Today we are introducing you to Mel, the owner of a small painting business who is making a name for herself around Geraldton WA.
Until recently, Mel spent her career working as a painter for other businesses. It wasn’t until COVID-19 put some pressure on her previous employer that Mel decided it was time for her to take the leap and start her own painting small business. Working with Many Rivers business coach Michael, Mel quickly got her business off the ground. She is appreciative of Michaels ongoing support as she navigates being a small business owner and sustaining her business in the long term.
“Michael, my Many Rivers business coach, is still giving me that support even though he knows I am managing it mostly on my own now. It helps me feel more secure when I know that I have someone to back me up and bounce ideas off.”
Read Mel’s small business journey.
My small painting business started in about May last year. I decided to become my own employer because I got sick of working for big businesses. Plus, COVID-19 made it difficult to find work and I was having to work in roles that were way below my pay grade.
I am a commercial and residential painter. When I was an apprentice, I specialised in decorative finishes. Back then I was the best in my class! I quite like doing effects and wall papering as well.
I was working long hours for different painting employers. I was sick of working for big employers. They just push you so far and they don’t appreciate the quality of work that I do. I don’t need that kind of negativity in my life. I kind of had this idea to start my own small painting business for a while. When COVID-19 hit, it forced me to stop my procrastination and to start my own business.
The fact that I am willing to travel for work is something that sets me apart from the other painters in town.
Working with Many Rivers
I contacted Many Rivers towards the end of last year because I was going to Real Futures. I had already started my business, Melanie Morse Painting and Decorating and one of the ladies there mentioned Many Rivers.
Michael, my Many Rivers business coach, helped me with the cashflow and forecasting. He helped me work out the business plan in a simple way. Some of the ones I have looked at online were very complicated. Whenever I have needed advice he is always there. He encouraged me that I am on the right path. I am working hard and putting a lot of effort into my business. Michael has offered to help me with bookkeeping and stuff like that as well because this is something that I have struggled with.
Whenever I need to ask him a question he is always there. Michael makes time to meet up with me. He does not just kick me off the books now that I have my business started. He is still giving me that support even though he knows I am managing it mostly on my own now. It helps me feel more secure when I know that I have someone to back me up and bounce ideas off.
The biggest challenge was not having enough money or equipment to begin with to get my small painting business off the ground. But now I don’t need to worry as much if I don’t wash a brush out perfectly every time.
Around Christmas I was not getting much work. I thought I would never be able to manage it on my own financially. But I am going really well now. I am bringing in enough money to pay my bills, pay my rent and pay for my car and still afford to enjoy myself!
One thing I particularly struggle with is the paperwork because I am not used to running a business. Michael told me about this app called Invoice Simple which does everything for me. It works out the tax, helps me keep my records, convert them to invoices and send them to clients. It has really helped me.
One thing that I find particularly frustrating is that some people think that I am too cheap and other people think that I am too expensive. It is challenging to try to find that middle ground. I have given so many quotes and wasted so much time. It is a bit disheartening when people reject the quote. Michael has helped me understand that there are a lot of costs that go into running a business. I cannot compromise on this.
The biggest success has been financial stability and also popularity. One of my clients said to me that I have the best reputation in town!
Just more freedom mostly. All I need is enough money to survive and be happy. I feel more relaxed, less stressed. The last employer I worked for was not letting me have either of these things. I am a lot happier now that I am not expected to compromise on quality by an employer who doesn’t care about the customer, just the money.
Future Goals for Melanie Morse Painting and Decorating
I would love to get to the point where I have enough money that I could have someone in the office and sort all that stuff out for me. That is definitely a future goal just to take the pressure off me. But then we will have to see how it goes . At the moment I am in Carnarvon but I am planning to go back to Melbourne to be closer to family. I don’t know how my business will be effected. There is a lot of competition over there.
Even further down the line, I am looking at changing my career completely. I am thinking of transitioning from painting into health and wellness coaching. That way I don’t have to do so much physical labour. There is a course that I want to do to get started on this. I like to think that one day I can have this painting business as a backup but start a new business as a health and wellness coach.
Thanks Mel for sharing your story. Stay updated with Mel’s painting business journey by following her on Facebook.
We love to encourage more people to take the first step towards kick starting their small businesses ideas. If you have a business idea, please take the Small Business Self Assessment and see if we are right for you.