CEOs / Founders / Interviews

Balancing the Grind With Valeria Ignatieva, Co-CEO & Co-Founder of WORK180

Valeria Ignatieva is the Co-CEO & Founder of WORK180, an international jobs network that connects employers with talented women. WORK180 is now operating in Australia, UK and will be launching soon in the US.

Balance the Grind spoke to Valeria about the inspiration behind WORK180, what her role as Co-CEO entails, managing a company with 100% remote workers, disabling notifications on her phone and more.

This conversation is brought to you by, the world’s largest freelancing and crowdsourcing marketplace.

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

Prior to my current role, I spent around 10 years in tech, where I worked as a B2B marketer.

After working for a number of Microsoft Partners, I started my own marketing consultancy. I did that up until 2015, when my now Co-Founder, Gemma Lloyd, had an incredible idea for a business.

The idea was to create a jobs platform to help women easily identify and connect with the most progressive employers. Before advertising jobs with us, the employers are pre-screened on their policies and benefits.

If they meet our criteria, their policies and benefits are displayed on our website. The kind of traditionally private data we display includes the employer’s willingness to discuss flexible working at interview stage, amount of paid parental leave, professional development opportunities, staff engagement scores and much more.

The business is now operating in Australia, UK and soon to launch in the USA.

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

My role is extremely varied. I look after Customer Success, Marketing, Partnerships and help out with Product Development, People & Culture, Sales and pretty much every other aspect of the business as needed.

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

I am writing this on a plane to London, where my days will consist of meeting with our existing clients, coming along to sales meetings, having one on one catch ups with our team and speaking at events. This is usually very similar to my day in Australia.

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

I play basketball twice a week with a team at a local stadium. It’s a great way to unwind, and I find myself super productive as a result. I also love to spend time with family and friends, do Pilates and any other form of exercise.

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

Our company has nearly 50 people and we all work 100% remotely and flexibly. For me, this means I am able to achieve so much more than if I had to commute to an office.

I don’t drive, and catch public transport or Uber instead. This gives me even more time to jump on the laptop and catch up on work, which frees up my time later.

I have been working flexibly/remotely for over 12 years now and highly recommend it as a way to get the most our of your day!

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

Being mindful when I spend time with my son or friends is something that I really try to focus on.

When you switch off, make sure you give whichever activity you are engaging in your full attention, otherwise it’s not really switching off. Some of my best business ideas came to me after a complete shut down!

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?

I’ve recently taken more control of my diary and love the results. Previously, I would accept any meeting request, at any time.

There would be an average of 7-9 meetings in my diary on a daily basis. I’ve now blocked out times when I am not available, to allow time for deep work or other commitments. To give you an example, when I play basketball, it is usually a very late game, as late as 10:15pm.

Afterwards, I get a second wind and would work up until 2am in most instances. That means that twice a week, I allocate time late into the evening to have UK calls, and the next day, I don’t start work until later in the morning.

Of course, there are exceptions to every rule however I’ve found that I’m much more productive following this routine most of the time.

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

I have disabled all notifications on my phone except for text messages. My team knows that in an emergency, they can call or text me and I regularly check my emails/ internal comm channel etc however am not constantly interrupted by the phone making a noise or flashing.

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.