Nathan Torkar is the co-founder and CEO of Solid GPS, a security startup providing state-of-the-art smart GPS trackers to protect against theft.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I knew from a young age that I never wanted to go to university and that I would start my own business.
With that in mind I took up jobs as a labourer and learnt the real value of a hard day’s work before launching my first business, Solid GPS. I’m now in charge of sales and marketing for the company while my brother handles the technical operations.
2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
My mornings are stock standard. I wake up between 7am – 8am and make a smoothie, shower and prepare for the day.
Then I head straight to my office. I’m either assembling GPS trackers, creating articles, answering customer support tickets or doing something relevant to sales and marketing.
I work like that until lunch where I have the exact same thing every day – 500 grams of broad beans in a salad.
After that I send off trackers to the post office and I’m back on the grind until dinner at 6pm and a work out following this.
My day to day routine isn’t eventful because it’s about consistency, not doing a fancy thing every week.
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
We don’t have any offices currently because there’s no point burning extra cash when we could use it to get more customers. All components meant for soldering are sent to my home, the manufacturing setup is decent and once we need to scale further, we’ll most likely outsource it.
Thankfully this means my work is very flexible and I don’t have to spend time commuting.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
A work life balance should mould to what you want out of life.
I want to grow my business so I focus on that by working long hours. It’s not really work when you enjoy doing it like I do and not much else brings this much meaning into my life.
If you want to spend as much time with your family, then make that the priority in your life and it will become the priority in your life.
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?
My number one habit is always prioritising customer needs.
Who doesn’t like it when they send through a question and get an answer within 5 minutes because they are the priority?
In addition to this, it is my ability to sit down, find the most important task to do and then finish it. Also breaking those tasks up into manageable chunks. By focusing on manageable chunks, the task doesn’t seem so intimidating and I can just get started and finish the task sooner.
6) Are there any books that have helped you improve over the years?
My top fiction book is The Alchemist. It weaves a wonderful tale of taking risks and facing challenges and it leaves readers with one of the best endings ever written.
For non-fiction I’d recommend 12 rules for life by Jordan Peterson. If you’re lost in life then reading that almost forces you into creating a beautiful foundation to build your life upon.
No matter what you think about the author, amazing ideas are amazing ideas and they should be adopted by everyone, so clean your room.
7) What is the number one thing you do to make sure you get the most out of your day?
There isn’t one thing I do everyday that would make me feel like I got the most out of my day – every day is different.
However, you can know this just by asking yourself. Deep down inside you know if you’ve done enough. Don’t mercilessly bully yourself for not doing enough work, acknowledge it and grow from it the next day.
Compare yourself to who you were yesterday and beat that sucker to a pulp (as in, do more or do better work). If you continue to do that, in a couple of months you will be unrecognizable.
In a good way.
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
All the people I admire are at the top of their corporations, all they do is make a couple of good decisions everyday. They aren’t picking and placing or on the assembly line.
It would be good to see their work-life balance when my company grows and those shoes are what I have to fill instead of working on the front line.
Right now what I have to focus on is making everyone happy and building a phenomenal product, that reality is very far from what a fortune 500 CEO does on a daily basis.
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
Figure out what you want out of life before pursuing anything. If you want to build a multinational conglomerate you’re going to have to sacrifice other things.
Maybe you want a family, or a deeper relationship with others. Life is one big opportunity cost, it’s incredibly worth it to figure out what you want before you do anything major.
For example, before going to university, complete an informational interview with someone who has a job you want in your field. Most people will say yes if you contact them and nepotism still exists, so you might even get a job out of it after your degree.
Most of the time people put in the tiniest amount of effort into everything, doing 50% more puts you 500% in front of people who don’t. Life is unfair so become the person who takes advantage of it.
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