MEET OUR MENTORS: Lee Sandwith, the Good / Hands

Lee Sandwith is not afraid of change.

With a 30 year career spanning creative industries, performing arts, events and hospitality, big corporations and start-ups - you might even say she thrives on it. Now, the multi-talented mum-of-two runs her own marketing and technology agency.

“I started small as a part-time business and marketing consultant working with SMEs and some larger brands,” Lee explains.

“I spent years networking to build clients and a strong reputation. Over time, my work increased, and I formed a company which has evolved over the last six years.”
The Good / Hands is a full-service agency that supports businesses large and small with big ideas. True to Lee’s dynamic background, her business provides a broad spectrum of services including: brand strategy, software and tech products, marketing campaigns and general consulting.  

“It was a culmination of all my experience and expertise after many years working across sectors,” Lee reflects.

“I am a strong storyteller and communicator, and I realised I have a unique point of view because of my generalist skill set. I love that I can put my talents to considerable use, to help share brand stories so that other businesses can succeed.”

Lee’s agency now employs 5 creatives and works with approximately 100 clients spanning various sectors including accommodation and hospitality, not-for-profits and the arts. But like anything worth having, it wasn’t always easy.

“I stumbled financially at first,” she explains.

“I’ve nearly sunk a few times, which has been terrifying, however it has also been my greatest lesson in business. Do this early, is my recommendation! I developed better business practices, optimised my own marketing, engaged an excellent accountant and kept a close eye on my forecast to ensure I could exceed targets every month.”

Lee has learnt a number of valuable lessons along the way; never hide from your financial position, don’t dwell on mistakes, stay curious about your professional development, and it’s valuable - advisable, in fact - to ask others for help.

“Do I work with mentors? Absolutely! Many of them aren’t in my industry, either. I speak to mentors to test ideas, help resolve problems or even for a pep talk. Some are people I admire, others are subject matter experts. Especially for small business owners, it is vital to surround yourself with people who are invested in you doing your best.”

Having experienced the benefits of mentors first-hand, Lee became one herself in 2019 as part of the Digital Solutions - Australian Small Business Advisory Services program. In addition to overcoming the challenges that come with carving your own path, Lee’s involvement in the program is one of her proudest achievements.

“During the 2020 COVID lockdowns in Victoria, I mentored close to 100 incredible businesses and helped guide them through an incredibly difficult time in their lives and their business. Helping them crack open a little so they could see that light was possible again was incredibly rewarding. I keep in touch with many of those businesses and I am delighted they pushed onwards and upwards.”
Why does Lee think you should work with a mentor?

“Being a business owner can be incredibly lonely. And it’s hard. Having a mentor is a partnership in your growth and your business. Your potential can skyrocket by working alongside someone who is invested in your success. A mentor can offer great advice, motivation, ideas, avenues for change and allyship. The mutual collaboration, knowledge sharing and support will be beneficial for you and your business.”

An entrepreneur to her core, Lee Sandwith is a wealth of knowledge and understanding. Her advice for burgeoning business owners is never to compare to others.

“Ever! Success looks and feels different for everyone. The pace doesn’t have to be swift and you don’t have to scale at all costs. Your journey and success is yours to design. There is no such thing as an entrepreneur playbook, there is only your way.

“The greatest investment you can give yourself and your business is a break from what you do every day to work on yourself. Whether that’s a creative pursuit, talking with a mentor, doing professional development, or simply journaling. You will thank yourself for this time.”

Eligible Victorian small businesses can access 3 hours of professional business mentoring, as well as workshops, webinars and online courses through the Digital Solutions program. Register to find out more here.
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