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  • #1000319
    Lucy Kippist
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    Just wanted to share this brilliant post from one of our Flying Solo community, Natalie Dowling. Natalie is a copywriter from Victoria who is angry about her situation right now.

    “I’m cranky. Chalk that up to the cumulative effects of the Victorian lockdowns. But it’s also a reaction to the dismissive treatment of sole traders.

    Governments are juggling an obscene amount of stuff and I appreciate that difficult decisions are being made on the run. And sole traders are not the Lone Rangers when it comes to raw deals or anomalies in these weird old days of pandemic.

    But as a professional sole trader registered for GST (not a hobbyist) the Victorian Government has offered my business zero support.

    The state government is touting its business support credentials, throwing money at many businesses while ignoring ones like mine. Worse than that, the policy decision overtly articulates disdain for sole traders, singling us out as ineligible for business support packages.

    No, I don’t employ staff but in my experience professional sole traders operate through referral networks, which generates a lot of ‘unseen’ project work. For me, as a copywriter, that’s often gigs (aka economic development and employment) for or from web designers, photographers and graphic designers.

    After spending the December period voluntarily rejigging my business, I was on track for my best year yet of self-sufficiency. I had my highest turnover in six years back in the different world that was March 2020. And then my lowest came in July. Work was cancelled. Jobs deferred. Pipelines blocked.

    This was not meant to be a ‘woe is me’ story (I’m a bit too cross for self-pity today). We’re all experiencing challenges and opportunities, and I know am becoming better at dealing with uncertainty, developing new pipelines and repositioning.

    This is a gripe though. About not being taken seriously and treated fairly as a real and legit business operator.

    Yes, I’m getting Job Keeper. But so are many other Victorian businesses that the state government is directly supporting with cash handouts, rebates and other programs. I’m in the professional services sector and there is no industry support package for me and my ilk.

    My goal is to stand on my own two business feet. Mine is not a zombie business gasping its last breaths in a life fed on handouts. But some respect and a slice of the financial support afforded to others would help my sole trader business breathe just that little bit easier.”

    #1223863
    bb1
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    Lucy Kippist, post: 270573, member: 98720 wrote:
    My goal is to stand on my own two business feet. Mine is not a zombie business gasping its last breaths in a life fed on handouts. But some respect and a slice of the financial support afforded to others would help my sole trader business breathe just that little bit easier.”

    I’m confused, her goal is to stand on her own 2 feet, but gladly grabs Job Keeper and has a huge whinge about not getting any financial support (contradiction), thats not standing on your own 2 feet.

    Not a zombie business gasping its last breath for a handout, but begging for financial support.

    Make up your mind, you cant sit in both camps.

    My response is written on the basis that I am a sole trader, out off work for 6 weeks, but not writing contradictory articles. Just because you call yourself a professional sole trader (what is a professional sole trader), it doesnt mean you are!

    #1223864
    Paul – FS Concierge
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    Just to clarify, the Author talks mostly about assistance for business from the Victorian Government.

    Jobkeeper is a Commonwealth initiative. c

    #1223865
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    Paul – FS Concierge, post: 270588, member: 78928 wrote:
    Just to clarify, the Author talks mostly about assistance for business from the Victorian Government.

    Jobkeeper is a Commonwealth initiative. c

    Does it matter, my comments still stands, one second she doesnt want handouts, then she does want to be propped up. Doesnt matter if it’s federal or state governments she is still asking for a handout which she doesnt want. It still all comes from us legitimate tax payers, if its federal or state source. She is confused.

    If she really wanted to stand on her own to feet and be a professional sole trader (whatever that is), she wouldnt have applied for Job Keeper.

    An article full of contradictions, and I want to know who she considers not to be a professional sole trader, I think all sole traders should take offence at the comment alone.

    #1223866
    JacquiPryor
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    I just saw Natalie’s article and was going to comment but perhaps this thread is the better place for discussion. Whilst yes JK is federal rather than Vic, but surely that’s assistance that others (sole traders or otherwise) are not even entitled to?

