The best work from home career paths to pursue

Academy Xi Blog

The best work from home career paths to pursue in 2023

By Academy Xi

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The best work from home career paths to pursue

A little old global pandemic accelerated the popularity of working from home and it appears to be a trend that’s here to stay. Read on to discover which careers suit the hybrid and 100% remote set up.

Current and future trends in remote work

Remote working offers flexibility for individuals and companies alike – whether you’re a contractor, full or part-time permanent employee. We’ve scoped out some of the current trends and forecasts.

Hybrid working

As organisations have begun the process of reopening their office spaces, hybrid models have grown in popularity as a stepping stone to eventually returning full time, or for some, the promise of continued location flexibility, with a split between time working from home and at HQ.

Distributed teams

Remote arrangements enable companies to hire talent from anywhere around the globe and has resulted in distributed teams becoming more commonplace. This setup could include people being based in different states, countries and timezones and can be logistically challenging, but also enable a wider talent pool to be tapped into.

Remote work technologies

Supporting collaboration between workers in remote teams has meant an increase in tech options including video conferencing, project management software and virtual reality tools that enable teams to feel like they’re in the same room together.

Work-life balance

A major benefit of remote working is the ability to achieve a better balance between personal and professional life. We can expect to see more emphasis on flexible working arrangements in the future as more companies embrace the possibility as a permanent fixture.


With the increase of remote working also comes the influx of cybersecurity threats. Companies are needing to step up network security and train remote workers to follow best practices when it comes to online security.

Why remote work is gaining popularity

Remote work is gaining popularity for several reasons, including flexibility of being able to work anywhere with a decent internet connection, increased productivity and cost savings for both employees and companies alike. There are also environmental benefits with a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions associated with less commuting.

Popular remote and hybrid career paths that are hiring like crazy

The following careers are seeing an increase in hiring for positions that are hybrid and fully remote, making them attractive options for many.

Developer/Software Engineer

As more companies move their operations online, the demand for developers and software engineers has increased. These professionals are responsible for building and maintaining websites, software applications, and other digital products. Skills in programming languages such as Python, Java, and JavaScript are in high demand.

UI/UX Designer

User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX) Designers are responsible for creating digital products that are easy to use and visually appealing. They design everything from websites to mobile apps and software interfaces. In addition to technical skills, UI/UX designers need strong soft skills, such as collaboration and communication.

Graphic Designer

Creating visual designs for logos, marketing materials and websites is amongst the mix of a designer’s remit, with the demand expected to continue to grow as companies increasingly invest in their digital marketing efforts. 

Copywriter/Content Producer

Any written content that features on online platforms (think websites, social media, apps) is created by copy and content writers or content producers. Solid writing and editing skills are needed, along with knowledge of SEO and content marketing. 

Social Media Manager

Responsible for creating and executing social media strategies for businesses, social media managers create content, manage social accounts, and analyse engagement metrics. They need to have strong communication and analytical skills, as well as a deep understanding of social media platforms and their algorithms.

Online Marketer

Driving traffic and leads to websites and other digital platforms is the main goal of the online marketer. Strategies such as SEM, SEO, email marketing and social media marketing can all be used to target the key audiences. 

Virtual Assistant

Remote administrative support is provided by virtual assistants, or VAs, with tasks such as managing emails, data entry and customer service being offered. Some VAs may also manage social media channels and other digital marketing tasks, depending on their skillset. 

Website Content Uploader

Website content uploaders are responsible for publishing and managing website content. They may upload blog posts, images, and videos, and ensure that content is properly formatted and optimised for search engines.

Keen to explore a career you can do from home?

Whether you’re a student, professional or wanting to start a side hustle, Academy Xi offers courses to teach you the skills to thrive in today’s competitive workforce

Better still, we offer training for careers that you can do remotely. Get the skills that employers are searching for with practical and industry-relevant courses in:

If you have any questions, our experienced team is here to discuss your training options. Speak to a course advisor and take the first steps in your remote working career journey.

learning how to learn

Academy Xi Blog

The value of learning how to learn

By Academy Xi

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learning how to learn

Journalist and educational technology specialist Saga Briggs explains why anyone who wants to future-proof their career should make ‘learning how to learn’ their biggest priority.  

