I was recently interviewed by realtor, Tanya Eklund, on her podcast! 

Sarah in beanbag chair

I’ve always admired the VOW (Voice of Women) podcast’s mission of empowering women through the sharing of real life stories, so this feature was a complete honour. 

This interview was deep and very vulnerable, so I really hope you all enjoy it.

Below is a quick recap of the episode. 

Starting Out

When it comes to a career, everyone has an origin story – mine was a vet internship. 

(I’ll skip the graphic stuff and just say I didn’t have the stomach for it)

I always loved sitting around and critiquing ads, so after my dad suggested I get into advertising to make them better, I headed off to school in Toronto. 

Jan holding award

After receiving news that my mom was sick, I came back to Calgary and worked at local agencies for a few years before launching my own marketing business. 

What Makes You Happy? 

After losing my mother, I felt completely lost. 

She wasn’t just my mom – she was my business coach, mentor, and best friend. Then one day she was just… gone. 

I needed a way to deal with the depression of losing a parent in my 20’s. I needed a way to combat the immense grief I was feeling. 

“I needed something to do to bring joy to my life”

And marketing wasn’t it anymore. I was burnt out, tired, and uninspired. 

Despite the fact that my agency was at the height of its success, I simply couldn’t do it anymore. 

I had done a few house flip projects and absolutely loved them, so I started taking decorating courses and doing design-centric activities in the evenings. 

Fast forward 5 years, and I have completely dissolved my marketing company and own and operate Unshelf Design, my interior decorating and staging company.

My Advice to Others

Despite all the risk involved, as someone who has left an unfufiling career twice now, I will say this:

“You only get to live once”

The fear is REAL. The obstacles are REAL. But you have one life. Why would you want to give energy to anything you don’t wholeheartedly enjoy? 

I love what I’m doing now so much that I don’t ever feel the need to look back and think “what if”. 

I’m still figuring things out as I go in my new business, but that’s also part of the fun. As my mom always said:

“Say yes now and figure it out later”

Jan laying in flowers

In honour of this beautiful podcast, here is my vow:

“I vow that I will always love what I do, because there’s just not enough room in the world for any more negativity”

Sarah at first market

I hope you vow the same for yourself 🙂 

I love community and women supporting women, so if any listeners who are starting out have any questions, please reach out

And, if you want to learn more about my loves, check out my design and staging services 🙂

***Charity shoutouts: AARCS, Sheldrick Wildlife Trust