Living in the bush during severely dry times, graphic designer Emma Barrett's work set-up used to be sometimes less than ideal for connecting with clients.
At her home office near Narromine, drought and dust storms earlier this year cut her satellite internet, "which makes running a digital business difficult", she said.
But a solution emerged that has allowed Emma Barrett Creative to power ahead.
The studio leader credits The Exchange at Dubbo, where she's based herself since January, with allowing her to grow her business.
Mrs Barrett reports demand this year has led to her engaging one contract designer and she is "looking at" engaging a second.
The Exchange founder Jillian Kilby dubs her venture "a co-working space and innovation hub", aiming to empower start-ups to "grow, connect and succeed".
Its home at the restored clock tower building in the main street has co-working, private office and meeting room "space to rent by the hour, the day and the month".
In The Exchange Mrs Barrett has found a "vibrant and professional space" but also more.
"...the community support - which you don't get working from home," she said.
"I have always worked in a group or studio environment, so working solo from home, over the drought, wasn't the most inspiring."
Emma Barrett Creative is one of the success stories of The Exchange, highlighted in the venture's impact report for the year ending June 30.
Through networking, education and community The Exchange increased business owners' confidence to employ, the report says.
It held 70 upskilling workshops with 1200 unique participants, and 77 per cent of participants reported a commercial benefit from increasing their professional network.
Other key economic impacts were The Exchange added $4.61 million in gross output contributions - a measure of the total economic activity produced by The Exchange, modelling by Dubbo Regional Council cited by The Exchange in the report.
Its direct investment into the local economy, the sum of wages, programs, events, meeting and board room hire and facilitation, was $2.8 million.
Businesses from a broad range of industries used The Exchange, with three main industries being agriculture, marketing and branding, and healthcare.
Sole trader Peta Simpson of Dubbo loves co-working in the "big beautiful space", with her business PS Websites and Design specialising in bespoke websites.
"It has enabled me to better separate my personal and family life with that of my work, it has enabled me to be more productive without the distractions of working from home, especially with children, and given me a social outlet as it's something I really missed both before co-working and during the COVID closures earlier this year," Mrs Simpson said.
"Without The Exchange, I would likely still be working from home, struggling to juggle and find the balance I need for my business success and my own mental health."
The businesswoman says the "future is looking very bright".
"I am hoping to commit to a permanent office next year and working more closely with some of the other tenants and community members I have met through utilising the space," Mrs Simpson said.
"Many of us are already collaborating on projects, referring work, and building strong connections through The Exchange."