Curia’s 10th birthday

March 31st, 2014 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

10 years ago today was the day I left a fulltime job at Parliament to become self-employed and set up Market Research.

While I was fortunate to have one significant initial client, it was still a leap into the dark to go from a fixed income to a variable income. And like many self-employed people my earnings in the first couple of years was significantly less than what I was earning as an employee.

Curia has been very fortunate to have some incredibly talented staff who have actually run much of the business for me, allowing me to focus on the stuff I enjoy – the polling. From the early days of Ross, Anna, Yvette and Katrina to my current managers and supervisors of Basma and Rebecca – and many in-between. One of the nice things about being a business owner is you are forced to get good at delegating, as there is too much to do, to do it all yourself.

During the last decade, Curia has (approximately):

  • Worked for 92 clients
  • Conducted around 1,100 polls
  • Employed over 500 staff
  • Paid several million dollars of tax

It’s enjoyable running a business where clients choose you entirely on your reputation, quality and price. We’ve never done advertising or soliciting of business. It’s all pretty much been word of mouth. Market research is a competitive industry and there are many other very good firms out there. I’m just pleased we’ve managed to grow the market, and find a useful niche for ourselves.

I enjoy the fact that as a business owner I’m playing a small contribution to economic growth and providing employment to a lot of students (and a few others), to help finance their studies.

The decade has gone by quickly. I became a business owner at age 36 and am now 46. I guess the good thing is I hopefully have two or three more decades of self-employment to go – if things continue to go well. There’s no guarantee of that, but I’m optimistic.

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36 Responses to “Curia’s 10th birthday”

  1. bhudson (4,736 comments) says:

    Congratulations David. That is a great achievement.

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  2. dime (9,676 comments) says:

    Well done!

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  3. Ryan Sproull (7,060 comments) says:

    Congrats, DPF.

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  4. Elaycee (4,333 comments) says:

    Excellent effort – nice one, DPF.

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  5. berend (1,676 comments) says:

    Congratulations DPF!

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  6. KiwiGreg (3,224 comments) says:

    Well done. Make sure you have an exit strategy and don’t leave cashing out too late; be opportunistic.

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  7. jims_whare (399 comments) says:

    I wouldn’t go into a Labour/Greens meeting and say this DPF – you would probably get burnt at the stake for being an evil capitalist overlord only out to exploit the down trodden and neer do wells.

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  8. Manolo (13,517 comments) says:

    Hard work and rewards, the beauty of capitalism! Congratulations DPF.
    Now it’s time to start a family, :D

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  9. tom hunter (4,568 comments) says:

    Wonderful stuff DPF. The country needs a couple of hundred thousand more like you.

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  10. Linda Reid (409 comments) says:

    Well done David – I can’t imagine being ‘employed’ again!

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  11. wikiriwhis business (3,883 comments) says:

    Congratulations Mr Farrar

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  12. Keeping Stock (10,182 comments) says:

    Congratulations DPF. My wife and I are in the same boat; the first of the businesses we started turned ten late last year. From being just something to keep her busy when it first started, we now employ more than 50 staff, and I shudder to think at how much tax we have paid!

    Owning your own business is a huge responsibility, but also provides enormous satisfaction. here’s to your next ten years, and to ours as well :D

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  13. wikiriwhis business (3,883 comments) says:

    “Wonderful stuff DPF. The country needs a couple of hundred thousand more like you.”

    Govts working hard to stop it. Paula Bennett is a classic case

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  14. wikiriwhis business (3,883 comments) says:

    “Now it’s time to start a family”

    haha, article in the Daily Mail about over 50′s having a baby boom in the UK

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  15. Manolo (13,517 comments) says:

    My best wishes and well done. Good on you, Keeping Stock.
    Our country needs small-business owners like you and DPF to generate employment and grow the economy.

