How to WORK while TRAVELING with KIDS

Kurt.nzBusiness, career, finance, Travel

If you’re lucky enough to be able to travel long-term with your children without having to work, that’s awesome! But for the rest of us, we probably need to be doing some sort of work on the road. Because of the type of business I have, I’ve done everything from accounts, building websites, Zoom meetings, managing staff, editing videos and everything in-between, all while traveling. Here are my top 11 tips for remote working while traveling with kids. You do get used to working on the road pretty quickly. Sometimes I still miss my proper stand up desk, but the benefits far outweigh being stuck in an office. Check out our YouTube channel: I wrote a book on how to travel with kids:

The top 3 mistakes people make when looking for a job as a P.I. [How to become a PI – book excerpt]

Kurt.nzBusiness, career, finance, How to become a private investigator

Now that I’ve been on the other side for a while (having people call me wanting to become a P.I.) I have a pretty good idea of what works and what doesn’t. Remember what I said before about prospective employers. Their default answer is ‘no’. Do any of the following three things and you make it that much easier for them to say no. 1. Saying you’re enthusiastic, keen and a quick learner, without any evidence. If you say these things, but have no actions to back them up, they’re not only redundant, they’re a complete lie. Every single person who has contacted me has said these words. I can only think of one person who actually had the evidence. She got a job with us. How enthusiastic and keen are you? Have you contacted them more than once? Do … Read More

A day in the life of a private investigator [How to become a PI – book excerpt]

Kurt.nzBusiness, career, finance, How to become a private investigator, Stories

I’m not sure what your perception of private investigators is. You may have already done plenty of research and have a fair idea of what they do. Then again, this may be the first thing you read, and the only examples of a P.I. that you have are from movies or TV shows. As with most things on TV (including ‘reality’ TV), real life is different. Hopefully reading through this book, and looking at the below example schedule, will dispel any myths and perhaps show you another side that you didn’t think about. Just remember though, if you tell people you’re a P.I., the first thing they will think of is whatever TV show they’ve seen. Often the first question I get is ‘do you drive a Ferrari?’ This can get annoying if you let it. Just realize that most … Read More

Personal attributes of a private investigator [How to become a PI – book excerpt]

Kurt.nzBusiness, career, finance, How to become a private investigator, Personal development

There are some very specific traits common to almost all private investigators (successful ones at least). Having a thick skin. This is not an easy job and you are not dealing with nice people all the time. You will face abuse and you may be treated like the villain by whomever you’re investigating. You need to be able to handle this. Yes, you should try to treat everyone fairly, but you will at times have very uncomfortable conversations. As long as you’re staying true to your own values and maintain your integrity, you don’t need to worry too much about what people think or say about you. Good verbal and written communication skills. A lot hinges on what you say, both on investigations and in court. You need to be able to communicate, persuade and influence effectively and succinctly. Equally, … Read More

Common and uncommon backgrounds of private investigators [How to become a PI – book excerpt]

Kurt.nzBusiness, career, finance, How to become a private investigator

After a while in the industry you get to know where investigators tend to come from. In the case of former police officers, often just by looking at them! But regularly you’ll come across that person who came from a completely different field, one that you wouldn’t expect would lead to a career in private investigation. There are common backgrounds for most private investigators, but just because you don’t have this background doesn’t mean you won’t make a great investigator. In the next chapter, we’ll go over attributes common to investigators (regardless of what background you came from). In the meantime, here are some common and uncommon backgrounds. Common Police officer or other law enforcement role Insurance claims adjuster Military police or intelligence Parent was a P.I. Completed a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or similar Private internship or online … Read More

