Amanda Walker is Co-Founder and Head of Operations at Lord of the Fries, Australia’s biggest vegan fast food franchise. But her meat-free hotdogs are just one example of how Amanda’s values and beliefs inspire solutions. Alongside her roles as wife, mother and friend, she is a certified life and business coach, healer and mediation teacher.
When Amanda and her husband Mark first set out to create a business for themselves, their first priority was that it reflect their values: vegetarianism, desire for autonomy, environmental awareness. Next came their business ambitions: something scalable with global potential and market demand.
“Ending up with “French fries” as the star player in my life was probably the biggest surprise! I l really love them but never imagined such devotion to them.”
Working with her husband, brother-in-law, and two other team members, Amanda considers Lord of the Fries a “relatively small, family-run business”. By focussing on “tasty food that just happens to be vegan”, as well as halal and kosher, the franchise represents inclusivity without needing to be restricted to a niche.
After confirming our love for their offering by chip-mobile (before food trucks were cool), the first store opened in Melbourne in 2005. In 2011, the menu became 100% vegan, later partnering with Beyond Meat. Today they have 21 stores across Australia and New Zealand.
Balancing intention and spontaneity
As a creative, altruistic and spiritual entrepreneur, Amanda’s approach to time is both practical and intuitive.
Quarterly vision-planning sets the direction for business and personal goals, which are then represented in the Eisenhower matrix (Do, Schedule, Delegate, Delete).
Amanda seeks balance by:
- Taking alone time every day to meditate, walk and be in nature
- Connecting with friends – a weekly walk, a fortnightly social engagement, phone calls and a few weekend trips
- Prioritising her kids’ needs after school
- Blocking out family time each week.
She aims to create enough space in her schedule for spontaneity, “to do what I want, in the moment”. Making a plan and sticking to it has just never worked for her, as it creates too much pressure and guilt.
“I believe we need to be adaptable to allow change, and aware enough to drop things that are not aligned.”
Adapting through experience
But she wasn’t always able to value and prioritise this level of balance across work and life.
“Up until my second child was born 2013, I used to work much more, much harder. I would push myself and valued the hustle. I have slowed down since having children & adding their needs into the mix.”
Amanda also attributes learning her Human Design type with helping her let go of an attachment to busyness, and the guilt that could come with wanting to relax. She’s found working smarter, and creating more variety in her life supports both her professional outcomes and personal fulfillment.
Advice for start-up leaders and teams.
So how can founders’ time choices hold them back? Amanda says; “Not having boundaries can whittle away time”.
She warns against tying your identity to your business’s success, which can exacerbate fear of failure, triggering procrastination. Amanda also explains that deprioritising your own rest and health can lead to burnout, and “wipe days of productivity off the calendar”.
Owning her time
Amanda is aware of the subjective nature of time, how our perception of time can change with our experiences, values and mindset.
“I learned a powerful technique from William Whitecloud called Choices where each morning I tune into my various goals to see them in my mind’s eye and see them as though they are realised, feel them in my body as if they are happening, receive intuitive direction and make plans forward from there … it is a powerful and magical process, so I highly recommend that.”