Balancing the Grind with Joana Inch, Co-Founder & Head of Digital at Hat Media Australia

Joana Inch is the co-founder and head of digital at Hat Media Australia, a full-funnel digital marketing agency working with tech and SaaS companies.

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

I’m the co-founder and head of digital strategy at Hat Media which this year will become 11 years young.

My career has always been in media and marketing from the get go. I started out as a Media Buyer for radio and outdoor at OMD fresh out of University in 2006. I moved on to TV and digital media a year later and very quickly saw that digital was the future so decided to pursue that entirely.

In 2010 I created Hat Media which became a digital marketing and growth agency for startups in the B2B tech and SaaS space. I’ve always had a passion for tech and SaaS so decided to focus on this area specifically as it drives me and I’ve also had immense success in it.

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

To break it down as a schedule, here it is. I am also a mother to 2 children (aged 6 and 2) so work-life balance is extremely important to me. This is what my typical day looks like:

8am – Linkedin networking and content posting as I get the kids ready for school.

9:30am – Back home, into the office and get started by creating a to-do list of priority tasks that need to get done by the end of day.

Aside from these tasks, 70% of my work day is made up of Zoom meetings with existing clients, prospects as well as partnership opportunities for a new Startup Accelerator that I’m looking to create and launch in 2021.

2pm – respond to emails before the work day is done.

3pm – pick up kids from school and try to switch off work as best as I can to be present in that moment (this is a big challenge at the moment but something I’d like to work on).

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

Absolutely! All I need is a laptop and Internet to do my role. Everything is in the cloud and clients have become very accustomed to zoom meetings as opposed to F2F.

Before Covid, I would take my laptop on holidays so that I can have an extended holiday and have ended up working from places like Dubai, Santorini and Barcelona. This change of scenery really helps ignite creative content ideas. I truly do my best work when I’m remote.

The same privilege is given to my staff and I find they are much happier and more productive for it. I now have staff in Sydney, Melbourne, Central Coast and Sunshine Coast and it works really well. So long as the time zone isn’t too much of a problem, I’d happily hire staff from other parts of the world too.

We have clients based in the Netherlands and USA so the hours need to be flexible. At the end of the day, as long as clients and staff are happy – I don’t care how many hours are worked and where they are done from.

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

Work life balance to me means working school hours and being able to take time off during school holidays to travel with the kids.

This is my #1 priority. I would sacrifice more revenue over work-life balance any day of the week. To me success isn’t how much money a business makes but rather, how much work-life balance does that person achieve.

Life can’t be all about work. Variety is the spice of life.

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

Where do I start! I’m a fan of Robin Sharma and subscribe to Mindvalley so personal growth and good habits are important to me. I, like my children, am also a creature of habit and routine so it’s important to me to create healthy habits.

Ones that I have tried to implement during the COVID months are as follows:

  • Get out in nature and move! During lockdown, this has been instrumental to keeping me sane and healthy.
  • Digital detox every Sunday and attempting to do one every work day after 3pm. We can go down unhealthy, waste-of-time rabbit holes on our phones and it doesn’t improve our lives in the slightest so I’m trying to stick to this one quite stubbornly.

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

I’m an avid reader. I love books and probably have enough in my house now to start a library. If I could give you my top five so far, they’d be:

  1. The Obstacle Is the Way by Ryan Holiday
  2. Everything Is Figureoutable by Marie Forleo
  3. The Moment of Lift by By Melinda Gates
  4. Measure What Matters by John Doerr
  5. Thrive by Ariana Huffington

I’ve also written a book myself as it’s something I’ve always wanted to achieve. It was published in December 2020 and it’s aimed at helping startups go to market. It’s called Go to Market: The marketing and scaling blueprint for startups.

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

For my personal use: I keep a physical journal and a calendar diary where I plan my days/weeks and even months out. This helps me stay focused.

For my work use: I like to dabble and experiment with all software that enriches my day-to-day.

Favourite ones would be:

  • Hubspot
  • Asana
  • OctopusCRM

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

Arianna Huffington. She’s a mother and a successful entrepreneur and writes lots of useful advice on the topic.

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

Balance in life is crucial to your health and wellbeing as well as longevity. If you look at a study done by The Australian Institute on work-life balance you will see the following activities missed most because of work hours:

  • 37% – time spent with your children.
  • 28% – exercise.
  • 18% – time spent with friends.

If you’ve also studied factors that contribute to a person’s overall health, wellbeing and longevity, you will notice that exercise and a social life are the most important.

So my last thought would be to encourage your readers to truly prioritise this and consider ways in which they could achieve it at a level that makes them happy and healthy. It would be different for everyone depending on what stage of life they are at but we shouldn’t be missing those 3 activities due to longer work hours.

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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.