Mia Klitsas is a Melbourne based entrepreneur and the Director & Co-Founder of MOXIE, providing women’s personal care products to major retailers around Australia and across the globe.
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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I studied Marketing at uni (Melbourne’s RMIT) and whilst I was completing an internship placement at Philip Morris, my then boss at the time (who in turn became my business partner) and I had the idea for Moxie products.
I was fortunate to have predominantly worked in new product/brand development and commercialisation during my internship as this was really helpful in developing and launching my own brand.
The idea for Moxie came about as a result of my own personal pain point with personal care products at the time, when most came in cardboard flip-top boxes that always broke open in my bag, damaging the products inside.
Moxie tampons, complete in purse-worthy re-fillable, reusable and recyclable little tins, were launched nationally into Woolworths stores in February 2006.
We’ve since expanded the range to include other products within the category and are ranged in national retail chains both in Australia and OS, as well as being sold online via our ‘Moxie Box Club’ e-store and subscription service.
My current role is wide and varied and I’m still incredibly hands on in the business and the day-to-day running. Technically I’m the MD but I’ve never been precious about title or what I do – whether that’s developing products, pitching at the retail level, packing boxes or doing the post office run.
As long as what I’m doing matters and impacts the business in a positive way! I’ve also recently launched a podcast called Girl’s Got Moxie which I’m recording, editing and releasing myself, so it’s been a great challenge and learning curve – I’m really enjoyed sinking my teeth into something new.
2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
I’ve just got back from a much needed break overseas, which was actually a great opportunity for me to re-set, re-prioritise and re-focus my time. Two months ago I was working seven days, at all hours, and really couldn’t separate work and work life from everything else. I needed a circuit breaker!
Since I’ve been back, I’ve decided that my work day doesn’t start until I get to the office, and it ends when I leave (I no longer take my laptop or my work home, if I can avoid it!). I’ll start by checking emails and social channels and will respond to whatever is urgent/important. Anything else goes on my ‘to-do’ list for future Mia to deal with!
There will often be a morning meeting of some sort with my whole team or with an individual silo, which I like to do walking or standing, because I’ve learned over the years that it’s a more efficient way to have meetings – when everyone is seated and too comfortable, meetings become more formal and can often drag on.
We’ve also just re-launched our entire range and have created some new innovative products, so much of my days at the moment are spent strategizing on getting those going, from a sales and also a marketing perspective.
I’ll have podcast interviews once or twice a week, which either take place in my office or at my house not too far away, and I like to dedicate some time to giving back in some way, whether that be mentoring or volunteering.
No two days are the same! Which is what really keeps me motivated and still so excited about the business and brand all these years later.
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
Yes absolutely! This is so much easier than I first thought, and so I’ve been doing a bit more of it lately. I used to feel really guilty about not being in the office and whilst my preference is to be in the thick of it with my team, I think being able to step away is a sign that you trust what they’re doing when you’re not there.
If you’re surrounded by A-players, then you should be able to be more flexible because you don’t have to micro-manage people. My role doesn’t really require me to be in the office all the time – I can work anywhere with my laptop, phone and wi-fi.
I also really appreciate a change of scenery – there’s something about it that’s motivating and inspiring for me.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
At the start of this year I did a ‘keep doing, start doing, stop doing’ exercise with myself, where I reviewed all that I had done in that year to date, and it really helped me to re-focus my time and decide what was really important to me/what really mattered (and what didn’t).
I think it’s critical to check-in with yourself regularly and to ask yourself if what you’re spending the majority of your time on is really contributing to your goals.
As I alluded to earlier, I think I’ve spent the last couple of years like a hamster on a wheel who doesn’t know how to get off, so I’ve now decided (as of only a few days ago actually!) that all work stuff stays at work.
I don’t bring my laptop home anymore because it’s too tempting. For me it’s very much ‘out of sight of out mind’ type situation, so it’s important that I can fully remove myself from my regular working environment and dedicate my attention to my home life (including self-care and mental/physical well-being).
Having other distractions and things you love doing are also important in giving your mind and body a rest from the daily grind. For me, that’s exercise, hanging out with friends on the weekend, listening to podcasts, walking my dog, eating a good meal that’s been cooked with friends… simple pleasures!
5) What do you think are some of the best habits or routines that you’ve developed over the years to help you achieve success in your life?
I wouldn’t say I’ve achieved ‘success’ as such because it feels a bit finite to me – there’s still much to do! I would say it’s more like a sense of harmony or a sense of achievement.
Meditation is a huge one for me – everyone talks about it but it really did completely change my mindset.
Sometimes my meditations are the classic, arguably stereotypical type: sitting cross-legged, back straight, in a quiet space, eyes closed, repeating a mantra in my head – and other times, it might be me sitting on a plane or train with my headphones in, listening either to a podcast or music I love and being completely immersed in that and only that.
I think of meditation as achieving a singular thought, or no thought at all – which helps clear space in my head for when I’m in a more conscious state and need to use my brain.
Another thing I do which has been game-changing for me has been to write my to-do list for the following day the night before. At the end of each work day, I look through my main to-do list and pick out all the items that are urgent, important, or that will directly impact the bottom line in a positive way.
Those are the things that take priority, so I write them down on a separate piece of paper, close the big list down and focus only on those tasks until I complete them. Then and only then do I re-look at the list, and select the next set of tasks.
I procrastinate otherwise and do the easy things first so that I can just tick them off my list, which isn’t actually efficient at all!
6) Are there any books that have helped you improve over the years?
I have to be honest and say I’m not massive on reading business books – I’m impatient and have a short attention span, so I prefer to meet and talk to people, or see someone talk/present live or listen to a podcast.
Some people who have inspired me on my journey are Brene Brown, John Spence and Simon Sinek for his theories around the importance of finding your WHY.
7) What is the number one thing you do to make sure you get the most out of your day?
Plan ahead, delegate where possible and don’t procrastinate! Sorry, that was three things.
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
I think that everyone does what works best for them (and, that’s different for everyone), so I like connecting with and learning from people from all walks of life because I think you can pick-up incredible hacks from those who are completely outside of your world/profession/social circle.
For example, I’d love to learn more about how a police detective whose mind is consumed by a case might switch off when they go home, or how someone who is a carer in their day job comes home and cares for their own family, and how they compartmentalise the two.
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
I feel like we’re a little hard on ourselves sometimes in trying to achieve the ultimate ‘balance’ in life and as I’ve gotten older, I’ve started to wonder whether or not there even is such a thing; or, that ‘balance’ is actually not necessarily a 50/50 split between career/personal life.
I think the balance of priorities shifts at different times of our lives – for example, there are times when business might be more of a focus because you’re working hard on achieving a goal, or, you might be keen on starting a family/being a parent and so that takes precedence.
Everyone’s idea of ‘balance’ is weighted differently and so I think it’s more realistic to think of it as a shifting needle on a broad spectrum, and that’s ok.
If you’d like to have a conversation with us about how you balance the grind, get in touch with us!