Sophie Kubowicz is an absolute dynamo! She may be short in stature, but she’s not short on dreams … and what’s more, she’s achieving them! Not being able to secure employment locally in a data entry/admin field, Sophie started her own business, Short and Swift…
Hi Sophie. It’s been ages since we caught up! What’s been keeping you busy lately?
Hi Jo! Yes, it has been ages (too long) since we last talked!
Quite a lot has happened in my life, and for the past two years I’ve been dedicated to establishing clients for my new business and carrying out their data entry needs. Two years of self-promotion plus word of mouth paid off in early January this year. The floodgate opened, as I secured eight new clients – which was a satisfying surprise, as everyone knows that usually January is a quiet business month.
For those who don’t know, I started my own business called Short and Swift in June 2016. Short and Swift is a Data Entry Service and also Administration Support. Its aim is to help anyone who doesn’t have the time to do the time-consuming important tasks of recording data for their business or personal needs. It might be to simply update address books to make sense! Many people simply don’t like doing it; luckily for you, I love it!
You’ve had to face more challenges than most when it comes to things like mobility and seeking employment. For those who don’t know you, can you share a little of your history with us?
Everyone has their own challenges; imagine life without them! I think it would be boring for everything to be easy. You know me well, Jo; my two major challenges are mobility and seeking employment, which both stem from being of short stature.
I love Port Macquarie! But one of the most frustrating and dangerous mobility challenges that I face is the lack of footpaths and kerbing, so because of that I am very limited in the places I can access. Sometimes I have to take the long way, because often people will park carelessly in places, blocking the driveway.
The other challenge is seeking employment. One of the reasons I moved to Port Macquarie was so I could find work, but unfortunately that was not successful. I think potential employers see me as a complicated special case.
For people who don’t know me, I am short statured with other physical disabilities and a hearing impairment. I have short limbs and poor muscle tone, but thanks to Haley at H-Fit Health and Fitness Studio (Lighthouse), I am getting stronger. I may be short, but I have a big heart, determination and energy.
So, another barrier in seeking employment for me and my disability is that potential employers think I need special modifications in the workplace, costing big money; whereas, I don’t like to make a fuss, and I don’t need special equipment. I can adapt to office furniture and maybe a child’s stool here and there to reach other amenities.
Anyway, it’s only a physical disability, and the work I was looking for is Data Entry/Admin. I’m very bright in that area.
What led to you establishing Short and Swift?
After some years of doing voluntary work here and making many disappointing job applications, I one day woke up and said to my family, “If no one will give me a go, then I will start my own business”.
I love working! It had been suggested before my wake-up call to work for myself, but when starting your own business, you have to be ready mentally – otherwise, you will set yourself up to fail. I would like to have started a few years ago but, as I said, you have to be ready.
Plus in the meantime, I did a few courses at Port Macquarie TAFE (Certificates II – IV in Business Administration) and I did my Diploma in Business Administration and Certificate III in Business Administration (Medical) on online, which have all helped me in my business now.
What does your business specialise in?
My business specialises in administration, mainly data entry, which is a fancy word for typing. It’s basically transferring information from paper to hard copy/on to the computer/laptop.
I also offer back of house administration, such as filing, scanning, shredding, photocopying and errands. In data entry: I enter all kinds of data into a database/program. For tax purposes I gather the receipts/dockets, and I put all the data into Excel (Spreadsheets). Remember, I love being on my laptop and I love typing! So, if you don’t, please contact me.
Where do you work from – is your business service mobile?
Short and Swift is all about looking after clients and making their lives easier. It depends on clients’ needs, but I do work from their premises or remotely from my home office, so yes, my business service is mobile.
What’s some advice you can share with anyone who may be thinking about starting a business?
Some advice I can share is to be mentally ready. Also, find a mentor or someone who already has a small business and listen to them.
Apart from that; be patient. It’s all about timing; I started my business in June 2016, and it’s just starting to take off now. Also – delegate, or source help. Spend a quid in getting someone to build your website. Distribute leaflets and business cards everywhere you go, but especially to business houses.
Source “The Hub” as a casual office venue. Lastly, join business networking groups. I did, and it was one of the best things I ever did! They offer promotion and support.
When I interviewed you six years ago, your goal was to become a data entry operator – and that’s exactly what you’ve achieved! What are your new goals?
Wow, I can’t believe it been six years since my story in FOCUS! Back then my dream was to secure employment as a data entry operator, and I’m almost there, but starting my own business has been greatly satisfying. I’m very proud of myself for what I’ve achieved, but I’m still open to flexible employment to complement my business.
My new goal is to buy a house outfitted for me to be able to live independently.
Where can we contact you?
I can be contacted by email, text or phone – firstname.lastname@example.org / 0428 566 461. If you want to know more about the services I offer, go to my website: www.shortandswift.com.au and click on “Services”.
Interview: Jo Robinson.