CEOs, Interviews

Balancing the Grind With Stacey Bedford, CEO of Bandzoogle

October 10, 2019

Stacey Bedford is the CEO of Bandzoogle, a platform that helps independent and DIY musicians build websites and manage direct-to-fan marketing and sales.

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

I started breaking computers when I was 6 years old. Fast forward a decade and in my teens I spent 3 nights a week watching live music and stealing my older sister’s guitar. It was no surprise when in 2007 I started working for Bandzoogle as their only support technician.

Bandzoogle is an online platform that provides tools for musicians to build professional websites, promote their music and sell direct to fan. As our company grew, I was promoted to Head of Support and tasked with building the best customer service team on the planet.

In 2012 I was promoted again to Director of Operations, with the new directive to bring our very accomplished support team structure and practices to our business, R&D, communications and design teams.

Eighteen months ago, with the trust of our founder and our incredible team, I was promoted to CEO. It has been an unbelievable journey here.

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

My routine is what you would call agile, I waste no time. Since I work from home, I really hit the ground running and make time for my personal life throughout the day.

This is an important part of my balance, and the personal space mixed in with work time helps me to reflect and tackle complex issues.

Every morning I get up and make my bed. My partner gets our kids fed and dressed and heads to work, and I start work at 7am. For the first hour I scan and organize emails and get up to date on Basecamp (our project management tool).

At 8am I put my three young children on the bus for school and take my dog for a walk. I get back to work with a coffee and check in with my managers for about an hour. The next 2 hours are project specific meetings or check ins, where I act as product owner.

On my lunch hour every day either do HIIT, kickboxing or I go for a run. Once a week I will do beekeeping on my lunch hour.

Afternoons at Bandzoogle are free of internal meetings, so I spend an hour going over our metrics and adjusting our plans, read through member and staff feedback, plan out ways to enhance our staff happiness and support our workplace culture, and meet with other businesses.

At 3:45pm I get my kids from the bus, we play outside and then I make dinner and pack lunches for the next day. My partner and I put the kids to bed.

Every night me and my 3 kids pile into one of their beds and listen to 3 songs and talk about them. That is the best part of my day. Then, I always read for at least 2 hours; I don’t watch TV. I go to sleep around 10pm and start over.

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

Bandzoogle has always been a fully remote, distributed team. I have worked from home for the last 12 years straight! We don’t have a central office and it’s a big part of our workplace culture.

Working from home isn’t for everyone, and as an extrovert I definitely have to make a conscious effort to work socializing into my schedule.

That said, I wouldn’t say remote work is exactly flexible. When you work from home it’s important to create a routine and commit to it. That’s important for your own productivity, maintaining healthy lifestyle habits, and also to set a good example for your team.

It’s easy to fall into bad habits when you work from home, and following a set routine is key to being an effective remote worker.

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

First and foremost, you need to take care of yourself. I often hear people say there aren’t enough hours in the day, but if you can make time for Netflix and social media you can find 30 minutes to go for a walk and clear your head.

Then make that a habit, like brushing your teeth. If you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed get to the root of the issue and address it head on. Don’t let the baggage build up; you can’t take care of a company or your family if you’re not taking care of yourself.

Making time for physical activity throughout the day helps to reduce my stress, and also making sure to get at least 7 hours of sleep. Next, you need to delegate work that you don’t have to be doing and trust your staff.

As a leader, you can’t get too involved in the details and you need to focus on the big picture. You hire people because they’re the best at what they do, and you can’t spend precious time meddling. It’s not good for you, them, and ultimately your business.

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

Our time here is limited, it’s precious, and you can’t waste it being unhappy. That takes effort and awareness.

To me work life balance means being present during your work and life time, and most importantly enjoying both. If you aren’t enjoying something you need to make changes.

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?

Putting ego aside is huge. You have to be a good listener and understand how to add value to any situation, big or small. Being of service wherever I can is really gratifying and it’s great for motivation. Staying motivated and avoiding negative cycles and habits is key to my success.

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

Working for an artist centred industry, I love reading musician memoirs. My favourites are Just Kids by Patti Smith, Mo’ Meta Blues: The World According to Questlove by Questlove and Scar Tissue by Anthony Kiedis.

On the business side, one book that has always stuck with me is Built to Last. Your mission is static but how you address that will need to change if you want to have legs. You need to always listen to the changing needs of your market.

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

I make sure to have a plan. Every week our team meets and asks the same questions: What do I want to accomplish today? What are the impediments? Did I accomplish what I wanted to yesterday? Why not? I make sure to ask myself the same questions every morning. You get honest with yourself real fast.

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

Whenever I talk to people and they say they’re tired or they don’t have time I listen, but on the inside I’m shouting “make the time and get the sleep.” There is always a solution, your life is ticking by. You are in charge of writing your own story.

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