You can go a long way on a giggle. Benjii Jackson's stretched his all the way to England and as for Ben Howe, well, right now, he's in New York and still going strong after 15 years.
Both run record labels (Muzai and Arch Hill respectively), which seems a quaint notion given the ubiquity of downloads and playlists these days, but with the deluge of new music swamping the net every moment of every day, it can be argued that labels are more important than ever. They sift out the rubbish so we don't have to.
All the same, Jackson admits co-founding Muzai Records five years ago "was meant to be a bit of a laugh. There's no way we imagined a day like this where I'd be able to talk about running a business and having some intimate knowledge of the music industry. It'd have been 'you're kidding, right? That's never going to happen'."
Yet, there he is, on the other side of the world, putting into practice the advice he received from record label owner and former Cocteau Twins member Simon Raymonde: "If you're passionate about something, don't worry about what other people think, just get out there and do it."
Which is pretty much how Jackson got started in the first place.
He lived for music but quickly realised performing wasn't his thing, so threw himself into the gig scene, where his sidelines in writing, publicity work and radio DJing had bands chasing his endorsement. From there, it's wasn't much of a leap to kicking off a label.
By contrast, Arch Hill Records was more born of running out of options. It was 15 years ago that Howe and a few mates were having a post-practice pint and rehashing their grumbles about being a guitar band in a dance music world.
"It wasn't like there was any great plan or anything," he says.
"Indie rock just wasn't fashionable back then, no one was interested, so [starting our own label] was born out of necessity more than anything else."
Jackson was born in Bolton, northwest of Manchester. His family emigrated to New Zealand when he was 3, then returned 10 years later.
His father insisted he learn keyboards, until he rebelled, picked up a guitar and started a band, The Lohans (a tribute to walking headline Lindsay Lohan), while he studied journalism.
"I enjoyed certain aspects, but the playing part and the practising part I kind of didn't fall in love with, not as much as the clerical part. I really enjoyed all that stuff. Then I decided I wanted to be a music writer so [in 2006], I headed back [to New Zealand] to try it here."
He ended up working in PR while also writing for Groove Guide and playing on LPFM radio station Fleet FM, roles he used to make himself a middle man between bands, media and venues.
The then-26-year-old was particularly keen on one outfit, God Bows to Math, and, after a few beers with his mate Martin Phillips, they decided to release a CD for them.
They wanted to be an old school punk label with a blog for an office and a laptop for a studio, an approach that turned out to be an ideal match for the young - make that very young - bands playing after school, at all-ages gigs in places like the Mt Eden Scout Hall and who wanted a CD to show off to their parents.
After a few more CDs, the pair realised they had somehow become a label for acts such as Bandicoot, featuring Don McGlashan's daughter, Pearl, who opened the 2010 Big Day Out, and multi-instrumentalist Daniel McBride, now better known as Sheep, Dog and Wolf (on Lil' Chief Records), and who won the Critics' Choice Prize at the 2013 New Zealand Music Awards.
A more serious approach was needed and, with the help of a few industry veterans, Muzai began replacing handshakes with contracts, a process that hasn't been without its problems, with one band jumping ship as a result of the terms on offer.
If it's been a financial challenge, with Jackson and Phillips running everything off their own savings while maintaining proper day jobs on the side, they've also faced the odd existential crisis.
"We have had to answer the question of why we even bother when a go-getter artist can create and market everything by themselves," says Jackson, "but I always go back to my original idea of being the middle man.
"We do the tedious pain-in-the-arse stuff the artist doesn't want to do: the paperwork, the organisation, and asking people to pay when the musician is too scared to. But, more than all that, I think this whole DIY concept in music is contrived. Everyone has to get help from somewhere for something. We prefer to look at it as DIT, Do It Together."
They had to laugh together, too, when their name turned around and bit them.
Jackson opted for Muzai, meaning (he thought) noisy or difficult, which reflected their musical tastes and his love of things Japanese. Well, it did until he met a Japanese man who said, "Nice name. You know it means 'innocence?'"
