Sarah Hawley Riegelhuth is a serial entrepreneur and investor in startups, having founded 8 companies since 2009. Following three successful ($2m+) exits, she is currently the Founder & CEO of growmotely.com (the first all-in-one platform for sourcing, growing and managing remote teams). She’s personally fueled by a passion for changing the status quo of how we work, conscious culture and leadership, community, gender equality and living life on one’s own terms.
CONSCIOUS ENTREPRENEURSHIP — What meaning do you give this term?
Doing business that’s good for people, and good for the planet. Bringing my whole self to what I do, and the business, transparently and authentically.
CAREER — What led you to your particular career path?
My highest value is freedom, so becoming an entrepreneur was inevitable. I worked in a family business, alongside my Dad, as I learned about building and running companies, and then started out on my own at 28. With beginnings in finance, I quickly learned that while I was passionate about personal finance, I was more passionate about business and entrepreneurship and the experiencing of solving problems with creative solutions. Over time I’ve continued to build companies as solutions to problems I discover for myself, where I see a creative and innovative solution that leaves a positive impact on the world.
MENTORS — We all need a little help along the journey. Who has been an invaluable mentor for you? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?
My Dad was probably my first mentor, and although he passed away in 2013, I can still hear his voice and the advice he’d give me when I’m stuck on something. I remember when my first team member resigned unexpectedly and I was devastated. I called him up and he said ‘It’s ok, set backs like this happen over and over again, and you’ll get used to it’, and he was right. All the things that initially felt really big and challenging are now just a part of everyday life as an entrepreneur, my resilience muscle is strong!
TO THRIVE — When you see yourself thriving: Do you see yourself opening up opportunities for others along the way to participate in your success, and how?
My favorite thing now about being an entrepreneur is building and growing teams, and creating an environment for others to thrive. Grateful I get to do this now on a very large scale with Growmotely! Through my own journey of personal growth and healing, and sharing this with my team along the way, we’ve created a culture very centered around transparency, authenticity and embodying personal and professional growth. As we grow as individuals, the organization also grows and expands.
CAUSE — What are the causes close to your heart, and you are supporting right now? Can you share a story how you got involved? How did it make you feel?
Reflecting back on my career at the companies I’ve built and the non-profits I’ve worked with, diversity and equality are a central theme. Providing opportunities and empowerment for others, while living my own life as an example of being able to create whatever we want for ourselves when we question convention and be brave enough to show up for what we really want. I came from a broken home, barely graduated high school in Brisbane, Australia and due to poor grades wasn’t accepted into any university or college programs as a school leaver. Instead I worked hard, later paid my way through my Bachelor degree online, and went into business. I created wealth for myself, and moved to the United States where I felt more aligned with the entrepreneurial spirit. As a women, especially early in my career I hit barriers for sure, and launched the League of Extraordinary Women to help other female entrepreneurs find their footing in what was (and still is to some degree) a male dominated sector. I’m excited now to be building Growmotely, a remote work platform with diversity and equality front and centre as one of our pillars.
THE FUTURE — How do you see the face of entrepreneurship in 5 years? How do companies /brands need to adapt to secure their place in the future?
The global pandemic has seen the world open up in terms of the way we work. No longer are we constrained to our local regions, and countries the world over are starting to create new options for people to live and work and launch their businesses there. I’m seeing a more competitive landscape for countries to attract entrepreneurial talent, and more options for us as entrepreneurs when it comes to choosing where we want to live, work and find amazing people to join our teams.
ADVICE — What kind of advice would you like to give to an aspiring entrepreneur who feels limited due to their background or lack of resources?
The only limits that exist, are those we create with our own minds. Being an entrepreneur is all about getting creative and finding solutions for things, making our own rules and getting it done no matter what!
DRIVE — Do you sometimes feel bad for “wanting more out of life”, and if so, why? What is your personal motivation that leads you through the hardships of entrepreneurship?
No. I’m here to live a life that sees me in my fullest expression and potential, I’m hungry to experience all there is on offer. It excites me to harness the powerful creative energy within me to make anything happen I dream of.
CHALLENGES — Entrepreneurship is very challenging. We each have our own coping mechanism. Mine is humor. What is yours?
Meditation, and zooming out to remember the bigger picture: it’s just a game we’re playing, for fun, and it would all be very boring if it just went perfectly well every step of the way. I also know that ultimately I am the only block in every situation, so each challenge is an opportunity for inner growth and personal expansion.
INSPIRATION — Is there an entrepreneurial book or podcast that inspires you that you would like to share with our readers?
I love listening to the podcast How I Built This, and hearing the founding stories and subsequent journeys of big companies. I find it incredibly inspiring to listen to how others tackle things, and mostly to remind myself we all started somewhere and ANYTHING is possible.
Follow Sarah Hawley on Instagram.
Demee Koch about the MEDIUM interview series on CONSCIOUS ENTREPRENEURSHIP:
Conscious entrepreneurship for me is about building a sustainable business that values and respects the resources used and makes an effort of giving back to society.
I believe we need entrepreneurs to really get involved in the causes close to their heart.
This is why I reach out to entrepreneurs that aim for more than generating profit. With this interview, I aim to share entrepreneurial purpose-led passion to inspire others.
Looking forward to learn from you. Reach out to me via LinkedIn.