The Flow Studio journey - first lesson - seed money and salary


I wanted to write a blog post because I don’t know, I guess you are a technical person that reads my blog, and you might be interested in my journey from a two decade consultant into a sole business owner building a product company.

It’s pretty exciting. Everyone should try this.

This blog post

I was talking to Elaine as she’s visiting Sydney and I was explaining a very critical lesson I’m in the middle of learning, now that my company “Flow Studio Solutions” is 3 months old.

I was also recently talking to Brett and Sandy who gave me a lot of insights into an early day of a founder. Brett asked me several questions and boy he’s a wizard how does he know that’s exactly what I have been doing the whole time.

And there is FIRST LESSON I’m rapidly learning.

When you decided to take part time or taking some time off and start doing your business, you have this tendency to think Oh, the business isn’t taking in enough income, so I’ll just not take a salary for this month. I’ll live off my savings in my personal account.

This is Brent’s wise words to me. Paraphrased

I modified those words into this trick - with the bank details added in.
Please do over. It’s a most simple trick.

  1. Make your business bank account. You should have this anyway, otherwise people can’t pay you.

  2. Transfer money from your savings that you intend to live on, into your business

  3. Give yourself a salary and sent that back to your personal savings every month (to pay your bills)

Now suddenly, you can claim expenses, tax deductions and have a clear idea how much money the business needs to continue paying you that salary.

Also, when you want to seek funding or grants - it is very clear to proof how much does the business need to operate, and how much existing seed money had already been injected into this business.

You can’t proof “oh here’s my savings account I need about $5000 a month” that isn’t your business, that’s your lavish/hermit lifestyle, nobody cares about that but you. But if you had your business sending you a $5000 salary, you can easily provide that as clear proof that’s the cost of the business, every month.

So, that is the first lesson.

Move your savings into your business, pay yourself a living salary, and work on your business, not in your business.

I’m grateful for Brent and Elaine for these conversations.


For the details which might make sense why there are different dates in the Flow Studio journey. He’s a rough timeline.

2018 April - Flow Studio the product started as a side project
2018 November - Started accepting Stripe subscriptions
2019 June - Until June, Flow Studio operated under a sole trader business registration in Australia
2019 July - incorporated Flow Studio Solutions - a product company that does a side consulting to build the product.
2019 October - first quarter. This update.

Presentations at the Digital Workplace Conference Australia 2019 I’m looking forward to

It’s really exciting for me to be back at the Digital Workplace Conference again in 2019, this is one of the first major conferences that I was very fortunate to be able to present at, and I have always looked forward to attend, to learn and to give back and present the latest happenings in SharePoint, Office 365, Azure and now also Power Platform.

The Digital Workplace Conference will be on August 6-7 in Sydney.


This year I’m presenting a topic (and sorry for the slightly concatenated topic name):

A quick introduction to Microsoft Flow, but rapidly takes audience deeper to see the possibilities of the types of solutions possible

There probably should be a line-break in there somewhere. You have to use your imagination for this title for that missing character, sorry!

Lets try that again!

An introduction to Microsoft Flow: Office 365 - Automated

This is an introduction session on Microsoft Flow, but my aim isn’t to show you a simple alert email. My aim is to explain that we have far transcended “Workflows”. It’s not just workflow. We are way beyond that - what we really have is a full Automation Engine. It is Office 365 - Automated.

Be very careful, writing Microsoft Flow is completely addictive.

The Sessions I want to see!

  • Become The Expert of You – Power Skills for Personal Development - Heather Newman

  • Trust-Based Corporate Culture: How to Kick Fear and Toxicity Out of the Workplace - Heather Newman

  • The Fruit Salad Formula for Implementing Ofice 365 - Debbie Ireland

  • Microsoft Teams Deep Dive – 29 Practical Tips and Tricks - Lee Stephens

  • Making Teams work without understanding Information Architecture - Alistair Pugin

  • A Zero-Hype Introduction to Artifical Intelligence and Machine Learning - Kilash Awati

  • Adding voice interaction to your apps - Brian Farnhill

  • Give your PowerApps and Flows some Vision, Language and Feeling - Rich Burdes

  • How to build a Project Hub with Hubsites and Sitedesign and Sitescripts - Knut Relbe-Moe

  • Success Factors in a Thriving Yammer Network - Rebecca Jackson

  • How to Govern PowerApps and Flow - Paul Culmsee

  • Governance & Adoption for Microsoft 365: Making the Marriage work - Megan Strant

But that’s not all

I’m at the conference both days and plan to hang around for the workshop day too. So if you have any questions on

  • Microsoft Flow, PowerApps, Power Platform Governance solutions

  • Azure LogicApps, Azure Functions

  • SharePoint, PnP, Microsoft Graph, SPFx

  • Flow Studio startup journey

  • The latest imaginations in the mind of a mad man

And whatever in between…
I’m available for a chat!

