Mel Chamberlain spent 20 years working in the corporate world but ultimately found it didn’t fit with her values. Juggling three children with a demanding career was a challenge, and the busy mum wanted to find work that was more family-friendly and flexible.
Ms Chamberlain had always loved taking photos and had even studied a photography course, but she had never worked as a photographer. Seeing the opportunity to utilise her snapper skills, she came up with an idea to set up a portable photo booth in a van to take to weddings and events. But how to get the business off the ground?
Luckily, the Peninsula resident discovered the Federal Government’s New Enterprise Incentive Scheme. The program, delivered at Chisholm Institute of TAFE, provides free training and support for people who want to start their own small business and who are not currently employed or studying. Participants study the 13-week Certificate III in Micro Business Operations (BSB30315) and receive a year of mentoring from a small-business expert.
Ms Chamberlain took part in the program in 2016 and hasn’t looked back. It helped her establish a business plan for her successful photo booth endeavour, which she has since sold, and she won a National Small Business Award in 2017. “NEIS was a turning point for me, providing really tangible and current information and tips about what really matters for a small business, and the financial support was really helpful to get going,” she said.
Ms Chamberlain has since started a successful wedding photography business, The Little Studio, which she said fit with her values much better than corporate work ever did. “Since doing NEIS I feel I’m living authentically and making choices that align with my values. I love that people now value what I’m doing, creating lifelong memories for them.”
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