1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I’m the founder and CEO of DesignCrowd – an online design business with two products DesignCrowd.com and BrandCrowd.com. DesignCrowd is a marketplace for design that provides access to almost 1 million freelance designers from around the world while BrandCrowd is a design platform that specialises in logos.
I started DesignCrowd in 2007 at the age of 23. For two years, I bootstrapped the business and in 2009 we raised a seed round. Since then we’ve raised over $20m of venture capital, launched BrandCrowd (which is now bigger than DesignCrowd) and scaled the business globally.
Today, as CEO, I lead a team of about 80 across our Sydney headquarters and our Manila office.
2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
No two days are ever the same, but a typical work day looks something like this:
- First thing: Check emails and overnight sales results
- Before 9am: Short morning walk in Bondi with a takeaway coffee.
- Morning: Catch up on emails or Slack messages to my team with questions, feedback and updates
- Morning / Lunchtime: Personal training session (currently outdoors)
- Early afternoon: 3 to 4 scheduled meetings (currently on zoom) plus 2 to 3 calls
- Afternoon: In between meetings I’ll get some ‘real work’ done and answer more Slack messages.
- Evening: Dinner about 7pm and a break for a couple of hours.
- Late evening: more emails, ‘real work’ and follow ups
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
Our business is completely online so we’ve been lucky in that transitioning to more remote work over the last year through the pandemic and lockdowns has been relatively easy.
For me personally, working remotely has meant working from home in Bondi instead of our office in Surry Hills, Sydney. While I miss the office and being with the team (and I’m not the biggest fan of Zoom calls), working remotely from Bondi has plenty of positives.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
When you run your own business, the lines between work and life get blurred. I’ve been running my business for over 13 years. In a way, I’m obsessed with the business and I love it. I think about it all the time and I’m happy to open the laptop on weekends or holidays. So, it doesn’t feel like work to me.
At the same time, balance for me means: having time to exercise and stay fit; having plenty of time to spend with friends and family; having time for fun; and having a positive state of mind – so that I am happy whether I’m working or not!
5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
I like exercise and over the last year I’ve changed the way I exercise. I used to go to the gym a lot. Now I do strength training with a personal trainer (currently outdoors due to restrictions) and I do a lot of walking.
6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
- Book: The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz
- Podcast: How I Built This with Guy Raz by NPR
7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?
Slack and Netflix. Slack has been pivotal to streamlining the way we communicate as a company and it’s honestly something I couldn’t work without now. Netflix is my first go-to outside of work during lockdown.
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
Choose a job or start a business that you love, and it won’t feel like work!
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