Kate Lalak is the Co-Founder of Cloud Nine Global, along with her sister Ali. Living on opposite sides of the globe (in Sydney and Paris), the two sisters run Cloud Nine Global, an exciting new Australian travel brand.
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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I completed a Business degree straight out of school and went on to a range of marketing roles working for companies including Foxtel, Sydney FC, TEG Live and MGM Entertainment which all helped to develop my skills as I moved into sponsorship and new business roles.
I managed a PR agency for 4 years which gave me insights into the ‘other side’ before moving into management roles – overseeing teams, budgets, etc.
I’d always wanted to have my own business and everyone assumed I’d move into a consulting role but the idea for Cloud Nine Global came to me on one of our annual girls trips overseas and I came back, gave my notice and launched the company 3 months later with my sister Ali.
2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
We are still very much in start up phase so I am a jack of all trades! I manage everything from sales, financials, operations, logistics, business planning and work with my sister on executing the marketing plans.
I am constantly testing new products for packs, working on new ranges, negotiating with suppliers but most importantly promoting and selling our current range.
Recently I had a day where I drove for hours to pick up products for an urgent client order, pack them and then drop the order to the client before heading to a meeting to close a huge sales deal with a new client.
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
Yes it does and I love it! My office is at home and it works really well. I’ve set my office space up to be a very tranquil place to work. I am a very disciplined and structured person which helps and I am constantly meeting with people or on the phone so I don’t get lonely.
I also talk to my sister/business partner 2-3 nights a week. She lives in Paris so it’s late night calls for me and early mornings for her.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
Work life balance is SO important to me. I didn’t have a lot working in corporate life but it’s certainly a focus for me now.
To be honest I tend to work most days (including weekends and evenings) but I also do an 8am Pilates class on Wednesdays, my grocery shop on Monday mornings after the gym (when it’s so much quieter and easier than a weekend) and throw on a load of washing while I’m working at home, so the balance is certainly there.
5) What do you think are some of the best habits or routines that you’ve developed over the years to help you achieve success in your life?
I absolutely love routine and having a plan which has been a huge help starting a new business. For the first 6-12 months I did have a little trouble settling into a new routine but I’m in a really good rhythm now and I tweak it when I need to.
Having had a number of sales roles previously has also been a big help as networking and new business pitching are critical to the success of a start up. I love meeting with new people, talking about Cloud Nine and exploring how we can work together.
6) Are there any books that have helped you improve over the years?
The book I’m reading at the moment is called The Book of Calm and it has 250 ways to a calmer life. I randomly open the book each day and do that days’ suggestion – which is everything from buying flowers from the house, taking time out from devices, doing a yoga class and treating yourself.
I’m really enjoying it and it’s a great way to add relaxing activities into my day that I wouldn’t normally think of or bother doing.
7) What is the number one thing you do to make sure you get the most out of your day?
Get up early. I’ve always been an early riser and I’m a light sleeper (though I love getting 8 hrs a night) and find getting up and into things early gets the day off to a good start. I exercise in the mornings (otherwise it doesn’t happen) and do my best work before lunch.
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
Jacinda Ardern. I think she’s great and I’d love to know how she balances running a country with being a new mum. On their own each of those is a challenging role so doing both at the same time is incredibly impressive.
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
My best piece of advice is to keep things in perspective. I found working in corporate life people acted like we were making life and death decisions and the pressure was insane. So, whether you work for yourself or for a company just remember that there is more to life than work and make time to balance it doing things that make you happy.
If you’d like to have a conversation with us about how you balance the grind, get in touch with us!