At our last Coffee Morning networking event we met Sarah Jane Seatherton! We were absolutely mezmerized by her energy so we sat down for a chat with her about her entrepreneurial journey. Read on if you want to find out more!
Tell us about yourself … who are you?
I am Sarah Jane Seatherton and I am nearly 45 years old. I’m a cellist, I play the cello. I started “Do It Daily”, which is my company, about 3 years ago without any business experience.
Describe yourself with 3 words.
I would probably say “optimistic,” “rebellious” and “honest.”
Tell us a bit more about what you do?
What’s interesting about starting your own project is that it evolves as you do. I think any person who starts their own business does it for very personal and emotional reasons.
My background is as an English teacher. So, most of what I do on a certain level is helping people improve or perfect their English. When I analyze that and what it means to me, I understand that I am helping people find their voice in a second language. I’ve worked mostly with women in my career and I realize on reflection that I am helping people find their authentic voice so they are able to communicate consciously in whatever situation they need to do that.
I started doing workshops to help people (small business owners, festival/event organisers, artists) define their message and their values, their story! And then find the words to talk clearly about it. That’s the point. “How do we get your message expressed so that it represents fully your values, your mission and your purpose.” I’ve recently started doing individual sessions with people who have something specific to do. For example, I’ve been working with a woman who helps to run an urban culture festival in Galicia to write to potential sponsors. I do it because what generally happens is when people are in a project or their own project, they get lost in goals and the business side of it. And that disconnects them from that reason why they’re doing what they are.
Because in the end if you strip away all the practical stuff like making money or the logistical element trying to put things together; there is a heart in there that has something important that it wants to do and say.
Has that helped you also for yourself to bring out your own message across better?
Definitely. This is something that’s really important. My message from when I began my business to now is really different. As I am evolving, my story (because this is essentially what it is about, right? It’s about our stories) is also evolving and changing. The world around me is evolving, and consequently the environments that I put myself in are changing.
It is a constant evolution. You don’t just find your message and say “that’s it”; in fact, it changes as you do, as your business does and as your clients do.
We have to be constantly checking in with why we’re doing what we’re doing. “Have our values changed?”
I’ve just recently written an article which was a difficult one to write. It pushes some buttons and it challenges all of us. This article is about the type of thing that I talk to my friends about over wine because I’ve always been vocal in friend groups, but I’ve never spoken publicly about feminism, diversity or inclusivity. And this article is very much “This is what I believe, this is how I feel; If we’re going to make any real change, things have to change” and it’s heavy. We’ve got to be in this together and there needs to be a dialogue.
I saw this Adidas ad that said “Change is a team sport”. The message here is that everybody in that team has to have a voice and a say. We need to have environments in which collective decision making processes can happen.
For example, what’s messed up about patriarchal models of leadership is that one person makes a decision and we all have to say “Okay.” And what we need to be doing is give the voiceless a voice. We need to be fully aware that underneath all these female empowerment associations that’s what we’re trying to do and we’re all in this together. But it’s a completely new model and I understand that people are scared of the changes required to make this possible.
What do you aspire to do?
In terms of aspirations I really want for my business to absolutely reflect my values and beliefs. Inclusivity for example. So people that work for corporate companies or can afford to pay me an X amount per hour do so; which then means the people who can’t pay that same amount can still have access to what I do regardless. I aspire to be as truthful as I can be and do everything that I can to help create environments where everybody gets a voice and a say.
Small businesses are going to transform our world, if we let them.
People are bored of big businesses; they’re tired of giving their money to entities that don’t have aligned values and, of course, there’s a lack of trust. Basically, we have a beautiful opportunity for all of these small businesses to start functioning in a way that moves and shifts the existing paradigm. It is an amazing time, so let’s be radical about it and let’s start making opportunities accessible to everybody. Getting people to be responsible for how they act. It is about trusting women, people in general to act in a way that facilitates fairness. As an example, you’ve got an event that you want to put on. So if people can afford to pay 100 euros, then can you please pay 100 euros; and if people can’t, can you please pay what you can afford, if that’s 10 euros – ok. We need to create environments of trust where the people who have these 100 euros will go “Yes, here you go, take my 100 euros, actually, take 150 because I want to make sure that the people that can’t afford it will be able to come.” This is the only way we will start to see genuine inclusivity and diversity.
Why did you come to a Planet Venus event?
So I went to Downtown offices when I first came back to Barcelona. I had my little business which was like a year old and I went to my first networking event and I was so scared because it is so out of anything that I would normally do. And I remember going to that event and there were 30 women of ages 23-53 from all different countries around the world and everybody was doing these different things and I felt like “wow,” these people are quietly dismantling the patriarchy. So when Downtown offices closed and these girls took over and started promoting as Planet Venus, I just came to the first event.
I like the energy a lot and I think there’s really good intentions behind what’s happening here. I think this is a space for people to be able to openly discourse what we are doing and it feels positive.