When she was a little girl, Sabine wanted to be a businesswoman. In the middle of the pandemic, faced with economic distress in parts of the world and her day job helping large companies restructure and prepare for the economic downfall of Covid, she went on a life change. She became an entrepreneur and has since been living the rollercoaster of start-up life.
Share ownership as a goal
The idea for Upstreet started with a focus on rewarding customers for loyalty through company shares. Research shows that customers are more loyal to a company they have a stake in. Moreover, they are willing to pay more. Upstreet came in as a provider for these share ownership programs. It also allowed people to give shares in the ever more exciting space of micro-investing. More recently, the company has evolved to facilitate share ownership for employees. While we may think that is an already resolved issue as we hear of start-up employees winning small fortunes when the companies become unicorns, this is still not always a common form of reward. Sabine believes it is important that more companies can do this, as it is key for employees to have an upside stake in the future of the company.
Women Share Ownership
In Australia, the percentage of women that make up the total number of Australian investors is still around 18%. Sabine believes Upstreet can play a role in reducing the inequity here as well. It starts with women earning the first shares through one of Upstreet’s programmes and then demystifying ownership from there.
From consultant to COO
The skillset that came with her consulting background is extremely valuable, however, Sabine describes the start-up life as very different. A consultant’s life is stressful no doubt, but it is also surrounded by lots of comforts and the certainty of payroll coming in at the end of the month. On the other side, Sabine now knows a whole new level of stress, that of running a company, having to meet payroll, winning a customer to find out they won’t do a contract until perhaps the next year.
That is what real stress looks like!Sabine
Finding the Silver lining
Sabine reveals her way of dealing with these challenges. Since early in her life, she has always sought to find the silver lining, to identify the good, even if small, in any bad situation. Yes, she still gets upset when something bad happens, she is still human. But she has a tendency to bring perspective and find something that makes it better. We also talked about how everything seems to be better just when you sleep on it and wake up the next day. We both seem to have a tendency to try to go to bed early when we have a particularly bad day, in the hope a new day will be halfway through resolving the feeling. It mostly works.
A holistic approach
Sabine does not believe in balance. In fact, the way she described her single to-do list seems very much like she is practising “Work-life sway”, my newly learnt expression from the book “Power Moms“. Her to-do list incorporates anything she needs to get done, be it for the company, for her or for her family. She approaches her day as a whole and does not try to compartmentalize too much as she does not think balance is a real thing. I tend to agree (but I still keep 2 separate lists)
I had not spoken to Sabine in almost 15 years. Speaking to her felt like meeting an old school friend. I am passionate about how she is pursuing her own type of balance through her life choices whilst growing a company she is extremely passionate about. And the added bonus that can contribute to a reduction in the equity ownership gender gap no doubt makes it even more special to me. I can’t wait to see what Upstreet is up to next!
- Quote: “Go find your happiness, your happiness will not find you”
- Word of the Year: Renewal
- Book: How will you measure your life, Clay Christensen