For this week’s feature, our fourth and last in the series; we’re reaching out a little further than the Canberra surrounds, to chat with the inspiring, young entrepreneur, Olivia Jackson, from popular online gluten free resource, yum. Gluten Free. She’s North Carolina born and bred, but after moving to Canberra and living here for a few years in 2012, we think we can claim this one!
What happens in life when you get sick and spend years in and out of doctors and hospitals not knowing what’s wrong?! You take it and run, turning it into a successful venture, of course!
“I certainly don’t have a sob story.” she says, “With chronic health struggles from a young age, my life hasn’t been easy but I'm not looking for sympathy, I use it to remind myself of my unwavering passion for making life a little easier for others going through the same journey.”
Liv had an entrepreneurial spirit from a young age. Graduating from University in 2012 having completed a Bachelor in Public Health, with a major in nutrition and minor in business administration, she knew she wanted to do something different with her career, but was unsure what or how.
When she was living and working in Australia, her health journey had really started to become a major focus in her life. After nine years of chronic illness, she was finally diagnosed with coeliac disease in 2010. However, even after two years of a strict gluten free diet, she felt things still weren’t quite right. This is when she really started pursuing gut health techniques, furthering her involvement in the health industry, specifically in the Australian market. In the end, her health diagnosis became an entire lifestyle transformation. This is when she knew she would be combining her health journey with her business ventures.
She started her entrepreneurial journey in Canberra when the opportunity arose for her to franchise with a gluten free organisation. “This organisation and its possibilities became an instant passion and I knew I would be more than just an employee. However, by fluke or by fate, the franchisee opportunity did not work out. It was devastating at the time but little did I know that this was propelling me towards my future business acquisition of yum. Gluten Free.”
In her work with the franchise, she did an article with the online resource yum. Gluten Free and met their team in Brisbane. When the Canberra franchise opportunity sunk, Olivia took up the roles of National Sales Manager and Features Writer for yum.! After working with yum. for nearly two years, the opportunity arose for her to take over as Owner and Publisher. She said that it was an incredibly intimating step but she unequivocally knew it was the right one.
Flash forward six months, and yum. is absolutely thriving, along with Liv’s health. “It turns out that I had to eliminate a few more foods from my diet to finally feel better than ever. Your health isn’t all about what you eat either! Being in such a healthy environment and working in an industry I’m immensely passionate about has also done wonders for my anxiety, sleep and overall health function."
"Four years ago, I never could have guessed I’d end up where I am today… but the funny thing is, every step I took was intentionally guiding me to this very moment. Trust your intuition! Get advice from people at least twice your age and keep your eyes open! You never know what might be just around the corner.”
5 minute musings
What’s your morning ritual?
I’m still working on a consistent ritual #realtalk but I can tell you a few of the ways I love to start the day. I love walking the Brisbane River with a girlfriend in the morning or a barre or yoga class before my morning cup of lemon and ginger tea! I then make a big brekky and sit down to work at around 8am.
Who’s your girl crush?
Easy. Danielle Walker from Against All Grain. I have been following her since the very beginning and everything from her health journey to her business growth continues to inspire me! She is just so raw with what she’s going through and what every day is like and it reminds me that we are all in this together.
What’s next for yum. Gluten Free?
yum. has a few super exciting projects in the works. We are currently creating a space to give brands more exposure, therein keeping our audience up-to-date with what gluten free goodies are on the market! My absolute passion is providing coeliacs, or the non-coeliac gluten sensitive, to brands and products they can consume and enjoy while also connecting brands of all sizes to a dedicated gluten free audience. For our audience, get ready for an easy to use resource with lots more giveaways and opportunities in the gluten free space!
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Olivia currently lives in Brisbane, after spending time in Canberra and the United States. You can see what she’s up to by heading to her socials: Instagram@yumglutenfree, Facebook Yum. Gluten Free and websitehttp://yumglutenfree.com.au/.