If you empower yourself to do one thing in the near future, make it this: learn how to learn. As the jobs of the future will require multiple skillsets – weaving technical skills together with creativity, interpersonal skills, and adaptability – we can no longer afford to specialise. The most important skill of all will be the ability to diversify your toolbox. 

Becoming an autodidact

The term “autodidact” refers to an individual who teaches themself about a subject or subjects in which they have little to no formal education. Benjamin Franklin was an autodidact, as were Jorge Luis Borges, Eileen Gray, Gustave Eiffel, and Frida Kahlo. Bill Gates, who taught himself to program as a teenager, is also an autodidact as well.

The original “self-directed learners,” autodidacts possess intrinsic motivation, self-determination, and a true passion for learning. We’ve all known at least one person who fits this description. We can learn to fit this description ourselves.

becoming autodidact

Self-Regulated Learning (SRL) strategies include things like goal-setting and structuring learning content, self-evaluation, putting rewards in place, group reflection, and note taking.

But we’re not often taught how to do these things well. One study found that although most students can correctly identify common SRL strategies, they don’t know how to put them into practice or when to use specific techniques. In fact, only a third of students who could correctly identify a learning technique as beneficial admitted to actually using that technique in their own learning.

Just because the future will require us to learn more, and more often, doesn’t mean we will know how. That’s why the only truly “future-proof” skill isn’t a specific job qualification; it’s knowing how to learn. We all need to become experts in Self-Regulated Learning (SRL). So where do we begin?

How to identify which skills you need

The first step in learning how to learn is deciding where to direct your efforts. What skills do you need to develop now, five years from now, ten years from now?

First, learn to identify trends and see where you fit into the shifting landscape. Chances are, you’ll have at least one existing skill that can provide a foot in the door.

For example, say you work in the education industry, as an educational consultant, course designer, or online tutor. Many companies now have internal upskilling and reskilling programs for their employees. You can position yourself as a learning consultant, or train to become a Chief Skills and Learning Officer (CSLO), to pivot your way into the future and stay one step ahead of the game.

Similarly, if you want to move into design but your background is in marketing and communications, take a UX writing course and pivot into the UX world. If you’re interested in entrepreneurship but your background is in biology, lean hard into your research and data science skills and create a data analytics consulting agency. Want to become a software engineer mid-way through your social work degree? Take programming courses on the side, but also direct your formal studies in a way that supports your future vision: take on projects that allow you to showcase your people skills, as employers will increasingly be looking for software engineers who can work well with teams.  

Follow organisations like the Institute for the Future for the latest trends forecast, and build a list of skills you want to have and skills you currently have that will help you get there.

How to make time to learn 

“How we spend our days,” said the American writer Annie Dillard, “is, of course, how we spend our lives.”

Best-selling author James Clear has written an entire book, Atomic Habits, supporting this view: “Every action you take is a vote for the person you want to become.”

I find this way of thinking highly motivating, but I’ve also bought enough Bullet Journals and downloaded enough productivity apps to be slightly disillusioned with it. The most common refrain in the productivity-hacking world, “Just do a little bit each day,” sounds achievable in theory, but the reality is that life gets in the way and always will. 

Is it possible to divide our days into perfectly segmented sessions of the things we want to do? Probably not. Still, we can’t let the occasional slip devastate us into giving up. How do we stay on the right track when time or energy aren’t on our side?

When it comes to adopting any new habit, we need to allow ourselves some wiggle room. But how much? Is a vegan who eats a burger once a month still a vegan? We need to be able to let ourselves slip and still know we’re doing what we said we’d do. How do we calculate this wiggle room?