(Book) The Personal MBA – Josh Kaufman

Kurt.nzBooks read, Business, career, finance, Personal development

The Personal MBA - Josh Kaufman

The Personal MBA is a great overview of everything related to business. Josh explains concepts in such a way that anyone can understand them. Yet he goes into enough detail for everyone to come away with actionable points. I literally sat there with the book in one hand and my notebook in the other, creating action plans for the couple of businesses that I’m involved in. Here are my notes: Business is made of 5 things. It (1) provides something of value that (2) other people want or need (3) at a price they’re willing to pay, in a way that (4) satisfies the purchasers needs and expectations and (5) provides the business sufficient revenue to make it worthwhile for the owner to continue operation. Sales Starts with trust. No trust, no sale. Value based selling. What is it worth to … Read More

(Book) The Road Less Stupid – Keith J. Cunningham

Kurt.nzBooks read, Business, career, finance

The road less stupid - Keith J. Cunningham

My summary notes: Intro: A great business book on leadership, delegation, asking the right questions, finding the cause not the symptom. Business is an intellectual sport. The dumb tax – how much money would you have if you could take back 2-3 dumb financial decisions? The discipline of thinking time. Not emotion. Start with a high value question. Find the unasked question. Separate the problem from the symptoms. Check assumptions. Consider second order consequences. Create the machine (plan and execute). “How might I… so that I can…?” Address the core problem, not the obvious symptom. Thinking time. 45min and 15min summary. No distractions. Few things are more common than unrewarded artistic and technical expertise. 4 hats. Creator, technician, owner, investor. Growth is inversely proportional to direct control. I.e. have to delegate, trust and check. Get a board to add valuable … Read More

Three ways small businesses are vulnerable (and how to make your business resilient)

Kurt.nzBusiness, career, finance

It’s heart wrenching to see so many small businesses having to close their doors for good. Owning a small business is like having a baby. Sleepless nights, lots of hard work, plenty of trials. But ultimately a sense of pride in watching it grow and develop. So to see it all disappear is a real sense of loss. From what I’ve seen and the people I’ve spoken to, there are three ways small companies are going out of business over this time. Over the years I’ve closed businesses for each of these reasons. The cause is simple and very clear. Lack of revenue. Starve a business of its lifeblood and eventually it’ll die, some quicker than others. But some are particularly vulnerable, like the companies below. The first example business is doing OK before the COVID-19 lockdown, but now the … Read More

A way to move forward (when procrastinating)

Kurt.nzBusiness, career, finance, Personal development

Summer break is the time to dream big. I usually come back with dozens of ideas for the new year. How quickly real life gets in the way of them! Here’s a way I’ve found to move forward. For something you really need/want to do, come up with 10 actionable steps you could take right now to move forward on it. Then pick the top 3 and do them. Right now. Why 10 steps? This forces you to think creatively, not just 1 or 2 things you could do. It doesn’t matter if you don’t do all 10. At least you’ll have 3 to make a start on. Finished the 3? Do the exercise again. Your next 10 will probably be quite different (and more useful) now that you’ve made a start.

(Book) Influence – Robert B. Cialdini

Kurt.nzBooks read, Business, career, finance, Personal development

Various ways to influence and persuade people through scarcity, urgency, reciprocation, consistency, commitment, social proof, liking and authority. Highlights from the book: Weapons of influence As the stimuli saturating our lives continue to grow more intricate and variable, we will have to depend increasingly on our shortcuts to handle them all. And even when it is not initially successful, she can mark the article “Reduced from __” and sell it at its original price while still taking advantage of the “expensive=good” reaction to the inflated figure. Simply put, if the second item is fairly different form the first, we will tend to see it as more different than it actually is. So if we lift a light object first and then lift a heavy object, we will estimate the second object to be heavier than if we had lifted it … Read More

(Book) The E-Myth Revisited – Michael E. Gerber

Kurt.nzBooks read, Business, career, finance

A tactical book on the common reasons why businesses fail, and what to do about it. Knowing how to do the work is a lot different from knowing how to run a business. Everybody is a combination of 3 people: Technician, manager, entrepreneur. It’s knowing which one you need to be at certain times that’s the key. It advocates setting up a business as if it were a franchise, being able to replicate and systemise everything. The E-Myth Revisited (highlights) People who are exceptionally good in business aren’t so because of what they know but because of their insatiable need to know more. The mundane, tedious little things done right make a business great. Business is a way to know ourselves. A mirror to what we know and how we act. Just because you like baking pies doesn’t mean you … Read More

Taking risks (what do you really need to live?)

