Emma Hoffman is the co-founder & CEO at Shoestring Marketing, a startup marketing agency, working predominantly with early-stage tech companies.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
My background is in marketing and entrepreneurship. I’ve founded a few of my own startups, have had a couple of successful exits and have spent much of my career as either the Founder or Chief Marketing Officer of several startups.
More recently, my business partner and I launched a startup marketing agency called Shoestring Marketing which focuses on delivering high-impact, low cost marketing solutions to startups, because we understand that they typically don’t have massive budgets and need immediately tangible results so we want to provide better access to high-quality services.
2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
I’m a real creature of habit so I’ve got a solid daily routine. I wake up at 8am every day and go for a long walk before sitting down to work. Going for a walk first thing in the morning has been a really great way for me to clear my head and prepare myself for the day ahead.
Plus, being based in Melbourne, any opportunity to stretch my legs and get some fresh air is a welcome opportunity at the moment.
By the time I sit down to work it’s 11am, which I know is considered pretty late for a lot of people but I’ve found that I’m more focused and can work efficiently for the rest of the day.
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
Yes, thankfully my role is very flexible and can be done remotely which I really love! I’ve often prioritised flexibility over other incentives.
Given that startups and marketing agencies are generally really high-pressure, fast moving industries, building in an element of flexibility to my role has really helped manage stress levels and burn out.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
Learning how to set really clear boundaries for myself when it comes to work start and end times has been crucial for me.
In the earlier years of my career I would easily work 16 hour days, often including weekends and it really damaged my personal relationships and negative implications on my mental health.
I was a real ‘workaholic’, so creating a routine and learning to give myself permission to start at 11am and finish at 6pm has increased my productivity dramatically, given me the time and mental capacity to be present with friends and family and has improved my general wellbeing.
5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
I’ve fallen in love with working from home. Prior to the pandemic, I was working in an office, which I never really had any conscious feelings about, but being forced to work from home was a really eye-opening experience. It gave me a point of reference.
Until now, I didn’t realise that I was waking up stressed because it was a daily race against the clock trying to get to the office. Removing the need to rush to an office means every day I wake up feeling like I can start the day on my own terms.
6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
For anyone in the startup space, I highly recommend listening to the My First Million podcast. It’s a couple of guys pulling apart the concept and business models behind the world’s largest and fastest growing companies.
7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?
Slack has improved our team’s productivity exponentially. Since our agency has a remote team, it’s made internal communications a breeze, as well as conversations with clients. Plus, all the amazing integrations means less admin time.
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
I’d love to know how Daniel Andrews is managing his work-life balance right now. I’m not really into politics but ever time I see him on the news lately all I find myself questioning how he’s holding himself together.
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