"So yeah, I got that totally wrong, but it's still pretty funny. You could even say we've gone for some indie irony because it kind of disarms everything."
Now, after five years of survival, Jackson is optimistic enough to move back to Manchester.
"We've never made a profit, but we are breaking even, so I'll take that as a small victory and I'm quite proud of it. As for the move, well yes, it's risky, but I want to be the first UK-based New Zealand record label. I think we've kind of plateaued here and I'd rather be able to say we tried to step up rather than stay here and drift. I mean, you've got to have a go, don't you, it isn't just a laugh now."
Accepting what they are was an issue at Arch Hill as well. Even by their fifth anniversary, Ben Howe wasn't sure what to call himself. "I think I saw it more as a hobby. If anyone said, 'You run a record label'," I just couldn't talk about it like that. It made it seem way more serious than what we actually were."
Well, he was part-funding the business with the scholarship for his PhD on New Zealand pop music and, as for a career, teaching looked a more likely earner than flogging off records. But he's being far too modest.
Even then, Arch Hill had raised its hand as the natural successor to the halcyon Flying Nun scene of the 80s (to the point that Howe is now the rejuvenated label's general manager), even if it was based around recording his mates. He's now at the point where he travels to New York two or three times a year for Arch Hill's partnership with Brooklyn label Captured Tracks.
"I think the tipping point was when we signed Pine from Christchurch. They weren't our friends. I mean they are now, but at that point they were just a band I'd stumbled across. So they sent us some records and at first I loved the artwork, but when I listened. 'Hey, these guys are great'. That was the first time we signed strangers."
It also kicked off a broadening of the Arch Hill sound, even if it always reflects Howe's taste given he has the final say on all signings.
"That's important I think. There's so much stuff out there, but when you see a label like ours it'll have a certain amount of curated content."
Meaning if you like one Arch Hill band, it's likely you'll like their others.
But, over 15 years, Howe's learned that bands are as much about the people as what they play, so his selection process is rather personal and don't bother knocking on his door if you can't convince him you're serious.
"Music has to be your singular life passion, otherwise you'll never get anywhere."
If you pass that test he'll watch you perform three or four times while getting to know what sort of people you are.
Ben Howe's music label arch hill has signed singer-songwriter Tiny Ruins.
Commercial factors don't really feature, he says. Anyone thinking music will make them rich should try something else. His measure of success isn't in his bank account.
"One of my favourites is Jim Lang's Lanky album. It's completely unknown, completely fantastic, and I'm really proud of it. That's success to me. Like getting a band to America and having them play in front of a few hundred people in a bar, that's success as well."
Still, there does seem to be new potential in air. Not only are schools churning out record numbers of proficient musicians, we now have the Lorde factor.
"I think it's fair to say she's had a big impact, and in a positive way, on all of us. A lot of people are contacting me about bands, sometimes the most obscure, random acts: 'Is this the next Lorde?'. No, they're not, but the interest she's created is amazing. I had a call about Yumi Zouma (recently named by TimeOut as a band to watch). They'd just heard a track on a blog, and I told them, 'Yeah, I know them; one of them works for me'.
"And that's the thing now. We may be based in New Zealand but distances are becoming irrelevant, so our focus is now overseas, even if there is a definite value in being on the ground here."
Right now, he's using that presence to expand his roster and his ears.
Howe doesn't want Arch Hill to fall into the jingle-jangle indie trap. Music, as it did 15 years ago, cycles, so it pays to cover your bases and to this end he's signed the beats-focused Doprah and singer-songwriter Tiny Ruins.
"I think the choices are totally valid. Their styles might be new to us but, broadly, they fit our ethos very well."
So, it turns out that the guy who took on a job no one else wanted has made it into a full-time career. That he's done it on his own terms is, frankly, amazing.
"I still love music. That hasn't come close to burning out, mostly, I think, because of the people I work with and the people we keep discovering who are playing music because it's all they want to do and it's all they can imagine doing. That's exciting and interesting."