Conversation starter series: Interview with Sam McFarlane

Welcome to our ‘Conversation Starter’ series, that aims to introduce you to more business owners around you, and to help get to know each other better.

Through these questions, we want to learn more about you. Not just your challenges and what you’ve experienced along your entrepreneurial journey, but the person that you are, beyond your business…about what makes you, you!

We realize that work does not always define us and things may not be what they seem. Often, we tend to work with people we know and trust. Most work partnerships fail because people hold back and don’t openly speak about what they want, and think.

As business owners, we have to show up and make ourselves known, if we want our business to grow. For some people, it is easy. For others, the idea of networking and social gatherings is not something they look forward to. In a world where people ask you right away, ‘What do you do’, what if it were more about who you are and what your story is?

How fun would it be to first encounter people without knowing what they do? Just meeting them and finding out what you may have in common and what you can learn from each other. Work and business opportunities could come second, naturally.

Here are a series of icebreaker questions answered by the people that inspire us. We believe the answers to these questions can help start conversations in a different way.

1. As business owners, we’re constantly networking and meeting new people. Let’s say you’ve just met someone for the first time. What’s the first thing you’d like to know about them?

I like to find out what it is that they love most about what they do. Having these conversations always gets people talking and you can see their passion come out.

2. We know you’re super busy – as all business owners are, no doubt – but when you’ve had the time to squeeze in some TV-watching, what’s the last thing you watched? What made you choose that particular show? 

I’m still watching Suits on Netflix. I’m up to the last season, though, so slowly getting there. I usually love a good romantic comedy when it comes to movies.

3. Before you decided to go solo and be your own boss, you must’ve worked for someone else. What advice would you give your previous manager?

I think it would have to be something along the lines of “Did you know that there is actually solid research from Harvard Business School showing that hands-off management is most effective?”

4. A koala bear jumps in through your window, and he’s looking at you. Why is he here? And what does he say to you?

He would probably tell me to get out and enjoy nature more.

5. A resume can only tell you so much about someone. Often, the most interesting things about that person can’t be learned from those pages. What do you think is the most interesting thing about you, that your resume wouldn’t tell us?

Probably the reason that I started my own business, which was to be able to continue doing something that I love (working in marketing) but to also be able to be there for my children. Having a corporate role didn’t allow me to be at the school gate for drop off and pick up, and this was important to me as I know how much I loved my Mum being there for me when I was growing up.

6. What gets you out of bed every morning? What is it that excites you, or is meaningful to you?

It’s usually my 18-month-old labrador, Harvey, these days. It used to be the kids but they are a bit older now so I am usually waking them up. Once I’m up and ready for the day I love the variety that my business offers me, to work with some amazing clients and help them manage their social media. No two days are ever the same and I love that.

7. We’ve all got different talents and skills. It’s what makes us unique. What do you think you’re amazing at? And what are the things you’re not-quite-the-best at?

My clients always say that I’m calm and able to manage anything they throw at me. I think that maintaining composure is extremely important and it is something I pride myself on. 

I think I worry more than I should.

8. Building a great team takes time. It’s not easy to find the right fit – like, the people who share the same work values, have the same vision for your business and have a sense of humor. If you were granted a wish to hire any 5 people – people you know, celebrities…anyone – whom would you bring into your team?

Tony Robbins to motivate me, Marie Kondo to organise me, Gary Vaynerchuk for his social media expertise, a good masseuse to relax me and Joseph McClendon III for his humour, inspiration and business knowledge.

9. If you woke up one morning and found yourself on a deserted island, which three things would you want to have with you? Why?

A satellite phone so I can call for help, food to eat and a friend because who wants to be alone on a deserted island?

10. Inspiration can come from anywhere…a picture, a bike ride, the lyrics of a song, a pet, or even a gorgeous sunset. But people have the power to inspire us like none other! There is always someone we look up to, someone we admire. Who has inspired you in your life, and in what way?

So many people, for so many different reasons. Definitely my parents. My Mum, for her caring nature and for always being someone who will do anything for me. My Dad for his quiet wisdom. And for their love and support in everything that I do.

11. What’s your spirit animal? If you haven’t ever given it a thought, the time is right now!

The Eagle – representing light, spirit and healing.

12. What characteristics do you admire the most in a person?

Honesty and integrity.

13. Is there something that you’ve always wanted to do but were afraid to try? What’s stopping you from doing it?

I can’t think of anything. If there is something that I really want then I have a quiet determination to go out and do it (or get it).

14. We’ve all been impressed by someone’s skills and wished we could have them too! If you could have a new skill at the snap of your fingers, what would it be?

I really admire people who can speak well in public. This is something that scares me, but whenever I do it, I love it!

15. What’s your idea of a perfect day?

Probably a sleep-in, an exercise session, a leisurely breakfast, then reading in the sun by a pool, a yummy lunch, a little nap followed by dinner and drinks with friends.

About Sam McFarlane

Sam is a content marketer and social media promoter. She has worked in Marketing for over 2 decades, leaving the corporate world in 2012 to start her own Marketing business, Sam Says, a social media and content management consultancy. She helps busy entrepreneurs increase their online visibility and brand recognition by taking the overwhelming task of online marketing off their already swamped to-do list. According to Sam, “Content marketing and social media management is vital to business success, however, it’s no surprise that online marketing is often neglected in an environment of competing demands.”

Now that you know a little more about Sam online, you could make things more interesting by connecting offline!

You could contact Sam here:

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