identify
[00:50:40] just by going with a robotic and you’ll be able to identify the personalities cause they, they, they fight and a little bit about them. A little bit about us.
[00:50:49] Germaine: [00:50:49] Awesome. Amazing. Um, are you ready to roll?
[00:50:53] Ian: [00:50:53] Okay. Yeah.
[00:50:55] Germaine: [00:50:55] Awesome. Let’s get into it. Um, so the top three books or podcasts that you [00:51:00] recommend
[00:51:03] Ian: [00:51:03] I am, and I think the most important one to me is a, is a fiber it’s called the five dysfunctions of a team. The second one is leadership in action by a general John Campbell. And the third one is actually the Rockefeller habit. So we’ve spoken about to die. Um, uh, certainly recommend reading the Rockefeller habits, but also attending a seminar that’s put on by a trainer.
[00:51:35] Who’s the book itself. So that will dry. Uh, and you don’t get some of the excitement that I enjoy out of it, but there are the three books. I regularly revisit
[00:51:44] Germaine: [00:51:44] also, um, top three software tools that you can.
[00:51:47] Ian: [00:51:47] I think the top three tools for me, firstly, a Microsoft office three, six, five, and SharePoint. It’s the, no matter where you are in the world, you can get access and get access securely and [00:52:00] you can use it internally within the company.
[00:52:04] Uh, the internet. Which is for those that don’t know about intranet. So it’s just a, a central place to, uh, to go, to, to define it. Um, the key pieces of information, the knowledge base that occurs within the company. So you don’t have to find it. And all of the places that are usually hidden in a business and thirdly, as a strategic planning tool, Uh, you know, I look back on that every day, where was I supposed to go?
[00:52:33] How am I getting towards it? There’s three pieces of software that I can’t do it.
[00:52:37] Germaine: [00:52:37] What tool is that? Is that, is that a, um, tool that you guys have developed or is that an external sort of software that you’ve
[00:52:45] Ian: [00:52:45] again?
[00:52:51] Um, it’s actually a company that works with the person that came up with the Rockefeller habits. [00:53:00] Um, so I can start the day every day. Well, by looking at, um, Uh, an electronic version of a huddle, uh, prepare the wait, uh, was the electronic recording. Um, but people said last week that have a guy into a chain so we can hold each other accountable in the long run are.
[00:53:27] I wonder have core values in perpetuity.
[00:53:33] Germaine: [00:53:33] Amazing. I didn’t know such a thing existed, but um, sounds like a handy tool. Um, the top three mantras, you try and leave
[00:53:40] Ian: [00:53:40] them. Increasingly people do business with people they trust. You’ve got to have fun doing business. If you go somewhere and see someone, uh, nothing in your hand, nothing in your head is a phrase we use.
[00:53:54] And so you’re always taking that book. And when you go and see someone otherwise, you’re, you’re not showing that [00:54:00] you’ve got an interest in what they’re doing. And the last one is the fundamental thing to everything that we do within PayMe group unquestionable, integrity,
[00:54:06] Germaine: [00:54:06] love it, love it. Um, and the last one, top three people you follow or study.
[00:54:11] Ian: [00:54:11] And so I guess I’m a little bit old school. I like to look at what people have done and learn some lessons from them. So, uh, uh, I look at weary download. From from world war two and he passed away in perhaps the early two thousands. I can’t recall now, but his characteristics, that’s the interface for them and friendly, uh, something, uh, how near and dear the
[00:54:38] He did a guy at each child was to help him play, uh, after the war second world war. Likewise. Um, major general, uh, Pompey, Elliot, who many people were in first off today. But if you were alive in world war II, you unquestionably will  the open more ANZIC, uh, uh, Memorial, some than [00:55:00] anybody else ever has sadly passed away, uh, for what’s now and as posttraumatic stress disorder, sometime after world war one.
[00:55:07] Um, when he was practicing his troop, these other professional, which was a lawyer, uh, but the, the, the, the stresses of losing people during the war, uh, and other things got to him and likewise, um, uh, John camp, uh, I did my initial training with. In the army. Uh, and he, he grew from being a private soldier, uh, to being the best of my knowledge.
[00:55:32] Anyway, the only person promoted on the battlefield to mind in general, since world war two, uh, he was promoted to general. Um, Uh, in, uh, some of the recent campaigns and then came back to buddy Chase’s army, but he was suffering bad posttraumatic stress disorder, and couldn’t, uh, take up that role and he’s near and I’m over in the army, of course, but he wrote, um, leadership and action and the, uh, the concepts and [00:56:00] ideas.
[00:56:00] And that book don’t just apply to military. They apply to anybody. And I think that that sums up him because a normal fellow, not someone that you’d always characterize as purely male.
[00:56:13] Germaine: [00:56:13] Awesome. Well, that was a very solid top 12 at UN. Um, and thanks for your time and thanks for coming on
[00:56:20] Ian: [00:56:20] places in your mind.
[00:56:21] It’s really been great on our Saturday. I enjoyed it.
[00:56:23] Outro: [00:56:23] Thank you for listening to the future tribe podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe and leave a review on your podcast.