CEOs / Founders / Interviews

Balancing the Grind With Luke Cook, Founder & CEO of FUNLOCKA

Luke Cook is the Founder and CEO of FUNLOCKA, an employee engagement app fuelling businesses with new ways to reward staff, entertain clients.

Balance the Grind spoke to Luke about his career background and what led him to launch FUNLOCKA, a day in the life of a CEO, apps and processes that manage his workload, and more.

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

Started my career in 2000, my first ever job was working in radio as a street team driver for 2WS. Lightning Luke was my name, handing out icey cold cans of coke and doing live crosses back to the on air team.

From there I found my passion for ideas and became Sydney Promotions Director of WSFM at the age of 22. I then packed up the bags and worked in radio in the UK before coming home and securing a job back at ARN, but this time as National Promotions Director at 25.

I then got sick and tired of giving my ideas to sales people to sell, left ARN and went to entertainment & media company MCM Media. I started there as a business manager and after 5 years found myself in the Sales Director seat. It was at this point I started to lose a bit of who I was and what I stood for.

Did I ever have the vision to be a Sales Director?

Nope! I just progressed through the ranks by working hard.

I reached a point in career where I wasn’t enjoying it any more. I was over the industry and my role! At this point I realised that success and money didn’t equal happiness.

I had a good mate of mine, who I respect in business, give me a serve over the phone one day challenging me to make a change and to follow something I was passionate about.

That next day I decided to throw in the towel and start to explore what would be next.

With a clear head and spending 3 months getting my life back on track, I identified 3 key areas that I wanted to focus on in career.

  1. People: I want to leave a legacy that makes people happy at work and in life
  2. Passions: I believe the best way to make some happy is to engage with them on a personalised level with the things that make them smile
  3. Partners: I wanted to leverage my contacts and create a business that has meaning & value for those I consider my partners

Once I identified these, it lead to me understand what I was going to do next. Welcome to FUNLOCKA.

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

I am the founder, CEO and Chief FUN Officer of FUNLOCKA. An app and service solution that helps businesses Attract, Understand, Excite, Engage, Reward and Retain their communities (employees / customers) in FUNfilled ways.

We are a marketplace that personalises rewards, recognition and experiences that makes individuals happy.

The platform is also backed by real-time data so that those in charge of teams and customers can make better decisions around employee or customer experience

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

As a founder your day is like a heartbeat. One minute you riding the high’s and then next you are experiencing the lows.

My day starts with me and my family. I get up around 6am and do a bit of meditation before getting ready. I then wake up my little daughter Tilly (13 months) and see the massive smile that greets me which is the best part of my day.

From there the day see’s me take on multiple roles as CFO, Head of Sales, Admin Assistant, CEO and Marketer. I plan my day down to the minute but still see things fall off due to the nature of being an early stage company.

I try and finish up at 5pm to support my wife and spend time with my daughter. Once Tilly is asleep I am usually back working till late to catch up on emails and get actions ready to go for the next day.

4) Do you have any tips, tricks or shortcuts to help you manage your workload and schedule?

There are three things that have changed my world

  1. Marry your calendar and respect your time: this has really helped with segmenting my day and tasks
  2. Find a second brain: I store all my tasks and to do lists in Asana. We use Asana also for FUNLOCKA projects and I find that having everything in the one place has helped me out a lot
  3. Use tech that automates process: I use things like Calendly to automate my meetings and to stop multiple emails being sent, I store all client information in Pipedrive. I am always looking for new tech solutions to make my job easier

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

The last 15 months have been the most difficult in my life. Not only was FUNLOCKA my first business, but I also had my first child. In all honesty I haven’t found that balance yet and it is an on-going project to get some FUN back in my life also.

I have recently picked up the book Atomic Habits and it is proving incredible reading. It is about creating positive habits in your life big and small that ensures that you live a life that is centred around your identity and purpose.

6) What does work life balance mean to you?

It really shouldn’t be separated. Work and life shouldn’t be balanced. The holy grail is when both of them are unified and match your purpose and vision!

7) What do you think are some of the best habits you’ve developed over the years to help you strive for success and balance?

  • Planning your day the night before
  • Understanding your high pay-off activities and doing them first

8) Are there any books that have helped you improve over the years?

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

Plan my diary and limit distractions.

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

Understand your purpose and vision in life and then work in a business (or start your own) that links to this.

Not only will you be happier, but you will be more passionate in what you do!

The other thing is be patient and surround yourself with positive people! I have pulled back on many a relationship (even family) due to those that reflect a negative mindset.

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.