CEOs / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Josh Callaghan, CEO at Little Hinges

Josh Callaghan is the CEO at Little Hinges, a company building the digital property rails from search to settlement to make the property transaction better for everyone.

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

Most of my career has been in finance and investments. I fell in love with banking (weird I know) while I was doing my undergraduate and diploma of financial planning. My career got off to a fast start managing a team of 25 bankers at the age of 21.

By 24 I was managing a $14b fixed-interest portfolio and a number of cash products. I then turned my attention to exploring how technology can complement business innovation to improve the end-to-end customer experience.

I went on to build Australia’s first end-to-end online bank account opening process, the world’s first bank account that combined fixed and variable interest, and Australia’s largest stockbroking CRM. I then moved over to London to head up product for Barclays bank life insurance and went back to basics on product positioning and go-to-market strategies to grow their revenue base 30%.

When back in Australia I jumped back into my love of finance and helped to build Australia’s largest financial comparison site out of a small B2B financial research company. During this time I also co-founded Fintech Queensland, a group of more than 3000 people, focused on building the ecosystem for fintech.

I then moved into property, leading a 100 year old organisation through a digital transformation that would turn around their steady revenue decline into compounding monthly revenue growth.

Having largely been an intrapreneur, I was then presented with the opportunity to buy into Little Hinges and take over as CEO which was an opportunity I couldn’t refuse. In this role, I’ve built a superstar team to take on the bold mission to change the way that property is transacted globally. 

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

As a father of 4 (including 4-year-old triplets), it’s safe to say my home life is as busy as my work life. It’s all hands on deck in the morning to get everyone fed, clothed and packed for kindy and school.

I’ll generally clock into work around 8am and start chatting to internal people from 8:30am. I’m reasonably disciplined with my calendar, so I manage to keep good control of my time. If I have a few meetings on a particular day, I’ll try to jam-pack that day with other meetings so that I can keep another day clear for any tasks that I have to complete.

If I’m in Brisbane, I’ll generally work from home and try to pop out to say hi to the kids when they get home around 3:30pm, hear how their day has gone, see what they’ve made and then get back to work around 4pm.

I’ll generally work through to 5:30pm and then clock off to get stuck into preparing dinner, bath-time and so on with the family. After everyone is tucked in and I’ve done the dishes, I’ll log back on if there is something urgent I need to do or I’ll head to the gym. Except on date night each week, where I’ll lock the home office door and sit down with my wife. 

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

For me it’s all about being purposeful with my time. I don’t get it right all of the time but it’s mine to control and continually improve. In my role, I could easily work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Clearly, that’s not healthy and will not allow me to achieve my goals as a father, husband and friend so I have to continually reassess the split of my time to optimise for the end state that I want to achieve in all of the areas of my life.

Sometimes that leads to difficult conversations because there simply isn’t enough time to meet everyone’s demands, but if I can be clear about what’s important to me, I can make a better decision on where to spend my time and have transparent conversations about those decisions with the people I inevitably let down. 

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

Going to the gym at night time has been a game changer. I previously would always try to squeeze exercise into my morning routine and for years have failed to do that consistently. Starting sometime after 8pm has allowed me to be more relaxed and focused at the gym and really unwind from the day. 

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

I’ve got too many great books and podcasts. I read The Alchemist every couple of years, but two books I read recently that I loved were The Blind Side and Never Split the Difference. The Bible is always good for personal challenge and inspiration too. My favourite podcasts are The Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast, No Bullshit Leadership and The Dive by the guys from Equity Mates. 

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

Barack Obama. In fact, I stole one of his practices many years ago. He only has 1 suit so in the morning it was 1 less decision he had to make that day. I implemented that about 6 years ago and it was so liberating. 

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

Like most things, you have to know where you’re going. Think about what you want your life to look like in 10 years and then work out what time you need to commit today to make that future a reality.

Don’t be too fast in sacrificing time today for some future payback, if you want friends and family to be there in the future, you have to invest today. Also, ignore your emails and messages. Don’t let others control your time. 

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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.