THRIVHER INTERVIEW: Sally-Anne Ferguson

Updated: Jul 24, 2018


Thrivher Achievements:

Co-Founder and CEO of InnerOrigin– A revolutionary online wellness marketplace for wholesome and natural products — sourced predominantly from local communities to serve the community.



THRIVHER DIVE


Can’t start the day without: Superfood Smoothie


Most inspirational read of all time: A book that is simple to read and remains a favourite because it was so pivotal in my life is; 10 Secrets for Success and Inner Peace by Wayne Dyer. Since the day I bought the book it has been a go-to daily for me. At the time, I was really struggling emotionally and mentally to balance the enormity of the challenge my family was facing with my brother's disease. It’s a book you can pick up at any time, on any page, and it helps to put everything in perspective. It gave me enormous peace, motivation and balance.


Most motivating music track:“Whitney Houston - One Moment In Time”. It almost feels like I could have written that song for myself and my own life, I strive each day to be my full potential and fulfil my goals and dreams, the words of this song are everything to me.


Non-negotiable thing that regularly block out time for: A bath


I love this quote:"The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity" Amelia Earhart


Most afraid of: Dying with music still in me. In other words, I’m most afraid of not achieving my full potential in life. As a result I’m committed every day to becoming a better person, and taking on more self-growth and embracing more and more challenges, so I am always showing up as all that I can be.


Go-to for fun, to let your hair down: Haha! I’m ridiculously boring :) Getting away to my parents’ place in the country, to simply spend all day in my tracksuit pants and an old jumper, lots of cups of herbal tea, turn the phone on silent, relax and get fresh air with my dog Daisy!



Thrivher Survivor Moves


Looking back, when did your interest in Wellness BEGIN THAT EVENTUALLY LEAD YOU TO CO-FOUNDING INNER ORIGIN?

When I was at school, I was diagnosed as gluten-intolerant, dairy-intolerant and various other things. My mum was ahead of her time and she took me to a naturopath and a kinesiologist and I was put on a gluten-free, dairy-free diet when I was about 16. Back then it was hard because there were no gluten-free products in the shops, so my mother had to cook two meals: one for the family, one for me. In a very short space of time, my whole energy completely changed - I completely changed. The difference in my mental clarity was incredible and I became so productive. That really sparked my interest in the Wellness industry. It was a difficult choice for me to decide between pursuing a career as a dietician or a naturopath, or going to university to study business. I ended up choosing to do the business degree because I thought I could apply that to my passion afterwards.



How did your career develop after university?

After doing my degree I took a job with ALDI Stores and moved to the U.S.A. where I worked from the ground up – all training was to be part of the opening team of ALDI stores here in Australia. So, I got a very good grounding in the grocery industry. After ALDI I went to run the family business, but there was a constant calling in me to the Wellness industry that eventually I couldn’t ignore any more.


Everyone told me I would be crazy to leave my job, but I knew that I wasn’t living my full life, so I made the decision to leave to go into business for myself. I started to look around for businesses to buy but then during that time, my brother was diagnosed with a very rare form of cancer where they discovered he had over 400 tumours throughout his kidneys, so I went back to run the family business.



Your brother’s illness must have had a huge impact upon you personally. In what ways did it affect your career aspirations?

His diagnosis threw our family into a spin. We are a very close family so although it was primarily his challenge, we were all fighting it alongside him for now what has been about 11 years. It became our full focus. Western medicine certainly has its place, but in my brother’s situation, it couldn’t offer any answers. He tried all the best doctors and went to many private clinics but to no avail, so he ended up embarking upon a natural healing approach at the Gerson Institute. He was following their program full time for five and a half years and he still uses it, on a much reduced program, as part of his daily life. It was an incredible experience to watch his journey, and still do today– it changed my life forever.


Western medicine certainly has its place, but in my brother’s situation, it couldn’t offer any answers.