Kurt.nzBusiness, career, finance, Lifestyle, family, community, Personal development, Travel

I was speaking with a friend of mine recently and he made an interesting observation. He said it’s funny how people who have been in the Armed Forces, specifically the Army, even more specifically, the infantry, seem to be more comfortable taking risks and trying new things. We talked about this for a while and the conclusion was this: People who have been in the infantry have spent a significant amount of their career walking around outdoors, carrying everything they needed to survive on their back. They know what it’s like to be wet, cold, tired and hungry. They know discomfort. I know I certainly did. They also know how far they can push themselves and what they actually need to survive. Not only do they know that they need food, shelter, water and warmth, they know how to get … Read More

(Book) The inevitable – Kevin Kelly

Kurt.nzBooks read, Business, career, finance


A book by someone who has spent most of his life thinking about the future. My thoughts in italics.   The Inevitable – Kevin Kelly (highlights) Our greatest invention in the last 200 years was not a gadget or a tool, but the invention of the scientific process itself.   1. Becoming Everything requires energy to maintain itself. Existence is chiefly maintenance. Because things need endless upgrading, we’ll constantly be newbies. Protopia is a state of becoming. Things are a little better today than they were yesterday. Kurt: Imagine a world where no one owns a home. Everyone lives in standard automated accommodation, the same the world over. You can move when you want. Global shared ownership of these facilities. Business idea: Shared ownership of hotel like apartments in major cities, standardised. Can move cities when you want. People predicted … Read More

5 first steps to financial wellness (for someone starting at zero)

Kurt.nzBusiness, career, finance, Lifestyle, family, community

What Hope Community Trust recently did a presentation on wellness. It covered areas such as physical well-being, financial discipline, education and development etc. What Hope is a charity I’m involved with. We work with at-risk youth in south Auckland, focussing on creating a culture of belonging and connection for youth, in a safe environment. As their treasurer, I was asked to contribute 5 steps someone should take for financial wellness. This is what I came up with. It’s very basic, but has important principals no matter what your circumstances. Decide on what you really need Don’t fall into the trap of buying things just because other people have them, or because it makes you happy for a couple of days. Decide on what you should and shouldn’t be spending on, before you even think about opening your wallet. Once you’ve … Read More

A brain dump of business ideas

Kurt.nzBusiness, career, finance

I don’t know what it is about me, but I can’t stop myself coming up with business ideas. Not just business ideas for the sake of business, but better ways to do things. More effective ways. This is a great habit, but it can also be dangerous. Instead of thinking specifically about the problems or goals I’m working on, my mind can wander. I may be trying to work through a marketing plan, and I find myself thinking about how cool it would be to have a QR code on my kids pyjamas, with a link to a bedtime story. So any idea I get, I write it down and try and forget about it. If more ideas about it pop into my head, I’ll add them to it. Eventually I may have a few bullet points about the idea, … Read More

A couple of different investments (Sharesies and Harmoney)

Kurt.nzBusiness, career, finance

I’m always looking at different investment opportunities and platforms. Here are a couple that I’ve been using recently, and quite like.   Sharesies (   I had followed this company for a while, and then promptly forgot about it. It wasn’t until recently that I rediscovered it. It’s an online platform that allows you to invest anything from $5 into 11 different index (EFT) funds. You can’t invest in individually listed companies, but the index funds range from NZ to Australian, US and global funds, with more on the way. I already invest in individual shares, and the sharemarket is a long term investment strategy for me. With Sharesies, I’ve invested a small amount in most of the different funds available. The platform is the easiest I’ve ever used. No surprise there, since it’s designed for people who are starting … Read More

