Andrew Raso is the CEO and co-founder at Online Marketing Gurus, a digital agency specialising in SEO, Adwords, and social media advertising
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
It’s been a wild ride so far—the past 9 years as co-founder of Online Marketing Gurus—but my entrepreneurial drive all started at a young age.
At just 15, I began selling PlayStations at school, then importing mini bikes from China to sell on eBay. I realised that I had a knack for finding opportunities and filling gaps in the market.
After years of working with digital agencies, I realised that the system was broken—SEO was all about smoke and mirrors, and digital was about complex, yet cookie-cutter strategies.
It was at this point that I discovered my passion in life, and so began the Online Marketing Gurus—with the mission of making the complex, simple and always effective for the customer; through evidence-based digital marketing and a transparent servicescape.
OMG started in 2012, with just me and my friend Mez in my parent’s spare room, and $1,000 of our own pocket money. For over a year, we didn’t take a salary and could barely afford marketing of our own, let alone petrol to put in our cars.
Now, we’re a multi-million dollar company with over 100 global employees servicing thousands of clients.
My drive for success has earned OMG over 10 industry awards (and counting!), and my insights and thought leadership has been featured on Sky News, Inc 500, Forbes, and more.
2) What does a day in your life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
A day in the life of a CEO is often filled with one type of thing: meetings!
It usually starts with an international call with our USA CEO in Utah, Jon Bennion, to discuss how the US team is performing, what problems they may have and how to solve them.
This leads into the management WIP (Work In Progress) meeting with the Executive team to discuss similar points: performance, problems, and solutions.
I usually check in with the head of departments individually around this time, to chat through their thoughts and feelings, and check on their teams.
So you could say, it’s a lot of meetings!
One thing I’m proud to have recently introduced is an initiative where, every week, a Guru is chosen at random to have a coffee chat with myself and our Managing Director, Wasif Kasim.
This gives us time to get to know our employees on a personal level and form good relationships between management and employees. They can even use the time to talk through their thoughts or concerns—or soccer, the weather, anything at all!
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
At OMG, we’ve always been quite flexible with our Gurus’ work schedules. As the CEO, I’m no different, but personally, I’m not a ‘home body’. I focus way better with my team around me, and prefer face-to-face interactions over virtual video calls. But that’s just me.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
People say you have to have balance and “shut off” in order to perform at your best, but I don’t think I’m that type of person. Sure, I carve out time for exercise and other certain activities to refocus, but at this time in my life, the focus is solely on work.
5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
Training and exercise has always played an important role in my daily schedule and my life in general. So, I prefer to stick to that mantra: train, eat, live.
6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
I’m a fan of the Financial Times. It keeps me in the loop on everything from business to investing.
One book that I could consider a favourite would be 50 Cent’s Hustle Harder, Hustle Smarter—his story of resilience, from a man of tragedy to a thriving businessman, is influential.
7) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
The truth, that I’ve always held onto, is that you have to do what feels right.
If something doesn’t work, make it work. One of OMG’s company values is “Find Solutions, Not Problems”, and that resonates throughout my day-to-day life.
Hire the right people. A team member you trust, is one that trusts you. Forming relationships with your team is key to getting the most out of them.
Always have the right mindset. If you’re tackling a problem in the wrong mood, solve your mindset before you solve your problem.
Before you go…
If you’d like to sponsor or advertise with Balance the Grind, let’s talk here.
Join our community and never miss a conversation about work, life & balance – subscribe to our newsletter.