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It all happened ‘on the side:’ Now selling 100,000 units per year, this stationery business is no stationary business

Research released by ecommerce platform, Selz has revealed that six out of ten working adults are either running a side business or thinking about it. Titled “The Side Business Phenomena,” the research surveyed working-age adults in the U.S., Australia and the UK and found that an average of 16 per cent were actively engaged in a side business, spending an average of 14.5 hours per week doing so. And with 12 per cent earning up to $75,000 per year in additional income, it’s not hard to understand why.

Selz CEO, Martin Rushe said “our research clearly shows that attitudes to work-life are changing. People are demanding much more flexibility around how they work and what they do — and that flexibility is valued as highly as money. People are tired of the daily grind, and personal entrepreneurialism is the emerging solution.”

But while the risks and barriers to setting up on the side are said to be diminishing due to the growing role of technology and ecommerce, two Melbourne friends, Adam Jelic and Alec Kach, have turned one side business into a roaring trade selling some not so old fashioned stationery. Characterised by clean cut designs and bold statements, their notebooks and diaries have appealed to a growing number of consumers.


Establishing MiGoals 5 years ago, Adam said “I didn’t go into this to create a big business. Obviously that quickly changed and now it has morphed into a growing lifestyle stationery business.”

In its first year, MiGoals sold a modest 800 units through a single Melbourne bookstore. In its second year, MiGoals reached 3,200 sales and by the fourth, sales had topped 40,000. This year, the business is on track to sell more than 100,000 units with products stocked in over 150 stores across Australia and New Zealand. A remarkable growth trajectory – but perhaps most impressive of all – throughout the entire journey, Adam was also employed as an account manager in the DVD kiosk market. That was, until 2 weeks ago.

“Over the past few years, juggling full time work with building and growing a business has definitely been a huge challenge. Good organisation and knowing where to focus your time and effort has been a big learning curve for me,” said Adam.

Like many working adults wanting to substitute their employment contracts for the limitless skies and flexibility of entrepreneurialism – personal circumstances can often be the biggest inhibitor to turning your ideas into action.

Adam said “I have a young family and my number one priority is to support them. So I knew my situation and what I had to do to transition out of it.”

The story of MiGoals is a simple and humble one, dispelling the idea that starting a business is synonymous with ‘taking the plunge.’ On the contrary –  successful businesses can fruit as the result of a carefully and responsibly crafted transition from employment. Not so much a plunge, but a gentle submersion into the water.

Offering his informed advice, Adam said “find a role that allows you greater flexibility. The idea is to transition out of this role into your business once it’s a viable proposition. So don’t get caught in the trap of having a career and trying build a business at the same time.

“Set a date. Write down when you plan to quit and have a plan on how you intend to transition out of your day-to-day job.”

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Daniel Jacobs

Daniel Jacobs

Daniel Jacobs was editor of Dynamic Business.

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