CEOs / Founders / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Arjun Agarwal, Co-Founder & CEO at Inaam Impact Investments

Arjun Agarwal is the co-founder & CEO at Inaam Impact Investments, which helps young people who don’t know how or where to invest their money do so with an impact. 

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

Sure thing! Where to begin?! Well, hi there, my name is Arj ? and my career background is pretty eclectic. Started off by launching an EdTech across South Africa, followed by an exploratory Cryptographic Asset Fund.

Shortly after that moved into Management Consulting for a state owned telecoms giant and eventually ended up in financial services as an Investment Banker for one of the world’s leading financial institutions – Investec, in India. 

After coming down to Australia in early 2020 (best possible time to move countries), I wore multiple hats across Special Projects for a Private Equity fund, helped set up an early-stage VC fund and raised ~$20m for a healthcare focused impact business. 

I’ve since been incredibly fortunate to work across the startup ecosystem with some incredible humans and co-founded impact focused businesses the first of which – wayf – is an an inclusive design agency I get to work on with Ally Atmadja and the most important roles I currently fulfil though have been two of the most challenging and most rewarding I’ve ever undertaken. 

  • I’m the co-founder and CEO of Inaam. Where we’re reinventing investing to change the world – one curated impact portfolio at a time. 
    • At Inaam we help young people that don’t know how or where to invest their money do so with an impact. 
    • We also reinvest a portion of our profits back into the impact ecosystem to support people of colour, women of colour and young people from disadvantaged backgrounds with access to the capital that they otherwise would not have access to! 
  • I’m also a Strategy Officer for the Federal Government of Australia in the National Disability Insurance Agency where I am privileged to contribute to so0lutions which support people with disability across Australia. 
  • One more thing – I’m the host of the ArjSpeaks Podcast built to support and empower young people on the path to entrepreneurship by sharing lived experiences of young people around the globe who are in the thick of it instead of those who have “made it”

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

Pretty average with a hint of crazy. 

5:30am wake up, get fresh, get changed – get the f*ck out the house. 

5:45am – 6:30am – run/jog/crawl for at least 20 minutes – get that heart pumping, get those endorphins channelling.

6:30am-7:30am – me time, shower, get dressed (feel good about what I’m wearing), eat breakfast, pack my lunch.

7:30am-8:00am – do things that need to get done if time permits before starting the commute to work (this can include Inaam meetings, Investor meetings, taxes, other calls)

8:00am-9:00am – get to work, listen to some music/audiobooks/podcasts whatever I’m up for and feeling on the way to work, get coffee, get set on the desk, start the day.

9:00am-5:00pm – day job, earn that bread. (not much else to it, try do some good along the way, also eat lunch and a snack every couple hours or I will get hangry)

5:00pm-9:pm – start the real job – this time is dedicated to any and all Inaam, work, tasks, meetings, team briefings, partner meetings, investor meetings and admin depending on the priority. 

Find time to eat dinner somewhere in between there. 

Ad hoc dinners with friends, occasional dates and family time! 

10:00-11:00pm – get a book, read and sleep grandpa, legs aren’t going to run themselves in the morning! 


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

I think acknowledging that some days are just going to be shit is an important consideration in achieving this “balance”.

We often tend to think of scales or equality when we hear the word balance, while it is great to work towards or aspire to this idealistic “balance” it is far more important to be pragmatic and optimistic about the balance you are working towards. 

What this means is knowing that every day is not going to be 100%, every day is not going to be the perfect mix of candy. 

The way I work to achieve this goal of balance and in fact any goal in my life is iterative, it is baby steps every day, consistency regardless of output. If I can only get a 10 minute run in the day instead of my goal of 20 mins I’m fine with it – so long as I run. 

Cumulatively the consistency adds up, builds up to routine and contributes to this balance. 

Sans consistency balance is just one of those idealistic things we hope for that we will never achieve. 

It also helps considering balance as the fruit of delayed gratification. We don’t have it today but if we work towards it a little bit each day we’ll eventually have it and it will be so much better then than having it now. 

Also – do what you love (I know this sounds cliche) but if you’re working on something that is your life’s work, it’s less likely to feel like “work” and more like part of your life and so when you’re only having to balance one thing – it becomes pretty darn easy to do so. 

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

Things I’ve stopped doing:

  • Moping over the past
  • Drinking
  • Getting angry at things outside of my control
  • Saying yes to everything

Things I’ve started doing:

  • Running (physically) every day
  • Finding time for myself
  • Saying no when I need to
  • Accepting facts for what they are and my inability to build an ideal world

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

These are some of the books that have helped shape my thinking, outlook on life and leadership style to help iterate myself into the best possible version of myself. 

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

Simon Sinek’s Start With Why is one of my favourite books of all time. Knowing how Simon gets everything done in a day would be a dream come true. 

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

We’re all our own individual humans. Not everything everyone says will work for us. Invest time in figuring out what works best for you. Ask the hard questions, find the answers. Accept the truth and move one step at a time. We’re all here to make a dent in the universe else why even be here? Steve Jobs wasn’t crazy, find a way that works for you to make your dent! Don’t undermine your mental health. 

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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.