The Big Switch

A passion for writing led Courtney Snowden to a career in journalism.

A passion for writing led Courtney Snowden to a career in journalism, but a redundancy meant an unexpected switch from employee to business owner.

Thankfully, Prince’s Trust Australia was there to ensure a soft landing.

As a journalist and an ADF partner of more than a decade, Courtney had been lucky to work for a media company with offices in most potential posting locations.

“I started off in Darwin, transferred to a role in Brisbane and went on maternity leave to have our second child as we posted to Sydney in 2020,” said Courtney.

“I was juggling a 12-week-old baby and a rambunctious toddler, who had a penchant for daredevil stunts and streaking, when I received a Zoom request from my head of HR and my boss’s boss.”

With a global pandemic transforming how we live and work Courtney wasn’t shocked to be told her position was being made redundant.

“I wasn’t terribly upset either, to be honest,” she admitted.

“There was no guarantee of a part-time position in our new location, and I was dreading commuting into the city.”

But the prospect of trying to find a job that would work around a baby and a two-year-old was just as daunting.

“I figured my only option was to try drum up some freelance journalism and copywriting work.

“I researched the basics and got some advice from other journos who had decided to fly solo.”

“That’s when I discovered Prince’s Trust Australia Enterprise Program.

“I signed up for the September 2020 intake, which was thankfully online so I didn’t have to leave the house with a baby.

“I had no idea what the program was going to offer me, but what I got was the confidence to launch my business, and a supportive network of ADF partners and veterans.

“Having never considered being a sole trader, I had no idea how to dig down and find the ‘why’ behind my business, the ‘what’ that set me apart, or the ‘who’ I should be aiming my services at. I learnt to analyse all those threads and test their soundness, before weaving them into a business with a greater chance of succeeding.

“Going into small business has meant I get the final say on my workload and how it fits around my family's needs. I'm quickly learning to juggle running a business and home commitments, and to set boundaries to make sure the balance works for everyone.

“I’m so thankful I signed up for the program, otherwise, I’d likely be still second guessing myself, rather than getting paid to do what I love.”

Article features in Defence Family Matters Autumn/Winter 2021 Edition

Courtney Snowden's LinkedIn