I find that it helps when I’ve done the thing before, like with distance running: I know that even if I slip, I can get back on the train and run a fast half marathon because I trust myself to achieve the goals even with some slips here and there. I know I can miss up to two days a week if I’m training for a half and still stay in good shape, but if I go beyond that I need to re-focus.

Maybe time is your main issue. If you can only devote a few hours a week to the skill, for example during a self-paced online course, that’s fine too. It may take you longer to master it than if you had time to devote to it every day, but the important part is that you’re actively doing it.

What is the bridge?

When you’re picking up any new skills, ask yourself “what’s the bridge?”. New skills are intimidating only because you can’t see the bridge between what you know in daily life and this huge new field. But if I start with something I know is part of my daily experience, I can frame it within that and stay motivated. For me, the bridge is running. Or any other subject I talk about with people on a daily basis. It’s a better, more rewarding use of my time to start specific and tackle one thing than to cast the net wide and study more generally.

If you’re a designer interested in UX writing, ask yourself what skills you already have that can be your bridge into the new area. You already know UX; you just need to improve your copywriting portfolio. If you’re a biology researcher interested in UX design, consider becoming a UX researcher first and then working your way over to the design field. If you’re a writer interested in entrepreneurship, leverage your communication skills to work your way into marketing and communications, and open up a digital marketing agency.  

How to learn efficiently

With that, here are a few ways to hone the superpower of learning how to learn.

how to learn effectively

1. Decide what you want to learn

Be mindful of what information you want to enter your mind.

Humans spend a lot of time consuming information and very little time deciding what information they want to consume and how they want to consume it. It’s tempting to try to absorb everything for fear of missing out. But that’s not possible. So learning to learn is, fundamentally, about deciding where to place your attention.

Make a list of the things you want to spend the most time attending to, things that deserve less attention, things that can wait, and things you’d like to shut out.  

2. Work out before (not after) you learn

Yet again, the early bird gets the worm. To retain more of what you learn, neuroscientists recommend working out your body before your mind. It’s well-known that aerobic exercise spurs neurogenesis, or the creation of new brain cells. But researchers have found that neurogenesis itself isn’t always a good thing, as it can push old information off the memory circuit, so you need to be mindful of when you work out.

Neuroscientists at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto have found they can control whether rats retain or forget new information by changing when they exercise. If they exercise before learning, the rats retain the new information. If they exercise after learning, rats are more likely to forget that information. That’s because neurogenesis functions a lot like sleep, clearing away old memories to make room for new ones.

“More neurons increase the capacity to learn new memories in the future,” says Neuroscientist Sheena Josselyn. “But memory is based on a circuit, so if you add to this circuit, it makes sense that it would disrupt it.”

Get out the door early for optimal learning performance.

3. Build your self-control in all areas

In their new study, Just do it: Engaging in self-control on a daily basis improves the capacity for self-control, Dutch researchers found that our general capacity for self-control can be increased by exercising self-control in a specific area. In other words, it builds on itself.

“Self-control is considered a crucial capacity that helps people to achieve important objectives in the face of temptation,” the researchers write. “However, it is unknown to what extent self-control is a stable disposition that is unaffected by how often people engage in self-control, or more like a skill that develops and grows over time.”

Their study answered that question by tracking participants’ behaviour over a four-month period.  

They found that “regular practice led to an improvement of medium effect size in self-control capacity” and that the level of improvement depended on “the actual times of practice during a specific interval” and not on previous beliefs about self-control or self-efficacy.

“We conclude that ‘just doing’ self-control is the underlying mechanism of increased capacity for self-control.” This means that every time you exercise self-control in one area, whether it’s limiting your caffeine intake or working out every day despite the weather, the effect snowballs and helps you achieve self-control in other areas as well.

So, if you want the ability to concentrate better on your work or studies, resisting the urge to check your phone or social media not only reduces distraction but also builds your capacity to focus on the right thing. It also makes it easier for you to get out the door for that evening workout.

4. Think positively of others

Put another way: self-transcendent thoughts make us more likely to engage in otherwise intimidating activities.

