Sara Roach Lewis [Melissa Harding]

Sara Roach Lewis

By her own rules

Profile | by Julie Bull

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Sara Roach Lewis doesn’t like to play by other peoples’ rules, and she has cultivated a life and a business to help other women build businesses that fit their life, rather than trying to fit their life into their business/work.

Sara has spent her life working in social justice, specifically in women’s organizations, movements, and circles. Her keen awareness and understanding of the ways in which systemic oppression inhibits some people in our communities from achieving equality drives Sara to work with, and for, women. As a feminist, she has worked tirelessly within the system to dismantle the systems of oppression. After 15 years in the not-for profit sector, Sara was ready for a change.

“After so many years in leadership, I knew I was too unmanageable to work for someone else and to follow someone else’s rules.

“I was burnt out and I was maxed out from my time in the not-for-profit sector, and I knew it was time for a change. But what would my next job be? Government? Another NGO? I ended up doing a short stint with a startup and that’s when I realized I wanted to start my own business.”

Without knowing exactly what her business would be, Sara did what she does best: she started to strategize and play by her own rules.

“My first year in business was a crisis of confidence as I stumbled my way through to knowing exactly what I have to offer and how I want to create my life for myself. It took some time to see how many transferable skills came with me from my previous experiences and how they could shape my business in a way that suited me best.”

Her background in adult education and facilitation proved instrumental as she created a name for herself as a business strategist. She works with women entrepreneurs across the country by supporting them in creating the life and business they want to have.

“All you really need to do is create a space where people feel safe and believe in the power of women supporting other women.”

Now in her fourth year of business, she shares her insights and wisdom about how she grew her business while having a chronic illness.

“I know what it’s like to play hurt and as a business strategist, I am sharing what has worked for me so that other women entrepreneurs can play to their strengths as well.”

After four years of playing by her own rules, Sara published her first book, She Rules: What you didn’t know is holding you back in business in November 2021.

“I knew I wanted to write a book ever since I was a kid and read Anne of Green Gables,” she says. “Though I had no idea my first book would be a business book. And who knows what my next book may be!”

We will all remember 2020 as a pandemic year, but it was also a year of social unrest and an uprising of movements bringing awareness to many social injustices.

“I was observing so many people around me experiencing pandemic fatigue and I noticed that I was seeming to be coping alright. It wasn’t that I didn’t also feel the effects of the pandemic; it was that I was well-versed in knowing how to bounce back more quickly from being knocked down.” Sara talked about how she lives with chronic illness and how she has still managed to double her revenues every year since she’s been in business.

“Business moves at the speed of relationships,” she says, and that includes the relationship we have with ourselves. A delighted Sara talked through several parts of her book that she is proud of, and she draws attention specifically to the importance of “redefining self-care as an essential business practice.” Sara has a gift of bringing practical tips, personal stories (complete with the mistakes and missteps along the way), and powerful tools together in one place.

“As a middle-aged cis white woman, I recognize and acknowledge the many privileges I have [and my kid reminds me when I forget]. I endeavor to widen the path that I walk so that others face less barriers and challenges, and they can jump on the path as they want to.”

In just four short years, Sara has built a business that fits her life, and she gets to play by her own rules.

“I’ve done this by living what I teach my clients: You create a profitable, sustainable, successful business by focusing on creating you [the business owner] with care.”

Julie Bullprofile
Julie Bull

Julie Bull (they/them) is a queer, non-binary Inuk artist from NunatuKavut, who currently lives on Epekwitk (PEI). They are an interdisciplinary poet, writer, spoken-word artist, visual artist, researcher, ethicist, and educator who stirs things up with some unlikely integrations, influences, and imagination. Julie earned their PhD in 2019 and promptly ran away from academia to follow their artistic passions. They started writing for The Buzz at the end of 2020.