Balancing the Grind with Ian Perrin, Managing Partner at SPEED

Ian Perrin is the founder and managing partner at SPEED, a media strategy agency he started four years ago, and has grown it to a full service media agency.

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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 at Bates in South Africa, before joining Ogilvy and Mather. I was fortunate enough to move with them to New York for 5 years, before relocating to Sydney with their media business, Mindshare.

I became Managing Director at Naked, and then appointed CEO for ZenithOptimedia for Australasia.

Four years of running a large multinational was enough for me, so I started a media strategy agency called SPEED four years ago. We have subsequently grown our services to be a full service independent media agency.

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

My son’s greatest love is football, and watching him play has become mine. So most days start at 6am to get him to practice as the sun comes up.

After getting both the kids dropped at school, I settled into my home office for most of the day. I take too many breaks for tea, and not enough to take the dog for a walk.

But working from home has advantages, and for me that’s taking time off late in the afternoon and evening to spend time with my kids and their various activities. (by that I mean soccer!)

After dinner I then settle back into work mode and smash out a few hours, highly motivated by the knowledge that I have spent quality time with the family.

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

We are fortunate in the fact that we are a small team and we provide complete flexibility to everyone.

Having spent so much time in big corporations who talk about flexible work hours, but never deliver, it’s incredibly rewarding to back our people to make decisions that they believe are right.

Everyone is different and has different commitments, so giving them autonomy to work at their own pace is important. And ironically it actually improves productivity.

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

We all deal with the balance differently. Mine is shaped by growing up with a wonderfully talented father who battled to deal with the stress of running a large department in a prestigious University.

So while I love advertising, I have become very careful that I don’t follow in his footsteps and over-commit. I work hard because I enjoy it, but find other things outside of it to exercise my body and distract my mind.

Order our Daily Routines ebook today! Featuring first-hand interviews, insights and revelations compiled from 50 of the world’s most successful people.

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

It was more than 12 months ago, but a few years ago I joined the local soccer team. Obviously the exercise has been a major benefit, but I think the mental health benefits have been far superior. Our industry can become all consuming.

Many of my friends are in it and obviously we are all inundated with brand messages every day. So the football team gave me the opportunity to forge new friendships with people who really don’t give a shit what I do for a living.

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

My partner works in a personal development and training role where she is always reading, studying and learning about how to improve your work environment. So while there are many great books and podcasts out there, I feel like I get the very best crib notes from her!

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

I would be seriously worried if I answered yes to this question! I think we need to spend more time having personal connections and talking to each other, rather than relying on technology. I deleted my Facebook app a few years ago, and it’s one of the best things I ever did.

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

I am currently extremely grateful for our political leaders, and everything they are doing to try and help the country get through these difficult times.

Regardless of political persuasion, they all seem to be trying to do the right thing, which is not the case in other countries. So I would love to hear how they are dealing with the strain of a situation that doesn’t appear to have a clear solution.

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

Find something outside of your day job that you love, and spend as much time cultivating it as you do your career.

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Order our Daily Routines ebook today! Featuring first-hand interviews, insights and revelations compiled from 50 of the world’s most successful people.
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.