From that point it became clear that although I wanted to be an entrepreneur, the industry I was in wasn’t fulfilling me. I did a bit of self-analysis and decided that it was really important for me to apply myself and my talents to something that felt purposeful to me. The only thing that felt purposeful to me after my brother’s journey was the Wellness industry. So I went and studied Integrated Nutrition, which was actually what I had always wanted to do. After that I really felt that I had the credibility on the natural side of things, as well as the business acumen. That was when David Nomchong came onto the scene and asked me to join him in establishing InnerOrigin.


David was thinking about building a direct sales gut health company and he approached me to look at marketing and distribution. We then started collaborating, one thing grew to the next – I took further involvement, lots of ideas and strategizing together until InnerOrigin grew to what it is today! A Revolutionary Online Wellness Marketplace.



What practical steps did you take to get your mission and vision for the business off the ground?

Planning, for sure - deep planning. That was really important to David and I. I think if you plan properly, it creates confidence, because you’ve really explored. You’ve created a great strategy and you’re very clear on where you’re going. If you can create that clarity for yourself, then confidence is there for you to execute that plan. So don’t underestimate the timing of proper strategic planning!


Also, what is really important is testing. Even while you’re putting all that strategy together, test the strategies you’re coming up with because that will help you refine and clarify. Finally, just getting things moving – we didn’t wait until everything was perfect, we just got going. It was the most powerful step that we could take! Similarly with having the confidence to speak out about our vision and share it with our customers, our suppliers, our advocates – everyone knew our direction and our self-confidence grew their confidence in us too. So having the confidence to share our vision was a very important practical step as well.


We didn’t wait until everything was perfect, we just got going. It was the most powerful step that we could take!


What were the biggest challenges you have faced along the way and how have they helped you progress and grow?

The biggest challenge for me has always been a continuous journey of building my inner belief and self-worth. The talent has always been there, but there have been times when I had got to a certain point and then somehow felt that little bit of fear or self-doubt creep back in.


The biggest challenge for me has always been a continuous journey of building my inner belief and self-worth.

I’ve done a lot of inner work, particularly over the last ten years throughout my brother’s journey. I’ve grown a lot and I truly believe that self-belief is the key to being a successful person. I’ve also learned that it’s crucial to allow myself to bring new people into my life who can influence where I want to go. It’s so important in order to keep growing, you do need to surround yourself with people that have either been there before or have total belief in what you’re doing right now. These probably won’t be your oldest friends, but it’s so important to be able to embrace change and be flexible. You need a really good team of people who totally believe in you. When you can believe in yourself, you’ll start to attract people who believe in you, and you’ll attract more and more of them – but the first lesson is to believe in yourself.


I’ve grown a lot and I truly believe that self-belief is the key to being a successful person.


How have you managed your time in order to grow a thriving business and also keep your health in check?

In my experience, being an entrepreneur your actions get questioned a lot in the beginning. You get a lot of push-back from people. I have definitely become the boring friend who is always too busy. That’s part of the decision I made when I committed myself to establishing this business. Everybody talks about the work-life balance and obviously being passionate about the Wellness industry, I understand the importance of taking care of yourself, however, I don’t think the balance has to be 50-50 all of the time. In my view, balance is about priorities. When launching InnerOrigin, that became my primary focus.


I don’t think the balance has to be 50-50 all of the time. In my view, balance is about priorities.

Getting a business off the ground requires so much energy and drive. It demands total commitment from you and you have to be very disciplined if you want to be successful. I definitely had to say no to a lot of things and disappoint my friends often. If I had a day off, I would spend it with my family. My priorities were business, family then friends – in that order. I use the time I have in order of the priorities that I have at the time – it won’t necessarily be weighted like that forever, but that’s the balance in my life at the moment. I think a lot of people see what I do and think I’m missing out on life, but I’m thriving in my life because I love what I’m doing.



Have you had any “pinch me now” moments whilst establishing your business?

