Sarah Mak is an unstoppable force that sees no reason to slow down despite being a week away from full term pregnancy. WID founder Holly Tattersall recently met Sarah at a University of Queensland  ‘Who Runs the World’ panel event in which Sarah shared her personal insights on life as a Mother, Digital Entrepreneur and Business Owner. Her passion, drive and ability to juggle multiple roles was so inspiring that we decided to profile her in our ‘Inspiring Women in Digital Series’.

As our interviewer Alex Hobbs found out, Sarah’s someone who simply follows her passion, happily taking the ‘organised chaos’ all in her stride. 

Sarah came from the Health and Physiology industry which enabled her to travel often and witness beautiful and painful stories.  With nothing but a strong passion in visual narrative and a then boyfriend (now husband) filmmaker for inspiration. Story Boxes organically emerged with clients like University of Queensland where content with purpose was king. From here the endeavour has grown into the success it is today- all without Sarah actively pursuing entrepreneurship and knowing nothing about the digital world.  

With a high interest in creating brand legacies for their clientele diversity is key to Story Boxes. “Not just creating content for content’s sake rather driving story and to let different angels stand out” Sarah explained. Not all clients are selling products as generic advertising so Story Boxes fills this gap with value proposition via visual narrative.

Alongside diverse solutions the office itself is diverse in age and skill. Practising a primary skills approach where each member recognises their core responsibility but is open to tertiary/secondary skills. Allowing employees to discover all aspects of film and digital from each other.

Originally the gender split was 50/50 at Story Boxes, however Sarah does have a passion for encouraging women into the industry. “hiring females is really important to me as some roles are naturally male dominated in this industry” she elaborated. Women seem to coach each other more easily with our skills approach as feedback is taken as oil to slide on. However, personality and attitude are first and foremost always and Sarah finds a gender balanced office works best.  

Sarah is just one week from being full term with baby number 2 while still working full time. “As a business owner I don’t get maternity leave as such” and in terms of work life balance believes there’s always room for improvement. It’s very hard to define balance as opposed to managing expectations and energy. For Sarah her love for the industry and business makes work feel more natural and a privilege to create story. Finding she doesn’t have separation from work and life but rather an overall lifestyle that suits her family and energy flow. Everyone has the same amount of hours in a day it just depends how people look at this as to whether it’s “balanced or not”.

Organised chaos is the preferred method of approach to Sarah’s lifestyle. Being organised is similar to juggling- you can have numerous balls but its not overwhelming as long as they all stay in motion. As long as everyday you are doing things that move you towards your goals then this is organised and balanced. Some days the fluidity may not be as good as others- but that’s life! In the studio the only constant is change.

As for Sarah she is still changing- with baby 2 close by and a new tech start up Folktale to be finalised soon. Folktale was created to service smaller clientele who need a bit more substance as opposed to creative stories which Story Boxes services. With investments from Blue Chilli Group Sydney and The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Folktale is a well founded taste making opportunity for graphic design. Businesses can apply curated themes to form their own content to publish, check it out at XXX.

Sarah is well and truly on track to completing her goal of generating an entrepreneurial legacy. For budding entrepreneurs and digital women her top tip is to embrace change as the only constant and keep momentum towards your goals even if its baby steps. Sarah never came from the digital world and had to learn everything from scratch, however connected dots to keep her moving and achieving to this day.

“Entrepreneurship is not sexy” but if you’re smiling at 11pm each night as you stop work and are supported then this is work life balance. 

Interested in reading about other Inspiring Women in Digital? Click HERE for more!

Written by PR Assistant Alex Hobbs. For enquiries contact hello@womenindigital.org