We chatted with Hans, one of our recent graduates from our Online Business Lift-off program to see what his journey has been was like over the last 6+ months. His online business: www.artonyourwall.com.au is a glorious fusion of online business, creativity and joy.
So Hans, tell us a bit about yourself and your online business: Art on your wall.
I’m Hans Van Weerd, and by trade I’m a biologist. I’ve spent the last 20 years in senior management positions in various Zoos. When I moved to Australia in 2010 with my wife, I joined the Melbourne Zoo as their General Manager of Life Sciences. I was responsible for the animal collection and all staff involved in their care.
Unfortunately, my position and other General Manager’s positions were made redundant in July 2019. I was lucky to receive a redundancy package, but I still needed to work out how to supply my income.
Some of my passions other than the natural world include music, running and visual arts. I’m a chorister in the Melbourne University Choral Society as well as an active exhibiting artist. I was thinking how these passions could play a part in an online business.
Upon recommendation, I joined the Online Business Lift-off program and set up my business, Art on Your Wall. I’m fascinated by people, their personalities and what makes them different – I sketch all the time wherever I am and am keen to share this with people.
Art on Your Wall allows people to acquire authentic renderings of people or memories they hold dear to adorn spaces they care about. It’s a nice way to connect with people and to capture cherished moments in their life through art.
What were you looking for when you found the Online Business Lift-off program?
I wasn’t sure whether my career as an employee for not-for-profit organisations should be my only alternative going forward, especially now that I’m approaching retirement age. Also, the prospect of using my skills as a visual artist to turn my passion for the arts into part of an income stream was very alluring! But I was worried about my absolute lack of knowledge around online business.
I feel like a lot of people are in the same boat when it comes to knowledge around online business – it’s what we’re here to help with.
Tell us, what was the experience like during the Online Business Lift-off program?
I joined OBL in November 2019 after my wife’s colleague explained what OBL does, and the possibility for me to apply. It turned out I met the criteria and was able to enrol! The type of online business I wanted to run was obvious to me from the outset. I wanted to help people acquire original and authentic art and adorn their living spaces – either in the form of a portrait of a loved one, someone or something they hold dear, or to capture cherished moments and memories in their life.
In my experience, the team are a very knowledgeable group of people, ably led by Trudy. All my dealings with the team have been online, but it was obvious to me that the instructors were very experienced in running their own online businesses. They are very clear when setting the pace for participants to go through all the teaching material but are also very understanding of why some participants may be lagging behind. I tried to participate on a regular basis as best I could by making sure I made the weekly Small Group Coaching sessions. These were very helpful to stay in touch, to be reminded of what still needed to be done, and to hear how other participants were faring. I have now completed the website for my business and would not have gotten this far without OBL!
That’s awesome, nice work Hans. So, what did you enjoy the most?
I mostly enjoyed the weekly Small Group Coaching Sessions run by Zay Canters. Zay’s very understanding of each unique situation that we’re in (and sometimes there’s a big group of us, so it can be a lot to keep track of), but they also understand how to gently nudge us in the right direction. The level of support from all the instructors is great and I’m proud of what I’ve achieved so far.
If you could share the experience with someone else, what would you say?
Part of the routine during our weekly Small Group Coaching Sessions was to be able to express, in a very succinct way, what your business is about. It was great to learn how to articulate this and be able to do this regularly for your own business. It was also particularly important for refining your objectives as you go through.
One of the main things I would like to share is that Online Business Lift-off not only provided the technical expertise and assistance that I needed to set up my online business, but more importantly, they made me realise that what I can offer to other people, really matters.
Thank you for the lovely feedback Hans.
We’re so happy and grateful that Hans' experience has been positive!
Our Online Business Lift-Off Program is a great program to help change the direction in your career – it may not be apparent straight away, but we’ll help you find a business idea that works for you. We then take that idea and guide you through the steps to get your business up and running, so you may work your own hours and build financial independence.
If you’re ready to make a change like Hans, join the waitlist today!
The OBL Team
Online Business Liftoff
Are you ready to start your own online business?
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