Alexandra King is the co-founder and chief strategy officer at Ask Marketing, a company she founded with her sister, Stephanie, focused on virtual marketing management, digital advisory and education.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I thought that I wanted to be in hotels, perhaps the GM of a global hotel chain. I studied a Bachelor of Business Administration at University, specialising in Hospitality Management. Whilst studying, I worked in the Executive Club at Sheraton on the Park and at Hugos in Manly.
One year, much to the dislike of my family, I had to work at the Sheraton on Christmas day. So, being the close knit family we are, my family travelled to the hotel and spent Christmas there so that I could see them before and after my shift.
I remember clearly. On Christmas morning I placed a cup of coffee and a saucer on a Club patrons table and said “Merry Christmas sir,” and he glared at it and ignored me. From that moment on, I swore I would never work in hospitality again.
Upon completing my studies, I landed my first job working as Marketing Assistant for BrightPoint Australia, now Ingram Micro.
I ended up establishing my marketing career creating and executing digital marketing campaigns, brand collateral and events for some of the world’s leading tech brands, including Samsung, Microsoft, BlackBerry and Beats by Dr. Dre. It was so much fun and I learnt a lot.
Since then, I have worked as the eCommerce & Digital Marketing Manager for Reebok Australia & New Zealand, Digital Business Manager for Lacoste and UGG and Senior Marketing Manager for theright.fit.
In 2017, I partnered with my sister Stephanie to found Ask Marketing. It stands for Alexandra and Stephanie King. It also represents our drive to educate and encourage people to “ask” more questions within our digital industry.
We are now 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?
4.30 am – alarm goes off (my husband works in the Fitness Industry which may explain the 4 in this number!).
5am – rise.
5.30 am – train – either in my gym at home, or a Pilates class, or a walk .
7.30 am – log on with a black coffee in hand – lately, this has been in the home office but will soon be back in the city.
7.30-11 am – strictly no meetings – this is sacred time to actually push the business forward, work on proposals and any other strategic work I’m in the middle of.
11 am – eat breakfast – anything with eggs.
11.30 am onward – usually back to back meetings with prospective clients and partners. I try and have one of these meetings whilst walking or stepping outside.
6pm – I try to switch off my laptop by this time. Much easier said than done.
6.30pm – dinner and lately, alot of real estate research and work. It’s so time consuming and stressful to buy and sell, but it’s such an adrenaline rush!
9pm – bedtime.
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
Yes 100% – our entire team is remote and works flexible hours. I don’t understand companies who don’t or won’t offer this anymore. There is no excuse and your people expect it now.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
The most important thing for me whilst running a company with my sister is to remember that we are sisters. And best friends. So whilst 99% of our time together is spent working, we have to schedule in sister time where we don’t talk about work. This is extremely hard, but so important to both of us.
Starting the day with moving my body is a non-negotiable. I train weights 3 days a week, plus a pilates class and a lot of walking. Even on mornings after a late night working, a long walk is the absolute minimum.
I try to move my body at some point during the day too. There’s no reason why a phone call can’t be done whilst walking around the block.
Switching off emails by dinner time is also super important to me and spending a solid hour or two of time with my husband each night. A quick walk, glass of red or cooking dinner is such a lovely way to finish the day.
I am also learning to meditate and work on my breathing. I am really loving the Calm app.
5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
Building a gym at home has changed my entire morning routine and saves me about 1 hour per day of travelling back and forth from the gym. It means I can log in around 7-7.30am which I absolutely love.
I also love my home office too! It’s a really beautiful and large north-facing room with lounges, a huge timber desk, Turkish rug and bankers lamp. It’s so lovely to love the space you work in.
However, like it did for so many of us, COVID really did blur the lines between work and home. We were logging on at 7am and logging off 14 hours later and hadn’t moved our bodies during the day. The steep growth our business experienced was partly the cause for this.
We are really excited to be signing a lease to move back into the city next month and will actually be sharing with The Nudge Group. It is such a stunning space and I am so excited for a much healthier divide between work and home.
6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
I religiously listen to these two podcasts: Give it a Nudge (a wealth of amazing information about startups and scaleups) hosted by my very good friend Steve Grace, and What the Flux (bite sized news) that has a new episode every day.
7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?
- Monday.com – organises all areas of our company in a really simple, visual, effective way.
- Calm – keeps me just that.
- Steps – without obsessing too much I love to get my 10,000 steps a day in and because I don’t wear an apple watch I like to use this app to track.
- Tesla app – it’s pretty amazing, and without it I can’t drive my car.
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
Creating balance is your own responsibility. People talk about it, read about it, ideate about it. But the reality is, it comes down to you, your values and your boundaries.
If you don’t set them, no one else will. It’s that simple.
Second to that, making sure your non-negotiables are communicated to your team. If your team knows how important it is to you to be home by a certain time, or to switch off emails, or to go for a lunchtime walk, then they will help to hold you accountable. So block out the time in the diary, set reminders and make it happen because it’s up to you.
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