Making a fortune in slippers
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Making a fortune in slippers

There’s no need for fancy corporate attire for the dynamic duo behind Beam Australia.

Stephanie Reuss and Victoria Stuart run their recruitment business from home, sourcing professional candidates for companies prepared to put flexible work options on the table.

“We live around the corner from each other, which makes it easier to run a business together,” Reuss says.

Stephanie Reuss and Victoria Stuart are the founders of Beam.

Stephanie Reuss and Victoria Stuart are the founders of Beam.

'There's time for life admin'

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Both admit that flexibility and work/life balance became of increasing importance for once they started their respective families.

The pair work school hours, enabling them to be there for their kids. Clients have included PwC, Reserve Bank and Microsoft, who pay a fee for them to vet talent. More than 80 per cent of the candidates they’ve placed in roles are female.

“The changing nature of work is forcing business to rethink how they build out their workforce, which is where we step in,” Stuart says.

“Home is a nice environment to work in. Without the commute, we’re offered ultimate productivity. And there’s time for life admin, like putting a load of washing on,” she says.

“We live around the corner from each other, pre-qualifying talent for organisations, mostly over Facetime or Google Hangouts.”

The business launched in 2016 and turned over $100,000 last financial year and $500,000 this financial year (2017/18) on the back of the growing appetite for flexible work talent.

“The fact is that Australians have a greater appetite for part-time work, and companies need to get over that commander and controller mentality.”

Rise in telework

The pair are by no means alone. Teleworking, or working from home is becoming increasingly common on the back of improvements in technology and an increasing desire for flexibility among employees.

Almost a third (3.5 million) employed Australians regularly work from home in their main job or business, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Forty-two per cent of those who regularly work from home cited catching up on work as their main reason, while 20 per cent didn’t want an office, or didn’t want to pay rent or overheads, the Characteristics of Employment survey found.

Amy King is the founder of CORE+.

Amy King is the founder of CORE+.

'It can get pretty complicated'

The wheels are in motion for Melbourne’s Amy King to turn over seven figures next financial year. And with two small children to raise, she admits she’s pretty house-bound these days.

The founder of yoga studio CORE+ has franchised her business, meaning there’s no need for her to step outside to run her yoga studios as often these days.

She launched CORE+ in 2014 after years in the fitness industry, located in Hawthorn East. She opening a second studio in Richmond followed by two franchised locations in Melbourne, with a third studio to open in Port Melbourne soon. She harbours dreams of opening 25 studios in the coming years.

King has spent the last year carefully selecting studio partners with a commitment to their own respective neighbourhoods and clients to share their dream to grow the business across the country, with plans to expand to 30 studios in the next three years across Australia and New Zealand.

The business turned over $400,000 last financial year, which looks set to grow but this year looking at $1.5 million when five studios are on board.

“I started out at a time when the yoga industry wasn’t as developed, and quickly saw an opportunity to franchise the business,” she says.

“A lot of elements of the business can be done remotely. The laptop goes everywhere with me. I don’t need to be at the studio, I can do a lot of my work remotely,” King says.

Distinguishing between time with the kids and work time helps keep the balance. Not enough parents are given enough workplace flexibility to manage family commitments, she says.

“Dividing that time to work and kids enables you to be the best mum and achieve working goals too. When they mesh together, it can get pretty complicated. I love switching off on Thursdays, that’s my day with the kids.”

She does try to be at a studio twice a week to keep her foot in the door. Her husband left corporate role to help in the business.

Sick of the rat race

Work/life balance is a priority for many people starting a business and satisfaction levels increase with tenure, according to new research by Suncorp.

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“Many believe the first three years in business are a real test of survival and can be a roller coaster full of ups and downs, but our research shows that it’s worth hanging on for the ride,” Suncorp’s April Cavanagh says.

“Once SME owners pass the three to five year mark, they become more confident, satisfied, and less likely to experience personal impacts resulting from work challenges.”

While SME owners are generally happy with their current situation, the research highlighted the challenges of finding new customers, with one in five citing customer acquisitions as their biggest hurdle.

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