Jimmy R. L’Almont is the Managing Director of EMBR Group, a performance marketing firm working with leading brands from Australia, New Zealand and Europe.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
Sure, I finished high school and went straight into studying and completing a degree in International Relations from Griffith university on the Gold Coast.
I managed to get a job working for a government funded overseas Aid organisation that monitored the effectiveness of Australian overseas Aid projects in Southeast Asia. That lasted a bit over a year before I was made redundant.
From there I had a short foray in fashion design, after starting a clothing label out of my parents garage. This business actually took off pretty quick until we got crushed by the 2008/9 GFC and found ourselves without a manufacturer and unable to export due to a poor Australian dollar.
From there, as a former self-employed fashion designer, with a degree and 12 months of working experience, I went through a period of 6 months of unemployment. It was an average resume to hand out to prospective employers. All of my interviews consisted of employers asking questions about the fashion label and why I had a degree in something completely unrelated to fashion.
I managed to find a job in digital marketing for a small financial planning firm on the Gold Coast, which within 3 years, grew to be one of the largest non-bank owned firms in the country. I fell in love with data-driven advertising and specifically, lead generation. After months of denial, I knew I needed to step out and do my own thing, and in January 2015 EMBR was born.
Today we have 7 staff, and generate around 100,000 leads per month for over 30 clients across 7 countries around the world. We specialise in data-driven lead generation for some of the largest household name brands, including our own online quote comparison website: MakesCents.
2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
Today life looks like jumping in the car or motorbike and heading into our office in Fitzroy, Melbourne.
I get a strong almond latte from Stagger Lee Café and head up to our office to meet with our team of four in Melbourne about the day ahead, any roadblocks they have or any prospective clients beginning this week.
By midday I have logged into most of our tracking platforms to monitor the volumes of leads we have generated for our clients, discussed with our GM about current client’s ad spends and if we are on track this week/month.
After lunch I usually grab another coffee and jump on the phone to any existing clients who have scheduled calls with us, or potential new clients I am in talks with. Of course all of this ‘ideal schedule’ could be railroaded by a million variables that could go wrong at any point of time.
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
Yes, we are very lucky to be able to do our jobs remotely, which helped us in 2020, especially being a Melbourne business. We spent 10 months working from home and didn’t miss a beat.
However I have noticed that the biggest thing that does suffer when working from home is ‘collaboration’. We definitely do not collaborate as well on zoom as we do in person in the office. I don’t think there is a substitute for this.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
I am married and we have a two and half year old and one on the way. Life for me is so much more than business, so this is important to me. However I have stopped trying to look at ‘balance’ like a flat line and more like a rollercoaster.
I gauge balance based on the health of the people in my world, and myself (if I’m honest with myself). I keep checking in with my wife, friends and family and give permission to people in my world to pull me up if I ‘check out’.
I’m highly driven and could work 14 hour days with ease if it was left up to me, so I need to be pulled up every now and then. I’m also on a journey of letting go of what I used to view as ‘success’ in life.
In the first 3 years of EMBR we received multiple industry awards for growth, some years 30%+ revenue growth, those things were important to me. Now I’m more content with who I am and success is relative, it’s different for me than others.
5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
I’ve started going to the gym, then stopped, then started again. I’m slowly realising as I get older (34) that I can’t go as hard as I did in my 20’s. I can’t pull all-nighters working or eating terribly and expect good mental output.
My health was always something that was pushed to the side if business needed my attention, but it’s not sustainable. 2021 is the year of physical health for me.
6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
Just finished the book: Post Corona by Scott Galloway. I think it’s vital for anyone in business in 2021. Aside from that I listen to leadership podcasts, I like Craig Groeschel, John Maxwell, Masters of Scale, Harvard Business Review and random others.
7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?
I can’t live without ‘Grailed’, an app for buying new and second hand streetwear, mostly from the USA and Europe. I’m addicted. Residential Real Estate and Commercial Real estate apps, I’m daily looking at the property market.
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
At the risk of sounding like a 16 year old kid. I would love to see a day in the life of Kanye West. Not because I necessarily think I could learn anything, maybe what ‘not to do’. But I’m just fascinated by his life, a music fan and Yeezy aficionado. I’d just love to see behind the scenes of managing creative elements, business dealings, family life and how it all blends.
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
I would say build towards balance, not from it. Work life balance for me is a constant state of flux. I think I would encourage people not to make balance the biggest aim of your life. Especially if you’re driven. I don’t think any of the founders of fortune 500’s would say that their life was ‘balanced’ in the first 1-3 years of their company’s life.
It wasn’t for me. The first three years of founding EMBR were crazy, long hours, late nights, sacrifices and laser focus.
My social life was out of balance, my physical health was out of balance, my marriage was strong because I included my wife on the journey, but aside from that it was pretty much chaos. But EMBR grew rapidly to a level that we now have staff, systems, software and a little more balance and stability.
I think if you’re still in those early stages of founding and growing, then embrace the chaos, but with a plan for the future. It definitely isn’t sustainable, long term, but there is a time where you might need to ‘unbalance’, knowing that you’re building towards ‘balance’.
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