The value of a Physical Conference

I always feel the top value of a physical conference is being able to stash away two or three days to focus and immerse in an environment with like-minded people, we talk tech, have the same challenges, but may have solved some of them with our own personal takes of that experience.

We are very much alike - when we are together in the same conference - we are introduced to new ideas that gives us a much broader perspective than we would usually see when we are so focused on our immediate day to day business problems.

I treat it as a relaxed edu-vacation. Seek out the sessions that broadens my capacities. And grab hold of the presenters and get a deeper discussion to take that back with me.

I would love to see you (see you again) at the Digital Workplace Conference 2019. If you see me you should say Hi John - I want to ask / I want to tell you about <THIS THING>

Presenting a roadmap to learning and mastery of Microsoft Flow at Collab365 Microsoft Flow Virtual Summit

All the Flow you can eat!


I managed to squeeze in last minute with a session on “A roadmap to learning and mastery of Microsoft Flow” this is an advanced session aiming to cover a wide range of techniques and pointing out the pitfalls along these milestones.

The session is near the very end of the Flow Virtual Summit. So I hope you would join me live. (As of this post - the Flow Virtual Summit is on right now). If you want to catch the video on demand after the session, you will need to purchase an All Access Pass.

The review of milestones and roadmap is suitable for learning or navigating our learning along Microsoft Flow.

Affiliate Discount for Flow Virtual Summit All-Pass users

Flow Studio is affiliated with Flow Virtual Summit to offer an additional $20 off the first year of your subscription if you have an Flow Virtual Summit All Access Pass. So this is how it will work.

First year - US$80
Subsequent years - US$100

After July, where Flow Studio’s price increases to US$200

First year - US$180
Subsequent years - $200

So if you have purchased an Flow Virtual Summit All-Pass and is interested in purchasing a Flow Studio subscription - let me know!

Enjoy the show

100 Flow-jutsu of the FlowNinja


Upon reaching a numerical significant milestone of 100 FlowNinja flow-lifehacks. I wanted to review the full list and provide that list here for your glorious consumption during bedtime reading.

Some of them have additional detailed blog post, some of them have an detailed YouTube video - some of them have additional videos or blog posts from the community that added more details to the picture we are all painting together.

Some lifehacks are no longer needed, as Flow has gained that ability natively. Sometimes a connector has changed. Sometimes, I’ve rolled the feature into Flow Studio.

So this is a curated list of the lifehacks, the Flow-jutsu of the Flow Ninja. With small amounts of commentary like someone scribbling notes next to old hacks recalling the wisdom (or insanity) at the time.

Enjoy. Read a random one.

Let me know if there’s a specific Flow-lifehack that you liked but wanted a video or a full blog post. I can tell the blog rate is less than 10% of the tweetstorms. And there’s very little YouTube content of these as well. Both are situations I’d like to improve.

