Updated: Mar 19, 2020
So, as the Corvid-19 crisis unfolds, the government has promised to help people who have no leave allowance to cater for the potential 14 day isolation that may be implemented, including casual workers. Clearly, they need some kind of help because if they don't go to work, they don't get paid, and we want to discourage people from going to work if they could potentially spread the virus. ScoMo has also promised to help businesses, but so far he has overlooked a particular kind of business - the Sole Trader.
The sole trader, as the name suggests, operates their business on their own, a risky choice at the best of times, and this is far from the best of times. Generally, the sole trader is a resilient type, overcoming difficult times through problem solving and doing their best to develop their passion, despite the many obstacles that might stand in their way. The sole trader may be the hairdresser, the public speaker, the performance artist, the boutique store owner, the farmer, the market stall holder, the nail technician, the plumber or electrician. All of them deal with the fact that they need to show up if they want their customers to pay up. And all of them will be disadvantaged if we are forced into lock down, even in the short term. Make no mistake this is not a 'side hustle' for these people: sole trading supports them and pays for their mortgage, food, utilities, the lot.
The entrepreneurial spirit of these people may be extinguished forever if they are not helped through this hard time along with other workers who have been promised a government injection of funds. Iconic businesses like 'Eat Street' and 'Finders Keepers' may not recover and will be a thing of the past. Even if larger entities can recover and still operate down the track, the individuals who appear on their ticket may not.
In case you haven't guessed, I am a sole trader. Most practicing artists - visual, performance, musicians etc. - are. They rely on having an audience, whether it is in a theatre, an art gallery or concert hall, and so clearly, their trade may be severely affected by bans thanks to the coronavirus. I am okay for now, (I have enough toilet paper to be going on with, thanks) but even though we are usually small, our income hugely impacts on our ability to pay our bills and our mortgage, just like the rest of you.
So, a shout out for the sole trading souls. If you are one, or you know one, make sure you do your best to encourage them during this hard time. And if we want them to still be there when the Corvid-19 dust has settled, both ScoMo and you will need to support them. Please share if you agree.