delivery van driving along a road

Joe’s business was struggling but the COVD-19 pandemic led to an unexpected turnaround

This is my story

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a destructive force across the country and the globe. For many businesses, it has been a difficult and stressful time. However, for some, the nature of their business, whether it be producing hand sanitiser or masks, means that have been able to carve out small to large successes.    

Joe has been running his own business for several years. In 2019 over a six-month period, he started to struggle financially. The business was experiencing a downturn that led to financial hardship.   

“It was a combination of the business downturn and Christmas and then coming back after Christmas and not a lot happening. It’s a domino effect.”   

Joe has been working with Way Forward’s Hardship Advocate, Paula.   

“She just takes care of it.  I just got to ensure that I’ve got money in the account every month and it’s all happens in the background. There’s nothing that needs to be done now. I just make sure that I keep the payments up.”   

For Joe, once the pandemic hit, whether through a changing economy or change in consumer habits, he started to see an increase in demand for the packaging products his company sells. This meant that he had income available again to pay back creditors. However, he still needed to negotiate a payment plan.    

“Way Forward have done a fantastic job but the positivity I’m getting is the turnaround in the business that allows me to have the money every month.”  

“The team there have done a great job in being able to negotiate with all the creditors and allow me to have one payment per month to pay everybody.  

“If the business wasn’t doing well, I’d be stressing about it every month, where I’m going to find the money that I’ve got to pay to pay everybody back? The way it was set up with Way Forward, was great.”  

Although rewarding in many ways, Joe explains the challenges and stresses of running his own business.   

“You think about your business all the time, you think about cash flow, where your next projects coming from. It’s 24/7.  

I did have savings and the savings just went and then you have school fees and things like that. So, it all just adds up.  

Joe also describes how time consuming the calls from creditors became.    

“When I look back at it, it was really time consuming. And when you’re running a business, and they’re trying to sort this out, it was it just eats up a lot of time. “   

“Every time the bank would call, it’s an hour trying to sort it out. You just end up avoiding calls.”   

Joe had contracted a company to sort out his debts. Without informing him, they decided to not work with him anymore, which left his creditors in the dark. This means by the time he had come to Way Forward, he had to go through the process for a second time.   

“They didn’t tell me this, but they decided that they couldn’t make any money out of it, so they dropped me. And that left all the creditors wondering what’s going on, because I hadn’t been paid.”   

After Joe was referred to Way Forward by BankWest, he went through the process of trying to work out a repayment plan.    

“It was all very sort of transparent and relatively easy, but still took time.”  

Joe advises that for people experiencing financial difficulty, it’s important to talk about it.   

“Maybe it’s a male thing but sometimes we tend to bury our heads in the sand a little bit.    

“If you can confront head on you will get to a resolution and you can move forward. I would just suggest tackling it head on. There might be a little bit of pain in the short term, but long term, there’s some definite gain.” 


Struggling to pay for the essentials such as food and rent and want to know more about your options? Our emergency funding page lists some of the available free emergency services and funding if you live in Australia and find yourself in financial difficulty.

By James Hoang

James manages Way Forward’s financial hardship team. He supports them to advocate for the vulnerable people in our communities who are facing financial difficulties.