Day in the Life

A Day in the Life: Startup Founder

For our Day in the Life series, we look at the daily work habits, schedules and routines from people in a variety of roles and careers around the world.

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Alex Zaccaria, Co-Founder of Linktree

Alex Zaccaria is the Co-Founder of Melbourne-based startup Linktree, a service which enables social internet users to connect their audience to their entire online ecosystem — not just one feed.

As you can imagine, life in the start-up world means that no two days are the same. While Linktree was in its infancy, the days were incredibly long and unpredictable.

A few years on and the platform is more established and our incredible team has grown. While the workload and day-to-day are still demanding, it’s certainly more manageable.

I’m very involved on the technical side, so my typical day involves checking in with the dev team to see where the latest sprint is at, understanding any blockers and looking for ways we can keep improving workflow. We spend a lot of time on the roadmap and planning new features that will deliver maximum value to our users.

We’ve got three million users across the globe, so I spend time analyzing how the platform is being used, what’s working best and where our new growth is coming from. It’s really critical that our platform perfectly suits the needs of the people using it, so we use specific tools to dig into our Business Intelligence.

Our team has grown significantly over the last three years, not only in size but in location. With team members in LA, London, Melbourne and Sydney and as well as international tech integration partners, a lot of my calls and conversations take place outside of ‘regular’ work hours.

On reflection, I spend a lot of the day talking.

Susie Jones, Co-Founder & CEO of Cynch

Susie Jones is the co-founder & CEO of Cynch, an Australian-based cybersecurity company focused on helping small businesses build “cyber fitness.”

A day in the life of a start-up founder can be pretty chaotic and unpredictable. 

Now that I have an amazing Head of Operations who manages most of the business side of owning a startup, my focus is on responding to customer enquiries, speaking to potential partners, drafting and delivering webinars and other lead generation activities. 

There’s also reaching out to various government officials who are tasked with helping small businesses with cyber to let them know there’s a home-grown solution right here! 

Pre-COVID this meant face-to-face meeting after meeting and carefully managing my diary so I had time to get from one place to another. Now it’s video call after video call from my apartment and trying to make sure I have time to eat in between! 

I’m also really passionate about supporting our team, so I spend quite a bit of time on calls with each of them to make sure they have what they need to succeed.

Alex Millar, Co-Founder & CEO of Hudled

Alex Millar is the co-founder & CEO of Hudled, a VC-backed, real-time dashboard for teams in growing companies to track and optimise their software stack. 

Hi everyone, I’m Alex, co-founder and CEO of Hudled. We’re a SaaS manager powered by employee engagement. I’ve spent the last 6 years working in the startup space. 

A typical day in my life:

5am: Wake up – I’ve been training at a Crossfit gym the last couple years and absolutely love it.

8:30am: Start work either at our co-working space Fishburners or at home (3 at home, 2 in office). 

12-1pm: Try and get out of the house. 

5:00pm: Daily standup with the team from Europe. 

5:15-8:00pm: Available for calls with the team

There are some shortcomings to having a remote team in Europe, we do need to be available for some evening calls (but not every night). The upside though is we have the flexibility to start work later. The problem is, I wake up so early so I generally take my break in the middle of the day.

Nathan Torkar, CEO & Co-Founder of Solid GPS

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.

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.

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.

Richard Fifita, Co-Founder & CEO of Veyor

Richard Fifita is the co-founder & CEO of Veyor, a cloud based, live logistics scheduling and planning tool for the construction industry. 

Being an early stage startup, I wear several hats, but my main priorities revolve around product strategy, business development and customer success. Wearing multiple hats is great from a learning perspective, but also incredibly challenging from a priority and time allocation perspective.

My days are very varied and prior to COVID, involved a lot of travel for client meetings. Now with video conferencing being more prevalent in the construction industry, and of course border closures restricting travel, we are able to hold meetings remotely with clients and my schedule is a bit more balanced.

A recent workday, which is fairly representative of my general schedule is as below:

  • 8:00-9:00 – Get in to the office in Darlinghurst, whip up a coffee, sort out priorities for the day and review emails.
  • 9:00-9:15 – Stand up meeting with sales team to review feedback from previous day and priorities for the current day.
  • 9:15-10:30 – Responding to client emails, sending out proposal emails from the day before.
  • 10:30-12:30 – New project kick off meeting in North Sydney.
  • 12:30-13:00 – A chicken schnitzel deluxe sandwich is devoured.
  • 13:00-14:00 – Feature prioritisation review with Product Manager in response to client feedback. 
  • 14:00-15:00 – Video conference with a new client opportunity in Melbourne.
  • 15:00-17:00 – Testing soon to be released features. Better I find any potential issues first!
  • 17:00-18:00 – Video conference call with our UK Account Manager.
  • 19:00-20:00 – Boxing training aka “letting off steam”
  • 21:00-0:00 – Steak dinner and veggies, followed by getting on top of outstanding work from the day, and drafting emails to issue out for the next morning.
  • 0:00 – Zzzzzz 

Andrew Conner, Co-Founder at Levels

Andrew Conner is the Co-Founder at Levels, a health and wellness startup committed to advancing personalized health knowledge.