(Book) Ego is the enemy – Ryan Holiday

Kurt.nzBooks read, Business, career, finance, Personal development


Ego has stopped many people (including myself) from learning, improving and doing really great work. This book is a clear example and reminder of the constant battle we face. Ego is the enemy of ambition, success and resilience. It’s especially relevant in the age of social media, likes and follows. A must read for anyone, regardless of your aspirations in life. This is one book I will be reading again. My thoughts and key takeaways: Ego is an unhealthy belief in our own importance. Stay grounded and do not fool yourself about your own ability. Silence is strength, talking takes away from doing the actual work. To be or to do. To receive praise or do work that is important. Substitute passion with purpose. What steps must you take now? Discipline trumps passion, which can disappear. Remain a student. Have … Read More

(Book) Your move: The underdog’s guide to building your business – Ramit Sethi

Kurt.nzBooks read, Business, career, finance


A direct, to-the-point, guide on how to sell. Yes, it covers more than just selling but this is the main point of the book. It has some good tips and examples, not just to do with actual selling techniques but it addresses our beliefs and mindsets first. In brief: Make sure your product/service is great Focus on the customer and ensure you’re giving them exactly what they want Be bold in selling, the more you sell, the more value you can create Your move: The underdog’s guide to building your business – Ramit Sethi (highlights) But when you start your own business, there’s no limit to how much you can earn. But the biggest failures aren’t things you did. They’re things you didn’t do. And I still read books and get advice from people whose businesses are a fraction of … Read More

(Book) Born for this – Chris Guillebeau

Kurt.nzBooks read, Business, career, finance, Personal development


A book that actually takes the pressure off ‘finding your passion’. It’s not so much about finding and focusing on the one thing that you were born for. It’s more about trying different things, taking calculated risks and thinking about the future. A good book if you’re still working for someone else, feel stuck and don’t quite know what to do next. My thoughts are in italics.   Born for this – Chris Guillebeau (highlights) Even if you work for someone you’re still essentially self-employed. No one will look out for your interests as much as you. What work would you do if you no longer needed money? There’s more than one path you can pursue, and the may lead to the same place. There’s probably one path that’s best of all. Social scripts, norms, expectations can be particularly unhelpful. … Read More

How to become a private investigator: Break into the industry with little or no experience

Kurt.nzBooks read, Business, career, finance

How to become a private investigator

So, you want to know how to become a private investigator? Great! You have a desire to enter one of the most exciting professions available. One where no two days are the same. One where you are constantly challenged and need to remain alert and engaged. One where you’ll regularly stop and think ‘…and I’m actually getting paid for this!’ However, if you’re like a lot of people, there are some roadblocks: Little or no law enforcement or related experience Sick of sending resumes and calling companies only to hear ‘no’ Want to start your own business but don’t know how Want to know what it’s really like being a P.I. but struggle to find any good information A few years ago I was in exactly the same position. I had wanted to be a private investigator for years. Yet, … Read More

How to evaluate options and make decisions (a different method)

Kurt.nzBusiness, career, finance, Personal development

Make decisions

We’re pretty spoiled these days with the amount of options available to us, we’re called to make decisions every day. Sometimes though, there are so many options we can choose from, we end up choosing none of them. It’s called the paradox of choice. Sometimes we need a kick in the pants just to make a decision. Think back on your last few major decisions. How much easier or harder was it when that decision was made for you, and you had to go along with it? Suddenly, when that happens, you know with certainty whether you wanted to make that decision or not. As humans we don’t like being forced to do something we don’t want to do. My wife will often present me with two options that she can’t decide between. The blue dress or the black dress … Read More

(Book) The war of art – Steven Pressfield

Kurt.nzBooks read, Business, career, finance, Personal development


A book about discipline. It’s written about making art but it really applies to all areas of life, since to live is to create. My notes from the book: What stops you being creative is resistance. It’s not the act, it’s starting. We have two lives. The life we live and the un-lived life within. Between them stands resistance. Any act that rejects short term and favours long term elicits resistance. “Those who will not govern themselves are condemned to find masters to govern over them.” The more fear we have about something the more certain we can be that it’s important. The professional knows that success is a by-product of work. It may or may not come. You turn a corner when you turn pro. Suddenly you take it seriously and do the work. Principle of priority. Know the … Read More