In a fascinating study led by researchers at U Penn, people were more likely to take on challenges when they were primed to feel compassion toward others first. The challenge examined in the study was to adopt healthier behaviours, and researchers found that people responded less defensively to health messages (i.e. being prompted to exercise) if they first experienced feelings of self-transcendence.  

Under normal conditions, participants responded defensively to the health messages. But if they were primed beforehand to think about the well-being of others, such as their children and other family members, they responded more positively.

“Focusing on values and activities that transcend the self can allow people to see that their self-worth is not tied to a specific behaviour in question, and in turn become more receptive to subsequent, otherwise threatening health information,” the researchers explain.

Use this logic to enhance your own learning: If you’re resistant to taking on a new skill, don’t wrap up your performance so much with your self-worth. Meditate first on the things you care about beyond yourself.

5. Learn the boring stuff while you’re in the flow

It’s tempting to learn what interests us first and save the boring material for later, but researchers at the University of California say you should learn the boring stuff alongside the interesting stuff if you want to retain it in the long run.

“Curiosity may put the brain in a state that allows it to learn and retain any kind of information, like a vortex that sucks in what you are motivated to learn, and also everything around it,” says Dr. Matthias Gruber, lead author of the study, in a Huffington Post interview.

When your brain’s curiosity flip is switched on, it’s as though you’ve cast a big net which catches all kinds of information—interesting and boring alike—and helps it stick. Use this to your advantage by switching to the “less fun” material while your brain is stimulated.

6. Swap learning styles for task styles

If you’re not already aware, here’s a news flash: learning styles theory is a myth. There’s virtually no scientific evidence to back up the claim that some of us are “visual learners,” “kinesthetic learners,” or “auditory learners.” For one thing, all humans are visual learners. We may have preferred thinking styles, says cognitive psychologist Daniel Willingham, but these don’t serve us when they don’t match up with the task at hand—for instance, if we’re reading a transcript of a debate instead of listening to the more emotionally charged audio version. 

“The data show that people do have some propensity to use one or another mode of thinking, but people would be better off if they didn’t; rather, they should use the mode of thinking that’s a better fit for the task at hand,” he says.

As an example, Willingham cites a study where participants were asked to memorise sentences:

“Even if you’re a verbalizer, if you’re trying to remember sentences, it doesn’t make sense for me to tell you to verbalise (for example, by repeating sentences to yourself) because visualising (for example, by creating a visual mental image) will make the task that much easier. Making the task more difficult is not a good strategy for motivation.”

Think about how the information you’re learning could best be absorbed, and design your study methods around it. 

7. Use the production effect

The production effect is a memory trick that involves “performing” your learning by engaging with new material in multiple ways. You might try to memorise a new set of facts by speaking it, singing it, drawing it, or interacting with it auditorily or kinesthetically.

“Anytime you retrieve a memory item, it is an opportunity to re-learn it in a sense, and the information gets re-consolidated,” writes Dr. William Klemm, senior professor of neuroscience at Texas A&M University. “So, if you speak, draw, or use another production effect during forced recall, you further strengthen the encoding and subsequent consolidation.”

8. Reflect on past learning

According to Oakley, there are two brain gears involved in new learning: the focused state and the diffuse state. The focused state is when your brain is concentrating on a specific task. The diffuse state is when you’re daydreaming or resting your mind, and that’s when a lot of processing happens, whether you’re aware of it or not.

“We’ve shown for the first time that how the brain processes information during rest can improve future learning,” says Allison Preston, associate professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of Texas at Austin. “We think replaying memories during rest makes those earlier memories stronger, not just impacting the original content, but impacting the memories to come.”

She adds: “Nothing happens in isolation. When you are learning something new, you bring to mind all of the things you know that are related to that new information. In doing so, you embed the new information into your existing knowledge.”

9. Identify the functional meaning of the information

“What enters into a memory representation (what is encoded) is determined largely by the perceived functional meaning of an item, and this in turn determines which retrieval cues will be most effective for memory retrieval,” say researchers at the University of Oregon and Arizona State University.

