According to the ABS, regional businesses account for over 800,000 businesses. As part of our Regional Heroes campaign, we’re profiling some of these incredible small businesses, like Positively Growing, to see what makes them (and their towns) tick!
What is the name of your business?
What is your website?
Do you have a podcast?
In the pipeline! I haven’t been on a podcast since early 2000 when working in Ireland, but I have several meditations and social skill strategies I intend to bring to podcast! I also want to draw a cohort of experts together for a weekly podcast chat to support educators and families.
When did you start your small biz?
2016 though I had elements of the business running in the background during full-time employed work for several years, including yoga teaching in Ireland while full time Project Manager for Discover Primary Science! More recently I was running Relax Kids sessions after school and on weekends while working full time at CareWest (now Live Better) and then Kurrajong Early Intervention Service (now Kurrajong Therapy Plus). In 2015 I finally left all full-time employment, keeping up teaching one day a week at a local preschool (so I could walk the talk!), and was lucky enough to engage with Centacare to rollout Positively Growing over a 12 month period first year out! Amazing start to the business!
Why did you start it?
Positively Growing was created to draw together the many branches that I had which linked to supporting children, families, education facilities and communities. It draws together Relax Kids, Pyramid Model Australia, Yoga, and my Early Childhood degree for positive social and emotional outcomes. In addition, my children and parents required a bit more support, and working from home / for myself, has enabled more flexibility when required.
Is it the only biz of its kind in your area?
It is the only education-based business of its kind, though there are a couple of similar businesses running in the health space that provide mindfulness and yoga based programs. The programs that I run often complement and support expectations from paediatricians, occupational therapists and psychologists.
What do you love most about living where you live?
Being close to my family, and having so many opportunities to reach different people. I also love how central Wagga is to all major cities, and the accessibility we have with easy access roads, distances and infrastructure such as NBN whilst living the tree-dream life. I am also LOVING learning more about the Wiradjuri culture and country. AND… there is free parking for up to an hour at the airport!
How would you describe your client base?
My client base has generally been pre and primary aged children and their families, teachers and educators, and is now branching out to high school students, and communities. My client base is often services seeking ways to support children’s social interactions and emotional regulation, but the programs support ALL children with the emphasis on life skills for enhancing focus, positivity and calm.
Who/what do you consider your biggest competitor?
I believe there are enough children, families, seniors and communities that require the same or similar support offered by Positively Growing, that competition is only an issue if not a true representation of the support we offer. I don’t believe that is a concern in the Riverina, and other yoga teachers and mindful coaches have the same and best interests at the core of their business – who wouldn’t want that in their space!
How do most of your clients find you? Ie via website, word of mouth etc
Word of mouth, network meetings, conferences, Facebook and website.
Do you network with other small biz in your area?
I do, and have several collaboration programs in the pipeline that will share the love! Past collaborations have included contract work for Lil Melodies for the Inclusion Resource Program, workshops and trainings, Bidgee O.T, and using facilities at small businesses such as ReAlign Pilates and Allegro Ballet. Key networks have also been formed through local Wagga Women in Business. I was lucky enough to be a participant in the Mentoring Program with Women in Business when I first started Positively Growing. This provided a powerful platform from which to launch – mostly due to being surrounded by others at the same stage in their business. I love these women!
Do you have a local chamber of commerce in your area?
Yes we do.
What do you think is the greatest challenge your community/area/district faces right now?
Drought has affected many individuals and families, and has a very long knock-on effect to both mental health and economic flow. We do also have a big concern with anxiety from very young, and many children requiring early intervention for numerous concerns that we may not have the capacity to support. We have a lot of trauma effected children and adults for many different reasons, and I believe we have the challenge and the duty to inform ourselves how best to support anyone who has experienced trauma or who is asking for help. Challenges also come when people don’t know that supports exist, so spreading the word and spreading the love to support as many people as possible is critical.
Who is your greatest support?
My children, my friends, my parents and husband! So – family! I also have tremendous support from previous co-workers who share my details and spread the word. I am very grateful to them for their ongoing belief and support. Also the four amazing women in Melbourne who have invited me to join them in creating Pyramid Model Australia Education Pty Ltd – a business of which I have great pride in being a Director.
What’s your biggest goal for the next 5 years?
My biggest goal is to be successful enough and reaching enough children, families and communities to need to employ at least one other consultant and an administrator to support the office management and grant applications. To be able to support someone else in their (hopefully) dream job would be amazing, and I would relish the shared discussions! I would love to host and run a Positively Growing conference that shares information, strategies and best practice for wellbeing, positive behaviour and social emotional supports to all elements of the community. I would love it to be the type of event that could travel and support all communities, but would be focused primarily on rural and regional cities and towns. In so doing, and with the business hat on, I would love the conference style program to support and draw upon local businesses in each area and with the wellbeing hat, promote the ideal for all being on the same page so change may be sustained.
What is your biggest challenge in terms of growing your business?
So far my biggest challenge has been time management in relation to applying for and knowing about grants, along with the challenge of sharing space with my family. I am also relied upon to ferry my children between school and after school activities, and will increasingly be required to support my parents at their medical appointments, though all this would become easier if I employ other people! Perhaps the biggest challenge is being too risk adverse!
If there was one thing you could to make the biggest change to your business what would it be?
I think what I need to do to make the biggest change is to be a bit risky and employ someone to be a business advisor, and who may also have a vested interest and want to either partner or work alongside me. Though it’s a close toss up with actually renting space from which to conduct sessions, collaborate, host parent interviews and sell relevant resources. That would be a dream!
What/where is your favourite place in your town and why?
The Pot and Kettle Café – beautiful staff, free wifi, no extra charge for soya milk, and outside space!!!! As is the trend with these one answer questions, I have more than one answer! My OTHER favourite place is at home amongst the gum trees, vineyard and garden that my parents created and nurtured since 1984. We live here now, and I feel blessed every day. x