Having a daily structure keeps me focused on deep work and balance. I structure my day with my calendar, to clearly separate “maker” time from “manager” time. I also take advantage of our remote-first working style, and work over a longer period of time with large breaks during the day.

I wake up early, and start the day with an hour for myself, centered around reading, coffee, and time with family.

Once I start working, usually at 7:30am, I structure most of my day in 90 minute blocks. I’ve experimented with shorter and longer blocks, and 90 minutes seems to work best for me. It’s sufficient time to make meaningful progress on a project. These blocks are either dedicated to deep work, where I turn off all notifications, or process work like calls/emails/interviews.

My days vary based on how much deep work or process work I need to get done. Some days I’m meeting with several people—in and out of our company—and others I can focus on projects.

Igor Debatur, Co-Founder & CEO at Uploadcare

Igor Debatur is a software developer and the co-founder & CEO of Uploadcare, an end-to-end cloud platform, covering the complete media pipeline: uploading, processing, and delivery.

My workdays start early, at 7:00, because for me the most productive hours are in the morning. 

Before doing anything work-related, I take some time for my personal morning routine. I go for a run, then take an hour to read something. Such a gap helps me to fully wake up and settle down into a focused working mood.

Once I’ve checked my day plans and decided which tasks are the most important at the moment, I start my work. At my current position, it consists mostly of meetings with a very diverse agenda, from business tasks to technical details. 

Usually I try to avoid all the meetings which can go well without me. And to keep track of all of them, I rely a lot on recordings and notes. For meetings and calls, we use Zoom in combination with Gong. This tool keeps both video and text records for each discussion, so I can quickly look through any notes later if necessary.

Yanir Yakutiel, Founder & CEO at Lumi

Yanir Yakutiel is the Founder & CEO at Lumi, a fintech start-up launched in 2018 and Australia’s fastest growing small business lender.

I’m quite an early riser – my day starts at around 4:30am/5am, which is when I start catching up on emails. At 6am, when my wife wakes up I make her a coffee and some breakfast before she heads off to work.

Roughly when she leaves, I wake my son up so I can get him ready for school – it’s the best part of my day. I’ll make sure he’s fed then I do the school drop-off. Dropping my son off and picking him up from school is so important to me.

Whenever I’ve looked at office spaces and where to base the company, I’d always take into consideration the logistics of the school drop-off to ensure it’s close by and I can still do it.

When I arrive at the office at 8am, the sales team usually will have already started working, then it gets crazy and I’m in back to back meetings until about lunchtime.

At around 6:00pm, I’ll pop over to my son’s school, pick him up, and depending on whether I need to be in the office or not he will either come back with me (he has his own designated desk area for him to do his homework), or we will head home. I’ll then continue working until around dinner time.

In the evenings after dinner, I spend more quality time with my son before I put him to bed. Since my wife is an anaesthetist, we’re on conflicting schedules most of the time so if there’s an evening she’s not rostered on for work, we make sure we make the most of our time together.

Natalie Nguyen, Co-Founder & CEO of Hyper Anna

Natalie Nguyen is the Co-Founder and CEO of startup Hyper Anna; an Australian data analysis software that taps into business intelligence and delivers real-time insights from natural language requests.

The idea for Hyper Anna came to me while I was working as a data scientist. I found that most of my time was taken up by relatively simple data requests from my team, however, the sheer volume of requests meant I was unable to fully dedicate myself to high-value and in-depth data analysis.

I co-founded Hyper Anna in early 2016. We built a viable beta product within six months, and raised over $17 million in the company’s first 24 months. Today, Hyper Anna services large enterprises across industries in Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong.

On a typical day, I will wake up around 6am. I have a seven-year-old Frenchie, who provides an unlimited amount of cuddles, while I catch up on what’s happening on my phone.

If there’s no external meeting in the morning, I will get to the office around 9am, otherwise it really depends where my meeting takes me.

Throughout the day it does get quite hectic as I’m usually in and out of meetings, from discussing a new product feature to meeting a potential new client. It really varies.

Kyle Ladewig, Founder & CEO of Out Of Office

Kyle Ladewig is the Founder & CEO of Out Of Office, a company with a mission to help remote workers get out of the house and meet people while they work.

I’m an early riser, at least by most tech startup standards. I’m usually up by 6:30AM and in a workout class by 7AM. I know if I don’t workout in the morning, I’ll never get around to it.

Plus it’s nice to start my day focusing on something other than work, and exercise gives me an energy boost going into the workday. Most days I’m hosting a Work Club in San Francisco, so that’s usually my second stop.

As CEO, it’s my job to do the stuff that doesn’t clearly fall under anyone else’s job description, and to remove blockers so our team can do what they’re really good at. So I’m constantly context switching throughout the day, which is one reason I love being at Work Club.

Having a crew of coworkers helps me stay focused and avoid feeling stressed about all the priorities I’m juggling.

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About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.