Isabella Hynes is the Founder & Director of Arch Rivals Marketing, a digital marketing agency specialising in social media, content creation and web design.
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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I have worked in the digital marketing space for the last 7 years.
I started off my career working for fashion retailer, Coco & Lola before I moved to Pacific Magazines where I was the digital marketing executive for BEAUTYcrew, marie claire, InStyle and Girlfriend magazine.
I left my full-time role 6 months ago and threw everything into building my own business – a social media and digital marketing agency – Arch Rivals Marketing.
Just because I felt like I didn’t have enough on my plate I also launched my second business, Arch Rivals Curated by Design which sells limited edition and bespoke art pieces working with local and upcoming artists and photographers.
2) What does a typical day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
No day is ever the same for me!
If I had to pin point a “typical” day though, it would start around 7am in bed; I do my first instagram check for the day of all the accounts I manage and look over my schedule for the next 2 days to make sure I am prepared for the next 48 hours.
I then get up, have my first coffee and go over all my emails and any urgent work generally from the dining table! I then head either into my office or to a client’s office to work with them.
I try and keep a normal routine and head to the gym around 6pm and then will come and do a few more hours working from home. I am often on the road so it’s not unusual for me to pull out my laptop in the car and do some work between meetings!
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
That is one of the biggest perks of working for yourself!
For the first 4 months I worked from home which was great a the start but soon the boundaries between personal and professional were becoming even more blurred and I decided to move into an “office space.”
Now based in a co-working space that was a natural next step! It offers flexibility, a sense of community and collaborative minds which are all great when it comes to building a business.
In saying that, I am still on the road most days – meeting with clients or shooting content so I don’t ever spend a full week there!
4) Do you have any tips, tricks or shortcuts to help you manage your workload and schedule?
My diary is my life, I keep my iCal always up to date even if it means creating an “appointment” for myself with work due on a certain day.
I check this in the morning from bed to suss out what my day holds. But my little tip is don’t just check that day, check the next day too – this ensures you aren’t caught by surprise and can prepare anything you need to for the day ahead.
I also love my weekly planner – on Monday I will sit down and write mini goals for each day including anything social or personal related. I find it so satisfying to highlight off the achieved tasks!
5) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
When you are starting a business, there is no such thing as work-life balance. Your work becomes all-consuming and it’s important you work out your own version of balance – this is different for everyone.
For me, I make sure I fit in everything in my “hours” that just might not be in set/regular work hours.
If I want to go to a Pilates class in the middle of the day when it’s quiet, I do. Go for lunch with a friend? Great, but maybe I will do some work on the weekend as well.
It also has changed over the last 6 months – when I was first starting out I didn’t need “full-time work hours” for the clients I was servicing, so I could take a step back and enjoy a bit of a break.
Now with more than 10 clients on the books, the business is more time consuming but I still make time for the things I love.
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?
Building a business is a long-term strategy and not a quick win.
I like to think of it as a marathon, not a sprint – it’s important to set guidelines and keep a balanced personal life on the side as you will be much more successful in the long run and not end up burning out. My mum is the first person to remind me of this!
I also maintain – in order to achieve success and balance you need excellent time management skills – I always plan my days well so I am using my time efficiently and prioritising the most ‘urgent’ tasks.
With the world of digital everything moves quickly and often things pop up at the last minute. So even if I have a deadline that is a few weeks away, if I have time I always get it done early to allow for the last minute client requests.
7) Are there any books that have helped you improve over the years?
Whilst holidaying in Singapore just before I came back and decided to hand in my resignation I read Lisa Messenger’s book Daring & Disruptive. My dad had picked it up for me as he thought it seemed like a great read for me and he was right.
That book is what made me decide to officially make the move and I spent the rest of the holiday designing logos, building a website and coming up with a strategy – all easy tasks with a cocktail in hand.
8) What is the number one thing you do to make sure you get the most out of your day?
Sounds silly, but get up at a normal time. Working for yourself is great and flexible but a business is a full-time commitment and you need to treat it like that.
Yes, I could sleep in and work later, but I find setting my alarm early and getting up and moving helps me to start the day on a good note and maximise my time so I can avoid working until late at night.
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
Intern, intern, intern! If you are just starting out or still at university, even if you aren’t obliged to take on work experience, do it.
I had numerous internships over the years when studying and I believe it gave me a big edge when looking for that first full-time job. In fact, one of my internships was at marie claire magazine before I even moved to Sydney and having a contact there allowed me to reconnect and land my full-time role!
Finally, don’t focus or benchmark yourself against others. Work hard, stay focused on your own goals and leverage the support of others around you. It is your path and you just need to follow your instinct and do the right thing for you.
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