Founders / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Jacob Kononiuk, Founder of Readily

Jacob Kononiuk is the founder of Readily, a new return gateway, empowering online shoppers with a quicker and more convenient way of doing returns.

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

My name is Jacob Kononiuk. As you can probably gauge by the complexity of my surname, I have a European background. I lived in Germany for my first 13 years before moving to Australia in 2013. 

Settled in Australia and aged 17, I was introduced to the drop-shipping wave. I soon started my first e-commerce business selling adventure accessories online. The introduction to independence and responsibility at such a young age gave me my first taste of entrepreneurship. 

While being entrepreneurially involved, I completed a Business Diploma at Southern Cross University. My inclination toward business and growth exceeded my urge to complete further studies. 

Today I am the 23-year-old founder of Readily, a fintech product solving the painful post-shopping experience. My mission is to empower people with a seamless & hassle-free post-shopping experience. 

Never worry about getting the wrong item when buying online, Readily offers instant refunds and collection from your doorstep. Returns have never been more convenient! 

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

Monday to Friday, I follow a strict morning routine. 5 am wake ups,10 minutes of vigorous exercise, cold showers, 20 minutes of journaling, green tea, and 15 minutes of reading/meditation.

I start work at 6.30 am. I spend the first 2 hours of my morning working on my most important task. These tasks vary, but they are usually product or customer related. 

After breakfast, I condense tasks into one-hour sprints with 10-minute break intervals. The short rejuvenation allows me to stay focused for longer throughout the day. 

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

I have been fortunate with remote working flexibility since 2020. Like many of us, I have adapted to the hybrid working environment. 

I regularly work at Fishburners (come see me on level 3 if you’re a fellow resident), and I enjoy being around like-minded folks. Nonetheless, the hybrid work environment can be a real time-saver, and I strongly encourage hybrid workplaces. 

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

I follow some basic principles that help me benchmark my work-life balance. Entrepreneurs, especially those transitioning from being an employee, tend to value busyness over productivity. I am still struggling to overcome this paradox myself. 

Working more hours in a day does nearly never lead to more productivity and growth. At a foundational level, you need some time to switch off. It helps to have a secondary objective in place. For instance, I like working toward a goal at the gym. My current goal is to dunk in a game of basketball. When I go to the gym, I have a purpose for being there.

I suggest finding purpose in something other than your start-up/work. Having non-negotiable objectives in my day helps me get closer to a fruitful work-life balance. Walking with my partner and our dogs at least once per day is non-negotiable. 

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

I started my 5 am routine a little over 12 months ago, and this really impacted my life positively. 

A more recent routine or methodology that has impacted my life is the “eliminate, delegate, automate” method. 

Saving costs over everything is deeply embedded in my family. Until recently, I had a natural inclination to manage all tasks myself. Tim Ferris enlightened me to the magic of VAs and elimination. My pattern of thought now looks something like this: 

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

Favourite podcast: The Tim Ferriss Show

Favourite finance book: The Richest Man in Babylon by George Samuel Clason

Favourite self-help book: The 5AM Club – Robin Sharma 

Favourite fiction: Sixty Lights – Gail Jones 

Favourite newsletter: James Clear 

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

The trick for me is removing most apps from my phone and setting designated check-in times that are conducted in the office. For instance, deleting email off my phone has freed my peak cognitive bandwidth by at least 3x. 

Apps used in the office: 

  • Asana – project management 
  • Gcal – Meetings, tasks 
  • Music – Music to get me in the zone 
  • Slack – Networking and communication 
  • Excel – Finance, etc. 
  • Word – Tasks, formatting, etc. 
  • Email 
  • Balsamiq – Wireframes, new features 
  • Canva – Designs, UI ideas 

Apps used on the go 

  • Minimalist – Great for jotting down a thought in a flash and setting a reminder 
  • Gcal – Great for quickly adding a task or meeting 
  • Notes – Great for detailed notes 
  • Music 

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

Melanie Perkins hands down. She is such a humble storyteller, and she’s clearly accomplished some big things while remaining down to earth. 

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

Don’t forget to look outside of the box and step out of it sometimes! It is just a game.

P.s. if you’d like to participate in my survey to help me plan for my upcoming MVP launch, please do so here

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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.