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Access for All: Breaking Communication Barriers in the Digital World

Startup Group

A dyslexic and a blind lady walk into a cafe… it sounds like the start of a joke, but access to effective digital communication it’s no joke for over half of the Australian population that is now living with some form of impairment.

So what do you get when a dyslexic and a blind lady meet up for a chat? With absolutely nothing in common except for the desire to put humanity back into business and just treat people like human beings?

A blog, A podcast, and a YouTube video. Content created with the use of AI and existing technology that is freely available to make life easier and grow small businesses. But most people don’t know how to use it.

Startup Group
Startup Group
  • Video recording: Samsung A34 phone
  • transcript: YouTube
  • Captions: Clipchamp
  • Blog editing: ChatGPT

Interviewer: I’m here with Narelle Gatti, and I’d like her to explain her role.

Narelle: I’m actually a digital accessibility auditor, and I work with digital access solutions and assistive technology to remove communication barriers on websites, digital content, and various documents.

Interviewer: Is this similar to SEO?

Narelle: It’s different from SEO, but it complements SEO efforts. We focus on websites, PDFs, emails, and computer-generated documents. We provide techniques and strategies to ensure that everyone, regardless of their abilities, can access and understand these documents and make informed decisions.

Interviewer: So, it’s about inclusivity for all, not just those with disabilities?

Narelle: Yes, exactly. We consider a wide range of users, including those with zooming, hearing, sight, and cognitive impairments, as well as brain injuries and neurodiverse individuals. Many people rely on captioning tools, and if documents aren’t designed with accessibility in mind, these tools can’t be used effectively.

Interviewer: So, in terms of accessibility, it’s not just about accommodating people with disabilities. It also benefits search engines like Google.

Narelle: Absolutely. Following digital accessibility guidelines not only helps users but also benefits search engines like Google. They rely on text-based content, so by incorporating descriptive text, we help Google understand and index content, even images. For example, a simple description of an image can make it accessible to Google’s algorithms.

How did you get into this field?

Narelle: It’s an interesting journey. I used to work for a company called Spark Solutions about 15 or 16 years ago. I was diagnosed with a severe eye condition, which eventually led to significant vision impairment. About four or five years into the job, I started struggling with accessibility. We sought help from Vision Australia, and that’s when Mark Muscat, co-founder of our business, came in to teach me assistive technology tools. However, these tools were limited by the structure of documents, which is where our focus shifted.

Interviewer: So, it’s not just about having the tools; it’s about structuring documents correctly?

Narelle: Exactly. Having tools is essential, but they rely on well-structured documents. If a document’s structure isn’t suitable, even the best tools won’t be effective. It’s like having a chair with a missing leg.

Businesses have a fear of using technology and AI. Why do you think that is?


Narelle: It often comes down to a fear of change. Many business owners are of a certain age and might not be tech-savvy. They see AI as a significant change and are hesitant to embrace it without a clear strategy.

Interviewer: So, businesses need to understand that accessibility isn’t just about accommodating people with disabilities but also about good communication and structure.

Narelle: Absolutely. Accessibility is about ensuring that all customers, regardless of their abilities, can access and understand information to make informed decisions. It’s not just a matter of sending information via email; it’s about structuring that communication effectively.

Interviewer: You mentioned that the tools for accessibility are already present in software programs. Is it a matter of people not knowing how to use them?

Narelle: Yes, exactly. These tools are readily available, but many people don’t know how to use them effectively. That’s where we come in, providing guidance and expertise to make these tools work for everyone.

How to approach accessibility

Interviewer: So, rather than creating specific programs for individual needs, your approach is to create a program that can address a wide range of situations.

Narelle: Yes, that’s correct. Instead of reinventing the wheel for each situation, we aim to create a program that can handle the majority of cases effectively.

Interviewer: You also mentioned standards and guidelines. Can you elaborate on that?

Narelle: Certainly. In Australia, there are established digital accessibility standards and guidelines maintained by Standards Australia. These are backed by the Disability Discrimination Act of 1992, enforced by the Human Rights Commission. Ensuring accessibility also aligns with international human rights conventions.

Interviewer: So, accessibility is not just a matter of inclusivity; it’s also a business imperative?

Narelle: Precisely. Accessibility benefits everyone and is essential for businesses to thrive and meet their obligations.

Why would someone visit a place if they can’t read the menu? They can’t make a decision about what to eat. This could be due to the choice of fonts used. For example, a menu with dark text on a background with insufficient contrast can be hard to read. When menus are difficult to read, customers tend not to return. It’s almost as if they are no longer thinking outside the box; they have become the box that you have to fit into.

Who does accessibility affect?

Business owners networking scene photo

Narelle: I’d love to know the percentage of people with perfect vision, hearing, touch, smell, and mobility. I believe it’s a very tiny percentage. When you know someone who works with accessibility, like Mark and this company, it’s because you’ve encountered accessibility challenges. People might suggest solutions, but if you’re content with the way things are, you might resist change. However, it’s not about more effort; it’s about doing things differently.

Think about how technology has evolved. We used to highlight entire words and go through a process to copy the text. Now, it’s as simple as Ctrl+C for copy. Similarly, email and mobile phones have become everyday tools. Starting a business or adapting to technology isn’t as challenging as some may think. If you can use email, Facebook, and Google, you have the tech skills needed for many aspects of business.

Even if you don’t want to start a business, it’s essential to learn about digital accessibility standards. For instance, if you have an image, right-clicking to view alt text and describing the image in under 100 characters can make content more accessible. However, many businesses are reluctant to invest in accessibility, often due to perceived costs. However, the cost of not making content accessible is lost sales, a significant detriment.

Changes to business due to COVID

Interviewer: During the COVID-19 pandemic, some businesses couldn’t afford to go online, which emphasized the importance of accessibility. But you can build a website with fewer formatting skills than creating a PowerPoint presentation. SEO practices are essential because search engines like Google rely on text-based content, and accessibility helps them understand content.

Narelle: One critical aspect of accessibility is proper grammar and punctuation in captions. If someone with a hearing impairment relies on captions, incorrect grammar or misplaced punctuation can change the meaning and message, making it crucial to double-check captions.

When it comes to people, we’re all different. Treating everyone with respect and acknowledging differences is essential. We may have varying needs and opinions, but we can agree to disagree respectfully.

Confidence in being oneself is crucial, and it’s something that takes time to develop. Making mistakes is part of the learning process, and it’s essential to learn from them and move on. Additionally, it’s crucial for both parties to acknowledge and accept mistakes, fostering understanding and growth.

The world has changed, with the introduction of AI and assistive technology. However, assistive technology has been around since the birth of computers. While it may be new to some, having empathy and understanding for these changes is essential. Learning how to adapt to new technologies and the evolving business landscape is part of the journey.

Failing forward

Interviewer: Errors are a part of learning, as Narelle mentioned. It’s essential to admit when something isn’t accessible and learn from it. Consider starting with a clean slate when rebranding, launching new functions, or releasing new products. Follow a startup process, like the seven steps, and reach out to Narelle to learn how to make it accessible.

Narelle: Once you know how to do it, it becomes as natural as using Ctrl+C.

Starting with the end goal in mind is crucial. While accessibility may stand out for some, others might not notice it until they need it. It’s not a matter of cost for some but a challenge to change habits. We hope that people develop accessibility as a habit.

I heard about the Matildas, who have a deaf player, playing soccer. She’s not letting anything hold her back, and that’s fantastic.

Contacting Narelle…

Interviewer: It’s been great chatting with you, finding common ground, and learning from each other. If you want to get in touch with Narelle, click her name for the link. She’s passionate about accessibility and eager to connect with others who share her passion. It’s all about making life easier. Thank you very much for your time!

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Pathways to Profit: Entrepreneurs’ Expertise in Mastering Product Placement

Business owners networking scene photo

The concept of “placement” is one of the elements in the traditional marketing mix, also known as the 4Ps of marketing. The marketing mix consists of Product, Price, Place, and Promotion, and it’s a framework that businesses use to develop a strategic approach to marketing their products or services.

In this context, “place” refers to the distribution strategy, which includes getting the product to the right place at the right time to be easily accessible to the target customers. Which also determines your place in a competitive market.

Place (Distribution):

“Place” in the marketing mix refers to the strategies and channels a business uses to make its products or services available to the target customers. So, as a strategy, has more to do with your position in the market than a physical (or even virtual) location.

It involves decisions related to the distribution network, retail locations, and transportation, including transportation of data as well as data is the most traded commodity in the world (now ahead of Oil/Gas and coffee as numbers 2 and 3 respectively).

Add in inventory management and logistics, and you can quickly see how being an Entrepreneur becomes more of a full-time job than the laptop lifestyle sitting at the beach that you see on social media.

The goal of the “place” element is to ensure that customers can conveniently and efficiently access the product, which helps in maximizing sales and customer satisfaction. Entrepreneurs tend to use the “jobs to be done” theory, the practical application developed from the theory of disruptive innovation (Christensen). At its core, is the belief that customers don’t buy products, they hire them to do a job for the customer, which is the benefit of buying a product from you (it solves the customer’s problem).

The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well that the product or service fits him and sells itself

Peter Drucker

In business development, part of the startup process, your placement in the market determines the price, so must be decided first.

The price is then set by looking at Porter’s 6 forces model of profitability. If the strongest market force is the power of the buyer, then it drives prices down. So, you may not have a viable product.

However, if you place your product to do something no one else can, known as your unique selling point (USP), to power moves to the suppliers. As there is no comparison for customers, you can charge whatever you like.

I often hear people say, “I know what I’m worth, and I won’t drop my price”, but this is a fatal mistake. It is usually an indication of esteem sensitivity, one of the 3 psychosocial hazards behind the 3 reasons all businesses fail (as we explained in this blog).

It is usually followed up by “but my business model is ‘like’ Amazon, for [insert your industry here]”. If your product was really so good, wouldn’t Amazon (or Elon Musk) already be selling it?

