Creative Directors / Founders / Interviews

Balancing the Grind With Adam Wise, Co-Founder & Creative Director at Jack Nimble

Adam Wise is the Co-Founder and Creative Director of social content agency Jack Nimble.

Founded by Adam and Angus Mullane, Jack Nimble is creative production agency based in Sydney focused on creating fast-craft social media content including live action, stop-motion, GIFs, and animation.

Balance the Grind spoke to Adam about his varied role at Jack Nimble, juggling the creative and business side of things, leaving work on time, playing soccer to recharge and plenty more.

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

To be honest, I only figured out exactly what I wanted to do with my career a few years ago.

At uni I studied a Bachelor of Fine Arts and Arts (Photomedia and Film) and then a Masters of PR and Advertising.

While I was doing my Masters, I applied for an internship at a PR agency to figure out exactly what the hell PR was. That led to a full-time job, where I worked for six years.

I quickly realised PR wasn’t for me, but I was lucky enough to be able to sidestep into several different roles across social, production and creative while I was there.

I owe a lot to that job. I had some fantastic mentors, I actually figured out what I wanted to do with my career, and I even met my business partner there.

We were a creative duo responsible for ‘concepting’ and creating all the social content (that’s when I realised what I wanted to do in my career) for a bunch of brands for a little over a year.

One day we just turned to each other and said ‘we can just do this ourselves, right?’ So we started Jack Nimble in 2017, a full-service creative & production agency that focuses on creating content for social media.

I look back on my education now and, whilst I thought it was pointless at the time, I must say that Fine Arts is the most valuable degree I have.

It taught me how to think creatively, how to find insights, and how to justify my ideas.

At the time I didn’t know this was what I was learning (it was more just drilled into me), but now that these are crucial parts of my job today I’m really grateful for the degree.

2) What is your current role and what does it entail on a day to day basis?

I’m the Co-Founder and Creative Director of Jack Nimble.

We’re a close-knit team of short-form, social storytellers and I head up the ideas part of the business.

That means working with the team to come up with innovative social content ideas, writing scripts, and selling our ideas to clients. I also work across the production side of the business as well.

Sometimes I’ll direct videos or work with other directors in a creative capacity to help take our ideas from script to screen. Occasionally I’ll get behind the camera myself if it’s a photography job or if we’re shooting a stop motion in our studio.

As a co-founder, I’m also obviously heavily involved in ensuring we’re growing, hiring the right people, and taking the business in the right direction — so far, so good.

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

For me, no two days are the same. One day I could be writing a script in my pyjamas at home, the next I could be on set directing a shoot or in the office coming up with ideas with the team (both in appropriate work attire, of course).

But let me take you through a recent day. I woke up at 8:30am (I like my sleep) and immediately worked on finalising a creative deck we were presenting to our client Gumtree later that morning.

Most of the work was already done the day before, but I like sleeping on ideas so that I can view them with fresh eyes the next day.

Once the deck was in a good place, I sent it over to my creative partner via Slack to get his final thoughts and feedback. At 11am, I travelled to Gumtree’s office in the city and presented our ideas to the client, which were very well received!

We had a little celebratory lunch in the city and then choofed off back to the office for a 1pm Google Hangout with a new client of ours, ClassPass.

We chatted through how we’re progressing with the social content we’re creating for them and any updates we need to be aware of from the client’s perspective for the week ahead.

Once that call was over, I jumped straight into writing up a few content ideas that came to mind during the call whilst they were still fresh. By 3pm, it was time to reply to a few emails I’d been flagging intermittently throughout the day.

I try to dedicate set time to replying to emails in batches (unless they’re urgent) so that I don’t get distracted from the tasks at hand by constantly checking and replying. Once I’d fired off a few emails, I went for a walk around the block to clear my head and get some fresh air.

Then I spent the rest of the day sitting down with the team and going through some edits our content producer had been working on from an eBay shoot we did earlier that week.

4) In between everything you do and all your responsibilities, how do you ensure you find some sort of balance in your life?

I’m a big believer in leaving work on time. I really respect the 6 o’clock finish, which is pretty rare in the advertising industry. It’s not uncommon for people to regularly work back really late in this industry.