    Admittedly, I am confused. I am seeing a lot of sole trader comments lately about being ‘left out’ so to speak. Fundamentally I am missing something that speaks to that (and all are welcome to point me to the information/links etc to correct my confusion. I have a thick skin!)

    As a comparison/example:

    I am the sole director of a Pty Ltd that employees people. The ‘assistance’ I have had this year is purely to help with the taxes I pay on employee wages. Nothing more. A sole trader who has employees is entitled to the same. So, if a sole trader does not employ people this ‘help’ I’ve received is towards an expense that sole trader does not have – and, notably, that assistance for me has not covered all wage related tax and certainly doesn’t give me ‘cash’ to actually pay those wages.

    Meanwhile, April 2020 we decreased income by about 26% so did not qualify for Job Keeper. This means (naturally) paying wages as normal without that assistance. When a company dips like that, if cash flow is needed, that would be the director’s income ceasing or decreasing to ensure staff are paid – without JK assistance you’d think? And, in that scenario there’s no gov. assistance to pay the director’s usual wage or help with the others.

    We are very lucky that after April things increased again and we’ll get through this, but, my question to those in the know…as a Pty Ltd structure, how is it that I am better off than sole traders/how is it sole traders are dismissed? From all the reading I have done, I am no more entitled to assistance than a sole trader.. If I’m missing something, correct me!

    #1223867
    Paul – FS Concierge
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    Hi Jacqui,

    There have been a number of initiatives to support businesses during the Covid-19 period. The type of package, the timing of their introduction as well as which Government is administering them is varied.

    Each package deserves it’s own investigation and consideration by every business that may have an eligibility for same.

    It is important to understand that each package stands on it’s own an has a set of eligibility rules. Equally, it is unfair to conflate the programs or to apply one set of eligibility criteria to a different program altogether.

    I held delegations to approve or reject access to Government funding for a number of years.

    In my experience, I would advise that the article cited in the original post should not be used a source document of any kind and that the conclusions of the author are hers and hers alone.

    It is always best to seek out reliable source documents and paid advice (where a duty of care exists).

    An example of how paid advice could be helpful is in the calculation of turnover reduction for Jobkeeper as there are several methods of allowable calculations that can result in eligibility for some businesses where using just one method may mean the same business is not eligible.

    This link is directly from the Commonwealth Government and is a good first step to learn about the different programs on offer.

    I am glad to hear that your business is recovering.

    Cheers
    Paul

    #1223868
    bb1
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    [USER=20176]@JacquiPryor[/USER] there are these business support packages for Melbourne and Victorian business’s.

    https://www.business.vic.gov.au/support-for-your-business/grants-and-assistance/business-support-package/business-support-fund

    There are a couple more aimed at specific industries as well.

    #1223869
    JacquiPryor
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    Thanks Paul & Bert :)

    #1223870
    JacquiPryor
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    Thanks again guys. Have read through a bit more now, and I still think (and yes, the article is one person’s opinion) there is confusion out there that leads to many comments being made that sole traders are forgotten about. Looking at the blend of support (between commonwealth and Vic state) I’d suggest a sole trader that’s on JK actually has more available options than my example the other day, which is interesting given the volume of posts/comments and the like I have been seeing from sole traders since round 1. For example, the Vic Support package is available to various business types/structures but existing Job Keeper enrollment is a requirement. Likewise (and not suggesting I agree with this being available) – early access to Super seems to require that you are eligible for JK.

    So, in theory a sole trader who is entitled to Job Keeper could apply for early access to Super where as a director in the scenario I painted could not, despite having a reasonable dip in turnover. I could still be missing something, and if so, always happy to be corrected. However, when I look at ‘lack of support for sole traders’ generally, those that are receiving Job Keeper and don’t have employees may actually be better off than say the director of a company that has wages to pay but just misses out on JK?

    ^^ hoping for healthy discussion. Am seeing a lot of posts on social media lately where it becomes a bit of a ‘whinge’ rather than productive/educational… not whinging about my position AT ALL, simply just not sure why there is such a mentality that companies have it better than sole traders at the moment.

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