Frank Arthur is the co-founder & director at Man of Many, an independent online destination for the latest in products, technology and style.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I’m Director and co-Founder of Man of Many—one of Australia’s leading men’s digital lifestyle publications.
I actually started my career in industrial design as a Product Designer. While I was working in the industry, I completed my Masters in Commerce and started Man of Many with my now business partner and then flatmate Scott Purcell.
It started off as a hobby and side hustle to share our passion for cool and innovative new products. We put in a lot of late nights, working on it in the evenings after our day jobs, chipping away where we could. Over time we began to build a pretty engaged audience and we recognised that it had the potential to become a commercially viable business.
It was clear that we needed to spend more time on the business in order to unlock its full potential. So after three and half years, we decided to quit our jobs to work on Man of Many full-time. It was a big leap for us and there were a lot of unknowns, but we knew we had to try.
And I’m glad we did! Man of Many has grown to be a successful business. We currently have ten full-time staff, over 20 freelance writers and contributors, and a growing audience across Australia and beyond who seek out Man of Many for the latest in products, culture and style.
2) What does a day in your life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
Everyday life obviously looks quite different since lockdown! But these days, I try to start the morning with either a 30-60 mins stretching routine or an at home workout.
Lockdown has meant I’m missing out on my usual boxing training and the incidental activity I’d get from my daily commute. So incorporating some movement into my day has been essential to feeling active and mobile during these long days spent at home.
An average work day sees me primarily focus on business strategy and growth, and working with the team to achieve our objectives. My role involves a lot of internal and external meetings, spreadsheets, brainstorms and client pitches.
Usually one of the perks of the job is that I would get to attend some pretty exciting product launches and press events. But these are all on hold until restrictions ease in Sydney.
So for now most of my day is spent behind the computer until I log off in the evening to get some down time.
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
Yes—running a business within the digital media industry definitely caters to both those things.
At Many of Many we’re quite a collaborative team. Outside the parameters of lockdowns, time spent together in the office is extremely valuable. However, we offer the flexibility for staff to split their time between home and the office because we understand how important it is to strike that balance.
I think one of the silver linings of the world going into lockdown is that it’s forced everyone to become more adaptable. Specifically when it comes to office jobs, the old approach just doesn’t work anymore. So many businesses, including Man of Many, have had to pivot and change the way they do things.
The slowing down of life has also provided a great reminder of just how important work/life balance is through things like remote working and flexible hours.
It’s definitely a way of working that has become a mainstay for myself and my staff.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
For me, work-life balance is about not being consumed by work. Although work is a big and a very rewarding part of life, it’s not everything. Work occupies so much of our time that it’s easy for it to overtake your personal life.
Although I do absolutely love my job, I think it’s extremely important to make the effort to find fulfillment in other things outside of work.
For me one of those areas of fulfillment have been setting myself challenges in physical activity such as boxing. I have now had two amateur fights. The training is brutal but I find it extremely rewarding putting my body and mind under the type of pressure that the training demands of me.
Playing the guitar is another hobby that brings me endless learning and enjoyment, I find it very meditative.
And of course, spending time with my partner and coming home to her always allows me to feel comfortable and relaxed. I’m very grateful to be able to share my life experience with someone I love.
5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
Daily stretching is the most notable addition I’ve made to my routine. I didn’t realise how just a little more mobility and flexibility can make me feel so much better. It not only makes strenuous activity less arduous, but even a simple thing like sitting at my desk feels much more comfortable.
6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
At the moment I’m really enjoying a podcast series called Conspirituality that examines the rise of modern conspiracy theories and their intersection with wellness, spirituality and far-right subcultures.
I’m fascinated by why people are drawn into conspiracy theories, in particular the convergence of the ideologies shared by QAnon believers and the anti-vax movement. This podcast does an excellent job of dissecting the complexities of this crossover, the cult dynamics that drive these beliefs and the growing dangers they pose to society.
Another podcast I regularly tune into is The Daily by The New York Times. Each half hour episode reports on a single topical news item, delivering a thorough breakdown while also sharing the human side of each story.
And, I’ll also take this opportunity to shamelessly plug the Man of Many daily newsletter.
7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?
Definitely! My partner and I invested in the Breville Bambino espresso machine this lockdown which has become a purchase we’ll never regret. It’s a stylish little espresso maker that easily whips up cafe quality lattes at home.
My AirPods Max headphones have also been a lifesaver during lockdown. They’ve got great sound quality and the noise cancelling quality is top notch which helps me to focus in and eliminate distractions while working from home.
Apps-wise, the New York Times Crossword app has a daily mini crossword that has become my go-to as a quick and fun little challenge at the end of the day.
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
Barack Obama, he’s someone I have a lot of respect for. I’ve also always wanted to know what a day in the shoes of a US president would be like and have wondered why anyone would even want to put their hand up for such a demanding job in the first place.
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
Learn and adapt. In all aspects of life, you’re going to make mistakes, you’re going to have successes and failures. For me, it’s about applying the lessons you learn from these experiences and experiences from those around you that gets you to the place you want to be.
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