There was one moment in the middle of last year, we had a grand opening on the Gold Coast and it was a big celebration, around 500 of our advocates were there. I was on and off stage a few times and there were a couple of surreal moments. Witnessing this huge community who believed in each other and shared a passion for Wellness – this culture that we had wanted to build within our business – it all came together at that event, it was an incredible experience.


I think the only other time I’ve had a “pinch me” moment was when I recently looked back at a diary I wrote a few years ago, where I wrote down my life goals – this is something I make a point of doing regularly, I sit down and I really articulate my goals – and amazingly nearly everything in that diary exists in my world today!


I wrote down my life goals – this is something I make a point of doing regularly, I sit down and I really articulate my goals


What has been the best piece of advice you’ve been given that has helped you achieve what you have today?

Reflecting back to when I was younger, I’ve always been a very inspired and motivated person, but I also had this in-built perfectionism. I always wanted everything to be perfect before delivering a project. Later, I gained a couple of great mentors who really snuffed that mindset out of me. They told me to get going and be content with doing a good job, because perfection doesn’t exist. In business, things are so dynamic and always changing, so it’s crucial to get things out and test them. Nothing can be perfect, especially in business. It’s just so important to give it a go and test your ideas, because in just getting it out there and taking action, you’re testing the waters and researching your audience or your customer. After that you can fine-tune things and get as close to perfect as possible.


They told me to get going and be content with doing a good job, because perfection doesn’t exist.



THRIVING AND KICKING



What do you believe are the biggest reasons people hold themselves back from achieving their goals?

I believe that procrastination either comes from a desire to be perfect or it comes from a lack of self-belief. You can get stuck in fear if you don’t really feel you’re worthy of achieving the results and receiving the rewards – if deep down you don’t truly believe that you can achieve success. You’ve got to keep moving all the time. The most courageous thing you can do is take action, because once you act, you’re out there and that action actually helps build self-belief.


The most courageous thing you can do is take action, because once you act, you’re out there and that action actually helps build self-belief.


Belief and commitment are like a crossroads. When your belief is at the same level as your commitment, you are a force to be reckoned with, but to get to that point, you’ve got to just keep taking action. Some people can be really committed but are lacking that conviction, that self-belief. Other people can have great belief in themselves but aren’t truly committed. When those two things merge that’s when you become really powerful.



What piece of career or life advice do you wish you had been given in your 20s?

I think to have patience would probably be the biggest one. Keep learning and having patience - the time will come when everything comes together for you.


I believe that there is a divine timing in some things and you can really want to make something happen, but until everything comes together, you have to be patient. It could be that you need to wait until the right person comes into your life at the right time, or you have a life lesson to learn first. It can be frustrating and even depressing, but you just need to keep your goals clear, keep taking action towards them and have patience.



For women who want to make a positive change in their life but don’t know where to start, what advice would you give?

For me, every time I want clarity, I’ll take a pen and paper and just write whatever is in my gut. I try not to overthink anything and I just write whatever comes to me. I don’t judge it, it doesn’t matter if it sounds crazy, I just keep writing. I don’t even necessarily read what I’m writing at the time. I think allowing that expression is so cathartic. Otherwise, you’re carrying it inside and it can stop you sleeping at night, it can stop you being happy because it’s festering emotions and thoughts. But once you get it out, you can make room for clarity. Just write it down and let it out. Then, when you’re in a balanced mindset and ready to analyze with a practical view (not an emotional one), you can read what you wrote. That’s when you’ve got to listen to your inner self.


You’ve got to learn to trust your feelings and trust your gut by getting it out in a clear way, because if you’re only listening to your feelings in an emotional state, it’s often not rational. This method allows me to make decisions and take action in a balanced way. Everyone always has little fears cropping up, whatever they might be, and I always say write them down.


If you are interested about becoming an advocate for InnerOrigin you can learn more about the business opportunities here: https://www.innerorigin.com/advocates

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