# Flow-jutsu URL
1. Wait until Fire Changed HTTP+Webhook
SharePoint Technically when we have double triggers this will make more sense. Imagine every wehbook trigger can become an in-flow webhook action.
2. Convert PDF to DOCX via CloudConvert
3. Path to Flow-zen
4. Change SharePoint Permission via MSGraph
MSGraph Now use Send HTTP To SharePoint
5. Flow to cancel self or other Flows
Custom Connector Feature rolled into Flow Studio
6. Condition on Trigger
Blog Serge Luca
7. Conditional IP Address on Trigger
8. Approval API via custom connection
Custom Connector Feature rolled into Flow Studio
9. Learn Select
10. Two expressions
11. Flow Governance
12. Flow Editor two hacks
13. No hack to celebrate Send HTTP to SharePoint
14. Read Flow Connectors with Flow
15. Meta Flow killing other Flows
Custom Connector Feature rolled into Flow Studio
16. Make document set with slug
17. Make Excel Chart from Graph
18. Batch connector for Teams
19. Copy DocumentSet files
20. Flow Studio Kunai
Flow Studio Flow Studio marked the beginning of my work to make the hacks I do usable by the power user via an easy to use app. Without Flow Studio - many of my hacks requires a developer to integrate.
21. Flow Studio duplicate
22. Flow Studio Cancel all runs
23. Flow to VSTS
24. Flow Studio tags
25. Save Flow to VSTS
26. Infinite Recursion of Fails
27. Read O365 admin center messages
28. Flow Studio filter by Trigger Type/Kind
29. Multiple SharePoint subscriptions set up
30. Trick the Flow Editor about Update Flow action
31. Calling AzureFunction with webhook
32. Resubmit multi-Flow Runs
33. Send iCal
34. Fast init const
35. Use Flow to Site Design and Site Script
36. World Cup from Flow
37. Watch twitter Followers
38. Flow Studio middleware is Flow - github feedback
39. Flow Studio run ID
40. Retrieve 5K+ rows with paging
41. Emojis are valid name
42. RSS ideas
43. Upload binary from PowerApps via Hacked Flow Button
44. Filter string exercise
45. Filter string Xpath translate()
46. Turn on Forms Split On
47. Coalesce() because expression editor broke
48. Please tell my future self to do timesheets
49. Use Flow to process thumbnails as datauri image
50. Flow O365 Azure Event Grid
51. Greasemonkey script for Flow Expression Editor
The script required frequent update each time when Flow designer is changed. It is something I chose not to maintain overtime. Instead, I put my work into Flow Studio's UX which I can control 100%
52. Windows Timeline
53. Make new Flows from definition
54. Create SP shortcut links
55. Large datasets in Excel - after this I advice using MSGraph to talk to Excel
56. HTTP is not Request
57. Hiding variables out of sight
58. Meta designer hack more space
subsequent Flow designer update now uses Monaco editor for Output - Monaco editor does not resize easily when the output panel's height is auto'ed
59. HTML from Markdown
60. Send email with wishing wand
61. Make Flow Button optional
this is now native in the Flow button designer
62. Creating HTML format in custom definition
63. Action tracked properties
64. Custom actions idea
65. Setting variable with value of itself
66. Hack Flow Button arg into date
this is now native in the Flow button designer
67. Sort in Flow
68. EnsureSiteAssetLibrary
69. Split On false
70. Set like status
71. Google sheet to google cal
72. Fast string replacement with 2 select
73. Use Parse JSON to check types
74. Intersection vs filter array
75. Link to current Flow Run
76. MomentJS in Flow
77. For Selected DocumentSet
78. Use ValidateUpdateListItem
79. ExcelRest
80. Stop flow SharePoint self trigger with validateUpdateListItem
81. Battleship Outlook Calendar
82. Group BY CAML
83. Date Projection and let me count the days
84. DecodeUriComponent for new line
85. Black art of calling internal API on swagger
86. For Each via CSV
87. Upload File via Unused Outlook connector
YouTube Chaks
88. SharePoint modified only trigger
89. Auto reply in Github when issue is closed
90. Fix parallel blocks via Edit JSON
91. A power user friendly method of connecting hundreds of sites, lists and libraries to a single Flow
92. Geofence pokemon go
93. When connections break - send email
94. At-mentions in Microsoft Teams
95. Fast sync of SharePoint list via batch
96. Excel variable names
97. Export Email .eml to SharePoint
98. PowerApps Trigger headers
99. Paste snippets from text
100. Thanos Outlook Snap

The Flow Studio journey and July price increase


I wanted to write an update about Flow Studio, my personal journey so far as a single founder, and announce that there will be a price increase at the end of July.


There will be an increase of Flow Studio subscription price to US$200/year after July. All existing subscriptions will be honoured and maintained at existing prices - so this month is the best time to come onboard and support my work Flow Studio.

If you are using Flow Studio - but don’t see enough value to subscribe. That’s fine - Flow Studio is a freemium product and there will always be a free tier. But I think it’d be alright to ask from time to time that you tell me what would be something that may entice you to change your mind? I am highly motivated to solve your needs and … make you a subscriber. :-)

Journey - what does Flow Studio do?

A year ago, friends ask me: John why do you write Flow Studio, what pain are you trying to solve? I said - I have more than 50 Flows. The response I got was weird looks - well John that’s just you, I wouldn’t build a product based on that.

Fast forward to today - hundreds of people have more than 50 Flows. Some people have more than me. If you support a service account that is a co-owner to many people’s Flows: that account has access to hundreds of Flows.

Consider IT that needs to support Thousands of Flows - what tools do they have?

The problem was never “if” the problem was always “when”. The reality is actually “too soon”

Flow Studio started with simply “Flow inventory management” being able to rapidly find, sort, filter and group with #hashtags our Flows in multiple ever-increasing environments.

We read pages of runs for each Flow - so we can answer questions such as “what has been running most recently” and “which Flows has been failing”. These are powerful features that are not available in the Flow maker portal.

