Matt Ward, the owner of Modified Driving Solutions, a registered NDIS service provider, has personally helped countless young people aged between 7 and 18 reach important developmental milestones.
Ward and his qualified team work tirelessly to assist young individuals with a variety of physical and cognitive conditions. Ward works not only with the individual, but with the entire family to ensure the best possible path for growth.
He believes that with the right assistance, every child can reach their full potential. He wants to ensure that these children develop as much independence as possible as well as assisting them in participating in their local community.
Tell us a little bit about your story and how you ended up where you are today.
I grew up in South West Sydney with my parents and younger sister. My childhood was regular and uneventful. I was always interested in sports and played a lot of tennis and swam growing up, and at one point thought I wanted to have a career in something sports related.
After high school I studied a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy, and after completing that I started work as an Occupational Therapist in mental health, home modifications and pediatrics.
I thoroughly enjoyed working in these areas and after several years as an OT, I wanted to continue to expand my knowledge and experience, so I completed the OT Driver Assessment course and became a qualified Driver Trained Occupational Therapist
Did you have much help/ support from your family and friends when starting your business?
I started up the business with a friend from university, and we both did the OT Driver Assessment course together. We both had previous experience running a business as Occupational Therapists in private practice.
We have set up the company in various locations all around NSW. I currently service the Sydney and Blue Mountains areas. My dad is an accountant, so he is able to operate the financial aspects of the business.
What would you say is the hardest thing about being your own boss?
I think the most difficult thing is keeping motivated all the time. As an employee, it’s easier to “slack off” or take some time off, but running my own business I feel that I need to always be productive.
It’s gone well so far, but I’m always trying to think of new ways to innovate or change things up, and that can be exhausting sometimes.
Always having to put work/ the business first, sometimes before friends, family or enjoying myself can be hard, but I believe that if I work hard now and the business becomes a success it will all be worth it.
Is there anything about your business that you would do differently, if you had the chance?
I probably would have spent more money on marketing from the start. I think when we first started we were mindful to make sure our capital funds last as long as possible, but looking back we probably could have spent more on marketing and advertising.
You don’t realise at first how expensive those Google ads are, and initially we were hesitant to spend too much money, but you definitely need to.
Were there any additional barriers in your way when trying to enter the industry you are in?
It’s not a widely known industry, and I find that most drivers don’t realise that there is this process unless they need to be assessed themselves. Even when I first told my family and friends about doing the course, most of them had no idea about it. So I think raising more awareness about this area was challenging.
It’s not a huge industry, and there were already a few established services around Sydney. We quickly realised that we needed to increase our marketing/ advertising budget, and paid more for Google ads and SEO services, and improved our website.
Out of all the things you have accomplished in your life, what are you most proud of?
Having a fairly successful business is high up there, but mostly I value most my relationships with my family and friends.
I decided to start my own business to hopefully eventually give me more financial freedom so that I can spend more time enjoying myself with my family and friends, and while I’m still working on that, I feel that I have good direction in my life.
What advice would you give someone looking to start their own business?
I’d say that you really need to do your research about not just the industry, but also all the legalities involved having a business. It’s hard work and often you feel like you never get a break.
But it’s also very rewarding and if it succeeds it will be one of the most satisfying experiences in your life. I’d also advise them that they shouldn’t skimp on marketing/ advertising – it is crucial to getting your brand out there.
How do you think your industry will change in 10 or 15 years? Do you think technology will play a major role?
Definitely, in maybe 20 years this job may be obsolete! With self-driving cars being developed, it may very well be that no one will be driving in the not-too-distant future.
But I think the technology is still a way away from being mature and viable, and I expect that when those vehicles become available they will be very expensive, making them an option to only a few people. But it definitely seems like that is the way the motor industry will eventually be going.
Matt Ward and his team of qualified specialists are here to help young people and their families every step of the way. There is no greater satisfaction then watching a child reach an important developmental milestone, and this is what the team at Modified Driving Solutions are striving for every day.