Daniel Breese is the Director, Growth & CX at AS White Global, an Australian company specialising in integrated offshore staffing solutions.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
After a short lived professional sporting career in the AFL, I moved into real estate sales which taught me invaluable lessons in how to prospect, negotiate and handle what is typically people’s most prized possession – their home.
At 22 years old with no experience in retail or any business ownership acumen we naively started a business from our bedroom in menswear and fumbled our way to build a successful business with a niche service offering that expanded three states, almost 30 staff and generated a multimillion-dollar revenue.
I exited the business in 2016 to start another venture with some childhood friends.
We scaled a successful Victorian business to become one of the market leading event equipment hire companies in Australia of which was a short “scale up and sell out” project due to the impending arrival of our first child.
Over the last 5 years I’ve been fortunate to help lead one of Australia’s premium offshore staffing providers, AS White Global, as Director of Growth. The challenges of owning my own businesses over the last 15 years have been a fortunate learning experience and an advocate in enabling companies to scale their teams efficiently with dedicated Offshore staffing.
2) What does a day in your life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
I wake at 5:40am and head to the gym or do a home workout amidst lockdowns. The sessions are mixed from heavy weights to cardio and aim to be home finished by 7:00am. If it’s not done early in the morning, then I do not do it at all.
The workouts have become somewhat of an anchor for a positive day and typically set me up for good habits with better diet choices and water intake etc. I’d like to say I then do mediation or breathing however the reality is I jump straight in to helping with the kids.
I skip breakfast and typically have a protein shake and then spend time with our two young daughters (1yr and 4yr old). I make their breakfast and it is usually mayhem in wrangling two toddlers, feeding our pup and getting ready for the day. I have a hot-cold shower, which wakes up the nervous system and aims to be cracking into work by 8:30am.
My wardrobe is extremely basic. I read somewhere it helps to have one less decision in the day to consider. Mornings start with actioning any priority tasks in our CRM or responding to urgent emails with the goal of starting client proposals and presentations from 10am onwards.
Typically, afternoons are filled with internal management meetings, project discussions and client calls. We try to keep our management meetings bundled and at the start of the week. We keep these as short as possible so as to not fill each day.
Whilst working from home I try to finish any client discussions by 5pm as the children are hangry by this time and it’s harder to focus. With international staff it means being online in the evening occasionally after the kids are asleep to help with any queries from our account managers who do a stellar job.
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
Very much so. Our business is about delivering remote staffing solutions for our clients so we would be a tad hypocritical if we couldn’t do this locally. Prior to COVID, we would be in the office 1-2 days per week and work remotely for the remainder of the week.
Currently we work full time from home amidst the lockdowns. Personally, working from home with two very young children can be challenging. Previously I was a little nomadic, I enjoyed working from a café or in shared workspaces as there is an energy or vibe in these environments that is conducive to activity.
I found it also helps me get away from doing things around the house. Overall, having witnessed how some of our international staff and also local businesses are being impacted by covid, I feel very grateful being able to work from home.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
Juggling family, health, business, and leisure is challenging. Personally, I don’t feel I’ve perfected it. Balance to me is choice and structure. My wife would say I struggle to switch off and will often work late at night when perhaps it’s not required.
Personally, I love working and always have. It keeps my mind busy, and I feel like I’m contributing to building something bigger. Prior to children I’d often work weekends and now with a young family I truly enjoy the downtime over the weekends with the kids.
My calendar is what ensures I’m not forgetting personal time or connecting with family, I’ll often schedule time to remind me to call friends and family to stay connected which might sound a little extreme but I’ve found it helps.
5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
The first lockdown I started cooking our family dinners on Sundays. I’m average at best in the kitchen and my wife had banished me to the BBQ duties only.
So, this was a good chance to skill up in an area needing drastic improvement and I really enjoyed it. I deleted my social media apps which I’m not overly active on anyway and didn’t watch mainstream news to avoid the overnight virus and economy experts and started listening more to podcasts.
6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
I will listen to anything and everything that keeps my mind busy. I’m not overly fussy however my interests are mainly in business, personal development, and sport. I would regularly listen to “Scaling Up,” “Catching up with CUB”, Lisnic and more.
7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?
My Calendar runs my life. Centr Fit for home fitness and Sonos Speakers for listening to tunes.
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
That is tough! Someone who is building a business and managing a young family. Sara Blakely’s story in building her business (Spanx) is amazing. I’d say her insights would be invaluable. Locally, Janine Allis, founder of Retail Zoo (Boost Juice, etc.), I would be interested to hear how she juggled priorities.
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
For mine, it’s filling your cup in all areas: business, family, personal and leisure. Given these are constantly changing, so too does the approach to ensuring each is getting focus. I’m not sure it’s ever perfected.
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