How online learning helped this business owner build a new income stream
COVID-19 has temporarily closed Justine Glen’s travel company, but small business recovery training is helping her use her passion for wildlife photography to build a new enterprise.
Having spent 12 years living and working in Tanzania, Glen opened her own boutique safari company, Reis Voyage, in 2014. Business was consistent until COVID-19 struck and international border closures forced Australian tourists to cancel their travel plans. In June of 2020, Glen started exploring ways she could use the library of images she’d captured over the years to create innovative, African-inspired canvases, cushions and corrugated-iron prints.
In October 2020, she applied for Westpac’s free business recovery training – an online program delivered in conjunction with TAFE NSW. The course covers marketing, innovation and change strategies, risk management and business continuity. Here’s what Glen found most illuminating.
The guidance was particularly helpful as Glen pivoted her business. “The risk assessment sections have been really beneficial as I focus on getting my new business, Reis Voyage Wildlife Designs and Prints off the ground,” says Glen. “The biggest thing I’ve learnt is the need for adaptation, which really resonated with me because, owning a travel business, overnight we went from busy to nothing. You need to be able to diversify and adapt and the TAFE course helped me organise that all a bit better.”
While her social media skills were already strong, the course provided Glen with a helpful refresher. With this, came the push to revamp her Reis Voyage website in anticipation of a surge in business when international travel starts up again. “While it looks beautiful, it was built six years ago and doesn’t have all the functionality people expect today,” says Glen. “Doing the course reminded me that you have to keep moving with the times.”
Hearing from a diverse collection of lecturers has been thought provoking and inspiring for Glen. “Throughout the course, we watched videos from speakers including Simon Sinek – interesting people I hadn’t heard of, with different perspectives on entrepreneurship,” says Glen.
“The whole experience is something I’d definitely recommend to other small business owners in similar circumstances,” says Glen. “I left feeling better able to embrace change and more comfortable about taking my business down a different path.”
The next phase of the course is now available and open to Westpac customers nationally. Register your interest here.
This information does not take into account your personal circumstances and is general. It is an overview only and should not be considered a comprehensive statement on any matter or relied upon. Consider obtaining personalised advice from a professional financial adviser and your accountant before making any financial decisions in relation to the matters discussed in this article, including when considering tax and finance options for your business.