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Small Business Resources

Title card for small business wellbeing blog series

Drought, bushfires, COVID-19. 2020 threw a number of challenges at small business owners in rural NSW.


Our 2020 project with Everymind looked at small business wellbeing in a rural context. We know that small business owners face financial pressures, long hours, and a delicate work-life balance. This is why we worked with Everymind to encourage rural business owners to take action on their mental health.

Our blog series featured the stories of local small business owners who adapted to change, prioritised their mental health, and are looking forward to a positive future.

  • Wellbeing in rural small business Imagine this scenario, or something similar, for 30% of all actively trading regional small businesses in NSW.
  • Why I am so grateful for COVID-19 Rather than dwell on the negative, Jane Hillsdon emerges out of her ‘COVID Cocoon’ as a business owner and leader prepared to confront change head-on.
  • Peer support for small businesses during COVID-19 After realising all small business owners were in the same boat, Mell Millgate turned to social media to check-in with her peers and stay connected during COVID-19.
  • How my small business keeps me in the moment “We weren’t designed to go at life on our own. We are built to need and rely on a supportive community.” Rachel Townsend talks about her self-care strategies as she works through COVID-19.
  • Home is where the art is Kate Smith talks about navigating her career in the creative industries during COVID-19.
  • Getting support and giving it back As venues closed, Jordan Oppy focused on keeping people entertained during lockdown.
  • Managing what I can and can’t control Opening a new store 10 days prior to COVID-19 restrictions, Lee Bargwanna had to act quickly to adapt.
  • ‘Feeling good at the end of this’: reconsidering your business values Rather than focus on profits, Jill Briggs has taken COVID-19 as an opportunity to make helping people her mantra.
  • The country pub as a safe haven The Batlow Hotel became a safe haven for locals defending their properties during the bushfires in January. Then came COVID-19. Linda Rudd shares how she has kept positive and motivated to get through a tough year.
  • The Only Pharmacy in Town: keeping our local community safe In the initial stage of COVID-19, Oberon Pharmacy saw a huge increase in customers. The days were long and the staff were tired. Learn how Jennifer Precians supported her team and kept morale high.
  • Rural people accept the changes For rural optometrist Laurence Outim, the outset of COVID-19 brought about several changes to his workday. Learn more about how he managed his anxious thoughts about the pandemic.
  • Weathering the storm Diana Sykes strives for continuous improvement as a small business owner. She has spent the COVID-19 downtime preparing for a return to normal business. Read about her advice on managing in an uncertain environment.
  • Rural confidence in the younger generation Condobolin-based business owner Emily Sinderberry loves working with the primary producers in her community. She is inspired by the resilient nature of her community and appreciate the level of confidence they place in the the younger generation.
  • Up and down feelings depending on sales Holger Loecker turned his passion into a small business, opening an aquarium in 2015. Learn how he has navigated the challenges of COVID-19.
  • 12 months of highs and lows Merryn Groves made a dream career change and opened The Grove cafe in Portland, NSW. She says the support she received from locals has gotten her business through such an uncertain time.
  • Rural small business – successful business = good mental health? Research Associate, Kris Gottschall considers the relationship between a successful business and good mental health.
  • My part time business is my ‘ME’ time Living in a house full of boys, Rosemary Bargwanna’s business enables her to get out and meet people and share the Body Shop love. Read about how she has adapted her business during COVID-19.
  • Project Hotplate: Connecting local eateries with their customers in COVID-19 times Forced to diversify, Rooftop Media created Project Hotplate, a two way street to help businesses interact with their regular customers, as well as giving customers a tangible way to support their favourite eateries.
  • The best thing that happened was failure So-called failures became invaluable life lessons Rebecca Gadd wouldn’t trade for anything. Read about how COVID-19 provided Rebecca a unique opportunity and a newfound purpose.
  • A great thing to do at a time of great challenge Michael Carpenter had an exciting year planned, recording music, videos and performing all around Australia. That was, until COVID-19 hit. Find out how COVID-19 ultimately brought Michael and his creative team a huge amount of joy.
  • Putting the theory into practice Trish Smith took the opportunity COVID-19 provided to start her urban farming business, through which she focuses on only what is within her control and strives to create a work culture where individuals are valued and it’s a safe place to express yourself, raise concerns and contribute.

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