Your personal brand is what people say about you when you are NOT in the room

Business owners networking scene photo
Business owners photo
Jeff Bezos (Amazon founder)

Entrepreneurs and Distribution Strategy:

The place in the marketing mix is an entrepreneur’s primary job role. So, for successful ones, this is their primary skill set – Thinking skills.

They normally outsource the rest (personal and action skills) as part of their implementation plan, which is why “key partners” is point #1 on a Business Model Canvas.

Most entrepreneurs still use the diffusion of Innovation to set timeframes for their dreams.

A dream is just a plan without a timeframe

Brett O’Connor, founder of Inception Network, cat lover.

Entrepreneurs need to carefully plan their distribution strategy to ensure their products reach customers effectively. The bigger the problems they solve, the more money they make.

It’s simple, but by no means easy. Otherwise, everyone would do it. Here’s how they approach it:

  1. Channel Selection: Entrepreneurs determine the most appropriate distribution channels for their products. They might choose between direct distribution (selling directly to customers) or indirect distribution (using intermediaries such as retailers, wholesalers, or distributors).
  2. Retail Partnerships: Entrepreneurs might collaborate with retailers or online marketplaces to showcase and sell their products. This could involve negotiations, creating appealing displays, and providing promotional support.
  3. Online Presence: In the digital age, having an online presence is crucial. Entrepreneurs set up e-commerce websites, partner with online retailers, or use social media platforms to sell and promote their products.
  4. Geographic Reach: Entrepreneurs decide where their products will be available geographically. This could involve targeting specific regions, countries, or even global markets.
  5. Logistics and Inventory: Entrepreneurs manage the logistical aspects of getting products from manufacturing to distribution centres to retail locations or customers. They also need to balance inventory levels to meet demand without excessive overstocking.
  6. Customer Convenience: The distribution strategy should prioritize customer convenience. Entrepreneurs aim to make products easily accessible, whether through brick-and-mortar stores, online platforms, or both.
  7. After-Sales Support: Entrepreneurs consider how customers will access after-sales services, warranties, repairs, or returns. A well-structured distribution network can aid in providing efficient support.
  8. Data and Analytics: Entrepreneurs often use data and analytics to track the performance of different distribution channels. This helps them make informed decisions to optimize their distribution strategy over time.

In essence, “place” within the marketing mix involves the strategic decisions entrepreneurs make to ensure their products are available to customers when and where they need them. It’s a critical aspect of a comprehensive marketing strategy that helps entrepreneurs effectively reach their target audience and drive sales.

How do you know who will pay for what?

This is something, again, most people struggle with. So having an Avatar in the previous step can usually help.

As avatars don’t buy products, people do, entrepreneurs now use their research in the previous step to find their first 5 customers. Why is 5 the magic number? To me, this seems to have more to do with putting humanity (back) into business. more to do with motivational psychology than mathematics:

we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with

Jim Rohn

Known as “foundation customers”, they are not your target market, and you don’t ask them what price they would pay. Early Adopters will find your target market, and what problems their friends have that need solving.

Early adopters are motivated by being the first. As Simon Sinek says, “They will line up all night to be the first to get the new iPhone”, when you could walk in next week and walk out with one straight away. They are also motivated to find the people who will pay 3 times more for a new product that is only twice as good, those people are the avatar you are looking for.


So, how do Entrepreneurs do it?

They have a process for everything. “SOPs” are part of scalability! And “monetizing” is the Entrepreneur catchphrase.

So, from what I’ve seen over 30 years in business, the process of setting a price for a brand-new innovative products goes something a little like this:

  1. Talk about what you believe, and only talk to others that believe what you believe, as Sinek would (again) say, start with why you do what you do. Steve Jobs said “We believe in challenging the status quo, we believe in thinking differently” (AKA, neurodiverse?)
  2. If you have to convince them why they should work with you, walk away. The late majority are the sceptics at the other end of the mass market you are looking for. Come back to them later on
  3. If they ask the “how” questions, how do I get it, how do I use it, you have what HR executives would call “management buy-in”. Empathic resonance is a key emotion that is an indicator that a customer is ready to make a purchase as part of the 5 step buyer behaviour process.
  4. That does not mean you are there yet. What you are looking for is the “what if” questions. What if [this] happens, etc. They are asking can you adapt it to another situation. Not their situation, early adopters don’t have problems, but they would have just thought of a friend that you have a solution for. They can ride in like a white knight on a bay mare, just like The Witcher, played by the same actor who was also Superman.
  5. This is where the horse-trading begins. They don’t want to pay, anything, but FOMO kicks in. But they will, as a free trial, in exchange for a testimonial. The line you use now is “I don’t think you are a potential customer, but maybe you know someone who is”?… “WELL, as matter of fact, I DO”, and just like that, hook, line, and sinker, you know their all in.

But it doesn’t end there…

You are teaching people how to fish, so they can feed themselves for life. You are NOT teaching fish how to bite.

The 2 key questions you need to teach foundation customers to ask their friends are:

  1. Is this a solution to your problem?
  2. What would you pay for it?
  3. What would you be willing to pay extra for?

See what I did there? Gave you extra value, right? No. If you don’t get a yes to the first one, no point asking the next 2. If you don’t ask the qualifying question, then you are not fishing for information. You are teaching fish how to bite, and they MUST (Make Up Stuff Too) answer questions that are irrelevant to them.

Startup Group
Startup Group

How do you know what price to charge?

This comes from the Airlie industry, specifically an HBR article from the 90s called “Right Away and All at Once: How We Saved Continental Airlines“.

This turnaround strategy works for startups too, or businesses restarting. This is effectively what many businesses are still trying to do after COVID. Particularly if they “rebranded” in the downtime during lockdown, which could be a factor in why 43% of all businesses failed to make a profit last year.

Step 3, in this process (again, Entrepreneurs love a good process), is “think money in, not money out. Which is why you ask question 2 in the above section. They will give you a list as long as your arm of what they will pay for. This is known as a “point of parity”, and Identifies what they see as the competition charge. However, this price places you in a crowded market and opens up the threat of substitution as a strong force against you.

Step 4 is “Ask the right customers the right questions“. Which we covered above already.

What’s next?

Step 5 out of 5 in the turnaround process above is “let the inmates run the asylum”. Sounds crazy, right?

But this is when a business transitions from being a startup into a going concern. The concern is, in a post-COVID economy, businesses have to go through this process again and again if they want to survive.

Not the full startup process but look at the data on the implementation of your placement strategy, in what many in business know as a 90-day “reset” (of goals and desired outcomes).

Find the wrong customers, in the business development phase and it will create a weakness in one of your 4 Ps that is difficult to recover from. Your business is doomed from the start, 100% of the time.

Customers are important, but not urgent. I think Henry Ford explained this best when he created a production line that is still used for manufacturing successful products today.

If I’d listened to my customers, I would have made faster horses.

Henry ford

If you’d like to chat about any of this, and how we can help you develop your business, click below and book a discovery call. Or if you don’t like talking to people, send an email. Whatever works for yo is fine with us too.

Inception Network, click to contact us.

About Inception Network:
Inception Network was founded five years ago with the mission to create self-employment opportunities for individuals. It focuses on supporting contractors and sole traders to grow their business so they receive regular work and can afford to put on staff to help.

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About Business and Jobs Expos:
The Business and Jobs Expos, formerly known as the Small Business Expos, have been successfully running for the past 8 years. These expos provide a platform for all businesses, Governments, education, and training providers to connect under one roof (three times this year), to collaborate and explore support options for local small businesses to grow across southeast Queensland. To book your spot at the next B2B marketplace Expo, go to their website.

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Why do people start a hobby and end up doing more work than they would in a “real” business, and how to avoid that?

Skilled Chef
Skilled Chef

Of course, we asked ChatGPT to answer that question. I’ll put its response below as to why it happens, but the solution is a lot simpler than that. In fact, in our experience, all of this can be avoided if people would just do what is now about 2 hours of work “on” their business right at the start. It’s usually too late after that.

When does a business start?

When you first get paid to do what you love. Which most people find out by accident. How often do you see a post on social media of someone’s handy work and someone asks where can you buy that?

Or as we call it, Business Inception starts when you start to believe you can get paid to do what you love, even if it just getting a job. It’s not imposter syndrome that prevents people from starting a business. In fact, that’s an advantage when starting a business these days as we explain in one of our other blogs.

It’s not out of fear of having to put on staff as the next common reason for not starting a “real” business. The fact is, in this case in Australia, over 60% of all registered businesses are deemed “non-employing” businesses. Sole traders, or partners, working under an ABN. And with an average turnover of $220,000 per year, confirmed for us by the ATO, ABS, and the Queensland treasury department, that’s not a low-paying job.

You can have a six-figure income, but profit includes the 2 figures after the decimal point. This means that on average, again in Australia, businesses only make 10% profit, and the small business ombudsman says last year 43% of all businesses didn’t make a profit. So if you don’t have financial literacy skills, you would make more money if you were on Job Seeker with Centrelink.

People that start a business are not as affected by rising costs of living, or the rental house crisis in southeast Queensland, so this is not a reason stopping people from starting a business. They probably even get a bigger tax deduction because of those rising costs as most would have a home office set up. Again, the fact is, COVID made it more acceptable to work from home, which is different to doing remote work (under fair work, WHS, and ATO definitions), but home many of you reading this understand that?

It’s even easier now than ever before in history, to create a side gig income and multiple streams of income. And an ABN stands for Australian Business Number, so no matter what you do, if you have an ABN, it is a real business.

Why don’t more people do it? I don’t know!

