The only difference between having a record company, and not having a record company, is saying you have a record company."
That's according to Jaddan Comerford, who grew his music business from a one-man show in the bedroom of his parents' house into a AU$7 million (NZ$7.4m) global empire.
Now aged 33, the Melburnian started what is now called the Unified Music Group when he was just 17, by convincing a local band to let him put out their first record.
"It was just me, a willingness to press CDs and a small band that were great to work with, but are no longer together," Comerford told news.com.au.
"We probably sold about 300 copies."
The year was 2001, Napster was disrupting the industry and music executives were terrified of what the future might hold.
"It was probably the worst time in history to start a record label," he said. "I used Napster myself and owned a CD burner, but I still wanted to start a music business. Somehow, we made it work."
Today, Unified counts some of Australia's top musical talent among its client base, from Vance Joy, Amy Shark and Tash Sultana to Violent Soho, Illy and The Amity Affliction.
As a full-service music company, its services include management, label, publishing, touring, festivals and merchandise, giving the business multiple income streams.
"We supply multiple services to clients, although not every artist wants everything," Comerford said.
He admits he knew little about the music industry when he got started, saying he "'learned on the fly,' running the business while studying commerce at university."
"I think back to some of the things I used to do early on ... But there's no real way to learn about it at university as the industry has changed so much," he said.
Coming from an entrepreneurial family - his parents ran a Baker's Delight franchise, then a plumbing business - Comerford didn't think twice before going after his dreams.
When he was growing up in Heidelberg in Melbourne, he said, he was neighbours with David Hirschfelder, the celebrated Australia screen composers of Strictly Ballroom and The Dressmaker fame.
"One day I found out he had a manager," he said, recalling how he came to the realisation that a fellow resident of the middle-class suburb could have a musical career, maybe he could too.
While his budding music label began as a hobby, by the time he finished university it was a full-blown business.
After five years running the operation from his bedroom, Comerford finally moved out of the family home and rented a dedicated office space.
He hired a few friends and started growing the venture, signing on up-and-coming artists and making a name for himself - all despite having zero previous industry experience, aside from a stint working in the warehouse of a music company.
But one thing he had was a work ethic, developed as a child working in his grandparents' factory, grinding steel to make caps for work boots.
And, thanks to the advice drummed into him from childhood, he'd managed to grow a share portfolio worth AU$30,000 over seven years.
Originally intended as a way to save a home deposit, the young Comerford sold the lot and ploughed the money into Unified.
"One thing I didn't understand was how growing the business would impact on cashflow," he recalled.
"Not being prepared for that and not paying bills, we had moments in our time when that's the only way we could do it."
For those wanting to follow in his footsteps, he advised "being persistent and having a plan" but conceded that "not having a plan allowed us to get here".
"I just did it and I just didn't give up," he said.
"A sense of naivety helped, but more foresight may have been a good thing."
To overcome his cashflow problems, Comerford brought in a team of experts to sort out his accounts.
Today, Unified employs 35 full-time staff in Sydney, Melbourne, London, Los Angeles, up from just five in 2013.
It turned over AU$7 million (NZ$7.4m) last year and Comerford is expanding the company's operations in America and the United Kingdom, helping Australian musicians reach a global audience.
The most satisfying moments, he said, were seeing his artists perform on stage at world-class festivals like Glastonbury.
"We're just really excited to be doing what we're doing," he said.