Throughout her early years, Ashlee always had that burning passion for doing something creative with her life in country Victoria.
“Throughout school, I was a great writer, so I knew my career would involve writing.
Having grown up in Bendigo, her journey to fulfil her career dream was one of discovery and inspiration. It led her to not only embark on doing what she loves for a living, but also to assist others to kick-start their own careers as well.
It all began at the age of 16, when Ashlee was offering services by writing resumes and providing advice to job seekers - for free. She began to develop strong aspirations for potentially establishing her very own employment agency.
“I started off doing resume-writing as a hobby, but it turned into the main focus of my career for the next six years.
Unaware of how valuable her transferable skills were, Ashlee presumed journalism would be the most suitable given her skills in writing. She then landed a job in journalism which enabled her to freelance and work from home so she could still spend time with her children.
At 23 and working towards her career goal, Ashlee was now also a single mum to three young daughters.
Single parents can attest to how hard it can be to juggle the pressures of parenthood, and burgeoning career goals, which often presents a situation with a limited amount of spare time available.
“I would create and edit an average of 50 resumes on a monthly basis for job seekers all over Australia. For years I spent my spare time assisting job seekers, and it wasn’t before long that I had gained casual work and requests to assist businesses and employers too,” Ashlee said.
After receiving overwhelming and inspiring feedback from job seekers who she had helped over several years, Ashlee was then motivated to do more and more for the people she was assisting into employment.
She thought it was also time to focus more towards a sustainable career and making her children proud - by launching her all-in-one virtual employment agency.
“With the rise in technology and no job agency offering online services to meet economic trends, my idea of a virtual employment agency had me feeling like I was sitting on a gold mine.
“I was still at a crossway deciding how I was going to initiate the next steps and find a way to can make it happen,” Ashlee said.
With little money and next to no resources, at first, Ashlee doubted her start-up idea would even take off.
“I began researching, and I came across the NEIS program, and I will admit, I was hesitant at first. It just seemed too good to be true,” Ashlee said.
As a provider of the New Business Assistance for NEIS program, PeoplePlus offers participants all the fundamental knowledge in small business training, with ongoing and personalised mentoring and income support over nine months. The culmination of the program also sees participants receive a certificate in business.
With six weeks of class-based work which is required in the program, Ashlee wondered how she would make it work with her children.
“I phoned my parents and informed them of the NEIS program and expressed my interest in participating. They offered to help with the kids - they were great support,” Ashlee said.
Without a second thought, Ashlee contacted our Program Coordinator, Wendy Winzar, and within a week, she had attended an interview, discussed her business plan, and was enrolled and ready to start her startup journey.
“It was honestly that easy. The class-based segment was even during school hours making the program parent-friendly and ideal for my current situation,” Ashlee said.
Throughout the classroom-based learning services, PeoplePlus provide for the program, mentoring and supportive training was provided by our trainer Ramesh and NEIS Coordinator, Wendy, both of whom acted as her mentors.
“As a NEIS student I was supported and mentored throughout the entire process, and I continue to be.
"NEIS has taught me many, many new skills that I will use throughout my entire business operation and lifetime,” Ashlee said.
Six months down the track, Ashlee has transitioned well in balancing the life as a parent and running her own business.
AVEA Victoria - Australian Virtual Employment Agency, is now an all-in-one virtual employment agency operating out of Bendigo and servicing all of Australia. Ashlee's business has now expanded from resume writing to job listings, freelance journalism, copywriting services, advertisements, support for job seekers and more.
“This opportunity has not only given me the knowledge and resources to pursue my own business but the ability to be more confident within myself and around others.
“I will never forget the three simple words my mentor, Ramesh Singaram said to me throughout NEIS which is - do what works."
"And I am proud to say, the NEIS program works.”
PeoplePlus would like to congratulate Ashlee and wish her continued success in the future.
If you’re a budding entrepreneur looking to start a business in the Bendigo area, contact our NEIS Coordinator Wendy Winzar today:
Phone: (03) 5333 6100 | Mobile: 0419 583 839