But here’s what ChatGPT thinks…

ChatGPT’s “Whys”

The phenomenon you described (in the blog title) can happen for several reasons:

  1. Passion vs. Obligation: When people start making money from a hobby, they often enjoy what they do, and it doesn’t feel like work initially. However, as they turn it into a business, they might feel obligated to maintain a certain level of productivity and consistency, even when their passion starts to wane. This shift from doing something they love to something they must do can lead to increased workload and stress.
  2. Lack of Business Experience: Hobbies and businesses require different skill sets. While someone might excel at their hobby, they might lack the knowledge and experience to effectively run a business. This can lead to inefficiencies, poor decision-making, and increased workload as they try to figure things out.
  3. Scale and Growth: When a hobby turns into a business, there is often a desire to scale and grow. This means dealing with more customers, managing inventory, handling marketing, and other aspects of running a business. Scaling up can be challenging and require more effort than initially expected.
  4. Customer Expectations: As a hobby becomes a business, customers’ expectations may change. They might expect faster response times, better customer service, and a more professional approach. Meeting these expectations can require more time and effort.
  5. Administrative and Legal Responsibilities: Running a business involves administrative tasks like bookkeeping, taxes, and legal compliance, which can be time-consuming and burdensome.
  6. Competition and Market Demands: As a hobby transforms into a business, it enters a competitive market. To stay relevant and successful, individuals may need to invest more time and effort into differentiating themselves and meeting market demands.
  7. Pressure to Monetize: Turning a hobby into a business might be driven by the desire to make money, leading individuals to take on more work and opportunities to increase revenue.
  8. Balancing Passion and Profitability: Sometimes, turning a hobby into a business requires making compromises to make it profitable. This could mean taking on projects that are less enjoyable but financially rewarding, leading to an increase in workload.

It’s important to note that while some individuals may experience these challenges, others manage to strike a balance between their passion and running a successful business. The key lies in understanding the demands of running a business, seeking guidance from experienced entrepreneurs, and finding ways to preserve the joy and enthusiasm that made the hobby enjoyable in the first place.

Thanks for that Chat (Australians shorten everything)! It even alludes to how to overcome these issues, even though I didn’t ask it that. Go AI, thinking for us and all that.

This raises the question we’ll answer in our next section, “What do experienced Entrepreneurs (or mentors) do?”.

Simple, to me. Ironically, they avoid doing too much work. That is how they are able to keep doing what they do without burning out.


How to avoid doing “too much” work

I often hear business coaches say, “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. More than just a cliché, or as a friend of mine said on her LinkedIn page today, “Indecision is a decision” to do nothing about your current situation.

I believe, when it comes to business, the only what it can truly fail is to do nothing. And the Government seems to agree. It’s not that 30% of businesses fail in the first year (according to government figures), they just don’t do anything about it.

The opposite of a good decision is not a bad decision. Indecision is the opposite of both.

The first tip for avoiding too much work takes about 2 hours of thinking and writing dot points that I mentioned at the top of the page.

Start a business plan.

I was chatting to a friend, Shalini Nandan-Singh, a solopreneur who owns a law practice that specializes in custom drafting contracts, and predominantly deals with women in business when they are looking to scale up.

We discussed the lengthy business plans the government-funded training was getting students to do to start up a business, and we couldn’t think of any successful business owner who did that when starting out. Maybe that’s because it takes an 8-week course at TAFE to fill it out, and even if you don’t have to pay for that course, who can afford to go without income for that long with no guaranteed income outcomes?

Sure, that is what you need to do to answer questions from investors on Shark Tank when starting a company and pitching for funding, or as Uni’s would call it, a “start-up”. And some parts of the complicated plans were relevant, in theory, but in reality, they were anything but when you started dealing with real customers.

We set about creating a template that was practical enough to start a business that employs 4 or fewer staff. Called “micro-businesses” by the Government, they make up 85% of all businesses in Australia.

The outcome of our collaboration

The result is up on her website, and an example of how collaborations should work.

This business plan guide is designed to help small business women gain direction and clarity in their business, mitigate risks, attract customers and aligned partners, and set a foundation to potentially seek funding or investors in their business” Shalini says.

“You can download the Essential Business Plan Guide (for free) and access a comprehensive resource covering everything you need to know about crafting an effective plan. From executive summaries to legal considerations and more, our guide breaks down the process into manageable steps, ensuring you don’t miss a beat.” – Love your legals website.

And yes, it should only take you 2 hours to fill out if you are already selling products and/or services as a hobby, or you may be overthinking things. If it takes longer than that, do more research into the market viability.

In this case, we suggest picking just one product or service to start off. What Entrepreneurs call a minimum viable product (MVP).

Fill out a business model canvas (download HERE) on one product first, then add 2 more. Then transfer that to your business plan. The Canvas is essentially a 1-page map of your business showing you the 9 key areas you focus on to ensure business success. If you can’t answer section 9, revenue, you have a hobby, not a business. So, you will continue to do it if you don’t get paid if you love doing it, but it will only add to the costs of living.

Marketing professionals
Marketing Professional/assistant employment data

Double $50, not $10

Our last tip relates to the “value” of your work to paying customers.

The whole gig economy exists because people get paid to use their existing skills that they have strengths in, and someone else will do the rest. Even the 60% of all businesses that don’t employ any staff don’t have to do everything themselves.

They often engage an online assistant that gets paid for outcomes, who usually have other side gigs themselves to do other work for the business owners, like updating their websites or marketing content needed by the business as well.

If you do a course, even a free one, it’s to overcome your weaknesses, so it’s like doubling $10. This increases the costs and barriers to entering a side gig, and you are unlikely to recover those “sunk costs”.

You will find local networking events that are full of people that do this and have already doubled their $50, which is the average hourly rate a specialist would earn as an employee. So now with $100 to spend on doing the same work, they can afford to through you $30 per hour to do 5 hours of work and still be $20 in front.

But the incentive for the gig economy is you get the work done in half the time, you still get paid the same. My hobby of building startup websites started out as a side gig where I would charge $100 per hour for around 6 hours of work.

Good money 5 years ago. But better money today. I traded training services and helped mates in Marketing create their own courses, and they created templates and told me what apps to use to make the same website in under 1 hour. Still charge $600 as people will pay for your experience, even if they can do it themselves.

What are the costs of entry?

If you don’t know what you love doing, then quitting your job now may be too big a price to pay. The cost is low, but it could cost you more time and effort than your saving will be able to afford. Which is a big gamble to take if you are not sure it’s what you really want to do.

In business decisions, it’s not about what things cost. It’s about how much revenue can be generated from the cost, known as ROI, or return on investment.

That is how you add value to a business. This is a common question asked in an interview, too. If they pay you $50 an hour, how much money can they make from your skills in the job is the real question. So you have to decide if owning a business is right for you.

If you can’t find someone to give you a job doing what you love, how can you expect customers to pay you to do it?

I final piece of advice if you are still struggling to decide what to do now. Think about whether you are doing what you love, or do you love what you do. Make a decision on that to guide you.

Inception Network, click to contact us.
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What is under-employment, and how you can overcome it

Under-employment refers to a situation where individuals are employed in jobs that are below their skill level, qualifications, or desired number of working hours. In under-employment, individuals may be working part-time when they want full-time work or they may be working in jobs that do not fully utilize their skills and education. It is important to distinguish under-employment from unemployment, where individuals are actively seeking but unable to find any work.

Problems of Under-employment when there is an increase in the Cost of Living.

Financial Strain:

Under-employed individuals may struggle to meet their increased expenses due to rising costs of living. The limited income may not be sufficient to cover basic necessities, leading to financial stress.

Reduced Quality of Life:

Under-employment can affect one’s overall well-being and quality of life. Individuals may be unable to afford essential goods, services, or recreational activities they enjoyed before the cost of living increase.

Increased Debt:

Some under-employed individuals may resort to credit cards or loans to cope with the higher costs, potentially leading to accumulating debt.

Limited Savings:

 Under-employment may hinder the ability to save for emergencies or future goals, leaving individuals vulnerable to unexpected financial challenges.

When was the last time you had a holiday away?

Four “Side Gigs” to Earn Extra Income:

If you have the skills to be employed, then you also have the skills to start your own business to offset the rising costs of living. Even if you have a full-time job, consider how many hours you spend doing your primary job role. This is the reason there are over 40,000 positions advertised on the internet each month in Australia for “clerical and office administration” roles.

While these roles are most likely to be Full-time positions, and the primary job role is to do important work for the company, more than 50% of the time these days is spent doing urgent but not important work, which can often be automated or AI.

It’s not about ego, or feeling unappreciated, but that is usually the reason people leave. It’s about job security when things get hard. Who is the first to get cut back? And why do they have to come back to the office when it was fine to work remotely during covid? Which takes higher organisational skills to WFH, yet if you want to do that now it generally comes with a pay cut.

But don’t worry, being sent out for coffee for company executives is likely to not be replaced anytime soon, and can’t be done by their Overseas Virtual assistant. Just don’t tell your boss that the local coffee shop lets you order online, not to mention uber eats.

The good news is, you have high enough digital literacy skills to do all the “fun stuff” that the sales and marketing departments in the larger businesses won’t let you do.

For example, if you work for a small business owner doing office work, they generally encourage you to hone your skills by doing what you love as a way to ratin you working for them.

Small business can use the skills you gain in their business if you start up the following in-demand side gigs:

Startup Group
Startup Group

Digital Content Creation:

If you have skills in writing, graphic design, video editing, or photography, you can create content and sell it to small businesses that don’t have their own marketing department. One of my marketing international students sold a photo to Brisbane City Council’s tourism department for $750 from an Instagram post. A steal at that price as it would have cost the council over $1500 to do the photo shoot.

Just don’t tell the client that it was taken by her boyfriend while staying in a city hotel for the night, and on her mobile phone. All you have to do is learn how to set your phone up right, but when I got my new Samsung this year they had already done that.

And with Canva and Website templates, graphic design work takes less formatting skills than making a PowerPoint presentation, but you still need the eye for detail to meet “professional” benchmarks that you have gain through your work experience over many years.


Start an online store and sell products through dropshipping, which allows you to operate without maintaining inventory. Research trending products and market them effectively. While this is becoming less common with websites like Wish and Temu, there is still a big 2nd hand market for this on Facebook marketplace eBay selling well known brands. You may have to hold stock for a couple of days, so technically not dropshipping, But it is simple enough for school kids to do and sell their grandparents stuff to help fund their retirement, for a small fee of course.

