"Every moment, every day is different and you need to be agile to adapt."

We interview women in our community about innovation and what drives them to make a difference in their industries. This week we spoke to Serina Bird, Founder of The Joyful Frugalista and The Joyful Business Club.

What are you working on?

I have two business projects that I am working on. Both aim to empower people – predominately women – to be more abundant, but in different ways.

My mission is to help people save money, save the planet and live the life of their dreams. I’m author of The Joyful Frugalista and host of the podcast of the same name. Recently, I’ve become the face of Savvy Shopper, which shows Australians how to live well on less.

I quit my fulltime APS job to focus on promoting the frugal message (aka financial resilience). I also run training courses that allow small groups of people to connect with each other and have honest discussions about money. And I do one on one money coaching. This is different from financial planning as it is often about habits, goals and financial literacy.

As a woman in business, I often don’t feel like I am, well, in business. There is so much that I am learning and there are times when I doubt myself. I also noticed that there is a key problem with women in business: while 35 to 38% of businesses in Australia re run by women, only a very small proportion of female led startups receive funding. Startmate said that in 2019, only 2.9% of startup funding was to female-led startups.

The Joyful Business Club was formed to champion women. I don’t use the word ‘support’ – the JBC is not like a bra that needs to hold them up, but rather is a community that champions their dreams and works together to make it a reality. There are currently three parts to this growing business. The first is training and development, predominately through Thursday lunchtime ‘powerup’ Facebook Live sessions. In the future, I plan to deliver more training. The second is through providing information through a digital portal (i.e. the website). Currently there are articles about Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), setting up a not-for-profit, mindset and managing finances while starting out. The third is networking.

My ambition is to grow the JBC to become both a crowdfunding and a peer-to-peer platform to support female-led creatives, business owners and entrepreneurs.

Why is innovation important to you?

In Buddhist philosophy, everything in the world is impermanent. Everything is constantly in a state of change. If you think about it, the universe itself is expanding, twisting, turning and parts within it are dying (exploding even!) and baby stars are birthing.

With the universe (and our world) constantly evolving, it’s important to continue to evolve along with the trends. Every moment, every day is different and you need to be agile to adapt.

I once worked in a job where one of my senior bosses said to me “why do we have to innovate – can’t we just do our job?” Well, with the greatest of respect to him, that’s not my philosophy and never has been!

What drives you to make a difference?

When I get a message from someone who has read my book, something I’ve written, or listened to a podcast I’ve recorded and tells me how the message of hope I have provided has helped them through tough times – be it marriage breakup, illness, domestic violence, job loss or debt – I know that what I do matters. We don’t always talk about the bad times, and that’s taken lot of Autralians by surprise in 2020. My message is one of resilience, about how to take practical steps to take charge of your finances – and your life.

Do you have any advice for getting more women into the innovation ecosystem?

I believe more and more women are already getting into micro-busineses – they just don’t see themselves as ‘entrepreneurs’ or ‘innovators’. When we think of these terms, we often think of men (and more specifically, men in tech). The more we share stories of incredible women doing incredible things, the more we know this is possible. Women are often passionate about making change, not just for themselves but for their community and the world their children or family (present or future) will grow up in. Women daring to dream and living their dream is important not just to their own financial future, but for the world in which they live.

What are you proud of right now?
  • I am now the face of Savvy Shopper, a News Corp publication aimed at helping people through tough times.
  • I spoke about how to feed a family for $70 a week on Studio 10 (there is a chance of it becoming a regular feature – fingers crossed! Wouldn’t it be awesome to have a non politics related foodie program broadcast from Canberra!)
  • Reaching (nearly) 10,000 downloads on my podcast within 5 months
  • Launching Six Weeks to Abundance online courses and hosting the first The Joyful Business Club networking event.
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