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  16. MT_Tinman (3,055 comments) says:

    Well done DPF self employment and business ownership is definitely rewarding as well as fun – and of course bloody frustrating – although why one would, volunteerily, employ staff escapes me.

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  17. chris (589 comments) says:

    Nice work DPF. As an adult, I’ve always been self employed. There were a difficult few years at the start and I would still earn more working for someone else, but there are so many other benefits and there’s just no way I could work as a full time employee for someone else.

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  18. Kleva Kiwi (281 comments) says:

    How long until Liabour comes out announcing a “polling crisis”?
    I mean, they are doing so bad in the polls atm so there must be something wrong, right?
    Liabours next policy, KiwiPoll!

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  19. somewhatthoughtful (457 comments) says:

    To David: congratulations. To the commenters: I vote left and run my own business, so go fuck yourselves. No one’s arguing for communism, take your tinfoil hats off and go outside once in a while.

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  20. pedrogarcia (52 comments) says:

    Well done you!

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  21. lazza (370 comments) says:

    Best Wishes for the next ten Slim Dave.

    You said …” While I was fortunate to have one significant initial client, it was still a leap into the dark to go from a fixed income to a variable income”

    Me too … cept Moi … “none’! significant clients”.

    It was good for the soul … if not for the overdraft … but. Nd never looked back.

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  22. burt (8,036 comments) says:

    DPF

    If you were a proud Labour advocate then this business about paying all that tax…. you wouldn’t have had to do that!

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  23. Paul Williams (877 comments) says:

    I’ll add my congrats too. I admire people who take risks – not everyone’s in the right position or inclined to take risks – and who can create employment opportunities for others. And I note you’ve not suggested that’s the only worthwhile activity or that it’s the preserve of the right.

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  24. Anthony (785 comments) says:

    It’s certainly easier said than done to go into business and make enough money to stay afloat! You seem to have mastered the knack of employing good staff. You’ve done well!

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  25. thor42 (971 comments) says:

    Well done DPF!

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  26. dave53 (85 comments) says:

    Warmest congrats David. You’ve come a long way since we first met — and are in one impressive way now half your former self!

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  27. RF (1,346 comments) says:

    Congratulations

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  28. gazzmaniac (2,319 comments) says:

    You forgot yours truly from the early days DPF. My sister will be pleased since you named her.

    I still remember one of the functions at the Malthouse (when it was on Willis St) where you commented that I had introduced nearly every person there ;-)

    It was a pretty good job and the first time somebody trusted me to manage staff and lock up. Thanks for that.

    [DPF: Thanks Gary. Glad to say none of my supervisors ever let me down! I recall the special mention of you and Katrina in one of the staff policies :-)]

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  29. redqueen (522 comments) says:

    Congratulations, DPF! Well done :)

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  30. ISeeRed (244 comments) says:

    “Has BEEN taxed several million dollars of tax”

    There, fixed it for you.

    Phrases like “paid taxes” and “taxpayers” are Orwellian. We don’t pay taxes, we are taxed. We are not taxpayers, we are the taxed class. There is a difference.

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  31. peterwn (3,215 comments) says:

    There must have been times when your hourly rate must have been below a minimum wage let alone a Waldegrave style living wage.

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  32. Deborah Russell (156 comments) says:

    Congratulations, David.

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  33. allgoodal (14 comments) says:

    Awesome effort David. May your light shine on!

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  34. Caturday (5 comments) says:

    Congratulations David.

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  35. jcuk (639 comments) says:

    Good for you from somebody who once tried it very briefly … not my or everybody’s cup-o-t.

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  36. valeriusterminus (247 comments) says:

    Was just the subject of one of these this evening.
    Cool and professional dude on the phone :-)

    Worries,
    Question: – Is your party of choice “in touch” or “decisive” – passed on this one, as these are not exclusive.
    Demographics: – Dependents under 18 ? – well we have 4 economic dependents over 18 but under 35 cos they got Student Debt and Minimum Wage to reconcile – but Curia didn’t care !

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