Online coaching/mentoring:

If you have expertise in a particular subject or skill, consider offering online tutoring services through platforms that connect tutors with students and new employees alike. I know a lot of business and marketing coaches who regularly attend local networking events looking for this service for their clients.

While options like fee-free TAFE exist, which is running out of places by the way, they are not taught how to monetise their skills in a classroom.

This is known as the “suitability gap” in the government’s official figure. This is the number of applicants that hold a qualification that are considered “suitable” by employers for an advertised job. Which currently says that only around 40% of “qualified” applicants are also suitable for the job.

The government’s internet vacancy index even says that “skill VET” (who hold a certificate III or IV in a related field) also need at least 2 years on-the-job experience to be considered for advertised roles with larger companies.

So how do they get the experience when they are fresh out of TAFE? While small businesses make up 97.5% of all businesses, and only employ 42% of the workforce, Small Business employs twice as many trainees and apprentices than larger businesses.

The problem is the only thing worse than training a person well and they leave is not training them well and they stay. That is one of the biggest expense to small businesses that are not set up to train new staff.

It costs big businesses over $30,000 to turnover staff in training costs and lost sales. And with 43% of all businesses not making a profit last year after all the government stimulus stopped, small businesses need this service to limit training coast if they want to survive this financial year.

Affiliate Marketing:

For small businesses, this is not about being an “influencer” on social media. It is more about sending the 20% of customers that cause 80% of your problems to other businesses in your network that can serve them better. If you don’t have to go out of your way to help people, you can help more people, which means you can take on more customers without increasing labour costs.

It’s hard to do when you are starting up if the business is your main source of income, but if you are already earning an income from another source you build long-term customers through your expertise in giving genuine referrals.

If your business is your main source of income, this is also a skill you need to learn. Whom to say no to. Getting referral from the 20% stated above only increases them as a portion of your business. When they get to 25% of your clients/customers, 100% of your resources are taken up by fixing problems. You lose happy customers, you can’t grow, and slowly but surely start going broke.

I don’t like the word “collaborators” due to its association with dodgy business practices in the past, but essentially that’s what you do. The correct business term I use is called “complimentors”, which comes from Porter’s 6 competitive forces model as the opposite of competitors in your industry.

You can partner with companies and promote their products or services through your blog, social media channels, or website. You earn a commission for each sale made through your affiliate links, which many businesses will pay 10%-20% for.

There is even a free WordPress plugin I can show you that creates the links for your affiliate marketers to use that lets you see how many people come to your website from a social media post, and whether the person converts to a customer (or downloads your lead generation content).

This is how I ensure affiliate marketing is not just a one way street if you do a contra deal instead of commission. It’s how we teach startups to track if they get a return on investment doing work in exchange for “exposure” of their new business.

Want to start a side gig right now?

Remember, the success of side gigs depends on factors like your skills, dedication, and market demand. Always research and assess the feasibility and earning potential of any side gig before committing significant time and resources.

This is what we do in the first 4 modules of our bootstrap startup program. We hold your hand through all of the research needed to write a startup business plan and launch your business and start making sales in under 4 weeks.

But the support doesn’t stop there. It only takes a couple of hours a week to develop your business plan. You tap into our 30+ year’s experience of starting up businesses to only do the things you absolutely need to do when starting out. Once you have a business plan, we have all the information we need to start money coming in. If you need to put more than a couple of hours a week, depending on your business model, you still have another 4 weeks to develop your business into a viable enterprise with our support.

A basic business plan is an essential step if you are going to start a business, even as a side gig to earn a bit of extra income, or introducing a new range of products/services when expanding an existing business.

Still not sure what to do now?

Let’s have a free 15-minute chat. Click HERE to book that.

2023 Partner with:

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What Is The Eisenhower Matrix, And How To Use It?

Eisenhower Matrix

The Eisenhower Matrix, also known as the Urgent-Important Matrix, is a simple yet effective tool for prioritizing tasks and making better use of your time. It was popularized by former US President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who said, “I have two kinds of problems: urgent and important. The urgent are not important, and the important are never urgent.” The matrix helps you distinguish between tasks that are urgent, important, both, or neither, and allocate your time and resources accordingly.

The matrix consists of four quadrants, each representing a different type of task:

  • Quadrant 1: Urgent and Important
  • Quadrant 2: Important but Not Urgent
  • Quadrant 3: Urgent but Not Important
  • Quadrant 4: Neither Urgent nor Important

Now let’s explore how a small business owner could use the Eisenhower Matrix to grow their business:

What to do first

Quadrant 1:

Urgent and Important tasks are the top priority, as they require immediate attention and can have serious consequences if not dealt with promptly. As a business owner, these tasks may include putting out fires, dealing with customer complaints, handling urgent deadlines, or managing unexpected crises. It’s important to allocate the necessary resources to address these tasks quickly and to try to prevent them from happening again in the future.

Quadrant 2:

Important but Not Urgent tasks are the next priority, as they have long-term benefits but can be overlooked in the face of urgent tasks. As a business owner, these tasks may include developing new products or services, creating a marketing plan, building relationships with customers, or investing in staff development. It’s important to allocate time and resources to these tasks regularly, as they can have a significant impact on the success of your business over time.

Quadrant 3:

Urgent but Not Important tasks are the third priority, as they may seem urgent but don’t have a significant impact on the success of your business. As a business owner, these tasks may include responding to non-urgent emails, attending unnecessary meetings, or dealing with minor administrative tasks. It’s important to delegate or eliminate these tasks whenever possible, to free up time for more important tasks.

Quadrant 4:

Neither Urgent nor Important tasks are the lowest priority, as they don’t have a significant impact on the success of your business and can be a distraction from more important tasks. As a business owner, these tasks may include browsing social media, watching videos online, or engaging in other non-business-related activities. It’s important to minimize or eliminate these tasks altogether, to focus on the tasks that matter most to your business.

Common decisions Micro-Business owners need to make.

Here are examples of common tasks done as part of an operational plan, and the skill required by people best suited to complete the tasks on the list:

Quadrant 1: Urgent and Important

  • Dealing with a sudden decrease (or increase) in sales
  • Fixing a production problem
  • Handling a major customer complaint
  • Meeting a critical deadline

The skill required to complete these tasks would likely come from the Thinking skills area, which includes critical thinking, creativity, adaptation, and innovation. As a business owner, if this is not your strength, so don’t be afraid to ask for help and get feedback from specialists in this area. But as it may be too late to get help when things come to this, lining up help before you need it is essential for the survival of micro-businesses.

You may have friends in business that will take your call. But without formal collaboration or advice agreements, you are taking a risk that you may lose more than the cost of employing someone with the skills in the following 2 quadrants if your friends don’t take your calls.

There is a saying, “you have no friends in business”. You also don’t support small businesses by asking them to do things for free. So if you can’t think ahead to what happens if you can’t get help when you really need it, then it’s likely you do not have the skills to run your business long term.

Quadrant 2: Important but Not Urgent

  • Developing a new product or service
  • Building a marketing plan
  • Networking with potential partners or customers
  • Investing in staff development

For this one, skills such as Initiative, Cultural Awareness, Ethics, and Empathy should be high on your list as they are used to decide what is important to your ideal customers.

These skills fall under the Personal Skills category, and you may hear business and leadership coaches like Gary Vaynerchuk and Simon Sinek say these skills are the most important to have for the long-term survival of your business, for a very good reason.

If you have someone working with you that does the important tasks before they become urgent, this is the reason some business owners can sit on a beach or go on a holiday, and others cannot.

While passive income is a buzz term that I don’t think exists, this is about as close as you will get. Particularly for people that want to keep earning income well into retirement. They have other things to think about and leave the action to the younger crowd.

People with Personal skills are also least likely to be replaced by AI anytime soon, unlike hard and soft skills. So ironically, the older workforce seems to have the future skills business needs. If you look at the jobs being taken by automation, they are likely to be the jobs done by Gen Z, who currently do jobs in the next section.

“Train them well enough so they can leave, but treat them well enough so they don’t want to

Richard Branson

Quadrant 3: Urgent but Not Important

  • Responding to non-urgent emails
  • Attending unnecessary meetings
  • Filling out paperwork
  • Running errands
  • Annoying complaints about things you “should” do.

As you may have guessed, this quadrant primarily requires Action skills. If they make mistakes, the consequences are minor to the business. Everything is urgent and important to your customers, but not everyone is an ideal customer.

The 20% of your customers that cause 80% of your problems just care about what you do about their problems. The 20% of your customers cause 80% of your profits by telling you what to do and the ones the business owner listens to.

This can be hard to do when money is tight, and you think you need the sales, but it increases the costs of doing business, so think about what it costs you to give them your attention. There are other people you can get sales from.

But if you are looking to attract and retain talent to your organization, you are looking for people with action skill, which includes, using Digital Technologies, Communication skills, Collaboration, Problem Solving, and Customer Focus.

They will stick around to learn how to do the important stuff from you if you let them. But if you are too busy doing the urgent and important stuff to develop them, Gen Z will find someone who will. Often a competitor, who usually pays them less money long-term. So it’s not about the money that you make to afford them. They will cost you more if they leave, or if they stay and you don’t keep them engaged.

The only thing worse than training people up and they leave, is not training people well and they stay

Henry Ford

Quadrant 4: Neither Urgent nor Important

  • Browsing social media
  • Watching videos online
  • Checking personal emails
  • Playing games

This is for employees that are not interested in developing skills, likely because they don’t know what they love doing. If your heard the term “quiet quitting”, this is what those employees tend to do.

Micro-business owners can’t afford to pay people to do this, and they can’t hide it.

But there are jobs that pay them to do this, but you have to engage them in doing this activity in a work context.

Suggest if they would be interested in doing your business’ social media posts, or watching videos to learn how to use business technology. Playing games with customers is part of customer service too.

So if you can afford to put someone on to do the tasks in this quadrant, you can keep them by promoting from within to the roles above and see what they like.

His works especially well if you have family working in your business. They know you won’t sack them, but they are more productive if they do the things they do to overcome boredom to develop their skills.