We support bulk operations - multi-select runs and cancel. Multi-select flows and disable. Multi-select approvals and reject.

We added Edit JSON so power users has a quick way to dive into the core definition of a Flow and tweak that. You can do find and replace. Search for URLs or just move blocks around.

We added Contextual Runs - so makers can quickly make sense of a sea of runs and find the error they are looking for.

We added Sparklines so makers can get a bird’s eye view of what’s going on.

Admin view lets an user with environment administrator permission to see all the Flows made by people in that environment - invaluable for IT admins wanting a better overview of Flows in their environment. This is also an excellent view for a Service Account with P2 to be used as the owner of Team Flows.

Major Feature: Migrate

The most latest and significant feature is Migrate. We now support copying, updating and migrating a maker’s Flow(s) across different SharePoint sites and Flow environments. This is a one-to-many support that is not going to be available in the Flow maker portal, and something really necessary for SharePoint and Teams professionals. This allows a maker to create one flow, and copy it across one, twenty, fifty sites. We help makers keep them all up to date.

This is the main feature that we are raising the price of Flow Studio on. So if this is something you think you’ll need for half the price - get in now!


I’ve been a consultant for twenty years - and it’s really a dream to be able to take something I do for one customer and take it into a product.

It is also so much hard work - the main struggle is that the feedback loop for a startup is somewhat delayed and at times completely missing. Unlike a coding challenge - there’s no immediate “problem, debug, fix, done”. A business makes a decision and there’s really no idea if that’s the right decision. And there’s no way to find out for months, if ever, that a decision is right or wrong.

The opportunity costs of each decision, what should I be doing instead, what can I do in parallel. All the community work I still love to do so much, but now I wonder if I’m sabotaging my own startup while being distracted.

Distracted. Scary word. Extremely scary for a founder.

Anyway, I keep my sights on the goal. I’m certain the future of automation within Office 365 and across Microsoft is Microsoft Flow. With that in mind - there is no way a tool like Flow Studio isn’t valuable to a maker, and Flow governance isn’t valuable to a business. I intend to make my way towards that goal. I’m hoping you are all behind me, or alongside me, or cheering for me.

Let me know if you want a demo happy to visit in person or remote.

July Price Increase

Flow Studio Pro subscription is currently priced at US$10 per month or US$100 per year. There are two pricing updates that will go live at the end of July:

The price will increase to US$20 per month or US$200 per year. We believe the added value to Flow Studio over the year has dramatically increased its value. We also believe that as more and more makers are using Microsoft Flow - a solution like Flow Studio to help manage, migrate and rapidly troubleshoot Flows is necessary for the maker.

Australian businesses will be charged at AU$300 - this includes the currency conversion rate as well as inclusive GST, an Australian Tax Invoice will be issued. As an Australian I’m aware that we often feel we pay more than usual US prices, I hope we’d find it fair after conversion including GST.

The price increases are something we intend to do over time. As we keep adding features, we will consider raising the prices to match the value. But this is something we do when the value position of Flow Studio is so significant we actually consider the final price still a bargain for makers. Our promise to existing customers is that Flow Studio subscriptions will remain at the price that you signed up for, as a thank you over a much longer period of support from you. Thank you.

Special Offer: Collab365 Microsoft Flow Virtual Summit

I partner’ed up with the folks at Collab365 - running the Microsoft Flow Virtual Summit next week to offer a special Flow Studio deal for All Access Pass members.

Collab365: Microsoft Flow Virtual Summit is free if you can tune in during the live broadcast of the sessions. If you want to watch the recordings afterwards, you need to purchase an All Access Pass.

The All Access Pass also unlocks a serious bundle of discounts for many affiliated products and services. For Flow Studio - you will get $20 off the first year.

It means if you subscribe to Flow Studio (yearly) before end of July through this offer, you will pay $80 for the first year, and $100/year for subsequent years.

I’ll write more in the next blog post about how this would work.


I have a need of something from all of you.

If you have used one of my Flow tips - then I would like you to try - I seriously ask every Flow maker to try this tool and tell me what they’d like to see.

If you aren’t a subscriber, but would consider yourself my customer, friend or supporter - I’m always in need of founder and product feedback, I feel with you, I can indulge myself and directly ask for your feedback.

Please don’t feel pressured into subscribing if you don’t see the value clearly for you. Your feedback on what would make the product valuable to you is equally if not important than subscribing when you don’t feel like you need it.

Let me know in many ways:

I thank you sincerely for reading this whole post all the way through here. I know raising price is tricky, I want to do it for the right reasons, and explain why I’m doing it. Anyway, you have one month!