I’ve found that often these people are either staying back because they’re unorganised, they’re drowning in work, or they’re trying to impress their bosses. I believe that the first two reasons are in our control and the last is just plain dumb.

Yes, of course I’ve had a few late nights in my time. That’s inevitable in any industry. But I can honestly say that I can count the late work nights I’ve had on the one hand.

I set myself achievable goals at the start of each workday and I work hard at ticking them off my list throughout the day so that when it comes time to leave, I feel good about leaving.

I’m also organised enough to be able to manage deadlines and expectations so that I’m rarely working outside of standard work hours. By setting this precedence at work, I’ve found that my life has a natural balance to it.

There’s work and then there’s life. Work rarely interrupts life for me.

I’m also a big on remote working. I don’t think anyone should be chained to a desk for five days a week.

I’m not much of a morning person, so I’ll often work from home in the morning so that I can avoid peak hour. Because there’s nothing worse than being in a bad mood in the morning and then being crammed face to face with someone on a packed train.

I often work from cafes as well, especially when I’m writing. I find that having the freedom to mix up my work locations makes me happier and makes work feel less like work. I always encourage our staff at Jack Nimble to do the same!

5) What are some of the things you do to take time out and recharge?

When I’m stuck for ideas at work, I like to go for walks around the block. You’d be surprised how often a little bit of fresh air and taking your mind off the task helps with cracking an idea or solving a problem.

Some of my best ideas have come on trips to and from the toilet!

Outside of work, I like to play soccer. I’ve been playing for 26 years now, and the body definitely isn’t what it used to be.

At the moment I’m training on Thursdays and playing on Saturdays, so I’m pretty much sore every day of the week! You’d hardly call it recharging, but it’s definitely good for my mental health because I do love the sport.

6) Are there any gadgets, tools or products can’t you live without?

I do love a podcast. As someone who runs a business, I love listening to podcasts about people who’ve done just that. ‘How I Built This’ is a fantastic podcast that I listen to religiously.

‘Without Fail’ is another good one, too. If you’re running a business or thinking about it, I’d highly recommend listening to both.

If I’m after a laugh, my go-to podcasts are ‘Comedy Bang Bang’, ‘Improv 4 Humans’, ‘The Hamish and Andy Podcast’ and ‘That Peter Crouch Podcast’.

I’m a keen photographer as well and I do have a soft spot for my trusty Canon 6D and 17-40mm lens. It’s not the greatest camera set up in the world (I could definitely upgrade) but I’ve been all over the world with it and it’s captured some of the images I’m most proud of.

7) Do you have any books that you love and would like to recommend?

It sounds weird, but my favourite book is actually a picture book called The Window by Jeanie Baker. Each page is the same view from a boy’s bedroom window, which changes over the years as he grows older and time passes by.

For example, over time the bush landscape is slowly cleared to make way for new suburbs and shops. It was a book that was gifted to me when I was a kid and it’s still stuck with me to this day. These days I’m gifting it to my friend’s kids.

Another one of my favourite books is Sapiens by Yuval Noah Havari. Now that’s definitely not a picture book – it’s a read that requires a lot of brainpower!

But it’s a fascinating book on the history of humankind. I love the way Yuval writes, he makes history a very approachable topic and he has a very tongue-in-cheek tone of voice, which I like a lot.

And finally, a novel that I love and recommend to a lot of people is The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon.

It’s a murder mystery novel told from the perspective of a 15-year-old boy with Asperger syndrome. It’s very quirky and very funny. Everyone I’ve recommended it to has raved about it so far!

8) What is the number one thing you do to make sure you get the most out of your day?

As someone who works in social media it pains me to say this, but I actually have recently installed a Facebook News Feed blocker on my web browser.

Whilst it’s important for me to stay up to speed with what’s happening on social, admittedly I have spent countless hours over the years mindlessly scrolling through Facebook.

The News Feed Eradicator replaces the Facebook News Feed with an inspirational quote. It’s saved me a lot of time already!

If you’d like to have a conversation with us about how you balance the grind, get in touch with us!

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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.