Invoice2go founder, Chris Strode

Four inspiring entrepreneurs who made it big after being let go

Sylvia Pennington

Along with death in the family, divorce and doing time, being fired or made redundant is a major life event and a serious setback for many. But for some, it can be the catalyst for a completely new beginning running their own very successful show.

Here are four Aussies who didn’t lay low after being let go.

Chris Strode

Cutting loose at an office bash a few years back saw Chris Strode relieved of his role in the IT department at Macquarie Bank.

Being shown the door provided the impetus to turn his part-time project – an invoicing program for small businesses he began working on in 2002 – into a serious business. Fast forward to 2016 and the product, which resulted in mobile invoicing app Invoice2Go, is used by more than 200,000 businesses worldwide. It’s attracted $50 million in investment from venture capitalists Accel Partners and Ribbit Capital and has made the company’s one-time party animal founder a millionaire.

Jody Allen

Fancy being made redundant from your office job while on maternity leave with child number two? Welcome to Jody Allen’s world, back in 2011. She began her Stay at Home Mum blog as a means of connecting with others in straitened circumstances and soon found her tips and tales of stretching the domestic dime touching a chord with fellow homemakers around the country. Five years on, SAHM is a thriving venture, based in the Queensland country town of Gympie, with more than 30 staff, a cookbook, a string of advertisers including Ikea and Disney, and venture capital investment from Melbourne bio-tech pioneer, Leon Serry.

Catherine Cervasio

Melbourne entrepreneur Catherine Cervasio has found an enduring niche for her Aromababy organic infant skincare range. Her products can be found on hundreds of speciality store shelves, domestically and overseas, in Europe, the Middle East and Asia, including the booming Chinese market. It’s a success story the former model and beauty writer may not be telling, had she not been laid off from a product development position in the fashion accessories trade 22 years ago.

Sarah Willmott

New girl on the entrepreneurial block, Sydneysider Sarah Willmott, was made redundant last November after a national restructure at her accountant employer saw her PA role disappear. Her answer to unemployment is Feel Better Box, a gift box service for recipients who are under the weather. While the venture is in fledgling stage, the early signs are positive – last month saw Willmott selected to supply a customised box to Kleenex for its social media pages’ June Giveaway.

Sylvia Pennington

Sylvia Pennington is a Brisbane-based freelance journalist who writes about small business, information technology and personal finance.

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