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Balancing the Grind with Stephanie King, Co-Founder & Chief Marketing Officer at Ask Marketing

Stephanie King is the co-founder & chief marketing officer at Ask Marketing, a company she founded with her sister, Ali, focused on virtual marketing management, digital advisory and education.

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

I actually started my professional career in the health and fitness space, studying exercise & sports science at uni, quite a far leap away from the marketing path I have ended up on!

I absolutely loved it and it’s an industry I am still deeply passionate about. But after graduating from that degree I realised it wasn’t the space I wanted to stay in long term, so then went back to uni for another two years and did a Master of Business, majoring in Marketing.

That was really the start of my love for marketing, and it was really in the deep midst of the latest generational tech boom – so digital marketing quickly became my world. 

Early on in my marketing career, I worked in a number of different service based businesses as a junior marketer, executing digital marketing strategies – from content planning and creation, to paid advertising and email marketing tactics. 

I then landed a bit of a dream job in the marketing team for Michelle Bridges 12 Week Body Transformation. It really was the combination of both my passions – health & fitness and digital marketing.

Over about four years there, I progressed through multiple roles, starting as Digital Marketing Coordinator and finishing as Acquisition Marketing Manager. It was such an incredible experience, working in a dynamic, super driven and agile team – I am still in close contact with each of them most weeks! 

In 2017, I partnered with my sister Ali to found Ask Marketing. It stands for Alexandra (Ali) and Stephanie King. It also represents our drive to educate and encourage people to ASK more questions within our digital industry. We exist to build exemplary marketing functions through a focus on digital strategy, tools & people.

Earlier this year, we also launched Ask Marketing Academy, an online education platform for up and coming digital marketers. We now stand as the leaders in virtual marketing management, digital advisory and education. 

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

  • 5am: I wake to an alarm (nice & calming acoustic music).
  • 5.30-6.30am: Workout in the gym – always a weights based session with a short block of explosive cardio to finish, followed by a protein shake to keep me going until mid-late morning.
  • 7-7.30am: sit down to start work (either at home, cafe or office) with a long black in hand. 
  • 7.30-11am: the morning is usually blocked out for both business & client tasks – when my creative brain is most active. 
  • 11am: stop for late brekky – usually eggs, avo and spinach on toast (if at home), or a chicken salad/sandwich if out. 
  • 11.30-5pm: this portion of the day is usually filled with client meetings and ensuring all deliverables required for the day are actioned. I try to fit in a quick 30 minute walk mid during this block to break up the arvo. 
  • 5pm: Try to switch off by 5pm each evening (sometimes this doesn’t happen naturally, but the intent is there). 
  • 5-7pm: I’m currently planning my wedding so I usually do an hour or two of wedding planning most nights – any past or current bride knows this is like a part time job!
  • 7-9.30pm: this is sacred dinner and wind down time with my partner. We will usually cook dinner and watch a Netflix show (I’m obsessed with The Good Doctor and Queen of the South lately). I also love to do colouring at night to switch off from a full day of screen time. 
  • 9.30-10am: bedtime for half an hour of reading then sleep!

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

We are a 100% virtual business – with all of our team working remotely. We set our own hours based on what works best for our bodies, working style and lifestyle. 

The quality of the businesses output is always over 110% because schedules are personalised to ensure a high performing team. 

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

Ahh, the pinnacle dream of work-life balance! This is something that I work on each and every day and week.

I’m still unsure if it can truly exist as a business owner, however I think having little rewards throughout each day or week ensures we enjoy the process – even if the rest of the days or weeks are chaotic (which they usually are!).

So some of my go-tos are: 

  • Schedule in a quick walk during the middle of the day – this is something that was a ritual within the Michelle Bridges 12WBT culture and I’ve never let it go!
  • A mid-morning pilates session once a week or fortnight .
  • Catching up with a friend for a coffee/lunch once a week or fortnight .
  • Short 5-10 minute meditation blocks dispersed throughout the day just to ground and allow myself to breathe diaphragmatically (something we all need to do more of!).
  • I am a blood donor, so once a month I donate plasma – and for anyone else that does this, knows it’s a fairly slow process (about 2 hours). So I try to take this as an opportunity to slow down and relax in a recliner chair, whilst most importantly giving back to the community. 

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

I think (like most people) during the pandemic last year the lines between work and home life were completely blurred. So there were days that you’d log on at 7am and not log off until 8-9pm because you literally didn’t need to leave your desk (or in my case dining table!). 

I’m definitely now in a much healthier routine most days, but as a business owner, of course it’s a constant juggle!

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

When it comes to books, I’m a fiction lover – it’s my sacred time at night to dive into another reality. So my go-tos are usually a thriller, mystery or romance. Some of my top recommendations would have to be:

  • The Girl On the Train – Paula Hawkins
  • Into the Water – Paula Hawkins
  • Change of Heart – Jodi Picoult
  • The Pact – Jodi Picoult 
  • The Things We Cannot Say – Kelly Rimmer
  • Before I Let You Go – Kelly Rimmer
  • Ordinary Thunderstorms – William Boyd 

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

When it comes to podcasts, I’m religious. I’ll listen to at least 1-2 per day (whilst either driving or going for walks). Some of my weekly favourites are Mumma Mia’s Outloud and The Quickie, Give It A Nudge & What the Flux. 

In the apps world, my go-tos are: 

  • Monday.com and WhatsApp for work team and client comms 
  • ClassPass – for pilates and yoga classes 
  • Insight Timer – for my meditation

My Apple Watch is also on my wrist every day – tracking my workouts, steps and hourly reminders throughout the day to stop and breeeeeeathe. 

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

Mia Freedman, Co-Founder of MamaMia.

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

I’ll be honest and say I’m still yet to find that beautiful sweet spot of work-life balance and whether it even exists! However I do think it has a very different meaning to everyone. 

For me, it’s a feeling, and closely linked to my mental health, rather than a checklist of whether I have/haven’t achieved it through a routine. I think having a routine is one thing (and I LOVE a routine), but checking in with your mental health regularly is another critical element to that all desirable “balance”.

Because even though you may feel like you’ve got a consistent routine in order, your mindset and mental health is dynamic and reactive to a whole heap of other external sources. Regular check-ins with yourself, and also having your partner, business partner, mentor or close friend checking in with you too is fundamental.

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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.