I absolutely love the inspiring story of our next Female Figure and can listen to it over and over again on how she "accidentally" found herself in business and made the leap from corporate lawyer to "funtrepreneur
". Yup, you guessed it! We have the uber intelligent, hilariously relatable, eloquently spoken, down to earth and drop dead gorgeous - Sarah Davidson of Seize the Yay @Spoonful_of_Sarah
and Co-Founder of Matcha Maiden
Her story is "textbook" and proof that having a positive mindset combined with good old hard work can drive you to build the business of your dreams. Not many people can say that they have successfully founded multi-million dollar businesses, (Matcha Maiden
and Matcha Mylkbar
), is an author of a best selling book "Seize the Yay
", is an MC and TV presenter for "House of Wellness"
on Channel 7 and Host of wildly popular podcast "Seize the Yay
". Impressive is an understatement for this lady and to top things off she is incredibly humble, kind and generous, just as you would imagine from her instagram
This is why I am so honoured and thrilled to share with you our interview with Sarah Davidson, to send positive vibes your way and pump you up for the rest of the week!
1. You're no stranger to many of us here who love your work and story, but do tell us about yourself, and how you came into business?
Sarah: I like to describe myself as a lawyer turned funtrepreneur - I am so lucky to do many different things for work these days, so that's my default one-liner. The longer version starts in a corporate law firm where I spent the first few years of my professional life in mergers and acquisitions. Unlike your typical corporate refugee, I didn't leave because I was desperately unhappy - I actually found a lot of gratification in the prestige of law and the momentum of climbing the corporate ladder. Instead, it wasn't until a happy accident or sliding doors moment in 2014 that I was drawn into business and shown that I was settling for 'good' when I could reach out for 'great'.
"I was settling for 'good' when I could reach out for 'great'"
Long story short, I was lucky enough to travel to Rwanda with my husband for a charitable expedition and brought home not only some life-changing revelations but also a nasty gut parasite. In the process of healing, I was banned from coffee and discovered the magic of matcha powder as an alternative form of caffeination. In searching for our own personal supply, we started a side hustle that unexpectedly exploded and over the next few years grew into over 1000+ stockists worldwide, warehouses in Melbourne and LA, over a million serves sold and an award-winning cafe, Matcha Mylkbar
. From hilarious beginnings resembling Breaking Bad but green, it's now been six years and we successfully sold both businesses last year.
In the meantime, I had become fascinated by the concept of swapping metrics like success and financial wealth to joy and fulfilment and started a podcast, Seize the Yay
to explore this. I quickly became passionate about reminding others that no two people are meant to have the same pathway and that life is too short not to find your "yay" and seize it wholeheartedly. When we sold the businesses, this became a full-time gig very quickly, expanding into a book of the same name, merchandise and a bustling community dubbed the "yayborhood". I'm also very lucky to do some public speaking, MCing as well as TV and radio hosting with Channel 7.
"No two people are meant to have the same pathway and life is too short not to find your "yay" and seize it wholeheartedly."
Seize the yay "Quote of the day flipbook"
2. How are you finding your Moodyboard and has it helped in any way with your line of work?
I'm a very visual person and find that the only way to organise the mess in my very busy brain is to offload everything onto something I can see. The Moodyboard is such a beautifully aesthetic way to keep a record of what I'm thinking, feeling, working on...
Especially when I have lots of different projects that involve wearing different hats, if I have a way to view the "current map" of what's going on I find it a lot easier to switch between things. I'm also a huge believer in having quotes or affirmations in your environment as constant reminders or cues to help combat self-doubt, impostor syndrome, comparison etc so what better way to present those each day.
"The Moodyboard is such a beautifully aesthetic way to keep a record of what I'm thinking, feeling, working on... "
Our Blush Moodyboard
in Sarah's office alongside her "Quote of the day flipbook
3. What does your typical work day look like?
It probably won't come as a surprise that there is no such thing as a typical day. I've really gone from one extreme of a very routine life structure to having very little idea of what's coming a week or even a few days ahead (which I find quite exciting!) The day looks completely different depending on whether I'm recording podcasts, speaking, filming for Channel 7, creating photo or video content, or the more logistical side of things with our physical products.
