Back in April, Bruce Sithole, who received his Microsoft MVP award in November, decided to leave the secure nine-to-five working world and follow his dream. And in May, Sithole brought that dream to fruition by starting his own company, 365 Mechanix, a specialist Power Platform consultancy that focuses on the Microsoft business applications, including Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement, SharePoint, Office 365, and PowerApps.

Owning his own business was something Sithole has always wanted to do.

"I didn't want to get to my eighties or so and always wonder what would have happened if I had started my own business," says Sithole, who lives in Longueville, New South Wales, Australia.

Sithole also wanted to apply what he has learned at different consultancies to provide a better experience for his customers.

A balancing act

To his surprise, the biggest challenge that comes with starting a new business hasn't been finding customers but rather balancing work. He explains:

When you are starting on any business, initially there are concerns about money coming in and you tend to focus on billing [hours] as much as possible as that's how consultancies typically work. You're out at a customer site or do customer work, you charge your time for that and that's how you get money.

While that's obviously great, you also need to be looking at the business strategy and where the business is going in the next six to 12 months. Those are usually activities that don't bring in revenue directly. So it just might be some networking events or going out and engaging with Microsoft or doing any other kind of necessary work on the business to make sure that the business is there for the long term and sustainable.

Sithole is constantly working to maintain that balance, which he says is akin to a moving needle. It can be done but it takes a tremendous amount of discipline. One way he maintains that balance is by ensuring that customer engagements don't take up all of his time so he has the flexibility to work on the business as well as on other opportunities.

From intern to CRM technical consultant

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