The Online Business Lift-Off Program


As you know, we’re passionate about creating opportunity – specifically for those who can’t work the traditional “9 to 5” job. Our Online Business Lift-Off program allows you to create a business of your own, so you may work to your own schedule and serve your customers when suits you. You don’t even have to have an idea in mind.

OBL wants everyone who comes through the program to build connections, find a problem worth solving that’s important to them and find the support they need to start their own business. We’re really building a wider support community – but how did this all begin you may ask?

Trudy Rankin, Director of West Island Digital


It all started with an intern from Vision Australia

Trudy Rankin is a digital strategist, an online business coach and a consultant. After more than 15 years working with big organisations, helping them use digital technology to achieve their goals, she wanted to continue her practice of giving to the next generation through work experience. After starting West Island Digital in 2015, she was on the hunt for an intern.

Thanks to Jan Hauser, from Vision Australia’s employment service, Shahan Cheong joined the West Island Digital team for 3 months. During these months, Trudy discovered that Shahan had been writing a blog for years and had a significant number of people coming to his website every month. What Shahan didn’t realise was that his blog could be used to generate an income for himself.

Over the rest of the internship, and some coaching beyond that, Trudy helped Shahan figure out how to use his blog to start earning money. Now, Shahan has built himself a business, buying and selling antiques online! He has his own YouTube channel – where he makes videos about restoring antiques – and he’s still blogging about antiques and history on his website, Throughout History.

This is where the Online Business Lift-Off Program was born.

Originally, the Online Business Lift-Off (OBL) Program was run as a pilot with Vision Australia – with some of their blind and partially-sighted clients (including Shahan). This program ran for 7 months in 2016/2017. 

Participants in the program were blown away – it opened up so many opportunities for them they hadn’t been aware of before. Almost all participants went on to build their own online business or pursue training opportunities they had become aware of through the program.

From this success, Trudy refined the curriculum and began searching for ways to make it available to people with disabilities who want to work, but struggle to find traditional “9 to 5” employment.

Our goal for the OBL program is to make it available for anyone who struggles
to find traditional employment.

We would like to make the OBL Program available to all who struggle with finding traditional “9 to 5” work – students, stay-at-home parents, carers with limited availabilities or even older job seekers struggling to find work.

This 12-week program is for anyone who, because of circumstances, needs to set their own schedule or needs alternatives to traditional employment. At OBL, we see creating your own online business as a viable alternative to working for someone else. Whether you want to set up a full-time business or just a “side-hustle” to bring in a bit of extra cash, the Online Business Lift-Off Program can help. 

Are you interested in signing up to our waitlist?

Can't commit to 12 Weeks?

We also run an Online Business Ignition Course, where you can find and validate a business idea that fits your strengths and experience. This course takes approximately 4 hours, and is a great way to get started without having to complete the full program. Sign up today!