While being made redundant would naturally be a knockback to most, one Te Awamutu woman has taken the occurrence and turned it into an opportunity.
Courtney Allen had been working in the finance industry for 16 years when the onset of Covid-19 restrictions saw her role be made redundant.
"It was a shock, I didn't see it coming and then within three weeks the whole country was in a lockdown," says Courtney.
Now it appears being made redundant was a blessing in disguise.
Being a gardener has been a lifelong dream for Courtney and she recently took the leap to start her own gardening business, having found the time to finally turn her focus to it.
Within a month of lockdown she started to study horticulture in the hope of finding a job in the industry – but like most people are discovering in these times, that proved difficult.
"Covid has had a big impact on so many people, so many businesses, so many lives and so many families yes, but in my case it has actually allowed me the time to do that planning for my business, to do the study and now that the year is here I am really able to crack on and get a start on it," says Courtney.
After nine months she thought, "Why not start my own business?"
The business is called CJ's Lawn and Gardens and the services she offers includes lawn mowing, weeding, mulching and general tidying-up of gardens, and other garden services may be available on request.
She also offers a free quote service.
"It's really exciting; it's cool to now be working for myself after being in an industry for
16 years and working for a company," says Courtney.
Courtney's journey to starting a business is unique and a programme that helped her get on the right track was The Change Within.
The education programme was started by brother-sister duo Scott and Toni-Anne Lee. The idea was brewing during the March 202 lockdown and it began operating last December.
"The Change Within is a course and coaching programme that helps to inspire people and then walk alongside them with coaching to help them to get on the path that they want to go on to create the life they want," says Scott.
The programme is tailored to each individual and sees the likes of Scott travelling around the Waikato working with them in mentor capacity.
And before the coaching is even introduced, they work through a course covering topics such as nutrition, sleep hygiene, mindset and exercise.
"They're things to help make you feel better and have a clearer head because then we see what's happening in the world a little differently," says Scott.
Courtney says the programme was a great influence on her.
"It's made me pursue what I've wanted to pursue for a very long time," says Courtney.
And Scott says he and his sister are immensely proud of her.
"We really loved the way she embraced the programme," says Scott.
Although it is early days for her business, Courtney has begun handing out flyers around town and has had a few requests for quotes.
She is continuing to study and further her learning and is currently still studying horticulture at levels 3 and 4 through polytech and the Southern Institute of Technology.
For more information or to get a free quote for a service, contact Courtney by calling 022 6240 221 or emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org.