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Sustainability drives small business success for one Melburnian

Without everyday freedoms to catch up with friends for much of the time he’s been home, Josh focused on his business, quietly plotting out new distribution channels. He’s picked up powerful mentors and even celebrity endorsements along the way.

Buoyed by strong early interest in his brand, he organised an equity crowdfunding bid, raising $600,000, which will fund a push into the personal care and home cleaning sector in the near future.

A witty brand that addresses a very serious global issue.

A witty brand that addresses a very serious global issue. Credit: Supplied.

Growing entrepreneurship

Josh is one of the many sole traders ultimately working to make a difference in this world. We may be enduring a pandemic, but through it all, our entrepreneurial spirit as a nation appears to be irrepressible.

The Xero Boss Insights 2021 research – a report in partnership with The Demographics Group that looks into the effects of COVID-19 on Australia’s business sector – indicates that the pandemic has by no means distinguished our professional hopes.

From Wollert in Victoria to Biggera Waters in Queensland, sole traders are realising their small business dreams, taking matters into their own hands by doing so.

While many businesses had no choice but to shed staff or close their doors during the pandemic, a host of brave Australians were prompted to take the leap to self-employment. As a result, the paper reveals the number of net new sole trader businesses jumped by 55,900 over the 2019/20 financial year which was more than the increase in the previous year.

The report also reveals that digital uptake has been strong among many entrepreneurs. As we know, “periods of economic downturn often speed up the arrival of new trends, and in 2020 the acceleration of digitisation went into overdrive,” the report states.

Josh, for one, is dreaming big – both in the context of digital transformation and scalability. His ultimate vision is to become the global leader in the ‘just add water’ category, accelerating the world’s transition to sustainable household products in the process.

Josh’s advice to others hoping to strike out on their own is simple: make a start, just as the Boss Insights 2021 report reveals thousands of other Australians are. “You just have to have a crack, and then figure out what’s working, and what’s not. Don’t worry if it’s not perfect, you can tweak as you go,” he says.

He admits he goes with the flow most of the time, taking challenges, like shifting lockdown restrictions, in his stride. “At the moment, everything is just so unpredictable. But I’m pretty resilient about it all.” And it’s a sentiment shared by many, according to Xero’s report.

Those brave enough to go it alone are ultimately empowered to create their own success. And as Australia works to rebuild and recover, our future lies with the smallest of businesses – the self-employed base of our economy that served as a pilot light for entrepreneurship during the pandemic. Eventually, encouraging sole traders to take on employees of their own will be key to igniting our economic recovery for a bright future ahead.

Read more of Xero’s Boss Insights research here.

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