This means that if we picture having a conversation about the subject of an article as we’re reading it, we’ll better remember the information since we’re creating a reason to remember it.

10. Use fear to your advantage

Researchers have found that when we’re trying to accomplish something, there are two parts to the motivation process. In the beginning, we’re motivated by wanting to succeed; towards the end, we’re motivated by not wanting to fail. First, we imagine all the rewards we could receive by accomplishing the goal: status, wealth, personal growth, social impact. Later, we are driven by the idea that we might not reach it, and that gives us an extra boost of momentum.

You might adopt this mindset earlier on in the learning process to keep motivation high.

We don’t need to be intimidated by what the future holds for our careers if we stay proactive and invested in our own preparation for it. Even before we decide which skills to master next, we can streamline our education by stepping back and examining the learning process first. The time you spend learning how to learn now will save you time in the future, when the deciding factor between you and another job candidate may not be how qualified you already are but how qualified you can become. 

If you want to future-proof your career and learn in-demand skills, Academy Xi offers a variety of online courses in Design, Business & Marketing and Tech & Data. 

For more information, check out a full list of our courses. If you have any questions, our experienced team is here to discuss your training options. Speak to a course advisor today and take the first steps in your skills development journey.


Author: Saga Briggs. Saga Briggs is a journalist, writer and editor covering trends in learning, creativity, intelligence, and educational technology. Follow her on LinkedIn and Twitter

things to do after high school

Academy Xi Blog

Great things to do after graduating high school in 2022

By Academy Xi

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things to do after high school

Are you a high school graduate who’s wondering what to do next? If so, fear not! We’ve put together a list of ideas for your next big move, which will be exciting life experiences that could earn you some extra money, and maybe even kickstart a long-term career. 

Completing high school is a significant milestone in life. For some, the path ahead feels clearly defined. Many others have a few ideas about what they might like to pursue after finishing school, but nothing concrete as yet. Others have no idea at all, and while that might feel daunting – it’s okay to not know. The reality is, Australians have an average of 12 job changes in a lifetime, so there’s no pressure to have it all figured out immediately.

We’ve rounded up a few ideas of great things you could consider doing after graduating. Take a peek and see what you think.

what to do after high school

Take a gap year

Gaining in popularity is the concept of taking a gap year. Originally a rite of passage for young folk in the UK (a tradition that dates way back to the 13th century) taking a gap year is rapidly becoming more commonplace worldwide, with Australians embracing the idea wholeheartedly.

While there isn’t a set age or time of life that a gap year should be taken, it is most common to do so between finishing high school and commencing further studies and often involves travelling.

Many people who take a gap year get involved with volunteer programs abroad or teach English as a second language. You can also look into applying for further education opportunities and deferring the start date by a year to give yourself some structure.

Whichever way you approach it, a gap year can be an awesome opportunity to simply go exploring, take a break after finishing school and to see what is out there in the big, wide world. Travel restrictions are thankfully easing up post-pandemic, so get your passport sorted and start planning!

Gaining in popularity is the concept of taking a gap year. Originally a rite of passage for young folk in the UK (a tradition that dates way back to the 13th century) taking a gap year is rapidly becoming more commonplace worldwide, with Australians embracing the idea wholeheartedly.

While there isn’t a set age or time of life that a gap year should be taken, it is most common to do so between finishing high school and commencing further studies and often involves travelling.

Many people who take a gap year get involved with volunteer programs abroad or teach English as a second language. You can also look into applying for further education opportunities and deferring the start date by a year to give yourself some structure.

Whichever way you approach it, a gap year can be an awesome opportunity to simply go exploring, take a break after finishing school and to see what is out there in the big, wide world. Travel restrictions are thankfully easing up post-pandemic, so get your passport sorted and start planning!

Start a travel blog and travel while at itwhat to do after high school

If taking a gap year appeals to you and you’re up for travelling, consider starting a travel blog and documenting your adventures on the road. This can be a great way to keep your friends and family in the loop with what you’re getting up to and also will serve as a record of your travels for you in the future.

