When Claire Ward approached Business Foundations in March of 2013, wanting advice on starting her own small business, she hadn’t heard of the self-employment NEIS program.

But her passion for nutrition and desire to be her own boss shone through. She also knew what direction she wanted to take her  business and how services would be delivered to her clients.

After talking to a Business Foundations advisor, she was encouraged to apply for NEIS training and through this program she gained the skills to produce a business plan. The program also gave her the small business knowledge she needed, including, marketing, bookkeeping and tracking cashflow through profit and loss projections.

In May 2013, Allied Nutrition was launched as a mobile dietetic consultancy business offering a wide range of nutrition services including one-on-one consultations, meal planning, seminars and workshops.

Since starting the business, Claire has faced several challenges — including running the business by herself.

“Working as a sole trader means that you are solely responsible for the outcomes of all the decisions you make,” she says.

“While I haven’t made any decision that I regret, it has been challenging working alone sometimes.”

Having ongoing support has helped Claire to overcome these challenges.

“Keeping in contact with my NEIS mentor to talk through any major decisions and taking on a business coach has helped me to stay motivated,” Claire says.

“It’s encouraged me to think about how I am operating the business.”

With her business now operating for two years, Claire can reflect on how far she’s come. She has her own nutrition column in the local paper, has built up her client base to the point of expanding her service areas and has taken on staff.

She has also engaged with another local business to offer a unique collaborative service to her clients.

Throughout, she’s been able to get the support she needs to think about the next strategic step.

“As a sole trader, you need to devote time to work ‘on’ your business, not just work ‘in’ your business,” she says.

Find out how Business Foundations and Self Employment NEIS can help you achieve your business dream.