RMIT University graduate Will Hunt has received the NEIS-Change Award in recognition of his business success and the positive impact it has had on his life.
Hunt completed the Certificate IV in Small Business Management through the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS) and now runs his own graphic design business, Vanadium Design.
He shares his career journey.
Why did you start your own business and what do you believe is the key to your success?
In my previous work environments I was continually battling against my natural way of working and craved the flexibility and self-management that comes with being your own boss. This led me to start my own design company with the help of the NEIS program. I believe the key to my success has been my enthusiasm, determination and open communication style as well as the strength of my design work. This has led to happy clients, repeat and referred work and a successful, growing business.
What impact did the NEIS program have on your life?
When I started the NEIS program I was unhappy, struggling financially and couldn’t see a way out of my situation. NEIS gave me the training, confidence and financial security to make the leap into starting my own business - my goals finally felt achievable.
I now work in a vibrant studio with other creatives and have complete control over how I manage my day. In this environment I am finally able to do my best work and I go home happy. I have a newfound sense of confidence, and am proud when I tell people what I do and how I managed to achieve it. In short, I’m a different person than when I started the program just over a year ago and I have NEIS to thank for that.
How did the NEIS training and mentoring assist you to run your business?
The NEIS program provided a welcoming and accessible environment to learn the skills I needed to structure and run my own business.
My mentor helped me identify specific markets to target which led to new clients who I wouldn’t have been able to work with otherwise. They also highlighted potential pitfalls to avoid when securing new business which turned out to be invaluable! I still learn everyday but NEIS allowed me to ‘jump’ several steps ahead of the curve.
What have been some of your career highlights?
I work with a range of clients, from government departments to smaller organisations and it’s great to have such a variety of projects. I worked with Jason Ball to create the identity for the Pride Cup, an AFL match to raise awareness of, and tackle, homophobia in sport. The Pride Cup received national media coverage and I was delighted to be able to contribute to such a great cause.
After my first year I had to join with another designer to manage the large amount of incoming work. I’m the co-director at the new business and my experience with NEIS has helped us create a growing company that I’m really proud of.
I was also called in as a guest design teacher at a high school, bringing on-the-job experience to their budding design students. I really enjoyed giving the students some real world context to the work they had been doing, as well as being able to encourage the next generation of designers.
Story: Ainslie Logsdon