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CEOs / Founders / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Jacqueline Garrett, Founder & CEO of GGWP Academy

Jacqueline Garrett is the Founder & CEO of GGWP Academy, which supports gamers and esports athletes worldwide by providing; education and opportunity.

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

As a startup founder I personally really enjoy the problem solving and lateral thinking part of the challenge.

It means that my exceptionally varied experience doesn’t go to waste. I can draw on every aspect of it. I’ve always been someone who thinks differently, achieves quickly, is bored easily and is curious about everything.

As such, I left school at a young age and worked many different roles, so ‘doing’ and ‘trial and error’ have always been my default. If you looked at my career through a traditional lens alongside an honest account of my resume, you would wonder how did that happen?

When I founded my first startup, it became clear that I had simply been acquiring as much knowledge as possible and preparing for startup life.

I’ve worked in: retail, admin, events, music production, hospitality, pharmacy, high end jewellery design, scuba diving, recruitment, big box management, project manager, business development, marketing, communications and (one of my favorites) training facilitation in aviation for engineering apprentices.

Somewhere in there, I also went back to study Open Foundation and into a B Communications, majoring in PR & Marketing.

Startup is where I was always meant to be and my current role as CEO utilizes skills from almost every one of these at some point. Especially since I started off as a solo founder. At that point you have to be everything in every role.

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

Wake up, caffeinate a few times while checking all social channels and emails then take husband to work and son to school.

Plan day ahead, factoring schedule of pre booked zoom calls (thanks Covid-19). This schedule, especially recently, has been quite erratic due to fundraising in particular.

Our market for users, partners and investors are mostly in the US/EU, so I’m consistently up till 3am for calls and often have more beginning at 930am.

I usually take time in the mornings to work on project work like preparing; pitch documents, due diligence data room access or documents, partnership proposals, training material, scripting or catching up on sleep.

In the afternoon, I network online via Twitter, Discord and LinkedIn, researching, reaching out and following up on all current dealflow. It’s super important to build your network and public image during this time of WFH. It’s all that people will see of you before a zoom call, so make it count.

I then pick up my son from school and come home until soccer training, online in-game coaching, swimming or we go to the skatepark until I pick my husband up from work. Then dinner and family time till my son goes to sleep.

From 9pm until 1am-3am I’m typically back on Zoom and communicating with my team on marketing and product development. Rinse repeat.

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

One of the very fantastic aspects about working in the gaming and esports industry is that ALL of it is online. We’ve always worked remotely, even before Covid-19 hit.

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

Work-life balance to me right now is; being able to be a mum while building a 9-figure business.

Working from home, helping with homework or homeschooling when needed and negotiating international deals in between. It’s sleeping between 10am – 2pm because I had calls till 3. I think it’s mostly about the flexibility for our current stage in life.

Of course I look forward to a time when I can hire a US Business Development Manager and ease back on the late nights and have community managers to help look after customer requests. All these things will better balance my life in the future.

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

I’ll be honest, fundraising our seed round has definitely changed my routine. I use to have a lot more structure to my schedule but when you begin dealing with investors, you’re at their mercy when it comes to timing, so you make it work regardless.

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

My Logitech C922 webcam and headset make zoom life good plus my 10in ring light and AK Racing chair!

Business: Email, Trello, Facebook Messenger, Canva, Discord and all socials.

Personal: TikTok, Alto (game), Beem It, Discord, Netflix.

Nothing out of the ordinary!

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

Melanie Perkins – Canva.

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

Take it easy on yourself. No routine or period of hard work lasts forever. We get through it and change what isn’t working eventually. There will be times where It’s necessary to throw balance out the window, just make sure to rectify as soon as able.

I also consider hustle culture to be a part of the problem. Gary Vee does not define you, don’t compare yourself to others and don’t allow outside judgement to affect you. Listen to yourself and your family. At the end of the day, they’re the only ones who care about you.

I’ve set a personal goal to semi retire in 7 years and become an angel investor focused on other female led startups. I look forward to that work- life balance.

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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.