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Balancing the Grind with Dave Hyman, Founder of Reform Digital

Dave Hyman is the founder of Reform Digital, a conversion-centric digital marketing agency that uses data-driven processes to produce the best ROI for their clients.

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

I’ve been in digital marketing for almost 10+ years now (in agencies for 7+ years) and decided to kick off Reform Digital in May 2020 after being made redundant from my role.

It was a tricky time as my wife was 4 months pregnant, we were in the middle of a pandemic and it was a pretty risky time to start an agency, but I’d always wanted to do it and had a vision for how we could impact the digital marketing industry.

I’ve always been very involved in conversion optimisation. Although our agency does all the typical campaigns, everything we do has a level of user experience optimisation and conversion optimisation involved to help clients convert better on their websites. This has proven to be a great strategy as our clients have been seeing incredible results in a short period of time.

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

It’s a bit all over the place as you wear a lot of hats early on in an agency. I am solely responsible for all of our business development, I manage some of our top tier clients, I promote all of my own personal brand content and Reform Digital content, and I also manage a small team, so things are pretty crazy. Whenever I get a minute, I also like to be a father and a husband and play with my dog a bit.

An average day will be a mixture of ensuring our overall performance for clients is on point and having multiple monthly meetings with the team to ensure this is happening. I will send proposals out to clients for new campaigns and work with them on strategy.

I am often on the phone to partners and working together to increase the agency’s brand awareness and I will also do what I can to promote the business and my personal brand to help drive up more business.

3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?

Yes, we are all currently remote working and the team have been advised that this will stay until the end of 2021.

We are open to the idea of potentially doing 1 or 2 days in the office, but with everything going on, I wouldn’t expect everyone to have to go into the office every single day when I believe safety and health is vital in operating a digital marketing team.

We seem to be handling it very well, we use internal communication tools and systems that seem to be working for all of us and we have been improving these as best we can during COVID.

4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?

After having my daughter this year, I think it has further consolidated my thought that a work-life balance for me and my staff is crucial. You hear too many stories of businesses asking people to work outside of paid hours, doing work for free and showing no gratitude or reward for it.

I would rather have everyone in a good head space and complete their work in an appropriate amount of time so they can spend their spare time doing whatever they want. 

We try to enforce this with all of our staff and push for everyone to work reasonable hours and enjoy the more important things in life like family, friends and getting out and being social. 

5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?

Yes and some of this is through my own doing and others have been just because my environment has changed:

  1. I’ve started trying to put everything in a much more positive frame of mind. Digital agencies have deadlines, sometimes unrealistic expectations from clients, lots of moving parts and a lot of emotion can go into it, so I’ve forced myself to look on the brighter side of life across the board.
  2. I’ve been getting up earlier. Pre-child I was waking up at 9am, slowly getting into my day, but now my daughter will get up at 7:30am and I am starting the day with her. Those couple of hours before the main part of a business day are great to catch up on tasks and set up my day for success. 
  3. I try to go for a walk at least one time a day. This started when we were in lockdown here in Melbourne and it was the only real sense of freedom we had, so I have maintained that routine ever since.

6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?

I love podcasts. Honestly, I try my best not to listen to too many professional podcasts because I want to try and take my mind off work. I love anything crime related, Serial, S-Town, Atlanta Monster, Crimetown, etc. I also love How Did This Get Made and a couple of other light hearted podcasts.

7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?

AirPods. My god it is nice to be able to talk without holding a phone up to your ear. I’ve also just recently upgraded my Mac to the latest M1 chip and it is a game changer. 20+ hour life on the battery and just generally much better performance all round. Must have!

8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?  

I would love to hear how Elon Musk does it. He gives me the vibe that he doesn’t stop, so I would be fascinated to see how he breaks up his day and is able to maintain such a high standard of professionalism.

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

Don’t overextend yourself. We have this habit of pushing ourselves too hard and missing out on the real opportunities, which is living life and enjoying every moment of it. I’ve fallen into the trap myself and it has taken me to go out on my own to find a strong balance between the things I love and work. Luckily, I also love my work and my current team at Reform Digital, so that makes things 1000% easier!

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About Author

Balance the Grind is a work-life balance publication on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.