Sarah is a writer, Barrister & Solicitor, and founder & CEO of BucketOrange Magazine. BucketOrange is an independent boutique publication and the worlds first women-led alternative law and life hacks magazine. Sarah is passionate about improving the lives of everyday Australians through relevant and engaging legal information presented with a strong journalistic flavour.
Sarah has several years experience working as a senior government lawyer in a Commonwealth Department. She has also worked in music marketing.
Sarah has a passion for writing, social justice and greater access to the law for Millennial Australians. This led her to launch BucketOrange Magazine earlier this year. She was selected as a finalist in the 2015 LexisNexis Legal Innovation Index and the Lawyers Weekly Women In Law Awards in the category of Thought Leader Of The Year.
Name: Sarah Lynch
Location: NSW, Australia
Title & Company: Founder & CEO of BucketOrange Magazine
Education: Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice (2011), Bachelor of Arts (2008), Bachelor of Laws (2009), Australian National University.
Previous experience: Senior government lawyer, Content manager/editor for Sydney-based music marketing agency
Give us a glimpse on what a typical day looks like for you and what your daily responsibilities are.
I work in a self-created role as the CEO of social impact startup, BucketOrange Magazine, a new boutique legal publication changing the way young Australians think about, and interact with, the law and legal industry professionals. The legal publication is the first of its kind anywhere in the world.
Heading up a dream role in a new startup is exciting and challenging and involves wearing a number of different hats, so my days are usually quite hectic.
Day to day, I manage the operations and strategic direction of the magazine as well as overseeing content creation and publication, distribution, marketing and advertising, sourcing funding and securing revenue streams.
I also manage a small team of volunteer freelance writers, many of whom are, or have worked as, senior lawyers in the public and private sectors or other professional service industries in Australia and internationally. In addition to creating features and other content published by the magazine, I edit and clear every article for quality control, legal accuracy and readability.
In the near future, I hope to be in a position to hire enthusiastic young lawyers who seek alternative career pathways in the law and who have a special interest in writing, journalism and our ‘law for good’ ethos.
What kind of calendar do you keep and how do you plan or organize your to-do list?
I use a number of different apps and tools. At the moment I use Trello to organise BucketOrange’s editorial calendar; Google Calendar for meetings, appointments and reminders; Evernote for project management and long-term business plans (I love their WebClipper tool which lets you save entire web pages for offline viewing); DropBox for documents, templates and policies and Slack to communicate with writers locally and internationally.
After a few false starts with digital list-keeping apps, I now keep my ‘To Do’ list in a simple spiral bound diary that I lovingly refer to as my Book Of Terrible Things. It’s a light-hearted name that makes me giggle and helps to keep things in perspective. It reflects the frustration I’m sure most startup entrepreneurs experience at never having enough hours in the day and the feeling that you will never make a dent in your work.
Whats the best advice youve been given that has stuck with you?
The best piece of advice anyone has ever given me came from one of my closest friends, Alanna, shortly after I graduated from law school. She told me to stop worrying about the future because “there is no right way to go through life.”
She meant that it’s important to make the best choice for yourself at any particular time in your life. Ignore the well-worn track and what everyone makes you think you should achieve in your career/life by forging a unique path that is right for you. Her advice saw me embark on a post-grad adventure through Southern Africa before I eventually settled down to full-time work as a lawyer in the federal government. In that period away I didn’t lose pace with my peers, or my career, but I did gain the world.
What makes you proud of your company?
Lots of things make me proud of BucketOrange Magazine. First and foremost it is a woman-led startup in a traditionally male-dominated legal sector. It is daring to not only imagine and pioneer new ways of doing business using innovation and technology (particularly in an industry that has been slow to embrace change), but also to make those dreams a reality.
I’m particularly excited at how BucketOrange proves that the relationship between lawyer and client need not conform to past practice or the formality and strictures of a law office. It has opened up the lines of communication between young Australians and the legal industry so that it is now possible for anyone to self-inform by reading legal-oriented articles/information online and communicate further with industry professionals if they need to.
I’m also delighted that BucketOrange is a platform for a community of like-minded lawyers to collaborate and lift the profile of the legal industry among everyday Australians. It allows socially-minded lawyers to build a relationship of goodwill between themselves and the general community, demonstrate thought leadership and create an informed client base.
