For web designer and founder Sarah Britz, pouring her energy into the pro bono initiative is part and parcel of her passion for helping country communities and enterprises thrive.
When Sarah noticed a pressing problem in her local community – and dozens like it around the country – she knew she had skills that could make a difference, so she did.
“After the bushfires, I spoke with business owners who were unsure how they would be able to pay their rent and keep their employees on, given the complete lack of tourist trade, which they rely on heavily in the summer months,” Sarah says.
“I felt overwhelmed by the need to assist those less fortunate and I realised that, rather than simply giving money, I could use my web expertise to do something practical to help these small communities keep going economically.”
So in January 2020, she launched Spend With Us, an online marketplace that allows small businesses in regional and rural Australia to promote their products and services online and accept payments, without having to spend time and money setting up their own websites.
With COVID-19, Spend With Us has become a shopfront to the world for more than 350 businesses around Australia which have been hard hit by shutdown and travel restrictions.
Helping small businesses put their best foot forward
Sarah has been helping businesses market themselves more effectively since 2009, when she struck out on her own to launch Sarah Britz Web Design and Development.
The digital consultancy designs websites that help small businesses present a professional image and stand out from the online crowd. Clients include retail outlets, hospitality businesses, medical centres and professional services consultancies, in Australia and around the world.
It’s a challenging and fulfilling way to make a living, and one which gives Sarah the flexibility she needs to be able to care for her young family.
“I’ve always loved seeing people’s ideas come to life and being able to create an online presence that brings them more business,” she says. “Seeing the end product is so rewarding.”
Following your passion
Sarah has high hopes Spend With Us will become the primary online source for consumers around the world looking to explore the wealth of quality goods and services rural and regional Australia has to offer. Her advice to other Australians who want to pursue a passion project?
“Don’t give up! Seek out like-minded people to bounce your ideas off, join social media groups and grow your support network. Your best work occurs when you’re doing something you’re passionate about and, even in unprecedented and challenging times, it’s amazing what you can accomplish.”
When the going is tough, using your skills and knowledge to help others can be immensely rewarding. If you have dedication and commitment, almost anything can be possible.
Learn more about Spend With Us – backed by Business Australia.