When Melbourne mum Shannon Montgomery received a notice that the cost of her rent was about to significantly increase, she was understandably worried about her financial future.
Fast forward many months later, and not only is Shannon feeling incredibly secure about her financial situation, but she’s also manged to purchase herself a block of land and improve her overall quality of life.
All thanks to a female-driven service called Shebah.
Australia’s first and only active all-female rideshare service launched in March 2017 (perfectly timed to fit in with International Women’s Day) and is now operating at full force in Melbourne, Geelong, Sydney, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Perth. The service will also soon be spreading across Australia with services in Canberra, Darwin, Hobart and Adelaide in February.
Since she joined Shebah in September last year, Shannon has earned well over $5000 by driving and working around a full-time day job – and the idea came from the most unlikely of sources: her ex-husband.
“The idea to join Shebah actually came from my son’s father,” said Shannon. “It came up during a discussion with him just after I had found out that my my rent was about to increase. As everybody knows, the cost of living is increasing much faster than incomes are and I was just about having kittens thinking about how I was going to afford all this.
“My son was 13 years old at the time and I am a solo parent. I was working a 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday office job at the time, so I was working full time. But in order to financially survive and also have some quality of life I needed something else.
"I also still needed a lot of room for flexibility, and time for family commitments. Joining Shebah really offered me all that."
Created by George McEncroe, a former ABC breakfast host, comedian and mother of four, the fleet of Shebah drivers connect to passengers via an app, where they can pre-book their travel ahead of time. Shebah drivers can work any hours or shifts they choose and have a lot more financial support than other ride-share or transport operations, as the the drivers are guaranteed to keep 85 percent of their fares.
After reading up about the company, joining was a no-brainer for Shannon.
"The hours are really great, there's a lot of airport pick-ups and trips like that," said the 46-year-old. "I do a lot of my jobs on Friday and Saturday evenings and often through Sundays. The way the service is set up, I have a lot of my jobs already pre-booked, which works really well for me as I can plan ahead.
"I step up my shifts so I can rest and eat in between jobs. I always look after myself while driving and make sure I'm well-fed.
"Families really love Shebah, and I found that it was very popular over the festive season. I think because it really gives the women who use it peace of mind, they know someone will definitely be there to collect them and they'll have a safe and friendly experience."
For Shannon, joining Shebah was not just about becoming involved with a company she believed in, but also a very strategic move to set her and her son Oscar up financially for the future.
With her initial earnings, Shannon has been able to put a deposit down on a block of property - an idyllic place where she now enjoys spending time with her teenage son.
"Even prior to joining Shebah, I really thought all this through and set myself up," she said. "I got myself a copy of The Barefoot Investor so I had some ideas on what I needed to do and this really fitted in with my plans. I upgraded my car by borrowing some money, and it just all really came together and worked out.
"This is all part of me being very driven when thinking about what my future goals should be. Every time I get into the car to do a Shebah shift, I'm thinking about the bush block of land. My life is all looking a whole lot easier than it was just six months ago.
"For me, being a part of Shebah is like having a safety net, I know that it's always there for me when I need it."
For more details on becoming a Shebah driver or to find out how to book a ride, visit shebah.com.au.
Have you found financial freedom with a side hustle? Let us know yours below.
This content was created with thanks to our brand partner Shebah.
Women and girls are going places, and Shebah lets them travel with confidence anywhere they need to go.
The all-female network of drivers transports women and children, allowing everyone to feel safe, supported and celebrated.
Shebah drives Australian women forward by giving them their fair share of the sharing economy and helps women flourish in both their personal and professional lives.
To ride or drive with Shebah, click here.