(Book) Anything you want – Derek Sivers

Kurt.nzBooks read, Business, career, finance, Lifestyle, family, community, Personal development


This book is worth 10 years of life and business experience and it only takes about an hour to read. I suggest you just read it, even if you’re not in business. It’s a great reality check for a lot of areas in life. You can do anything you want. Choose wisely. My notes from the book: What’s your compass? Don’t pursue little distractions in life because you don’t know which way to go. Chase your big dreams. Making a company is a great way to improve yourself to the world. It’s your utopia where you design your perfect world. Your business plan is moot. You don’t know what people really want until you start doing it. With CD Baby, Derek wasn’t trying to make a business. He started off helping a few friends out and, with his love of … Read More

Turning everything into a win (minimising the downside)

Kurt.nzBusiness, career, finance, Personal development


When I travelled to Europe a few years ago I learned French and Spanish using a bunch of Michel Thomas audio CD’s Side note: If you’re wanting to learn French, Spanish and a number of other languages you should definitely look him up at, if you learn best by listening (like I do) then he’s the way to go. I managed to listen to over 24 hours of lessons in the three months before I left. I did this by simply replacing the music/radio in my car to language lessons instead. 40 minutes commute each way every day adds up to a lot of potentially wasted time! It got me thinking. How can we turn potentially wasted or not ideal situations into something that actually benefits us? Not just by recovering wasted time, but by using situations or experiences … Read More

What would life look like if it were simple?

Kurt.nzBusiness, career, finance, Lifestyle, family, community


Life can be complicated. We get that. We expect that. Do we sometimes make ‘complicated’ the default though? What if ‘simple’ was our default? What would life look like if our decisions were made with forethought and rationality? Less would be more. We’d carefully think before acquiring more possessions because more stuff means more worry and more complication. Each time we’d ask ‘do I really need this?’ We’d be more forgiving. Holding on to grudges or bitterness is a sure way to complicate and poison our own thoughts and lives. What people thought about us wouldn’t matter. If you spend your life trying to please people you’ll end up pleasing no one, least of all yourself. Consequently we’d spend less money trying to keep up appearances. We’d choose to work in a field we have an interest in, not one … Read More

(Book) What to do when it’s your turn – Seth Godin

Kurt.nzBooks read, Business, career, finance, Personal development


Another great book from Seth about your turn, in his words: “I think we’re wasting the chance of a lifetime. This is an urgent call to do the work we’re hiding from, a manifesto about living with things that might not work and embracing tension when doing your art.” Here are the ideas that jumped out at me, my own thoughts are in italics. Opportunity? It’s everywhere. Freedom is our problem and freedom is our opportunity. We automatically limit ourselves yet we have so much choice. Being stupid is associated with learning. Embrace the stupid. This might not work. the cost of being wrong is less than the cost of doing nothing. The safest dreams are the ones with no hope of coming true. This is hiding. Concrete dreams are possible. They expose us to hope and risk. Great work … Read More

How to figure out what you want to do in life (hint: it’s not about what you do)

Kurt.nzBusiness, career, finance, Lifestyle, family, community, Personal development

I believe that ‘figuring out what you want to do in life’ is the wrong way to look at it for two reasons:   1. What you do actually comes from who you are. Sure you can do things that you don’t believe in, or aren’t really ‘you’. But this is just lying and it’s pretty hard to keep doing this without it eating away at you. Yes, you can change who you are by your actions, but you still need to think about how you want those actions to change you.   2. It’s extremely difficult to figure out what you want to do in life without having done it first. It would be like wanting to be a snowboarder without ever having been to the mountain and touched snow. It looks fun in theory but maybe you won’t … Read More