Founders, Interviews

Balancing the Grind With Acascia Steedman, Co-Founder & COO at The Recipe

July 12, 2019

Acascia Steedman is the Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer at The Recipe, a social media marketing company dedicated to helping small to medium-sized New Zealand businesses.

Balance the Grind spoke to Acascia about her career start, her role as Operations Manager at The Recipe, using Sundays to prep for the weekend ahead, long term work-life balance goals, and more.

This conversation is brought to you by HelloFresh, delivering delicious ingredients and simple recipes straight to your doorstep each week.

1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your background and career?

I actually began developing my career a little earlier than most, starting out in the hospitality industry at 15 years old working at McDonald’s in my hometown Invercargill on the weekends throughout my final three years at James Hargest High School.

I graduated and moved to The University of Otago where I found a part-time job working in bars and restaurants, and quickly rose through the ranks.

I received my first duty managers certificate at 19 and made it to GM for the first time at 21 years old, from which I decided to expand on my skills and make the move to Auckland City.

It was from a quaint bar and restaurant in Remuera where I realised that social media marketing for businesses was going to be imperative for their future success and delved into further study on the subject before starting the agency!

2) What is your current role and what does it entail on a day to day basis?

Today, my partner and I own and operate The Recipe where I am the Operations Manager.

Day to day I take care of our clients, their market strategies and content, manage our team workflow, keep our accounts and systems in order and personally manage a range of social media accounts as well.

3) What does a typical day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?

A typical day in my life starts with a 7am wake-up call, and usually relax through my morning before getting to work around 8.30am.

I’ll immediately dive into my morning office routine and make sure everything is tidy for my staff to arrive, then go through my emails, check into each one of my clients social media pages, and make sure my accounts and organisation are in place for the day.

I usually block out the rest of my mornings for content creation and other client-related activities and spend my afternoons either doing more client work, producing video and photography series, in meetings or training my team.

I’ll usually leave the office around 6pm and go home for some dinner, hit the gym or the spa, and then either get in some more work hours or relax with my partner and watch one of our favourite TV shows before heading back to bed around midnight.

4) Do you have any tips, tricks or shortcuts to help you manage your workload and schedule?

I typically spend an hour or two on a Sunday preparing for my week ahead, and always start the week with a list of activities to complete as well as setting goals around any objectives I have set for the business.

I also have a great network of staff, contractors and mentors who help me manage the workload and plan for the business’s growth effectively.

5) In between your job, life and all your other responsibilities, how do you ensure you find some sort of balance in your life?

Balance has been a tricky one to get right – especially because social media is a 24/7 operation.

I’ve learned that having balance means taking care of the most important activities at any one time, and sometimes the most important activity might be something like getting a good sleep or getting in some fitness.

6) What does work life balance mean to you?

Work life balance to me means taking care of the major priorities to live as a healthy and fulfilled human being.

7) What do you think are some of the best habits you’ve developed over the years to help you strive for success and balance?

Some of the best habits I’ve developed have included writing gratitude journals, consistently setting up daily and weekly tasks and objectives, and learning to use the calendar and reminders suite to its full advantage.

8) Are there any books that have helped you improve over the years?

I’m a big reader and there are a number of volumes that have helped me immeasurably over the years.

Firstly, there is a book series by 99U and Behance that talk about creativity, the mind, and building a business with impact. Secondly, a volume called The E-Myth Revisited. And finally, Think And Grow Rich.

9) What is the number one thing you do to make sure you get the most out of your day?

Always starting my day the same way – by checking out the lay of the land and making sure I’m organised! It gives me great clarity and peace of mind to focus on what I need to.

10) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

There has been a lot of conversation in the media lately about work-life balance and even reducing the hours that we work (such as the 4-hour work week).

To me, there’s no ‘right answer’ in the best way to live because everyone desires something different.

My long term goal is success and sustainability for my (and my family’s) future and from this perspective, I know that everyone has the same 24 hours in a day and those that are the most successful grow their resilience and work ethic, and make the most of what we are given. Every day. Without fail.

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