That’s called a win-win if you use the Eisenhower matrix.

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5 types of Empathy, and how to use them in business

Marketing Value Pirate Metrics

The 5 steps model of buyer behavior was first introduced by John Dewey in 1910, in his book “How We Think”. However, the model was further developed and popularized by Engel, Blackwell, and Kollat in their 1968 book “Consumer Behavior: Theory and Practice”.

This model, also known as the EBK model, outlines the five stages that consumers go through when making a purchasing decision: problem recognition, information search, evaluation of alternatives, purchase decision, and post-purchase evaluation. The EBK model has since become one of the most widely used models for understanding consumer behavior in marketing and business.

The 5 steps in buyer behavior are a framework that describes the typical process that a consumer goes through when making a purchase decision. These steps are:

1. Problem Recognition:

The first step in the buyer behavior process is problem recognition. This is the stage where the consumer becomes aware of a need or a problem that they want to solve. This could be triggered by internal stimuli, such as a desire for a new product, or external stimuli, such as an advertisement or a recommendation from a friend.

2. Information Search:

Once the consumer has recognized a problem or need, they will typically engage in an information search to gather more information about the product or service that they are considering. This could involve gathering information from various sources such as personal experiences, family and friends, online reviews, and other sources.

3. Evaluation of Alternatives:

After gathering information, the consumer will then evaluate the various alternatives available to them. This could involve comparing the features and benefits of different products, considering their price and quality, and assessing how they meet the consumer’s needs and preferences.

4. Purchase Decision:

Once the consumer has evaluated the alternatives, they will then make a purchase decision. This could involve selecting a specific product or service, choosing a particular brand or store, and determining the quantity and timing of the purchase.

5. Post-Purchase Evaluation:

The final step in the buyer behavior process is post-purchase evaluation. This involves evaluating the product or service after it has been purchased and used. This could involve assessing whether the product met the consumer’s needs and expectations, whether it was a good value for money, and whether they would buy it again in the future. This stage is important because it can influence the consumer’s future purchase decisions and brand loyalty.

Overall, understanding the five steps of buyer behavior is important for marketers and businesses as it provides insights into consumer behavior and helps them develop effective marketing strategies that align with the consumer’s needs and preferences.

Australian cash $100. Remember this?

The 5 types of empathy.

You will hear people like Gary Vee say you need to use empathy in business to be successful. Everywhere for getting sales from customers, to giving “kind candor” to your team to develop their skills, and better manage performance expectations from business owners.

You will also hear leadership coaches talk about using kindness and empathy as a skill that great leaders possess.

But what I rarely hear is people talking about using different types of empathy in different situations. So, it depends on a person’s understanding of empathy as to what type of empathy they use.

Empathy is one of the 5 “Personal Skills” that are essential in a modern work environment to build trust in your team. Trust can easily be broken if there is a mismatch between the type of empathy you use, and the type of empathy others are looking for.

This breakdown in trust is more obvious in buyer behaviour as you lose contact with customers at different stages of your sales funnel.

With all the talk about AI taking over, personal skills are in no danger of being replaced anytime soon. So to put humanity back into business, let’s talk about the 5 types of Empathy Human Beings generally look for at different stages of your sales process. Mapping it to Dr. Dan Siegel’s five types of empathy as a model you can use:

2017 Research Symposium

1. Cognitive Empathy:

Cognitive empathy involves understanding the thoughts, beliefs, and perspectives of others. This type of empathy is more focused on understanding the other person’s point of view and is less about sharing their emotions. This type of empathy is important for resolving conflicts, negotiating, and building stronger relationships. This requires a person to use thinking skills, particularly critical thinking, to identify problems that your customers are looking for solutions for (without creating the problem).

2. Compassionate Empathy (Sympathy):

Compassionate empathy involves feeling the emotions of others and having a desire to alleviate their suffering. This type of empathy is often described as having sympathy for others and wanting to help them in some way. Compassionate empathy is important for building relationships and fostering a sense of community. The trick at this stage is to show you understand your ideal customer’s situation by giving them 3 options to investigate to solve their problem without looking like you are telling them what is best for them. If they see the options are viable for them, they will continue to the next step. So obviously your solution will be one of the 3 options. This is known as soft-selling in old-school marketing days to identify red-hot leads for the sales team to convert.

3. Perspective Taking (or Mentalizing):

Perspective-taking involves imagining oneself in another person’s situation and understanding their emotions from their point of view. This type of empathy helps us understand the reasons for another person’s behaviour and can help us avoid negative judgments or misinterpretations. This is when you get the opportunity to explain to potential customers why your option will solve their problem. But you are not there yet, and you may lose them at this stage by “overselling”. Which is generally giving too much information that the customer doesn’t need about other ways they “could” use your product. It breaks trust if they don’t see themselves using it in that way. The question is if you actually have bothered to get to know them at all, so this is the stage where you ask the most questions.

4. Empathic Resonance:

Empathic resonance involves feeling the emotions of others and resonating with them. This type of empathy is often described as “feeling someone else’s pain” and is important for building emotional connections and fostering a sense of compassion. If you don’t feel this when you get the sale, it may be a hollow victory. They will most likely be the 20% of customers that cause 80% of your problems, or worse leave a bad review if you don’t feel it at the point of sale. It is a gamble, but if you go over the last step again, you can confirm if you would be better off referring them to another option in the previous step. Reminding them of your refund policy at this stage may lower the risk of making the purchase, or suggesting payment plan options (such as Afterpay or Bpay pay in 4) could show you understand their situation even if they don’t mention it.

5. Empathic Joy:

Empathic joy involves feeling happy or joyful when others experience positive emotions or success. This type of empathy is important for building positive relationships and can foster a sense of connection and goodwill between individuals. You will feel this if the customer gets a solution to their problem that is best for them, whether they buy from you or not. These are the customers that you will feel comfortable asking for them to put a positive review online, and they will refer others to you. If you don’t feel this, think about the last step if you missed something. If there is any doubt, there is no doubt that you didn’t resonate with them. But it’s not too late, don’t dwell on it. Flag them for a follow call to see “if there is anything else I can do for you”. Asking “Were there any problems” may project that there normally are problems, so they would be less likely to give a referral and can undo all your hard work in the first 4 steps.

Overall, these five types of empathy provide a useful framework for understanding the different ways in which we can empathize with others. Each type of empathy is important in its own way and can be useful in different contexts and situations.

Happy campers

Putting it all together into a marketing strategy

The biggest challenge, particularly for micro-business owners, is finding metrics that indicate a return on your investment efforts for each type of empathy you are required to project to move people down your sales funnel to generate revenue.

Put simply, whatever definition of empathy above sound most like what you do will determine what content you would be best suited to develop to share on social media, as this is your strength.

You can outsource the rest. Even if you just use ChatGPT, trying to overcome your weaknesses is not good for business. What would you rather double, $10 or $50?

Using empathy take practice, so go with your strength and double $50. Then you have an extra $40 in your pocket while you spend the $10 on overcoming your weaknesses.

That all sounds good in theory, but in the real world you need to put budgets and track results of your marketing spend. Particularly when you outsource to a cheap overseas VA for $10 per hour who may not have a full understanding of the culture of your target market.

So using the above example, you could spend $40 an hour on a local assistant to help, which is well above the minimum wage, but you still need to put a dollar figure on this to ensure it is productive work.

Let me join the dots (points above) for you… Day 1 (points 1) in Monday on your social media post topic, and day 5 is your Friday post topic. I’m sure you can fill in the gaps for the rest of the week.

If not, let’s chat about that.

Another 5-step model to use for marketing metrics…

This model may be familiar to business owners who have been through startup training. Or if you have used a Business Model Canvas you may also have seen it.

It has many uses, but here’s how we suggest using for your marketing metrics, even if you are a solopreneur as you can use free apps to track results and divide up your sales results to create a marketing budget.

Marketing Value Pirate Metrics
Marketing Value Pirate Metrics in action

Dave McClure, a venture capitalist and startup advisor, introduced the “Pirate Metrics” model in 2007. This model, also known as AARRR, provides a framework for analyzing and optimizing the growth of a startup or business. The five metrics are:

1. Acquisition:

Acquisition refers to the number of new customers or users that are acquired through marketing efforts or other means. This metric measures the effectiveness of a company’s marketing strategy and is the first step in the customer journey.

2. Activation:

Activation refers to the percentage of acquired users or customers who take a desired action or engage with the product or service for the first time. This metric measures the effectiveness of a company’s onboarding process and the quality of its user experience.

3. Retention:

Retention refers to the percentage of users or customers who continue to use the product or service over time. This metric measures the effectiveness of a company’s customer experience and its ability to keep users engaged and satisfied.

4. Revenue:

Revenue refers to the amount of money generated by the business through sales, subscriptions, or other means. This metric measures the effectiveness of a company’s monetization strategy and its ability to generate revenue from its user base.

5. Referral:

Referral refers to the number of new users or customers acquired through word-of-mouth marketing or referrals from existing users. This metric measures the effectiveness of a company’s product or service and the satisfaction of its user base.

Overall, the Pirate Metrics model provides a useful framework for understanding the key drivers of growth for a business. By focusing on these five metrics, any business can identify areas for improvement and optimize its strategies to drive growth and success.

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How to Adapt to a Changing Job Market with Transferable Skills


The terms “hard” and “soft” skills are not necessarily outdated, but they are becoming less commonly used in modern workplace discussions. The main reason for this is that the traditional categorization of skills as either hard or soft does not fully capture the complexity of skills that are valued in today’s job market.

Hard skills are typically defined as technical or specific abilities that are often easily quantifiable and measurable, such as proficiency in a programming language or knowledge of accounting principles. Soft skills, on the other hand, are often described as interpersonal or social skills, such as communication, teamwork, and problem-solving.

While these categories may have been useful in the past, they can be limiting and fail to capture the full range of skills that are necessary for success in many modern workplaces. For example, skills such as adaptability, creativity, and critical thinking are increasingly valued in many industries, but may not fit neatly into either the hard or soft skill category.

