Ginger Apps owner Paul Hashman has worked in a vast array of industries from retail to IT, telecommunications, driving trucks and doing hard labour for an arborist. It was in this last role that he had a bad accident and started questioning why he was working for someone else, when he could be starting his own business. He also wanted to be able to spend more time with his family, “I’ve got a little boy, well he’s not a little boy anymore he’s a teenager, but it’s also about finding time to make sure they’re supported. When you work for somebody else, you work on their terms. Little things like sports carnivals – for your little dude it’s a big thing. That’s the kind of thing I need to spend more time doing and manage earning an income around that.” During his recovery, he started looking for ideas and opportunities, eventually coming across one that would become Ginger Apps.
This Capel, WA business offers mobile app and business website development, social media marketing and SEO, with a focus on helping small businesses use digital technology to enhance their offerings and build connections with existing customers. “My key focus is businesses that’ve been around for a few years, that have a stable following and regular customers. It’s not about getting new customers all the time; it’s about keeping the ones that come in the door.”
Starting out, Paul encountered the challenges of building a small business. Though he had insights from a previous mentor, when he started developing the idea for Ginger Apps he turned to his friend Victoria Yuen, who’s also a Digital Solutions advisor. Victoria offered Paul starting points but encouraged him to sign up for the program. “She was absolutely right. The program was supportive and fundamental to overcoming those initial challenges. You’re not doing this alone; you’ve got a support crew cheering you on and giving you the little things you need to take one step at a time.”
Through the program Paul attended two one-to-one advisory sessions in person with Victoria (social media), and one online with Kelby Williams (financial analysis). “My first meeting with Victoria was very much establishing a pathway to go. She was very forward on making sure I was consistent with getting my message out there. One of the earlier things she said was go and get some shirts, get your logo on them and wear them.”
During this first session, he also asked questions about finance and cash loans which allowed Victoria to tailor the next steps of his Digital Solutions journey to include relevant webinars and events. She also pointed him towards working with Kelby, “Kelby’s session was more about cash flow, managing money and keeping an eye on that. That was something I needed to understand and be able to see so I can make those decisions. He gave me some really good advice, he also sent me some info and spreadsheets I’ve been putting into use.”
Reflecting on the workshops and webinars, Paul says “All of it was useful, there was always stuff I took away from it. For me it’s all about finding a few pieces I can take away, even if there were many more pieces, that I could put into action and then move onto the next one. The networking side of it was big, meeting others in the same situation, sharing war stories and creating connections.” Paul has also been accessing the Digital Solutions Learning Portal short courses, which are broken down into manageable snippets. “I can fit them in while I’m having lunch or a cuppa, sit down and work through those.”
Paul’s favourite part of the program was the ongoing contact our Digital Solutions team had with him throughout the process. “You don’t just sign us up and then send us out to go, a phone call and email from you out of the blue was just great – it reiterated the support that the program gives. That’s the best part, we’re all in this together.”
As a result of the program, Paul has gained new followers on the Ginger Apps Instagram page and his Google My Business profile is seeing more use. He was also able to gain a better understanding of the financial side of his business. Paul reflects, “Just do it, you’ve got nothing to lose and a lot to gain. $44, best investment ever because I’ve gotten way more than $44 out of it.”