Interviews / Marketing & Advertising

Balancing the Grind with Hayley Westoby, Founder & Director at Hayley Westoby Marketing

Hayley Westoby is the founder & director at Hayley Westoby Marketing, where she works with well-known global brands as well as small businesses and start-ups.

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

Yes absolutely, I started my career at M&C Saatchi where I learnt so much. My first client was Optus and I started 4 weeks before they completely re-branded.

Safe to say I learnt pretty quickly! At M&C Saatchi I worked in their main agency account service team, but also then spent a few years with their Sports & Entertainment team looking after their CBA & Cricket Australia sponsorship as well as the IGA and Brisbane Broncos/Western Sydney Wanderers sponsorship. This is where I discovered my passion for experience!

After M&C Saatchi, I moved to Tongue to work on Audi Australia and Disney, Tongue was then merged with DT & AKQA where I continued to work on Audi and Disney amongst other clients before making the move to Maverick.

I was at Maverick for 3 years where I worked across many clients and also assisted in the establishment and new business development for WPP AUNZ Experiences. 

I then got the opportunity to take on a 12-month contract with WPP AUNZ as their Group Experience and Content Director. I started this role as COVID hit Australia and it was a great opportunity to demonstrate that events don’t have to be physical to bring people together.

We created amazing content and a schedule of virtual events which allowed our WPP AUNZ agencies to be a part of something even though everyone was working from home across Australia & New Zealand. 

When I finished my contracted role at WPP AUNZ, I wanted to give myself time to figure out where I wanted to be and what I wanted to do. I created a list of non-negotiables and a list of deal breakers when it came to a role, agency or brand.

I spent a couple of weeks looking for the ‘right’ space for me and I then came to the realisation that if I cannot find a business or a role that prioritises people and experiences, I am going to create one. So that’s how Hayley Westoby Marketing was born. 

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

I will give you a day in the life lockdown edition, given that we are in our fourth week of lockdown in Sydney. 

Typically, I am up at 5am, I make myself a coffee, then sit in bed and work on my laptop until 7am. During this time, I work on my business and my personal brand, creating and scheduling content as well as responding to personal emails.

At 7.30am I host a 45min free bodyweight workout for anyone who wants to join (register via this link) with a background in health and fitness I wanted to create something that brings people together, to move their bodies during lockdown.

Movement is so critical to physical and mental well-being and it is so nice to start my day moving my body with a bunch of like minded individuals. When my workout is finished, I will typically walk down to the beach and sometimes grab a coffee from my local coffee shop.

On my walk, I speak to some of my clients in the hospitality industry as this is the best time to speak with them. I am usually on my laptop from 9.30am. I try to break my day up by changing workspaces, moving from my study to my kitchen bench, as it keeps me focused.

Usually, my workday ends anywhere between 5pm and 10.30pm especially as I have a couple of overseas clients who I work with, and the key times to connect are after 5pm.

Then I usually have a shower or do a workout to end my ‘workday’ otherwise it can feel like I am living at work! It is really important to have a transition moment between work and home life, otherwise it is really tricky to create boundaries. 

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

Yes absolutely, I run my entire business from my home. I wouldn’t have it any other way!

I am a big believer that there is no ‘one-size fits all’ approach when it comes to productive ways of working – some people love going into an office, some people like being able to put a load of washing on at lunch time. We are all so different and I like to play to the strengths of people that work with me to ensure they enjoy coming to work, and maximise their efficiency. 

There may be some days that I am on my laptop working at 5am and there may be some days that I don’t open my laptop til 10am because I know I will be working late. That is what balance looks like to me.

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

I really hate the word balance, because it implies that they are equal. There is no such thing as work-life balance. It is all life.

There may be some days that my clients and work is a priority, more of a priority than friends or movement or even lunch for that matter. Then there will be some days that your friends and family, exercise and other things take priority.

It’s knowing when to shift the priorities every day, every week and every month. The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule but to schedule your priorities. We need to do a better job of putting ourselves higher on our ‘to do’ list.

Work-life balance to me means each and every day, I prioritise moving my body and connecting with loved ones on top of the work and client commitments I have. That’s it. Keep it simple.

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

Yes, I have stopped trying to please everyone. I came to the realisation that if I keep trying to please everyone, the one person who won’t be happy is me. 

I have also stopped (or working to stop completely) negative self-talk. It is very easy regardless of what stage of your career you are at, finding yourself slipping down the slippery slope which is negative self-talk.

I have been calling myself out on it, being very conscious of my thoughts and the impact of those thoughts on my day-to-day consciousness. Being aware of the thoughts, stopping them in their tracks and changing them to an empowering thought instead. 

After a session with my coach Isobel Stewart (she’s amazing @evolvewithisobel on Instagram for any women needing help with confidence and empowerment) I started to remind myself of how much I had achieved in 12 months or even 6 months. Reminding myself that in the moment it can seem impossible but when you look back, you can really surprise yourself.

I have also started to own my procrastination. When I start to procrastinate or get fidgety, I get up and take myself for a quick walk or make myself a tea or go for a quick swim. Owning my procrastination makes me snap out of it quicker, than if I just wait for it to pass.

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

Oh yes, so many books, but my favourite of all time is Atomic Habits and Surrounded by Idiots. I recommend them to everyone! 

Podcasts, I have quite an eclectic mix.

I am a secret true crime lover so all of the true crime podcasts are amazing – especially Culpable & The Sure Thing (binged them in a couple of days)!

I am also a total nerd for behavioural psychology and neuromarketing, Hidden Brain is an awesome podcast which explores unconscious patterns that drive human behaviour, Brainfluence & The Brainy Business are also mind blowing!

I also love my friend Alexis Fernandez podcast ‘Do you f*@king mind’ – she is a neuroscientist that tackles everyday situations and problems and provides a neuroscience layer to understand why that particular thing or situation takes place.  

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

Other than the obvious, computer, phone, Outlook, Xero, when it comes to running my business, my core social media apps are Instagram and LinkedIn. These are apps I can’t live without. 

In a digital age, face to face conversations will always be superior, however you can build relationships digitally and you can build your personal brand digitally.  I have had 90% of my leads for new business via these two platforms alone.

I encourage people to use social media more, but use it intentionally. Following people who motivate you. Engaging with experts you can learn from. Creating genuine and positive relationships. Creating content that inspires, motivates, entertains and educates.

There are so many negative things floating around about social media but the greatest asset of these platforms is that you can curate the ‘feed’ you want based on content you engage with and people you follow. 

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

Erin Molan, she is an incredible woman with so much on her plate. I would love to see her view on work-life balance. 

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

I think that it can be really easy to get caught up in what ‘perfect’ work-life integration looks like. Everyone has their own levels of busyness, their own levels of hard work and their own levels of balance.

You need to focus on what works for you and set small achievable habits and mini routines that help you feel focused, calm and aligned. Finally, don’t forget about yourself in your balance mix, I believe making time for you each day is vital to ensuring you don’t feel burnt out.  

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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.