Whilst the COVID19 pandemic has forced millions out of stable employment, it has also triggered a significant boom in new business registrations: ‘the COVID Business Boom.’
Over the past year, new business registrations on government-register ASIC have jumped to record numbers, with some months seeing an increase of thousands versus previous years.
Business registrations in September and October 2020 notched almost 22,000, up from 17,000 in 2018/19.
In a bid to humanise the face of courageous entrepreneurship, AESTOLOGYY reached out to three very different business owners to share their tales of launching a successful new enterprise during the pandemic.
From a heavily pregnant designer who was made redundant – now with contracts for billboards and bus wraps – to a laid-off Qantas pilot, these are the faces of entrepreneurial triumph sparked during crisis.
Heavily pregnant and laid-off
Brittany Wright, 25, was made redundant from her pre-pandemic job at an Economic Development Agency, which she says she didn’t see coming.
“I thought I would be pretty safe in the roll-out because there was still a fair bit to do there day-to-day,” said Miss Wright.
That was not the case, and she was forced to start looking for a job whilst being heavily pregnant and the mother of a 2-year old.
Wright acknowledged that informing potential employers she was pregnant was also an internal struggle.
“I kind of was really struggling with whether I tell people while I’m looking that I’m pregnant… like how do I approach that subject?”
She later realised the redundancy was the perfect time for her to fuse her creative skills with design software technology and launch a custom design business to offer bespoke logos, prints, customer illustration and more.
“My biggest achievement would be getting referrals from strangers. I’ve also had a few jobs like billboards and bus wraps which was pretty cool.”
Wright calls her enterprise a “one-stop creative shop.”
Whilst Wright studied graphic design, she admits she was less experienced when it came to starting and running a business.
“Business for me is a lot of Googling… I also have found a few mentors along the way that I can reach out to when I need help,” she states.
Wright’s enterprise has seen early commercial success, despite being what she acknowledges is a crowded market. She is constantly working for her clients with creative exploits including websites and more.
Most importantly, she loves that she is in charge of choosing the pace of her business, especially with a growing family.
Laid-off Qantas airline pilot
First Officer with Qantas on the 787 Dreamliner, Shane Tobin, lost his job when national borders shut, along with what he states was around 90% of his colleagues.
Tobin and his fiancé Hannah were looking forward to holidays so his family could meet his baby, who was born last December – “obviously that all got snuffed out pretty quickly,” he states.
Mr Tobin felt restless and did not aspire to radically change his career, so with the support of his former colleague, Jeremy Miller, started what claims to be the “only specialized advance aircraft handling flight academy” in Australia.
“Skills are transferable. The skills you’ve learned and acquired over the course of a career, or multiple careers, can have benefits to a lot of people.”
The business draws on Tobin’s 20-year airline experience which witnessed what he believes is “way too many” aviation accidents because of flight control loss, which most likely becomes fatal.
Tobin states it’s often the psychological ‘startle’ from loss of control in flights that contribute to fatalities, but if pilots are trained properly, with his and Miller’s experience, they may be able to decrease that risk.
“We thought we should set up a school that specializes in upset prevention recovery training, so we can take anyone from brand-new to the most experienced pilot in an airplane, and actually train them in the recovery techniques and the prevention techniques associated with a loss of control in flight situation.”
This training is more commonplace internationally, but not in Australia, and that’s where Mr Tobin saw the gap and wanted to fill it, with the help of international sources.
With the support of Jeremy Miller, one of the nation’s most qualified aerobatics trainers, they decided to start their own business, UPRT (Upset Prevention Recovery Training) Australia.
Tobin and Miller have years of complementary experience, with a passion for making a difference in this niche.
23-year old serial mumpreneur
Ariana Annachi, 23, is a mother and the owner of multiple businesses. She didn’t choose to slow down during the pandemic.
Originally from the United States, Miss Annachi relocated in February and decided to use the COVID19 season to revitalise her current portfolio, and venture into new enterprises.
“My dad was an engineer in the states, so I got a lot of computer learning from him… and my mum also regularly ran businesses, so I have that side from her too,” states Annachi.
At 18, she fell pregnant with her daughter and used her maternity period to outline a business idea, which is when she launched her baby clothing store, ‘Emily Bay Boutique.’
She ventured into an ecommerce company, AD E-Commerce Design in March, just as COVID-19 spiked. The firm assists individuals wanting to start a business.
“There’s a niche for this – people need education on how to actually start a business.”
Annachi claims COVID19 has also been a ‘blessing in disguise,’ as it offered the opportunity to strengthen her existing businesses.
“I’ve since added to the e-commerce [firm] quite a bit, I’ve added a lot more options and packages and expanded a lot more because of COVID.”
“Everybody’s at a different place and everybody needs different levels of help – I think now more than ever, people are trying to make an income.”
She also attributes COVID19 for opening the doors design clothes for a a mental health organisation.
Annachi believes she brings something new to the market by not having flat rates, rather assisting according to individual needs – specifically in her ecommerce business.
“I always try to adjust prices to accommodate. I make things easy – you know life is as hard enough as it is, and everybody needs a hand sometimes,” she remarks.
Annachi is currently writing a book series about her business pioneering, complete with personal tales from her childhood, which will be releasing December 17th.