A few things that don't change though are a very solid breakfast routine - I don't really love shoes or handbags, but I LOVE starting the day by taking myself out for breakfast. That allows me not only to fuel up well for whatever the day throws at me, but have some quiet alone time to get across my emails and make a fresh to do list. I meditate too to keep the anxiety and overwhelm at bay, as well as exercise a few times weekly which is also largely a mental rather than physical exercise. And a solid dose of Netflix, true crime podcasts, reading or playing with our Golden Retriever, Paul, is also a ritual that pops up most nights to unwind.
4. Many of our readers have side hustles while working a 9-5 day job - What advice can you share on 'taking the leap' and leaving your secure, comfortable day job to pursue a more fulfilling and rewarding dream job doing what you love?
Ahh I'm very biased in this department, but the main question I asked myself at the time was 'what's the once in a lifetime opportunity?' While taking a break in my legal career might leave me a year or two behind my peers, the industry overall was not going anywhere and I'd made good enough relationships to be able to find work if the business didn't turn out. On the other hand, when else would I have the chance to run with a business idea that was already going gangbusters, with very few competitors, before we had a mortgage or children, and with the momentum allowed by social media? I tend to decide things based on a regret management matrix - what will I, in 10 years time, regret more? Trying and possibly failing? Or not trying at all?
"I tend to decide things based on a regret management matrix - what will I, in 10 years time, regret more? Trying and possibly failing? Or not trying at all?"
Of course, there are layers on top of that decision based on your personal circumstances - if you have dependents, debts, health concerns, or any number of other reasons that might make the leap more risky, absolutely weigh those up based on your own position. There's also a very real possibility that either the business might work best at the level of a side hustle or that you prefer it that way - sometimes, you need a creative outlet but not one that's the only thing you do. My biggest message to anyone making a big decision about their life is to work out what makes YOU excited and what circumstances bring out the best in YOU - the idea of going into business is very trendy and romanticised but some people hate the chaos of it all and thrive in a more structured environment. But if you know it's what you want, at least for now, then really ask what's the worst that can happen?
One last question I always think about when I really can't decide - if you knew you could fail but nobody would ever find out, would you care? I think most of us are most scared of looking like a failure than actually failing. If you can just get past the small risk that you might look silly for five minutes, you realise nothing can really stop you!
"If you knew you could fail but nobody would ever find out, would you care? I think most of us are most scared of looking like a failure than actually failing"
5. Coming from a non- business background, how did you quickly pick up the skills to run a successful business and where did you find the resources to support you?
It is a HUGE cliche but cliches are there for a reason - I have been winging it since the beginning and see no reason to stop now! I think the digital world has democratised influence and good ideas, so you don't need the credentials you once did to get ahead. Of course, qualifications are still enormously useful and valuable, but not having them doesn't mean you can't still learn what you need to on the fly.
"I honestly learnt everything I needed through a combination of Google, mentors, and letting go of the idea that it's weak to ask for help. "
The internet is AMAZING for upskilling and sharing information - that's the best place to start. You can truly learn just about anything these days for no cost or very little cost. What I found most important was also to surround myself with people doing the same thing so we could share knowledge and resources and help each other in areas where one was stronger or further along. Networking groups like Business Chicks
are INFINITELY valuable along the journey to help you find people with the skills and knowledge you need or even just to feel less isolated in the challenge of running your own show!
6. As a business owner, what tips do you have for others who are just starting out/ thinking of starting a business?
DO IT! You'll never know if you like it or how good at it you could possibly be if you don't just try it. The worst that can happen is you find out you don't like it or that you could try it a little differently - but you'd rather a life of "oh wells" than a life of "what ifs?"
We had to end the interview with one of Sarah's famous #bloops!
Thank you Sarah for sharing some insight on your incredible journey in following your passion, building a career that makes your heart sing and having a ball of a time along the way!
We love you and all that you stand for! For those who don't already follow Sarah, you can do so here!