I am most proud that BucketOrange is reaching out and helping young people to understand how to protect themselves and their personal rights, be better equipped to manage their legal health and, hopefully, improve the quality of their lives.
What advice would you give other women who want to start their own business?
Outsource work whenever you can. Early on I made the mistake of trying to do everything myself to keep startup costs down.
I have no background in IT and was largely tech illiterate, so building the website myself from scratch was a huge challenge. I don’t regret developing the skillset but, in hindsight, the benefit of cutting costs can be outweighed by the loss of time required to learn a skill/fix a technical problem that would take a professional a few hours.
A better approach is to use your time/skill doing things that earn money you can channel straight back into building the business. The added benefit is that you know the job has been done correctly.
In the process of creating your company, what things did you have to do that you hadnt accounted for?
Before starting BucketOrange I was prepared to put in long hours and learn new skills. But something I didn’t anticipate is the ongoing emotional and psychological pressure involved in running a startup particularly how hard it is to stop working and ‘switch off’ mentally at night and over weekends.
The fun, exciting and fast-paced environment is highly addictive. It is easy to see how many entrepreneurs burn out by not paying close attention to physical and mental health, eating regular meals, taking breaks and making time to exercise every day. If you are a lone founder, it is even more critical to have someone you trust in your life (friend or family member) who can listen and offer constructive advice as you offload about daily stressors.
Are you working on any new projects or launching something new that youd like to share with us?
Several new and exciting sections of the site will be launched in the new year. Also in development is a rich and glossy downloadable e-magazine filled to the brim with useful resources, in-depth pieces and goodies that are not currently available on the site. It will bring additional value to our readers which we are thrilled about.
Building a business needs a lot of planning, funding until its launched, what has been the biggest challenge throughout your company’s history?
BucketOrange is using an entirely new business model in the legal industry. As a newcomer and a young female lawyer one of the biggest challenges so far has been establishing myself, and the publication, as a reliable and trusted resource.
My business model is dependent on acceptance of new ways of doing business by the legal industry, which is traditionally conservative and hesitant to embrace change. The true value of BucketOrange lies in educating the general public about the law and legal issues and creating an informed client base that can seek legal advice in a more effective and targeted way, benefiting both lawyer and client.
Tell us more about how you came up with your idea and about the process on how you turned the idea into an actual business.
As a Barrister & Solicitor who has worked in music marketing, I came up with the idea for BucketOrange after noticing that the way my Millennial peers manage their physical health is at odds with how they look after their legal health.
While preventative medicine and adopting a proactive approach to health and wellbeing (through clean eating, regular exercise and a work/life balance) is very popular among Millennials, most young Australians only think about the law and how it affects them ‘when they have to’. A recent study found that almost half the number of Australians who have legal problems either do nothing or handle their issues themselves rather than seek legal advice.
What this made me realise is that sometimes in life the things that are good for us come in inconvenient packages. Exercise is important but requires dedication. Eating well is crucial but requires discipline. Maintaining your legal health is critical but the law is hard to digest. BucketOrange addresses this problem by packaging the law in an easily-digestible format that resonates with the general public. It blends life hacks with law hacks in a light-hearted, colourful and relevant publication and presents legal information in a way that can be applied in everyday life.
It helps enhance personal rights, reduce the incidence of avoidable and costly pitfalls experienced by young Australians and champions the development of preventative law by helping young people recognise and manage small legal problems before they become complex issues requiring resolution in the courts.
Turning that idea into a business involved looking at the value I could provide to law firms by tapping into one of the most influential and sought after audiences (Gen Y). It also involved recognising the potential to bridge the gap between the legal industry and the general public by referring readers to the right place for professional advice when they need it.
When building this company, did you envision an exit? How and when have you planned for this to happen?
I was working on early stage concepts and constructing the BucketOrange site while travelling through Botswana late last year. Even in those initial phases of development the idea just felt right. Planning an exit strategy is never something that occurred to me. I think if you’re going to commit to something you have to commit 100%, otherwise you will subconsciously sabotage yourself.
How did you to fund your business and how much money did you have to use? Was it your own, did you take a loan or were investors involved? Please tell us more about the whole process.
Like many startups, the initial development of BucketOrange was completed on a shoestring. This was possible because much of the work in building the platform was completed personally and with the advice of friends. This allowed me to launch the site in 6 months for less than $500.
Much of the startup capital continues to be self-funded; however, we are currently putting the call out to interested investors, sponsors and advertisers.