As a result, many employers and professionals are beginning to use more nuanced language to describe the skills they value, such as “core” or “foundational” skills that are essential for any job, and “contextual” skills that are specific to a particular industry or job function.

Overall, while the terms “hard” and “soft” skills may still be useful in some contexts, they are increasingly seen as overly simplistic and inadequate for describing the full range of skills that are necessary for success in modern workplaces.

A new era of Human Resources (HR) Management


The post-industrial era brought about significant changes in the way businesses operate and manage their human resources (HR). One way to understand this shift is through the lens of Belbin team roles, which describe the different roles individuals can play within a team to maximize their effectiveness.

In the post-industrial era, businesses moved away from traditional hierarchies and towards more collaborative and flexible work environments. Belbin team roles became particularly relevant in this context, as businesses recognized the importance of building diverse teams that could work together effectively and efficiently.

Here is an overview of how each of the Belbin team roles could be applied in a post-industrial HR management context. As you read the roles below, think about which one sounds most like you, and which ones describe the people you like working with as part of a collaboration:


The plant role involves generating new ideas and concepts. In a post-industrial HR management context, this role might be particularly important for businesses seeking to innovate and adapt to changing market conditions.

Monitor Evaluator:

The monitor evaluator role involves analyzing ideas and assessing their potential value. This role can be particularly important in a post-industrial context where businesses need to make quick decisions based on incomplete information.


The coordinator role involves managing the team and delegating tasks. In a post-industrial context, the coordinator role may be particularly relevant for businesses seeking to build collaborative, cross-functional teams.

Resource Investigator:

The resource investigator role involves seeking out new opportunities and contacts. This role could be particularly important in a post-industrial context where businesses need to be proactive in identifying new markets and potential partners.


The implementer’s role involves turning ideas into action. In a post-industrial context, businesses may rely on implementers to rapidly prototype and test new products or services.

Completer Finisher:

The completer finisher role involves ensuring that tasks are completed to a high standard. In a post-industrial context, this role may be particularly important for businesses seeking to deliver high-quality products or services in a rapidly changing market.

Team worker:

The team worker role involves building relationships and promoting collaboration within the team. In a post-industrial context, the team worker role may be particularly important for businesses seeking to build diverse, inclusive teams that can work effectively together.


The specialist role involves providing expertise and knowledge in a specific area. In a post-industrial context, businesses may rely on specialists to provide deep domain expertise in rapidly evolving fields such as technology and digital marketing.

Overall, the post-industrial era brought about significant changes in the way businesses manage their HR. By focusing on building diverse, collaborative teams that can rapidly adapt to changing market conditions, businesses can maximize their chances of success in today’s rapidly changing business environment.

While the team roles at work defines the tasks the role undertakes as an example, it does not define what skills are required to do the tasks. And while this may suit larger businesses, what do small businesses do that can’t afford to employ 9 staff?

What does a Micro-business do if they don’t have the staff?

A micro-business is defined as a any business that has 4 or fewer employees, and make up 85% to 90% of all businesses (by number of businesses).

The answer under the team roles is to group the roles into 3 categories that require similar skill sets to complete tasks. This allows micro-business owners to create job descriptions with primary, secondary, and tertiary tasks relating to which of the job roles are most needed to implement an operational or marketing plan.

The Belbin team roles are grouped into three domains:

Action-oriented roles:

These roles are focused on achieving the team’s objectives and include the Plant, Implementer, and Completer Finisher roles. Action-oriented roles are often associated with getting things done and driving results.

People-oriented roles:

These roles are focused on building relationships and promoting collaboration within the team. The Teamworker, Resource Investigator, and Coordinator roles are all part of this domain. People-oriented roles are often associated with promoting communication and fostering teamwork.

Thought-oriented roles:

These roles are focused on generating new ideas and analyzing information. The Monitor Evaluator and Specialist roles are both part of this domain. Thought-oriented roles are often associated with innovation and intellectual curiosity.

By grouping the Belbin team roles into these three domains, businesses and organizations can better understand the strengths and weaknesses of their teams and identify areas for improvement. By building teams that are diverse across all three domains, organizations can maximize their chances of success and adapt more effectively to changing market conditions.

Around 60% of all businesses do not employ anyone in Queensland, so they have to do all the 3 domains themselves. You don’t start your own business because you want to do things you don’t like doing, so “solopreneurs” tend to form collaborations with others in the market, known as “complimentors” rather than competitors, who refer work to each other rather than taking on customers that want the solopreneurs hate doing.

This is why networking events have become so successful in recent years at creating viable businesses from their membership. But if you don’t know what skills you have to offer first, it is unlikely others will form collaborations with you as you have nothing to offer in return. If all you have is money to offer, not skills, you may as well employ staff who will work with you for that.

Future skills for work


If this is all making sense so far, then this definition of what skills are will likely align with your business values. Both as a self-assessment, and what to look for in others to join your team.

The VeriSkills® (by QTAC) Human Capability Standards are sorted into three domains of learning and nontechnical practice. When constructed, each capability will focus on a distinct but complementary balance between cognition, personal character and emotions, and applied skills and knowledge.

Based on global research projects and extensive collaborative research work, the collaboration between The Institute for Working Futures Pty Ltd and Queensland Tertiary Admissions Centre (QTAC®) sought to validate the most important capabilities for the future workplace.

So for those of you out there, like me, who don’t have a PhD in education, here are the skills to develop to excel at the above job roles:

Thinking skills

Critical Thinking

Able to use a range of tools or methods to critically examine and assess existing information, thinking, assumptions and issues to present well-reasoned insights or to make judgements.


Able to actively contribute to creative works, ideas or novel solutions.

Adaptive Mindset

Able to adjust to change and maintain their curiosity, while dealing with disruption, pressure and setbacks,  in a resilient and positive manner.

Innovative Thinking

Able to be entrepreneurial and make connections between disparate ideas, challenge current thinking or practices, and actively use knowledge to create new products, solutions or opportunities.

Personal skills

Lifelong Learning

Able to identify and continuously develop one’s own knowledge, skills and personal attributes such as mindset and motivation.

Initiative and Drive

Able to appreciate personal strengths and weaknesses and effectively relate to others in a professional manner. This includes being able to work independently, set and attain personal and work-related goals, being motivated, and accepting responsibility for their actions.

Cultural Awareness

Able to engage with others with sensitivity and regard for diversity and the social or cultural differences impacting behaviour.


Able to act with integrity and in conformance with social and professional standards of ethical conduct.


Able to recognise and regulate their own emotions in any situation, while also being good at identifying and respecting the needs and feelings of other people.

Action skills


Able to communicate with clarity and impact to facilitate individual and collective understanding, action or information exchange.


Able to work collaboratively with all types of people, contribute to teamwork and to build relationships and networks across a range of people or groups.


Able to define and analyse problems, generate optimal solutions and make recommendations.

Digital Acumen

Able to use digital technology to undertake workplace tasks and outcomes.

Customer Focus

Able to focus on customer service requirements and works proactively to raise the customer experience.

Are skills transferable?

The short answer to this is yes, and no.

Skills may be transferable, but performance in new job roles depends heavily on the level of skills you have in areas such as life-long learning, problem-solving, and of course collaboration skills if you are joining a new team.

To explain this we turn to Core Skills for Work framework which defines “when” skills are transferable in a given real-world situation.

The Core Skills for Work (CSfW) make up one part of the “foundations skills” listed as unit requirements in all Vocational Education and Training (VET) qualifications as part of the formal tertiary education system in Australia.

However, performance is not automatically transferrable to new contexts, as application of skills, knowledge and understandings in a new context requires an understanding of that context.

Hence, an individual who has only ever applied their skills in a classroom setting will need to learn about the protocols and expectations of a work situation, and gain practical experience in applying their skills in a work environment.

This is the source of the criticism from businesses for Uni or RTO courses that lead to a qualification that don’t require some form of work placement in and real-world business experience.

They may be competent to do the job, but to keep new employees on small business owners need to new employees to be proficient to keep their job. This means the new employee may have the skills, but not at the level a Micro-business owner needs them to be.

No business I know can afford to put 25% of their new employees through proficiency coaching as part of their onboarding process. Maybe during a 3-6 month probation, if the employees last that long.

This is a huge barrier for micro-business to put on just one new employee, even as a casual or contractor. A barrier we hope to overcome for around 8,500 businesses in Brisbane Southeast employment region through the Small Business and Jobs expo this year.

How will we do that?

Come along to Nissan Arena on June 13th, 2023, for the Brisbane expo, and find out for yourself.

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What is imposter syndrome, and how to overcome it


No matter who you are, what you do, and how good you are at it, imposter syndrome strikes everyone at some time. It is more than just a lack of confidence. It is more than overcoming fears. But just like fear can stop you from doing things, fear can also save your life. So, in that sense, imposter syndrome can be both a good and a bad thing.

It is a complex problem that has a different solution for everyone. Although increasing knowledge can actually make it worse, to explain why it is a problem and develop solutions we first need to define the problems. For that, we use different interrelated theories.

With the hope of creating self-awareness, more so than trying to explain time travel, in this article, we will talk about how the different theories work together so that you can create your own solutions, or at least ask for help with that.

The dunning-Kruger effect

Dunning-Kruger effect
Dunning-Kruger effect

The Dunning-Kruger effect is a cognitive bias that refers to the tendency of individuals with low ability or knowledge in a particular domain to overestimate their own competence and expertise in that domain. In other words, people who are less skilled or knowledgeable in a certain area are more likely to overestimate their abilities in that area, while those who are more skilled or knowledgeable are more likely to accurately assess their abilities.

The effect is named after social psychologists David Dunning and Justin Kruger, who first described it in a 1999 paper. They found that people who scored in the lowest quartile on a test of humor, grammar, or logic tended to significantly overestimate their scores, while those who scored in the highest quartile tended to slightly underestimate their scores.

