Founders / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Amal Wakim, Co-Founder of Equalution

Amal Wakim is the co-founder of of weight loss program company, Equalution, and she was awarded Australian Start Up of the Year in 2016.

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

Before creating the health empire, Equalution, I was working full-time at tech giant Google in the consumer retail marketing department.

This experience, along with my university study of a Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in marketing, sparked my interest in both the technology and marketing space.

Fast forward to six years later, I’m now moving into a CEO role at Equalution, managing the day-to-day operations, as well as the people and processes. It’s been a learning experience to differentiate the roles and wear both hats of founder and CEO – a founder being a visionary and a CEO being a strategist, but I love it! 

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

I like to live my life with the same mantra we preach at Equalution, an 80/20 approach. After years of working 7 days a week, 16-18 hour days, I’ve finally recognised the importance of balance.

I’m a big believer in how you start your day and will set the tone for the rest of it.

5am – 7:30am: coffee, meditate, walk and workout (me time)

7:30am – 6:30pm: work, which includes meetings, strategy and project planning, management, daily financial reviews, and working on any particular big project we have happening at the time.

6:30pm – 8:00pm: dinner and read 

8:00pm – 9:00pm: more work / emails if needed and some netflix!

Then bedtime! 

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

We’re so fortunate to be in the digital space. This has been such a blessing for us during the pandemic as it hasn’t affected our day-to-day business activities. At this current point of time (with the NSW outbreak) the entire Equalution team is working remotely from home.

Outside of this period of time, when there isn’t a covid outbreak and everyone is back to their usual routine, Equalution has a WFH policy which includes one WFH day per week. 

After running the business for the first three years from home, I much prefer spending time in the office with the team. There’s nothing more productive than in-person collaboration. However, there are weeks where I leverage the WFH day as there’s less distractions and I can get more done.

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

I believe in the concept of life balance. Work is not the antithesis of life, it is a part of it. In saying that, balance in everything that you engage in is important.

When it comes to work specifically, the ‘burn out’ that people talk about, it’s real! Working 7 days a week, long hour days is not sustainable and it can make you resent your job, regardless of how passionate you are.

It’s not to say that there are periods of time in my career where my workload does increase and my hours are longer, however for the most part I really believe in working smarter not harder. Switching off, resetting and having time outside of your work only makes work (and life) more enjoyable and allows you to welcome each day with a clear and determined mindset.

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

Habits I’ve included into my day that has changed the way I think and ultimately the business woman I am:

  • Meditation daily – for the mind
  • Reading daily – for the brain 
  • Walking daily – for the body

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

Favourite mindset book: The Courage To Be Disliked – Fumitake Koga and Ichiro Kishimi

This book changed the way I viewed all relationships in my life and also how I viewed myself

Favourite business book: Hacking Growth – Morgan Brown and Sean Ellis

This book explains the importance of data and how you can leverage off your finds to create growth in your business

Favourite podcast: How I Built This – Guy Raz

I love listening about the challenges and wins experienced by other successful entrepreneurs

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

Equalution App – My pocket nutrition coach. My everything (literally!)

Uber & Uber Eats – Who doesn’t love a good feed and quick ride somewhere?

Headspace – For meditation

Spotify – For music and podcasts

Apple Watch – For accountability. Keeps me motivated to hit my goal of 10k steps a day. Having a desk job means my activity is quite limited. So my watch keeps me on track with my fitness and activity goals.

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

Hamdi Ulukaya, the founder of Chobani. I was fortunate enough to listen to him speak at the LA Summit in 2019, and was really inspired by his journey and passion for company culture and work-life balance. 

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

Create time for yourself where you can. Put your mental health first. Sometimes it’s the simple things that have the biggest impact, such as morning reflection and meditation, or a lunchtime walk.

By stepping away from your daily duties and responsibilities, you’ll be treating your mind to a reset, boosting your mood and setting you up to finish your day on a high. 

Even though these are such small things to work into your day they can have the biggest improvement on your mental health. Life balance is extremely important and it’s okay to switch off when your mind and body needs it.

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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.