Louise Gronold CEO Flourish Resources & Co. is a proudly self proclaimed multi-potentialite, based in outback Barcaldine. Her boundless curiosity, entrepreneurial mindset and love of learning has meant that she has experienced many careers, gained many skill sets and started multiple ventures, often concurrently.
Louise has a passionate belief that microbusinesses are the backbone of Australia, and the research supports her. Her latest venture Flourish Resources & Co. exists to support business owners in outback Australia with photography, marketing and advertising, and collective access to professional expertise they need to keep their business thriving, that they may not be able to afford alone.
What is a multi-potentialite?
I discovered this term around two years ago. Emily Watnick has championed the term multi-potentialite, which is now changing to multi-pod. Emily has done a TEDxTalk on why people don’t have one true calling. It resonated with me.
When I was young I knew I liked being outdoors and science, so my parents suggested I do a degree in Agricultural Science. But even then, I didn’t specialise. Looking back, it wasn’t that I didn’t want to commit to one thing, but I enjoy seeing the connectedness in opportunities. I ended up doing “Extension” which means communicating the science to farmers and enabling them to adopt new technology and behaviour. I did crops and pastures as a sub-major.
The Ag-science led me to Longreach as they were looking for Research Assistants which they called Experimentalists. So I went out in April 1996 and I worked for half a dozen different scientists. I was happy to learn but that is the multi-potentialite coming out. I was learning and putting puzzle pieces together and connecting the dots. But I always felt like a lesser being never specialising, not knowing my calling and trying to fit in.
Not long after that I was called by Main Roads in Barcaldine to identify roadside plants. It was perfect because my partner was based in Barcy and I thought it would be good to at least be in the same town as one another. There I started my own business Flourish Resources. I did work for Government Departments in environment and agriculture. Then I managed the Desert Uplands Strategy Committee where we put millions of dollars into the land and landcare to regenerate the land in the Desert Uplands bioregion.
For the last 15 years, I have been a photographer. Photography has led me to travel to many places and I have done lots of different types of photography from corporate shoots to weddings. What I love about photography, is that each and every shoot is different.
Each individual person is a challenge on their own because you need to connect with them in some way to get the right image.
Now, I am closing the pure photography business and Flourish Resources is going into a new phase with helping more businesses and building communities on and offline. Now I see being a mutlti-potentialite as a strength. It took me 45 (young) years and the trend towards entrepreneurialism to realise it though.
What was the impetus to lead different businesses?
The opportunity, curiosity and desire to help people in our community. Opportunity is one of the biggest ones. In the outback it is easy to try new things cheaply. You can have a shop in the main street for a good price. My husband and I have been involved in the local Arts Council, we’ve developed new events, my husband was a councillor, and we’ve started our own businesses. We wouldn’t have the opportunity to do these things in Brisbane.
We’ve been in Barcy for 20 years and during that time I’ve become very passionate about our region and the town and wanting to contribute to its sustainability. I saw the local Qantas staff member trying to keep the flights coming here three times a week. I thought we need to support the flights and to do that we need a car hire business in Barcy, but when I rang a couple of rental car companies they simply weren’t interested in having a fleet in Barcaldine. Then it’s a case of serendipity, as our family was doing a trip to Fraser Island and I saw all these car hire companies so I enquired how we personally could do it.
And as luck would have it Outback Insurance Brokers were the perfect contact as they knew which insurance companies might insure our small fleet. It was great to find someone who went into bat for us and what the town needed. We now have five hire cars in the business. We have outsourced all the cleaning, which means we have helped another lady start her own business with her cleaning company. We have also seen the impact the car hire company has had on the town because most of them are corporate hires.
How are you supporting businesses to connect with each other and their customers?
From working in various businesses, the vision that I am now building with Flourish Resources is offering three services – business photography, Eureka Outback (a business network that does marketing and advertising for outback businesses) and bringing in experts for business and community needs. A business might not be able to afford an expert on their own, but if we all come together, we can access expertise otherwise unavailable or unaffordable for a single entity. Flourish Resources supports the people who are just setting up their business and those who are ready to scale but don’t know what to do next. The workshops we do are around these topics too.
Imagery is the biggest one. An image will stop people in their scroll. We need a website for Barcy businesses. It is about making the connections between businesses and customers and between business peers offline and online. We will be doing live events which will focus on learning, socialising and mindset.
I also met with Outback Futures who are creating Head Yakka, which supports people’s mental health. They have teams that visit each town and they become part of the community to help people. I met with them to talk about Business Head Yakka, where we help business owners with their mindset and connections.
What is your vision for your region and how does your creativity help you make this vision a reality?
My vision for the region is a multitude of flourishing outback community minded businesses, of various sizes offering a wide range of services, on and offline. My vision is for the people to be brave and support each other. It has been amazing seeing the creativity within businesses as a result of the drought and COVID. I want to support people to find their niche. Previously microbusinesses weren’t taken very seriously. But when you do the research, microbusinesses are the backbone of Australia.
I also have a vision to bring more people to Barcaldine and make each rural town more liveable. There is so much opportunity to live and work more cheaply here, and I say, have more ‘life’. It is more empowering out here because you can be your own boss, be flexible and there are more opportunities to make change happen.
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