The Dunning-Kruger effect is often associated with the phrase “ignorance is bliss” because those who are less skilled or knowledgeable may be more confident and optimistic than those who are more skilled or knowledgeable, even if their confidence is unwarranted. The effect can be particularly problematic in domains where decisions have important consequences, such as medicine, finance, or politics, where overconfident individuals may make costly mistakes.

The Peter Principle

This is the opposite to imposter syndrome on the Dunning-Kruger effect. Basically they have confidence in their own abilities to do or learn a job, even if they don’t have the skills and knowledge to do it. It manifests as a “fake it till you make it attitude”, and generally don’t go through the dip in confidence on the curve above thanks to positive affirmation through awards as a fast learner. Technically skilled people who are promoted to management positions without training often fall into this too.

The Peter Principle is a management theory that suggests that people in a hierarchical organization tend to be promoted to their level of incompetence. In other words, employees in an organization will be promoted based on their performance in their current role until they reach a position where they are no longer effective, at which point they will remain in that position.

The theory is named after Canadian psychologist Laurence J. Peter, who first proposed it in his 1969 book, “The Peter Principle: Why Things Always Go Wrong”. According to Peter, organizations promote employees based on their performance in their current role, assuming that success in that role indicates that the employee has the potential to be successful at the next level. However, as employees are promoted, they may reach a level where they no longer have the skills, knowledge, or abilities to perform effectively, leading to a decline in their performance and productivity.

The Peter Principle can have negative consequences for organizations, as incompetent employees in key positions can lead to a decrease in productivity, morale, and profits. To mitigate the effects of the Peter Principle, organizations can provide additional training and development opportunities for employees who are promoted to new roles, as well as regularly evaluating and re-evaluating their performance to ensure that they are still effective in their roles. Additionally, organizations can consider non-promotion-based career advancement paths, such as lateral moves or increased responsibilities within the same role.

What is imposter syndrome?

We said what it is not above, but If you look back at the chart above, imposter syndrome effect people who miss the first 2 steps when learning new things and tend to go straight to the “I’m never going to understand this” step. Some people may take years in their field to recover from this, and the likely triggering of a separation sensitivity generally cause business to fail due to cashflow issues (as we spoke about in this article here)

Imposter syndrome is a psychological phenomenon characterized by persistent feelings of inadequacy, self-doubt, and fear of being exposed as a fraud despite evidence of competence and success. People experiencing imposter syndrome often feel like they have deceived others into believing they are more capable or talented than they actually are and fear being exposed as a fraud.

In the workplace, imposter syndrome can limit the earning capacity of skilled workers in several ways. First, people with imposter syndrome may hesitate to negotiate their salaries or ask for a raise, even if they have the skills and qualifications to justify higher compensation. They may fear being perceived as arrogant or being found out as a fraud, which can prevent them from advocating for themselves and their worth.

Second, people with imposter syndrome may hold back from pursuing new opportunities or taking on leadership roles because they feel they are not qualified or deserving enough. This can limit their career advancement and earning potential in the long term.

Finally, people with imposter syndrome may be more likely to accept lower-paying jobs or projects that do not match their skills and experience because they feel they are not good enough for higher-paying roles. This can result in underemployment and lower earnings overall.

To overcome imposter syndrome and increase their earning capacity, skilled workers can seek support from mentors or coaches, challenge their negative self-talk and beliefs, and focus on their accomplishments and strengths rather than their perceived shortcomings. They can also practice advocating for themselves and setting boundaries, such as negotiating their salaries and taking on roles that match their skills and expertise.

That is what you can do, which leads to the next question. How do you do that?…

How do you overcome Imposter Syndrome?


It’s simple, but by no means easy. And you are unlikely to be able to do it without support.

It basically requires you to develop a secure attachment strategy, which again every person in the world will do differently. You will need support. We all need a little help from our friends every now and then, right?

Attachment matrix

A secure attachment strategy refers to a healthy and secure emotional bond that individuals have with their attachment figures, such as parents or caregivers. Individuals with a secure attachment strategy tend to have positive and trusting relationships with others, feel comfortable seeking help and support when needed, and have a positive sense of self-worth.

Behaviours of people that have a secure attachment strategy may include:

1.    Seeking help and support:

Individuals with a secure attachment strategy tend to feel comfortable seeking help and support from others when needed, as they trust that others will be responsive and helpful. It’s not a sign of weakness, and I’ve found this is a surefire indicator that a person has a weakness in one or all of their 4 Ps if they struggle to ask for help or can’t delegate tasks when they do get help.

2.   Feeling comfortable with intimacy:

Individuals with a secure attachment strategy tend to feel comfortable with intimacy and closeness with others, as they trust that their emotional needs will be met in relationships. In a business sense, this relates to having complimenting skills. You can’t do everything (see point 1), and people with a secure attachment strategy know if they have Action, Thinking, or Personal skills as their strengths. They generally seek out 2 other people to collaborate with to fill in the gaps.

3.   Being independent:

Individuals with a secure attachment strategy tend to feel confident and secure in their ability to be independent, while also valuing and maintaining close relationships with others. Doing everything yourself does not make you independent, in fact, this can project your own insecurities and break the cycle of trust. Again, see point 1.

4.   Feeling comfortable with the emotional expression:

Individuals with a secure attachment strategy tend to feel comfortable expressing their emotions, as they trust that others will be accepting and supportive. Not showing emotion is a sign of low emotional intelligence in business. Fear can prevent you from doing things, but it can also save your life. If you are not comfortable in expressing your emotions, both positive and negative, look into help to overcome executive dysfunction.

5.   Developing positive self-worth:

Individuals with a secure attachment strategy tend to have a positive sense of self-worth, as they have received consistent and positive feedback from attachment figures throughout their lives.

Overall, individuals with a secure attachment strategy tend to have healthy and positive relationships with others, feel comfortable seeking help and support when needed, and have a positive sense of self-worth. These behaviours reflect a healthy and secure emotional bond with attachment figures and the ability to form positive relationships with others throughout life. If this blog resonates with you, and you want help or just want to chat, book a call through our website HERE.

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What is Executive Dysfunction, and how businesses can better manage it.


Executive dysfunction is a term used to describe a set of cognitive and behavioral difficulties that can affect an individual’s ability to plan, initiate, organize, and complete tasks. It is often associated with neurological conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorder (ASD), traumatic brain injury (TBI), and some forms of dementia.

Executive dysfunction can manifest in a variety of ways, depending on the individual and the specific condition involved. Some common symptoms may include:

  • 1. Difficulty with planning and organization: Individuals with executive dysfunction may struggle to plan and organize tasks, leading to disorganization and difficulty completing projects.
  • 2. Difficulty with time management: Individuals with executive dysfunction may struggle with time management and may have difficulty prioritizing tasks and meeting deadlines.
  • 3. Impulsivity: Individuals with executive dysfunction may act impulsively without considering the consequences of their actions.
  • 4. Difficulty with decision-making: Individuals with executive dysfunction may struggle to make decisions, especially when faced with complex or abstract information.
  • 5. Poor working memory: Individuals with executive dysfunction may struggle to hold information in their working memory, leading to difficulties with task completion and organization.
  • 6. Difficulty with flexibility and adaptability: Individuals with executive dysfunction may struggle with adapting to changes in routine or unexpected events.
  • 7. Poor self-monitoring: Individuals with executive dysfunction may struggle to monitor their own behavior and may have difficulty recognizing when they are making mistakes or need help.

Executive dysfunction can have a significant impact on an individual’s daily life, affecting their ability to work, study, and maintain relationships. However, with appropriate support and accommodations, individuals with executive dysfunction can learn strategies to manage their symptoms and improve their functioning.


Stress triggers of executive dysfunction for “neurotypicals”

The term neurotypical is used to describe individuals who do not have neurological or developmental differences or disorders, such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or Tourette syndrome.

As a society, we now have a greater understanding of “disorders”. A diagnosis these days often lead to people getting the help they have wanted all their life.

An example for me of this was a clip I saw of Lewis Capaldi, who was recently diagnosed with Tourette’s and had an attack on stage. The crowd, obviously aware of what was happening, leaped into song as one to give Lewis enough time to regain his composure which allowed him to continue doing his job (performing his songs).

It must have brought a tear to the eyes of every parent with a disability, who lives with the fear of who will look after their kids when the parents pass away, to see this sort of public show of support (for them and their children).

But executive dysfunction does not just affect the actions of a person with a diagnosed (or undiagnosed) disability. While people with a disability are invariably coached on how to manage executive dysfunction, when they become aware that it is happening, Sadly for neurotypicals, they do not.

The term neurotypical is often used within the context of discussing and understanding the experiences of individuals who do have neurological or developmental differences, such as those with ASD or ADHD. It helps to distinguish between those who may have different experiences and challenges due to their neurological or developmental differences and those who do not.

It is important to note that the term neurotypical is not intended to be a value judgment or to suggest that individuals who do not have neurological or developmental differences are somehow “normal” or “better” than those who do. Rather, it is simply a descriptive term that helps to categorize individuals based on their neurological and developmental profiles.

Startup Group
Startup Group

Symptoms of stress

When stress triggers an attack of executive dysfunction in neurotypicals, they generally don’t have the skills to defend themselves and require an intervention to pull them out of the downward spiral that results in mental and physical health issues.

Instead of being a disability, the ability to self-manage executive dysfunction gives neurodiverse people a competitive advantage in business.

Neurotypical individuals typically exhibit typical patterns of behavior, communication, and social interaction that are considered to be within the range of what is considered normal or typical for their age and developmental stage. They may have their own individual differences in these areas, but they are not considered to have significant impairments or differences that would be classified as a neurological or developmental disorders.

The symptoms of stress are obvious when you know what to look for. You don’t need to be a neuroscientist and research fellow (I didn’t even know what that was) from Harvard University’s medical school to see them. But I just happen to know one of them.

Here are some tips from Sathiya (sam) Ramakrishnan, PhD, on how to identify 4 symptoms of stress to look out for as a cue for early intervention in all human beings to help manage executive dysfunction:

Cognitive symptoms

Cognitive symptoms refer to difficulties with thinking and perception. These can affect various cognitive processes such as memory, attention, language, problem-solving, and decision-making. Cognitive symptoms can be a result of various medical conditions such as brain injury, neurological disorders, or mental illness, and they can also be a side effect of certain medications or treatments.