Perhaps you’re keen to earn cash while you travel? You’ve probably heard about digital nomads, who travel the world and make money via their laptops from far flung destinations. Sponsored travel is a very enticing goal to work towards. If you start a travel blog and grow your website traffic, there’s no reason why you can’t join the ranks.

It can certainly help if you have some digital marketing skills up your sleeve if you would like to earn money while you travel from your blog. Earning money from your blog isn’t as simple as posting every day and does require persistence. It’s also important to note that travel blogging is a crowded marketplace and the quality varies widely.

The key to a successful travel blog? Find your unique take or angle on travel and write from that perspective. With so many travel blogs around, it’s important to not just do a general play-by-play account of each destination. Perhaps you’re really into a particular food, or you want to do as much travel as possible on foot, or you’re following your favourite band around the globe on tour. Whatever the angle, find it and run with it and you’ll stand out from the crowd, increasing your chances of earning some coin.

Study online short courses while you travel

things to do after graduating high school

Another option to consider is investigating short courses to study online. You don’t need to be travelling or taking a gap year to do this obviously, but online training does provide flexibility, so you can be travelling or working at the same time. As long as you have a reliable internet connection, it’s game on.

Unlike a university degree, short courses are exactly that, short. You can dip your toes into a new field to improve your entrepreneurial skills, swot up on tech skills or any other form of training, whatever industry or interest appeals to you. There are a wide range of options that run for 12 weeks online, part-time, and can provide a strong baseline for you to embark on further study if it feels like a good fit for you.

Academy Xi offers short courses to study online across business and marketing, tech and data and design, with options to do longer-term training to ensure you’re job-ready upon completion.

The Academy Xi Elevate courses are popular for those training while travelling, providing flexible part-time and self-paced options. Online short courses include:

Become a social media influencer


things to do after high school

Embarking on a career as a social media influencer can be done on the road, or from the comfort of your own home.

What is an influencer exactly? When someone creates a following to their social media channels, usually a sizable crowd, who are likely to listen and act on the suggestions of that individual, they may be seen as a social media influencer. Travel is a popular category for social media influencers, along with other lifestyle topics such as health & beauty and fitness. 

Want to learn more about how to become an influencer? Check out How to become a successful social media influencer and make money from it.

If you want to earn a formal certification in Social Media Marketing, our Social Media Marketing: Elevate course allows you to develop a content strategy and the technical skills needed to to put it into motion, helping you make some serious cash out of your love for socials.  

The wrap-up

Finishing your high school education can be an exciting and fun time – it doesn’t need to be filled with ‘figuring out your future’. By taking a gap year, checking out short online courses or starting a travel blog while you’re on the road, you’ll open new doors for yourself, gain life experiences and who knows, maybe find something amazing to pursue that you hadn’t thought of before. 

Keen to explore your training options? Our experienced team is here to discuss your interests and ambitions to help you find the right course for you. Speak to a course advisor today and take the first steps in your online study journey.

Academy Xi Blog

Successful Australian startups

By Academy Xi

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Everybody seems to be running a side hustle these days. If you’re contemplating setting up one of your own, it’s inspiring to remember that even the biggest companies started small. Here are the stories of three cash cow Australian businesses which, believe it or not, started as simple side hustles.

Whether it’s to generate another source of income, indulge a personal passion, or stay productive outside of work hours, everyone has their reasons for starting a side hustle.     

And why not? In this day and age, anyone can run a company from just about anywhere. All you need is a good business plan, a wifi connection, a bit of perseverance, and who knows – maybe you can turn your glimmering idea into a goldmine? 

It may sound like a long shot, but countless side hustles have transformed into industry leaders. We all know the legendary story of the hippified Steve Jobs and his coding buddy Steve Wozniak, who used their spare time to build prototypes for the Apple I in Jobs’ parents’ garage in the early 1970s. 

