Sean Melis is the CEO & Founder of bot•hello, one of Australia’s leading chatbot development agencies and bot development platforms.
1. To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
Sure thing, and thanks for having me!
My career background is a bit of a mess. While studying Finance & IT at university I worked in a range of roles including graphic design, video editing, sales, web design, and event management.
After graduating, I landed my dream job as a Technology Consultant at Deloitte, working across APAC in data analytics/strategy, IoT, and Robotic Process Automation projects.
After a rough stint working in China, I resigned to give entrepreneurship a crack. Similarly to my uni days, I tried a bunch of different things.
This included freelancing, cryptocurrency trading, and starting a PowerPoint template e-commerce store. However, it was the crypto-trading that led me to reconnect with an old high-school friend, who is now my Co-Founder.
Before starting our current business, Jay and I spent a number of months trading cryptocurrency and managing dropshipping stores. And it was through the dropshipping that we discovered the power of Facebook Messenger chatbots for managing high volumes of customer service queries.
Today, I am the CEO & Founder of bot•hello, one of Australia’s leading chatbot development agencies and bot development platforms. In 2 years we’ve worked on over 30 bespoke chatbot projects for brands like Youfoodz, Maybelline, Lancôme, the Brisbane Lions, Goodlife Health Clubs, and Splendour in the Grass.
2. What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
Pre-COVID I had a really structured and intense routine. 4 AM wake-up, cold shower, meditation, reading, journaling, running 5km to the gym—the whole bit. Now, not so much.
I sleep without an alarm and get my exercise in when I feel like it. I suppose I’m still adjusting to the change and figuring out what works best for me. Admittedly, building routine back into my life is on my to-do list and something I know I need to incorporate once again.
A typical workday involves writing process documentation, managing new and existing client work, calls with prospects, and reading a fiction novel to get my mind off everything.
3. Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
I actually spend a lot of my time re-designing our businesses systems and processes to enable efficient remote work within our team. I’m not going to lie, it hasn’t been easy making the transition from a managerial perspective. Client management, time-tracking, task accountability, daily processes—it’s a lot to incorporate and manage remotely.
However, we’re getting there.
As a consultant by trade, I thrive in complexity and problem-solving. I enjoy the challenge and understand that there are people out there dealing with a lot worse than me right now—so I always try to stay grateful and appreciate that I own a business that is still able to operate in these times.
4. What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
To me, work-life balance means structuring your day how you want as long as you’re making progress towards whatever goals you’ve set for the day/week/month/year. If you’re working 100 hour weeks, but you absolutely love what you do, so be it!
As long as you’re working towards your goals in a sustainable way and reinforcing behaviours that contribute to a healthy lifestyle—work when you want, and how you want—just don’t neglect those that you love.
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?
Making a conscious and concerted effort to reduce the amount of time I use my phone.
The best thing I ever did was move my phone charger outside of my bedroom so that I start and end the day without my phone. This gives my mind a chance to relax, think, and get creative. Many of my mornings and evenings are spent meditating, reading, journaling, or brainstorming ideas.
Additionally, I’ve also deleted all social media apps off my phone (apart from Facebook Messenger) and installed a number of news feed blocking extensions in Google Chrome to stop me from scrolling.
I don’t think I’d be where I am today if I didn’t have these measures in place regarding social media and phone usage. It’s just far too distracting otherwise.
6. Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
These three books have had the greatest impact on my life:
- Awaken the Giant Within by Tony Robbins
- How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
- Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport
Books are everything. Don’t underestimate the importance of consistent self-education. You are always one book away from drastically changing your life.
7. What is the number one thing you do to make sure you get the most out of your day?
8. If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
Melanie Perkins. She’s awesome.
9. Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
Life’s too short to be spending your time working on things that you don’t care about. You are in more control of your destiny than you probably think, just take the leap and go pursue the things that light your soul on fire.
There’s really no time for anything else.
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