Aden Levin is the Director at Viral Ventures, creators of the most unique venues, pop-ups and experiences across the globe.
To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I’m currently one of the directors at Viral Ventures – we’re an immersive hospitality group that focuses on delivering unique and exciting experiences and venues across the globe. I’m primarily focused on the global expansion and roll out of Karen’s Diner which is proving to be the fastest growing and most talked about dining concept on the planet.
My background has always been events and hospitality – co-founded a UK travel and music festival startup back when I was 21 (still going strong – both me and the company) and since then have always been in this industry and space. Love creating unique experiences and products that have been talked about.
What does a day in your life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
I wake up at 5am – run 10k, drink activated charcoal and get to work – ha I wish. Usually consists of getting up before the family around 6am and then a juggle between emails across the timezones, family breakfast and then getting into the thick of things by around 9am.
I usually check in with various team members for updates on a variety of things, check sales reports for our events and venues then go about starting or putting out fires for the rest of the day.
My phone is usually non-stop between 10am-6pm and my inbox also seems never ending but in all honesty I don’t think I’d want it any other way.
What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
Being in an industry that very rarely sleeps is difficult and hard to find the right balance. For me it means trying to find a happy and usually impossible medium between work and family/leisure.
I actively try to have periods of the evening where I leave my phone in another room and or ignore messages until the next day. It’s really hard with the fast moving pace of our business and something in all honesty I’ve probably not yet fully cracked. I probably enjoy working too much.
It’s an area I’m really trying to improve on and taking small steps here and there where possible to give myself more balance in my day to day. Aiming for small incremental improvements that will compound over the weeks.
In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
I’ve been consciously trying to better my diet – stripping out lots of processed foods and being a lot cleaner with what I eat. I think it is too easy to eat junk or be tricked by companies that design foods to appear healthy yet they’re full of absolute garbage.
I’ve also attempted and failed to reduce my alcohol intake but that’s an ongoing work in progress which I’m sure I’ll achieve one day.
Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
I’m a big fan of Malcolm Gladwell books – a great insight into looking at situations differently – would recommend to everyone to help increase critical thinking. There’s also some great material over the years on the ‘This Week In Startups’ podcast with some great insights into work life balance, the pressures of startups and some inspiring stories.
If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
Donald Trump – would love to know who he was supposedly running a nation and playing endless golf at the same time. In all seriousness I think someone like Justin Hemmes who is an icon in the Australian hospitality industry – would be super interesting to hear how he juggles the pressures of the venues, late night entertainment with family and leisure.
Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
I think the pressures of society today are gruelling and it’s definitely important that everyone looks to ensure they’re looking after themselves physically and mentally. It’s too easy to fall into the trap of never being able to switch off as a founder which naturally increases stress and burn out especially in the early stages of startup life.
It’s an area that everyone will struggle with but if everyone can do small things each day to help reduce those stressors and look to give more ‘me’ time then over a longer period that will result in a much better balance. The hard part of the grind is finding where that balance lies and it often requires some self reflection to find the spot.
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