Directors / Founders / Interviews / Marketing & Advertising

Balancing the Grind With Tracey Jarvis, Founder & Managing Director of Xpand Online

As a Social Media Strategist and Digital Marketing Consultant, Tracey Jarvis launched Xpand Online, a social media & digital agency, 10 years ago and has been running the business ever since.

With over 10 years experience in digital & over 15 years experience in sales & marketing, Tracey is one of one of the most experienced social media marketers for the Australian audiences and has worked with some of the most iconic Australian brands.

Balance the Grind spoke to Tracey about running Xpand Online as a virtual business in Sydney, Bali and Byron Bay, what a typical work week looks like, working from home and plenty more.

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

I have worked in marketing on and off over the past 30 years. In between, I had a stint living and working overseas for 10 years.

When I came back to Australia 16 years ago, I went back into marketing and business development.

After being back for around 5 years I began to see the rise of the digital landscape globally and thought what a great time to get into this new arising digital industry and be ahead of the game.

So I started my first business Social Media Girl, consulting to businesses on how to set-up and manage social media profiles in 2009.

Within one year I expanded and changed the business to Xpand Online, offering an across the board digital services such as:

  • website builds
  • SEO
  • social media community management
  • content creation, and
  • social advertising

The rest is history really, the business has been going for 10 years, each year I change the business offerings to stay ahead of the market. I keep the business as lean as possible, to have minimal overheads.

The business is completely virtual so I can travel and move around as much as I like. Spending one month year in Bali, three months in Bryon Bay and the rest in Sydney.

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

I am the Managing Director of Xpand Online, the business that I have had for nearly 10 years.

Day to day I oversea the strategy, implementation and results of all digital initiatives for our clients.

Some of our clients we have worked on; Mazda, Philips, Navman, Cathay Pacific, Tresillian, TL Consulting, Habitat for Humanity.

I employ an array of different freelancers and contractors depending on what clients and campaigns we have on at that time.

So my daily tasks are daily management of staff, I am also the Account Director across all clients.

I guess a couple of days a week I will be in front of the computer, and a couple of days a week I will be at meetings with clients or staff.

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

As I run a virtual business I either go to my clients offices, or if I am meeting with staff I will hire an office space.

There is no typical day, so I can run through a typical week for example next week:

  • Monday – work from home
  • Tuesday – marketing workshop with client in the city
  • Wednesday – video shoot with ALDI and Tresillian at Willoughby
  • Thursday – staff meetings at Bondi Junction
  • Friday – work from home

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

I have made a rule that I only work from 9am to 5.30pm during the week only. Obviously, sometimes I may have to work extra hours if we need to delivery a project on time. But generally these are the hours that I work.

As I work from home around 2-3 days a week – I make sure that I get out of the house every morning and every evening, even it if is just to go for a walk.

It is important to separate yourself from your working environment, and your downtime, by getting out of the house it helps break it up.

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

I have done yoga for 16 years, I also meditate every day for a minimum of 20 minutes.

I have a personal trainer that I see 2-3 times a week, and I do love to go to fitness classes at the gym.

Exercise and meditation is how I can maintain the level of focus that I need to run the company 5 days a week in only 8 hours a day.

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

The usual, my computer, my phone. I really do rely on a numbers of tools to manage the business because everything is online and I’m never working in front of my staff.

I use time tracking tool Harvest, this keeps everything in check with how many hours has been spend on what tasks and projects. I couldn’t run the business without it.

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

I read a lot of mindful books like; anything from Eckart Tool, or anything from Ester Hicks, those two authors would be my favourites.

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

When I started getting out of bed at around 5.45am, meditating first, then going to the gym, this changed my life.

As in, I makes me feel amazing all day, and totally energised. The days that I don’t do these two activities, are the days I feel sluggish and not as motivated.

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.