But how about Australian side hustles that have achieved big things? There are plenty of large Aussie companies that were built on a hunch about a new product, a burning desire to solve a nagging problem, and an aim to make some extra cash on the side. 

Here are three fascinating stories of lucrative Australian businesses that started out as small side hustles.

Boost Juice Bars

Janine Allis is the Founder and Managing Director of Boost Juice Bars and also the best-selling author of The Accidental Entrepreneur. Holidaying in the US in 1999, Allis spotted the queues of customers outside juice bars and decided to bring the business model to Australia. 

Allis opened her first Boost Juice Bar while she was on maternity leave in 2000, offering customers happy, healthy smoothies like Mango Magic and Banana Buzz in her first Adelaide store. Interviewed by the Sydney Morning Herald, Allis fondly recalls her down-to-earth ambition to start “a little business, work my own hours, probably part-time, and be a mum”.

How Boost Juice Bars made a splash

Allis immediately started building the Boost Juice Bars brand around exceptional customer service and strategic marketing, drawing on her career in PR and her husband’s extensive marketing experience. 

Allis took a hands-on approach to establishing the company’s reputation in the early days, personally answering every customer email (always within 24 hours!). At the same time, some snappy marketing stunts ensured that Boost Juice Bars went viral. “Name Days” saw customers given free smoothies when they came to the store and mentioned a name circulated on the company website. 

Allis opened more stores off the back of the first bar’s success, eventually implementing a franchising model. An inspired marketing campaign saw a franchise given away to a lucky winner, costing the company AU$200,000 but generating advertising estimated to be worth around AU$1 million. 

Just four years after she’d opened the doors of her first bar, Allis had opened 174 more throughout Australia. Boost Juice Bars has since gone global, with 580 stores in 14 more countries including the UK, Hong Kong, South Africa, Singapore and Thailand. In Australia alone, Boost Juice is now served in over 260 bars and flies off the shelves in supermarkets as one of the nation’s most loved juice and smoothie brands.

Allis has used the success of Boost Juice to build a food and beverage empire which includes Salsa’s Fresh Mex Grill, Cibo Espresso and Betty’s Burgers. The Sydney Morning Herald included Allis on its 30 richest self-made women in Australia list, recording her personal wealth at AU$66 million – not bad for somebody who started with one small juice bar in Adelaide!


Founded by Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar, Atlassian offers businesses tools and software for bug tracking and project management. Jira and Trello are Atlassian’s most popular products, often used by teams following the agile methodology who aim to deliver projects quickly with fewer headaches. 

Think of Atlassian as a tech firm for technologists, with its success built around functional, pragmatic software that makes everyday business activities more efficient. Atlassian software has become industry-standard, used by some of the world’s biggest companies, including NASA, Toyota, Airbnb and eBay. 

With an emphasis on synchronising online projects, it’s no surprise Atlassian enjoyed explosive growth throughout the Pandemic.

Atlassian total global revenue by year:

  • 2019: US$1.21 billion (37% annual increase)
  • 2020: US$1.61 billion (33% annual increase)
  • 2021: US$2.08 billion (29% annual increase)

*Source: Statista, 2021

Atlassian’s share market value broke the US$100 billion mark in September 2021, pushing the personal wealth of its Australian co-founders to $US23 billion each (AU$33 billion). Would you believe Cannon-Brookes and Farquhar funded one of Australia’s biggest tech enterprises with a credit card?

How Atlassian was built with $10,000

Cannon-Brookes and Farquhar met as computer science students at the University of New South Wales in Sydney. Keen to set up their own business, they started by building their own third-party support service.

While completing their own projects for the service, Cannon-Brookes and Farquhar were forced to acknowledge just how messy development work could be. They also knew first-hand that using email and personal productivity tools was a less than ideal way to collaborate and see across a project’s progress.

Initially, Cannon-Brookes and Farquhar built software on the side to track their own issues and bugs, while providing their teams with a synchronised workspace, but then had the lightbulb moment of realising it could be used by paying customers. Switching from offering a service to a product, they took out a $10,000 credit card and used it to fund Atlassian’s first offering, Jira.

