From Passion to Purpose: Claire Fuller’s Entrepreneurial Journey with Hnry

By Lauren Fong

Lauren Fong
5 min readJun 8


“Every week you wear a different hat and you have to be willing to grow and change with the business.”

In a captivating conversation with Claire Fuller, COO & cofounder of Hnry, she took me on a journey from her childhood passions to the inception of Hnry. Discover how her love for people and the complexities of independent contracting led to the birth of a game-changing solution. Along the way, she shares her proudest moments, biggest challenges, and the delicate art of balancing work and family.

Name: Claire Fuller, cofounder & COO of Hnry

Born: Upper Hutt, Wellington, Aotearoa, New Zealand

Education: Bachelor’s of Commerce and Tourism with a major in Sports Management, Victoria University of Wellington

Company: Hnry, founded in 2017 with James Fuller. Hnry are on a mission to revolutionise self-employment worldwide. Hnry has grown into one of Australasia’s largest specialist accountancies serving tens of thousands of sole traders across the region

Interests outside of work: Being a mum of two fiercely independent girls aged 7 and 11 years old

Claire Fuller, COO & cofounder of Hnry

Growing up, what were your passions and did this include being an entrepreneur one day?

Entrepreneurship was never part of my life plan. It wasn’t something I was always exposed to as I didn’t really see entrepreneurs around me or understand them. What I enjoyed more were my interactions with people. People have always really interested me. As for my future, I didn’t think that far beyond getting through school and university. I was still trying to figure out who I was in my mid-20s and what would interest me. I think what was probably more interesting is that I was actively trying to avoid going down the financial road. Finance ran in my family however I was trying to carve my own way. As for my interests, my whole focus during school was netball. I had been playing since I was 5 and was at the semi-professional stage. Also, photography was my big passion project. I really love the pure art of photography, which includes the whole darkroom and the development process. But once it all went digital my passion for it died out a bit, most likely because I’m a purist.

What inspired you to start Hnry? Was there a particular event or experience?

This happened organically when I first started independent contracting. When James and I first moved back from the UK, a contract job was the first gig I got. I was trying to wade through all the obligations and luckily had the help of my sister who ran her own company. I was trying to piece together what was my money and what needed to be set aside. For example, I totally missed the fact that as an independent contractor, you need to pay ACC as it didn’t come up in any search options. Soon, James started contracting and together we were both trying to work through the financial stuff and it was just ridiculous. It was a very confusing time to just try to set up and get going. We built a little SQL database to see if we could automate things and this was kind of the start. Also, James was already working in the startup space and was in the buzz of seeing companies try new ideas. We decided to give it a go for three months and see if there was a true need for Hnry. So basically, we didn’t set out to start a company, it was all very organic.

What are you most proud of to date with Hnry?

Winning the People’s Choice Award for the Finnies (Fintech Awards) in Australia. Running a startup is freaking hard and you tend to be sort of firefighting all of the time. Sometimes you just forget you are genuinely trying to help people, so to receive that recognition was awesome. Hnry is not just an app that can be turned off and put down. It’s really become an endemic for how people earn money. The Fintech Awards was a culmination of that customer advocacy. This moment for me was sort of the crescendo. It was a culmination of how much we are supporting this ecosystem of people who would otherwise be on their own.

Claire Fuller (COO) & James Fuller (CEO) in their Wellington office.

What have been the biggest challenges that you’ve overcome during your time at Hnry?

Staffing has been the biggest challenge. It’s hard trying to find people who care as much as we do about the people we are helping and the problems we are solving. As a founder, you end up wearing so many different hats and you have to learn everything really quickly. There were definitely some misfires with hiring the wrong people. Now I look at the team and I see a group of hustlers. They turn up to work so committed to what they’re doing. I’m really proud and love the team. I’ve realised it’s more about making sure people understand the impact they have and the true care they have for their work.

How do you manage to balance your work life and personal life?

To be honest I don’t balance it much at all. We try where possible to keep the weekends for the girls, but it’s hard because it’s both James and I are the business. You can’t exactly come home and park work at the door. If anything, evenings and weekends are when we can catch up about work as we’re so busy all the time. This is all a work in progress. The dream would be to have a holiday where we could totally switch off. Everything always comes back to spending time with the kids and being at home with the family.

Looking back, what’s some advice you wish you gave yourself when you were starting out?

The key thing for me is you really need to be resilient. There are certain points that are so much harder than you could ever fathom. And I think if you ever knew this upfront, you probably wouldn’t necessarily go through with it. You have to be willing to adapt and pivot and evolve if you’re going to get anywhere. Every week you wear a different hat and you have to be willing to grow and change with the business. Also, finding those things to help take care of yourself is important. Your own state comes first otherwise you can’t possibly be the best leader.

Thank you, Claire! Congratulations on EVERYTHING you’ve achieved so far with Hnry. You are an inspiration and idol to many!



Lauren Fong

A strong advocate for female leaders in New Zealand and around the world.