Interviews

Balancing the Grind With Amy Eglin, Commercial Account Manager at Decision Tech

September 3, 2019

Amy Eglin is the Commercial Account Manager at Decision Tech, a company which creates comparison experiences that help connect users with the very best products and services.

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

I got into my industry by total accident – I was looking for a temporary job immediately after finishing my masters degree and a stint travelling, whilst I figured out what it was that I wanted to do (the downside of getting a masters in Middle Eastern politics is that job roles aren’t hugely obvious) and a friend referred me to an admin role in an affiliate marketing agency.

I immediately fell in love with the nature of affiliate marketing, with collaboration and strategy being the key pillars in everything you do. I spent the next few years moving my way up to a senior position within the company, working on the planning and implementation of campaigns, managing budgets and strategy for big name brands.

I had the good fortune of being given a lot of responsibility early on, from managing multi million pound budgets through to pitching for new business with household name brands. I’ve had the opportunity to manage programs for the likes of Vodafone and Sky, alongside a number of fashion and travel brands.

At the beginning of the year, I moved companies to work with a heavier focus on the commercial relationships within the comparison site space. My role now is to work with brands to build out and implement effective strategies and campaigns within the price comparison space that deliver incremental and commercial growth for both sides.

This includes things like contract negotiations and sales straight through to data analysis and working closely with our development and product teams to build out cool tech that’s never been tried before.

With clients including TalkTalk, Virgin Media, Shell and SSE, I have scope to work on some really innovative and exciting projects at the forefront of digital marketing.

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

I wake up early and out the doors at around 6:30am to commute in (with ample coffee) for about 8:30. I find getting in 30 minutes early always boosts my productivity, meaning I can start to tick off emails and small outstanding tasks before the meetings and questions begin.

Mornings are typically internal meetings, calls with clients and working on upcoming deadlines.

I almost religiously try to go to the gym at lunch as I think it’s crucial to take a break in the day and get moving when you do a primarily desk based job. Being active has a direct correlation with my mental state and the quality of work I produce.

Afternoons I try to spend on project based bits, as I find I work best later in the day when I can put my headphones on and get lost in something. All of this is intermingled with external meetings, presentations, pitches, conferences and a good few client lunches.

3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?

My current company allow me to start and end work at times that suit me (within reason, in a client facing role) which is great for when I have plans in the evening and want to begin and finish early.

I don’t often work from home, however, as I’m one of the few that misses the hustle and bustle of an office and being able to talk face to face with ease.

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

I am a crazy list maker and find I work most productively and with the most focus when I am literally crossing tasks off a piece of paper.

I also try and create master documents with as many excel formulas included for everything I do, from presentations to data analysis and forecasting sheets – the more I can automate, the better, and it’s worth spending the time on setting them up as it speeds up processes moving forwards.

Finally, I’ve learned the importance of prioritisation and understanding business priorities; one of the best pieces of advice I’ve received is to always communicate what you’re doing to the people around you and get confident in pushing back so that people understand timelines and can manage expectations on workload.

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5) What does work life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?

Work life balance is crucial to me. One of my most important mantras is “what you do or don’t do at work today isn’t going to kill anyone”. I think it’s so important to keep your job in perspective with the world at large, as it removes some of the stress, panic and sense of being overwhelmed, which inevitably comes with a fast paced and high pressured role.

I try not to work too late in the evening too often, I very rarely work on the weekend and I definitely don’t think about work on holiday – Much like eating dinner not too late, I think this gives you time to digest.

It means I come in to work refreshed, enthusiastic and ready to give 100% effort. So long as you give your all during working hours, I see nothing wrong with this and I am a firm believer that if you are consistently working longer than your contracted hours then you either aren’t working efficiently or you have to look at your workload and delegate appropriately.

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

Firstly, always put your all into what you do and if you simply don’t want to do that, change jobs. You spend something like 70% of your life at work, find something you love doing and the rest will follow.

Be kind on yourself and honest – you will never know absolutely everything, it’s ok to say “I don’t know, but I’ll find out”.

Always learn from others, don’t be afraid to delegate to an appropriate person and take time to know your strengths and weaknesses and how to improve on them.

Practise makes perfect, don’t stop when it gets hard. Ask for help when you need it, it isn’t weakness. Push yourself out of your comfort zone and embrace the panic (it won’t ever last forever but you’ll certainly learn from the hard lessons). When you stop learning, change what you’re doing.

If you have pre-arranged plans outside of work, don’t get into the habit of cancelling them for work. In 10 years time you won’t ever regret that one day you didn’t work late, but you might regret not taking the time to meet a friend or family member. Remember to reward yourself.

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

I don’t particularly take inspiration from books as I struggle to remember to use the tips and tricks in practise but I instead take inspiration from the people around me, both professionally and personally.

I try to identify what makes people great at their jobs or at a particular skill and will then try to emulate those qualities in my own way. I can’t tell you a title of a self help book I remember being inspired by but I can tell you at least 5 people who have been direct influencers in who I am and how I work today.

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

Always have an achievable/realistic plan(s) for each day, regardless of the actual size of a piece of work or project. I typically know what I want to achieve every day before I get to work, even if it’s just a few outstanding tasks or a drop in the ocean within a huge ongoing project.

I find it helps focus your day, gives an immediate purpose and direction and keeps you on track when extra bits inevitably start being thrown your way.

The second thing is that if you’re just really not feeling something on a given day, switch it up and do something different, if possible. There’s no point sitting and stressing over something if your head just isn’t in it as you inevitably waste time when you could be doing something more productive. Tomorrow is a new day and your head space will be completely different.

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

Say yes to as much as possible – life is about trying new things, pushing yourself, creating and enjoying new opportunities for yourself – but also get comfortable with the word “no” (as a positive, not a dirty word) and when you need to use it.

Take time to do the things you enjoy and which give you a release – for me, that’s things like yoga, travel, gardening, practising a language or a glass of wine (or few)! These things are just as important as the work you do, do not forget about them or silo them.

Share your experiences! My friends and family are brilliant for bringing new perspective, calling me out on the things I’m doing right, wrong or could do differently in my working life, despite knowing nothing about how to do my job.

My colleagues are equally incredible when I need advice or when I want to share how I’m feeling about the work I’m doing.

We particularly all have a habit of assuming we are the only one feeling stressed, overwhelmed, overworked, a bit confused or doubtful of our abilities but, in reality, I have never expressed these feelings without someone saying, “I feel like that, how can we fix it?/I’ve felt like that before, perhaps this will help.”

A problem shared is truly a problem halved and the people around you at work should be able to help make you more productive, collaborative, insightful and enthusiastic.

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