Balancing the Grind with Franziska Iseli, Founder of Basic Bananas

Franziska Iseli is the founder & director of Basic Bananas, which provides marketing education and support for small business owners and entrepreneurs.

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

I started my career in marketing and advertising after completing a double-degree in marketing and political science at Geneva University, Switzerland.

Eleven years ago we started Basic Bananas, a marketing mentoring business with a big purpose to support thousands of small business owners around the world.

Along the way I also co-founded The Business Hood, a brand consultancy, Oceanlovers, a marketplace connecting ocean lovers with sustainable surf brands and Moments of Humanity, a kindness movement. 

I’m currently still involved in the leadership of the above businesses. I’m also a member and on the advisory board for the Entrepreneurs Organization (EO) and on the judging panel for Singularity University.

My mission in life is to make a positive impact through entrepreneurship.

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

I’m a morning person so I usually wake up early and after a short meditation spend the first hour or so writing, I’m working on a deadline for my fourth book right now.

I then take a break to do some form of activity. My favourite type of exercise includes surfing, yoga or beach running.

After an outdoor activity, I get stuck back into work refreshed and full-steam ahead. I generally don’t do any meetings (zoom or in-person) before noon as I use my mornings to focus on bigger tasks that require strategic thinking and focus.

I absolutely love working so sometimes I work till later at night if I still feel productive or I finish up at around six o’clock.

My evenings usually include a range of activities such as playing music, sharing dinner with loved ones, reading a book, cuddling with my partner and watching Netflix.

Pre-coronavirus I was out at an event or dinner most nights of the week. I must admit, I’ve been really enjoying the slower pace of my social life.

I also plan my next day before going to bed so I wake up ready to rock.

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

Yeah since March 2020 all of my team members have the flexibility to work from home as much or as little as they want to.

I often spend one or two days per week at our headquarters depending on what we’ve got on and whether I’m running marketing mentoring or strategy sessions. I find I’m a lot more productive working from home without distractions.

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

To be honest, I’m probably not the right person to talk about work-life balance. I have never really believed in this concept for myself.

For me work and life sort of just blend into each other. I don’t mind working on the weekend and don’t feel bad about it either. And then there are times where I work less hours in a day because I’m on an adventure.

I love working and I love adventuring, for me it’s all just living. I love to work hard and play hard.

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

The only major change I’ve had due to COVID-19 is a lot less social commitments and a lot more free evenings to create, read, ponder and relax.

From the beginning of isolation I’ve been avoiding most zoom parties, zoom trivia nights, zoom anything and taken the time to do things I really enjoy doing.

I also used to be on a plane a few times per month which I’m not doing at the moment. It’s been surprisingly lovely to stay put for once and to enjoy my own hood.

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

The book I believe had the biggest impact on my life when I was a teenager was The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.

I may be biased but I believe that our own podcast by Basic Bananas is a great 20-minute weekly booster for business owners.

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

  • Spotify – I’m on Spotify listening to different kinds of music to suit the environment and mood pretty much all day.
  • Slack – We use Slack as our team communications tool and absolutely love it.
  • Trello – This is my planning tool to map out my year, quarter, month, week and days.
  • Evernote – I love this app to keep all my notes, thoughts and ideas in one place in the cloud.
  • A paper journal – I use a journal mainly to doodle, draw models and frameworks to teach or retain information.

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

Hmmm Sara Blakely would be interesting to hear from. She is an amazing entrepreneur, mother, wife, friend, daughter.

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

I know this is total cliché, but do work you love, work you are proud of and work-life balance turns into living fully!

If working for someone else, give work your all, make it your own, add your flavour, pour your heart and soul into it and it won’t feel like work.

Also, when you work, work. And when you rest, rest!

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This conversation is brought to you by Think Bespoke, providing LinkedIn training for individuals and organisations in Melbourne and Sydney.

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.