Nathen runs his business N2 Electrical Services with his brother-in-law Nathan Perkovic. He was recently awarded a prize through TAFE, in partnership with CommBank, to access business coaching and $2,000 worth of tools and equipment.
It’s been a fast start for Nathen, who only started his electrical apprenticeship five years ago.
“I’m from a sporting background. I played football semi-professionally, in Melbourne and in Italy. Then I met my wife and was ready to move back to Canberra. I’ve always loved working on houses, any kind of work, and I liked the idea of being an electrician, so I found an apprenticeship,” he says.
Nathen’s natural sporting drive was evident from his first day on the job.
“I said to my first boss, ‘I’m not going to be here for long. I am going to learn and apply myself like there is no tomorrow’. He was great, and so were all the other guys I worked with. It’s so critical to have a good early employer, and I am lucky that is what I had. The team I worked with were people I could trust, ask questions, and rely on.”
Even before he had finished his apprenticeship, Nathen had launched his business with brother-in-law Nathan, who at that time was newly qualified. Initially, both hung onto their other jobs.
“We needed the security and stability of a regular, guaranteed income while we got started. We worked our first jobs then spent every afternoon and weekend working on the business. It wasn’t easy but we both had bills to pay. It actually reduced some of the stress to know we were not relying on jobs to come through to be able to make ends meet.”
Nathen says the business grew fast, largely through word of mouth.
“It got bigger and bigger, from installing one power point to wiring whole houses. I qualified this year and I’ll be ready to go full time in my own business by mid-next year. First of all, I need to find time for a honeymoon!” he says.
After that, N2 Electrical Services will be chasing some ambitious plans.
“We’re already planning to scale up and start looking at work outside the residential market, into more commercial projects. I’m excited about building a team where I can be the kind of boss who helps people achieve their own goals.”
Having access to a business coach through his TAFE award has been invaluable for Nathen.
“I just love to learn. By the end of my first coaching session, we had talked strategy and scaling and I had some homework I knew I needed to do. My coach said to me ‘we’re going to do something big’, and that’s exactly what I plan to do.”
Nathen’s tips for starting a tradie business
Nathen says surrounding yourself with trusted supporters is critical. For him, that meant partnering up with his brother-in-law. “What better way to start a business than with family?” he says.
“Credit to anyone who does it on their own, but I just find it so valuable to be able to bounce ideas around with Nathan. We can workshop problems together, compare ideas and it’s just good to have someone to talk to about what we do next.”
In addition to his brother-in-law, Nathen looks to his mum and businessman dad for inspiration, and also credits his wife Katerina and Nathan’s fiancé Sophia for their support.
Nathen also says being wise around finance is important.
“You do have to be smart with money. I have always been careful to save, and set funds aside for tax, and be prepared to invest back into the business to help it grow. It’s important to have a business transaction account that is separate from your personal finances and to have tax savings that you cannot touch.”
Thinking about starting your own trade business some day?
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