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Balancing the Grind with Dan Siepen, Head of Growth & Marketing at WELLSHARE Australia

Dan Siepen is an experienced Growth Marketing Consultant and successful startup founder who’s previously founded one of Australia’s top coding schools and built Australia’s largest growth hackers community.

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

I started my career whilst also co-founding my first business. Whilst at university, I joined a startup as an intern and later became a Co-founder of the business which was a coding school. 

I quickly realised University nor my degree at the time was going to serve me in my progression for my career (at all to be honest), especially with my love for Startups and growth marketing. So, I quickly realised that joining a startup would significantly accelerate my skill set. 

Several years later, the business I was a part of turned from when I was 20 then turned into a million-dollar business by the age I was 24 and expanded across cities Sydney, Melbourne & Brisbane. 

After enjoying the amazing ride of the business, I went into Growth Marketing Consulting where I saw the opportunity to really refine my execution skills and work more on Strategy for fast-growing startups and some of Australia’s best brands.

It was a great opportunity to help me decide my next steps in my Marketing and Startup career whilst also gaining a lot of experience working with industries I never thought I’d ever work with. 

In the early years during the first business and consulting, I built a large growth hackers community in Sydney & Australia which gave me the opportunity to host events that got over 100+ people and met some of Australia’s + the world’s top growth hackers & marketers. 

Now, I work as the Head of Growth & Marketing at a new exciting Health Startup whilst also consulting for a few other exciting startups. I’m also exploring exciting passion projects around tech & startups.

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

One day is never the same in the world of a Growth Marketer – and that’s exactly why I love my job so much. 

However, due to the fluctuations of a marketer’s workday, having consistency around my hours outside of work is important. 

I normally wake up at about 6.30am and head to the gym 3 mornings a week and do a 30 min run on the treadmill. I make it a habit to try not check my emails even though I may be expecting something important. 

After a shower in the morning whether I’ve gone to the gym or not at around 7am, I check my emails and slack. However, I don’t respond to anything until I get to the office. This gives me time to think about the key priorities for the day on my walk to work. 

When I get to the office and before I action anything, I check my calendar and also my Asana/to-do lists. I then make sure these platforms are up to date and then plan out the day ahead. 

I find this process great for ensuring I “time-box” myself to ensure tasks get done fast and efficiently. 

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

Currently it’s a combination of both. I have a lot of trust from the founder I work with who gives me the power to essentially choose my hours and days I decide when to work from home or not. 

I tend to work 3 days in the office and 2 at home. 

It’s a great balance for me personally as I do have a lot of meetings with the team and clients/users which are great for when I’m in the office. Then for 2 days a week. I do my absolute best to ensure they are ‘no-meeting days’.

These 2 days are very critical to ensure I get on top of all the work planned out for the week and ensure I hit deadlines for time sensitive tasks. 

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

I think if you’re truly passionate about what you do and love it, having ‘true’ work-life balance is hard because ultimately you tend to think and want to work on whatever it is you care about. 

Having said this, pushing yourself to where you become mentally exhausted or even starting to experience consistent fatigue, then it’s crucial to find a balance in how you approach your work and life. 

I’m fortunate enough to have an amazing partner, family and friends who are understanding of my 60 hour workweeks because I’m so passionate about what I do. However, work will never compromise important time to spend with my family, my partner and loved ones. 

My days would tend to be from 8am – 6.30/7pm. I make sure to close the laptop and make dinner with my partner. After dinner, it’s either watching something interesting, doing a fun activity or heading to a friend’s house to catch up.

If I decide to work on fun side projects or do educational courses, I make sure to have clear goals and time-box these after work to ensure I don’t burn out.

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5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?

To be honest nothing significant or ground-breaking. Having said this, I have signed up to Headspace to do some meditation. 

I’ve been told over years that meditation has worked wonders for many startup founders or those who put in serious hours for their work. 

Whilst early stages thus far, it’s been a great addition to my daily routine

6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?

I do have an extensive list of all the above because I’m a sponge when it comes to consuming interesting content both professionally and personal. Here’s a breakdown between the two:

Professional: 

  • Trends.VC (Newsletter)
  • TLDR; Marketing Newsletter (Newsletter)
  • How I Built This (Podcast)
  • Perpetual Traffic (Podcast)
  • Hooked (Nir Eyal)
  • Disciplined Entrepreneurship (Bill Aulet)

Personal:

  • Morning Brew Newsletter (Newsletter)
  • The Skimm (Newsletter)
  • The Mindset Mentor (Podcast)
  • Ted Talks Daily (Podcast)
  • The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck (Book)
  • Atomic Habits – James Clear (Book)

7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?

For me these would be the list of thing I can’t live without: 

  • Product Hunt (Where I check out the new tools everyday)
  • Asana (Key projects + Tasks)
  • To-doist (Immediate tasks)
  • Gmail (Email)
  • Slack (Comms)
  • ABC (News App)
  • Fox Sports (Get my sports fix)
  • Notion (Personal Projects + Life Admin)

8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be? 

To be honest that’s a hard one to answer. Rather than someone specifically, it would have to be entrepreneurs who are currently building a $10million – $100million business. Not the Jeff Bezos’ of the world but real founders and how they do it. 

Finding how they manage time and especially energy day-to-day to be in peak performance. 

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

It comes down to following your gut. I can’t stress that enough. There’s lots of advice around finding the best work-life balance. 

Hearing all perspectives and lessons is important. Then, when it comes down to practice, it comes down to what you think works best. 

It’s forever evolving and there’s no simple process to it. 

I think if you ask this question often to yourself, “Am I having fun doing this?” – This will he,p determine if you’re on the right path. 

After all, if you’re not having fun and enjoying your work and life, then something needs to change.

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About Author

Balance The Grind gives me a platform to talk to these people about how they're achieving their ideal lifestyle. I'm inspired by the passion, the work ethic, the hustle; and these conversations motivate me to live life the way I want to live it.