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22 August 2018



Nick sells The Big Issue in Lygon Court and outside Readings bookshop, Carlton, Melbourne.

I’ve been selling The Big Issue for about four or five years. A friend of a friend who is a CEO mentioned it to me – he did CEO selling with The Big Issue. I had a look and thought I could make some money out of it. The magazine sells well, which helps.

I had a happy childhood. I’ve lived my whole life in Melbourne. I grew up in Carlton. I went to private schools all the way through. I left part of the way through Year 12 because I wanted to work but I went back and finished. I’m still in touch with my family. I have a daughter, too.

I’ve always worked, been hardworking. When I was a kid, and even as an adult, I worked in the entertainment industry as an extra. I’ve done a few ads. I did a lot of Target and Myer catalogues when I was a kid; I started when I was about seven or eight. As an adult I did a bit of work in the remake of On the Beach with Armand Assante, Bryan Brown and Rachel Ward, as well as Neighbours and Home and Away. I’ve done bits and pieces. It’s hard to remember all of them… I wanted to be an actor but I had to focus on school, education had to take priority. Once you take a break it’s very hard to get back into it.

I’ve also dabbled with a bit of restaurant work. I started training to be a chef but I pulled out of it because I didn’t like it. Painting and decorating – I’ve done that. I owned a car wash. Everything is automated now so it’s not ideal anymore… I’ve done a bit of everything.

I sell The Big Issue at the top end of the city and Carlton; it’s my permanent pitch. I am very fortunate when it comes to sales. I’m very lucky, I have a lot of regulars from industries that I have worked in. I like being in the Fiction Edition, it’s a big seller. Plus you can sell it for four, six, eight weeks alongside the next edition. I also like the fact it gives young, budding authors a chance to get a foot in the door. Last year a friend of mine made it in there: her name is Fiona Hardy. She works at Readings Bookshop in Carlton, which is where one of my pitches is.

Selling The Big Issue can be a tough job – it slows down a lot in the winter. Sometimes you get a rude person,  fortunately not many. Like any job you’re going to come across good and bad people.

I’m not saving for anything, I just like to work as much as I can. I can work long hours and I get to choose my hours. Occasionally I’ll go to a restaurant, or watch a movie or catch up with friends but work really does take priority. I am doing it for the income. The more you work the more you make, like in any job. You get used to a certain comfort and lifestyle and you want to maintain that.

At this stage I’m going to continue selling The Big Issue. I’m happy where I am at the moment. It’s hard to find work that’s flexible and lets you be your own boss.

Photo by James Braund

Interview by Anastasia Safioleas
Readings Carlton, Melbourne