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When Johanna Scott examined her own work history - warts and all - she found an opportunity to create a business guiding people to appreciate success as something that goes beyond status or money to include well-being and individual happiness.

Tell us a little bit about your business, Make Do Co -

I founded my coaching business Make Do Co, in 2015. Frustrated by the business world’s limited view of success, I combined my marketing background with yoga teacher training to teach small business owners and entrepreneurs how to live like it matters, prioritise what’s important and replace burnout and overwhelm with space and joy.

Through my online programs, retreats and coaching, I have worked with hundreds of women (and men too!), equipping them with the skills to measure success holistically, including not just the business bottom line but the impact of their work and the quality of their mental wellbeing, health and happiness.

What inspired you to start Make Do Co?

I wanted to give female founders the holistic skills to run their businesses, and their lives, in a way that puts people alongside profit and champions space and joy over burnout and overwhelm.

But it’s been a bumpy road. Twelve years ago, I was living in New York and working an agency job under a boss who viewed us as collateral rather than colleagues. I’d poured my heart and soul into the role, working hours that affected my relationships and had me teetering on the edge of burnout.

Then I was fired.

You know the scene in the movies where you’re escorted out of the building with all your possessions in a cardboard box? It wasn’t too far off that.

As horrific as it was, it changed the trajectory of my life and taught me valuable lessons: don’t strive in a job that has no meaning, or work with people who fail to treat others with respect and decency, and you can't control everything.

What has been your most memorable experience/moment since starting Make Do Co?

Some pinch-me moments include leading a guided meditation for 500 women at The Huddle in 2020 (thanks to the wonderful Pip Brett), teaching a workshop on non-violent communication at the inimitable Purpose Conference, and interviewing a number of my heroes for my podcast People of Purpose.

What’s the best piece of business advice that you have ever received?

Much-loved yoga teacher Angus Ford Robertson said: “If you’re not following your true path and what feels right, your soul is withering by the second.” As a business owner, there are A LOT of logistics to wrangle; but Angus’ advice to follow “what feels right” has never let me down.

What do you think are the biggest challenges facing female business owners today?

Firstly, many women (including me!) suffer from crippling self-doubt. I see this time and again with the women I coach, and it’s important for all of us to examine where we are holding ourselves back or hiding - “in case” someone else criticises or judges us.

Secondly, it frustrates me that even today, with so much awareness around equality and so many efforts to allow women’s voices to be heard, that women are underestimated for key leadership roles.

Women have long represented the archetype of the ‘juggler’. How do you balance work and life/mum responsibilities?

Ah, another favourite topic of mine!

My husband, Tim, and I juggle our family’s needs with some systems where we divide and conquer; by syncing our calendars and putting everything in it (everything!), and maintaining a healthy sense of humour.

We’re on the same page that our kids are our top priority, and we try not to get bogged down with life beyond that. Between us, we run multiple businesses, and he travels a lot - but we’re very clear on what’s most important. And that seems to keep life running smoothly enough.

I do want to add that I think we need to stop complimenting other women as “super mums.” This props up the expectation that women need to shoulder it all - when that is not the case.

The conversation of equality is concentrated in corporate offices and manufacturing plants - but until we change things on the domestic front, it’s going to be hard to change broader society. We need to value women and men’s time equally.

In your opinion, how can women stand in solidarity with one another?

Support the female founders in your life by buying their products, signing up for their services, recommending them to friends and saying good things about them!

Collaborate with other women and do everything you can to lift each other up. We all benefit from this rising tide. A single creative, curious and courageous business can turn things around for an entire town.

What advice would you give to the next generation of female entrepreneurs? If you have an itch to create something - go for it! Making and doing is how we explore the world and grow into our place in it. Don’t wait to be ready. Start small, start now.

What’s on the horizon for Make Do Co in 2023?

I just launched a new course called “Welldoing”, which is essentially where your doing meets your wellbeing. The course is an eight-week, online and self-paced workshop that includes everything I wish I had time to talk to my coaching clients about in our 1-1 calls. The way I describe it is: More living, less stress - practical skills you can apply to thrive in a full and busy life. I am posting lots of updates on Instagram if you want to learn more

Location: Orange | NSW

Instagram: jo_makedoco

Facebook: makedoco


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