In simple terms, cognitive symptoms are problems with thinking and perception that can make it hard to remember things, pay attention, or understand what others are saying.

This could include:

  1. Memory loss: Inability to recall past events or information.
  2. Difficulty to focus: Difficulty in maintaining concentration or attention on a task or activity.
  3. Impaired judgment: Decreased ability to make sound decisions or choices.
  4. Negative life outlook: Pessimistic view or expectation of future events or experiences.
  5. Anxious thoughts: Excessive worry or fear about potential future events or outcomes.
  6. Constant worry: Persistent and ongoing feeling of anxiety or concern about different aspects of life.

Emotional symptoms

Emotional symptoms refer to changes or disturbances in a person’s emotional state or mood. These symptoms can range from mild to severe and can impact a person’s ability to function in daily life.

Some common emotional symptoms include:

  • Anxiety: feelings of worry, nervousness, or unease.
  • Depression: feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and a loss of interest in life.
  • Irritability: easily getting angry or frustrated.
  • Mood swings: rapid and significant changes in mood or emotions.
  • Crying spells: frequent or sudden outbursts of tears.
  • Loss of interest: decreased enjoyment or motivation in previously enjoyable activities.
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt: negative self-perception and negative self-talk.

Emotional symptoms can be a result of various medical conditions such as mood disorders, neurological conditions, or physical health issues. Substance abuse, grief, or stress can also contribute to emotional symptoms.

Physical symptoms

Physical symptoms are changes in the body that are a result of stress. These symptoms can be the body’s response to stressors, such as physical or emotional events, and can range from mild to severe. Some common physical symptoms of stress include:

  • Headaches: tension headaches or migraines can be a result of stress.
  • Muscle tension: stress can cause muscle tension, leading to pain or discomfort.
  • Fatigue: stress can drain a person’s energy, leading to feelings of exhaustion.
  • Insomnia: difficulty sleeping or staying asleep can be a physical symptom of stress.
  • Gastrointestinal problems: stress can cause digestive issues, such as upset stomach, acid reflux, or constipation.
  • Rapid heartbeat: stress can cause an increase in heart rate or palpitations.
  • Chest pain: stress can cause chest pain or discomfort, mimicking the symptoms of a heart attack.
  • Skin problems: stress can cause skin problems such as hives, eczema, or psoriasis to worsen.

It’s important to note that while stress can cause physical symptoms, physical symptoms can also be a result of other medical conditions. If you experience physical symptoms that persist or worsen, it’s important to seek medical attention.

Behavioral symptoms

Behavioral symptoms of stress refer to changes in a person’s behavior or habits that are a result of stress. These symptoms can range from mild to severe and can impact a person’s daily life and relationships. Some common behavioral symptoms of stress include:

  • Overeating or undereating: changes in appetite can be a result of stress.
  • Substance abuse: some people may turn to alcohol, drugs, or nicotine to cope with stress.
  • Withdrawal: stress can cause a person to withdraw from social activities or relationships.
  • Aggression: stress can cause a person to become more irritable, angry, or aggressive.
  • Nail biting, hair pulling, or skin picking: stress can cause a person to engage in these types of behaviors, known as “nervous habits.”
  • Impulsive or reckless behavior: stress can cause a person to act impulsively or recklessly without thinking about the consequences.
  • Difficulty concentrating: stress can make it hard for a person to focus or pay attention.
  • Lack of motivation: stress can decrease a person’s motivation or drive.

In simple terms, behavioral symptoms of stress are changes in behavior or habits that are a result of stress. These can range from changes in appetite and substance abuse to impulsive behavior and lack of motivation. These symptoms can impact a person’s daily life and relationships.

If you want to learn more about managing executive dysfunction,

or other stress management and self-care techniques, form an actual Neuroscientist who can explain what’s really going on in your body right down to a cellular level, connect with Dr Sam from SMB health.

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What is the gig economy, and how to do it


The gig economy is a term used to describe a labour market characterized by short-term contracts or freelance work as opposed to traditional permanent employment. In the gig economy, workers are often paid for each “gig” or task they complete, rather than being paid a fixed salary or hourly wage.

The gig economy is enabled by technology platforms that connect workers with clients or customers, often through mobile apps or websites.

Essentially the Gig economy has created self-employment opportunities for people looking to escape the limitations of traditional employment. While traditional employment exchanges time for money no matter how productive workers are, service businesses in the gig economy charge for outcomes. Productivity is rewarded by allowing businesses to take on more work and multiple streams of income for more consistent revenue using transferable skills across multiple industries.

Common ways people get paid work in the gig economy include:

Ride-sharing and delivery services:

This includes companies such as Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash, where individuals use their own vehicles to provide transportation or delivery services to customers.

Freelance work:

Freelance work is common in the gig economy and includes jobs such as writing, graphic design, programming, and consulting. Freelancers work on a project-by-project basis and are often paid per project.

Online marketplaces:

Online marketplaces such as Etsy, TaskRabbit, and Fiverr allow individuals to sell products or offer services directly to customers. These platforms take a commission on each sale.

Gig platforms:

Gig platforms such as Upwork and Freelancer connect businesses with independent contractors who can perform a variety of tasks, such as data entry, customer service, and virtual assistance.

Short-term rentals:

Platforms such as Airbnb and VRBO enable individuals to rent out their homes or apartments to travelers on a short-term basis.

Overall, the gig economy offers flexibility and autonomy for workers, but can also come with uncertain income and a lack of job security.

Australian cash $100. When was the last time you saw this?

How the gig economy can help people from low-paying industries earn extra income

The gig economy can provide individuals from low paying industries with an opportunity to earn extra income through flexible work arrangements. This is because the gig economy allows individuals to work on a project-by-project basis or perform short-term tasks for clients or customers, often through mobile apps or websites. Here are some ways the gig economy can help people from low paying industries earn extra income:


Many gig economy jobs allow workers to set their own schedules and choose when and where they work. This can be especially helpful for individuals who have other responsibilities, such as caregiving or attending school.

Low barriers to entry:

Many gig economy jobs do not require formal education or training, making them accessible to individuals from low paying industries who may not have a college degree or professional certification.

Variety of job opportunities:

The gig economy offers a wide variety of job opportunities, from driving for ride-sharing services to completing short-term projects on freelance marketplaces. This can allow individuals to find work that fits their skills and interests.

Increased earning potential:

By working in the gig economy, individuals can take on multiple jobs or projects at once, potentially increasing their earning potential beyond what they might make in a traditional low-paying job.

Overall, the gig economy can provide individuals from low-paying industries with a flexible and accessible way to earn extra income. However, it is important to note that gig work can come with its own challenges, including income uncertainty, lack of benefits, and limited job security.

Working from home” vs doing “remote work”.

The terms “working from home” (WFH) and “remote work” are often used interchangeably, but they can have slightly different meanings.

Working from home generally refers to working from one’s own residence or home office, regardless of whether the work is done for an employer or as a freelancer. The emphasis is on the physical location where the work is being done.

Remote work, on the other hand, refers to working outside of a traditional office environment, often using technology to communicate with colleagues and perform work tasks. Remote work can be done from anywhere, not just from home, and may involve traveling or working from a co-working space, a coffee shop, or any other location outside of a traditional office.

In essence, working from home is a subset of remote work, as it refers specifically to working from one’s own home. However, remote work can encompass a wider range of work environments and situations.

It’s important to note that both working from home and remote work require reliable technology and good communication skills, as well as the ability to work independently and manage one’s own time effectively.

While both offer flexibility and freedom to work from anywhere, remote work may require additional skills such as time zone management and strong communication skills to ensure effective collaboration with remote team members.

Work health and safety if the business allows a person to work from home.

Businesses in Australia are still responsible for work health and safety (WHS) Even if employees work from home. This is the main reason why companies forced employees to return to the office after the COVID-19 lockdowns.

If you had an office space to use as part of your work contract, the ATO would say you could not get a tax deduction to set up your home office. If workers chose to work from home, they would be out of pocket and have to set their home office

they have a duty of care to provide a safe and healthy work environment for their workers, regardless of where the work is performed. This duty of care is outlined in the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act), which applies to all businesses operating in Australia, including those who allow employees to work from home. Even sole traders who don’t employ any staff still have to provide as safe workplace for what is their biggest business asset – themselves and their own mental health also comes under the WHS act as a requirement of doing business.

Under the WHS Act, businesses have a primary duty of care to ensure the health and safety of their workers by eliminating or minimizing risks to their health and safety as far as reasonably practicable. This means that businesses must identify, assess and control risks associated with work, including those that arise from working from home, and provide appropriate resources and support to workers to ensure their health and safety.

In practice, this means that businesses must take steps to ensure that their employees who work from home have a safe and healthy work environment, including providing appropriate equipment and ergonomic support, conducting risk assessments of the home workspace, providing guidance and training on WHS requirements, and ensuring that workers have access to appropriate support and resources.

If you want to chat, contact us at

duty of care obligations

If a business fails to meet its duty of care obligations under the WHS Act, they can be held liable for any harm or injury caused to their workers, and may face legal and financial consequences, including fines, compensation claims, and reputational damage.

This is a reason why even if you do contract work these days, the business employing you will generally want to see evidence that the sole trader has public liability insurance specific to that industry. If you don’t know what is a high risk activity from a WHS point of view for your industry, look at what your insurance quote covers to guide your operational plan.

The higher the premium, the more high risk activities are in the normal job tasks in the gig economy. This can be a barrier to entering the gig economy in some industries, so the gig economy is not for everyone.

But one thing is for sure, the Gig economy is here to stay. Particularly in industry where low skilled labour get a low hourly rate, and is also addressing the gender pay gap as reward for effort rather than being the best is also a feature of the gig economy.

If you would like to join the gig economy, let’s chat.

Book a call here.

Startup Group
Startup Group