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Balancing the Grind with Franz Phillip Siasat, Co-Founder of Zolo Australia

Franz Phillip Siasat is the co-founder of Zolo Australia, a tech startup working with businesses to manage their technology waste in a sustainable way.

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

I’m a former 9-5er turned full time entrepreneur. I started my career in Marketing at Optus in 2015. I’ve done and been exposed to various marketing practices during my time at Optus and just last July 2020, in the middle of a pandemic, I took a leap of faith and decided to resign. 

Two things that ignited the decision to resign.

First one was the pandemic — The lockdown definitely was a huge factor as to why I resigned. I suppose the lockdown changed my perspective in life overall. Being isolated forced me to recalibrate the kind of life I want to live. It also forced me to dig deeper and look for my why and my purpose. Which I know now and I’m very grateful for it!

Last one was the tragic death of Kobe Bryant. I never had a father-figure growing up as I lost my dad to cancer when I was young. Throughout my teenage years, there’s always been a void due to the loss of my father.

I’ve always looked up to and admired athletes to somehow fill that void — they demonstrated the importance of hard-work and discipline and how those two elements would always translate to success and greatness. Kobe Bryant was very influential to my life. Through watching his interviews and keynote presentations I’ve learnt all about the Mamba Mentality.

When Kobe passed, it revealed to me that life is short. I know it’s cliché, but that really changed my perspective in life. So I made a promise to myself to pursue my dreams, take action and take risks.

Fast forward to this day, I’m a Co-founder (along with my childhood friend, Ryan) of a tech start-up, Zolo. Zolo supports businesses to properly manage their technology waste in a way that’s better for the planet, and better for the people too!

We collect e-waste/old tech. Delivering that same tech to kids and communities in need. Creating equal learning and access opportunities for more. I feel like I’m doing a pitch right now! Head to zolo.com.au for more! 

In terms of how I ended up launching a business, that’s another story for another day! 

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

I’m all about routine! To the point where I get really obsessive about it. I’ll give you a run-down of a day-in-life.

It starts at 5am. Yes I’m a morning person! Always been and always will be. I meditate for half an hour then go to the gym to lift heavy stuff. After the gym, I then go to the park to walk my pride and joy, the love of my life, my 15-week old puppy, Lorenzo. 

I get home around 8am. Shower, get dressed then go to my local cafe and respond to emails and do some “reflective work”. Reflective work consists of me planning my day and how I should spend my time. 

I then go to the office. In terms of my workday, it actually varies, but right now, I’ve been spending a lot of time creating pitch decks and delivering pitches. Also chatting with my mentors and other entrepreneurs about delivering high level pitches. We’re at the point where we’re scaling. Which is very exciting! 

I get home around 4PM to walk Lorenzo again then go to my 5:15pm yoga class to unwind and let go of everything that happened during the day. I’m a big advocate of yoga — I practice everyday. It’s life changing. I can go all day about my relationship with yoga. Again. Another story for another day.

After yoga, I go home, prep dinner. I’m in bed by 8:30PM. No screens. Just a book. Bed time is 9pm. That’s my routine and this is why I’m still single. 

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

Yes and this is something I do not take for granted. Being self-employed, I now have the opportunity to be flexible in terms of work arrangements. I suppose I have my non-negotiables and those are meditation, gym and yoga. I prioritise those 3 above all else as they help me do what I do at a high-level. 

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

To me, work-life balance is all about time management, being organised and having a clear plan of attack to achieve your goals. You have to map out the journey. Every single step. And that includes rest as well. Rest is part of the journey and you need to factor that in. 

I rely on my calendar a lot. Like my calendar runs my life! Every single thing I do is in my calendar. When I shower, when Lorenzo showers. I don’t do to-do lists, I schedule everything in my calendar as that’s what I find best for me. Everything is diarised. 

So in terms of achieving the goal, it’s all about being obsessed with the details. The little things. The steps. Oftentimes I get too overwhelmed because I’m focused too much on the outcome. Focussing too much on the outcome distracts me from the things I need to do right now to achieve my goals. So literally, taking it one day at a time and enjoying every single step. Being present during the process.

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

I stopped journalling! I know! I need to introduce this once again. I stopped journalling ever since I got a puppy actually. Having a puppy is a full-time job! I underestimated the workload associated with it!

I used to journal a lot! Especially during COVID. There’s something therapeutic and satisfying behind writing my thoughts and stream of consciousness down on paper. 

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

Okay where do I start?

Favourite book of all time is Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. This helped me overcome depression and anxiety in my early 20s. It preaches the importance of being present and taught me all about the ego.

The Laws of Human Nature by Robert Greene is another one. This book taught me all about empathy and helped me decode the behavior of the people around me, which is very critical in the world of business.

One thing I’d recommend: Kobe Bryant interviews. There are plenty on YouTube — my favourite one is his interview with Patrick Bet-David. 

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

Canva. I’m a big Canva fan. I’m a fan of the product, I’m a fan of the company and I’m a fan of Melanie Perkins. I once sent an email to Melanie Perkins saying thank you for being an inspiration. And she replied!

I may or may have not framed her email. Just kidding! Anyways, I’m going off topic here. Yes, I definitely cannot live without Canva. The business was built and runs through Canva. Saved us a lot of money actually. 

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

The one and only, Melanie Perkins.  I hope Melanie sees this.

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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.