Jira was a breakthrough product and Atlassian’s potential was clear from the beginning. Throughout the early years the founders turned down multiple offers from would-be buyers and investors, all of which fell drastically short of the business’s true value. This included an abruptly ended meeting when a potential US buyer realised that Atlassian was worth much more than his own company!

Atlassian’s rags-to-riches tale made mainstream news as the bootstrapped startup finally accepted its first ever injection of investment capital in 2010. Accel Partners poured US$60 million into development, which at the time was the US venture capital fund’s largest ever investment in a software company. 

Twelve years on and Atlassian has become a tech industry rockstar, but hasn’t lost sight of its founding principles. In true Aussie style, Atlassian’s no-nonsense company values still read:

  • Don’t #@!% the customer 
  • Play, as a team 
  • Be the change you seek  

Atlassian’s 20 year story proves patience is a virtue when it comes to scaling a company that’s going to have a lasting impact.


Canva is an Australian graphic design platform that’s used to make social media graphics, presentations, posters and other eye-catching visual assets. Canva offers a wide range of templates, meaning users can create customised graphic designs without needing to start from scratch, from splashy Instagram posts to elegant restaurant menus.  

Canva was founded in Australia by Melanie Perkins, Cliff Obrecht and Cameron Adams in January 2013. Canva had attracted over 750,000 users within a year of its launch, and now boasts a colossal 75 million users in over 190 countries

Though Canva is built around a “freemium” business model, the company makes money from monthly upgrade subscriptions, print products, course sales and marketplace fees. Currently, Canva has an eye-watering valuation of AU$55 million

You might be surprised to learn that Canva came from humble beginnings. Perkins and husband Obrecht were studying design together at the University of Perth and decided to supplement their income by offering high schools a simplified yearbook production process that used customisable design templates.

How Canva recreated graphic design

The success of their yearbook business inspired Perkins and Obrecht to make plans for a streamlined, user-friendly ‘one-stop-shop’ for anyone needing to carry out professional standard design work online.

A chance encounter at a university conference with renowned Silicon Valley investor Bill Tai saw Perkins invited to San Francisco to pitch the idea for Canva, where she started building a network of potential investors. 

In 2012, Canva finally received an initial investment of AU$1.5 million and its Perth office was opened that year. When Canva became oversubscribed within months of going live in 2013, the Australian Government matched the AU$1.5 million investment in a bid to keep one of the world’s most exciting tech startups on Aussie shores.

Following several rounds of further investment, including US$200 million in September 2021, the company’s value has skyrocketed. Canva is now: 

  • Worth US$40 billion (AU$54.5bn)
  • Three times more valuable than it was a year ago
  • Generating five times its revenue of two years ago

*Source: Startupdaily, 2021

Interviewed by CNBC and reminiscing over Canva’s modest beginnings, Perkins recalls “my mum’s living room became my office, and my boyfriend became my business partner. We just started by enabling schools to create their yearbooks really, really simply.”

Canva has now been adopted by designers globally and is considered one of the Australian tech industry’s unicorns, proving that finding a simple solution for a common problem really can be a recipe for success when it comes to building a thriving business.   

So there you have it – three HUGE Aussie businesses that started as small side hustles.

Inspired to start your own side hustle? 

If you’re thinking of getting your hustle on, it’s liberating to know that starting a small business is easier than you might think. For practical tips and tricks, read our full guide to setting up a successful side hustle.  

Reflecting on the determination it took to bring Apple to fruition, Steve Jobs observed “you have to be burning with an idea, or a problem, or a wrong that you want to right. If you’re not passionate enough from the start, you’ll never stick it out.” 

It’s crucial to accept that setting up a profitable side hustle isn’t an exact science. Sometimes the success of a small business is the result of hitting the market at the right time, sometimes it’s the product of persistent hard work, and normally there’s a little luck mixed in too.

One thing’s for sure – if you don’t put your side hustle idea to the test, you’ll never find out just how much of a hit it could be.

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