Lee Hardman is the CEO & Founder of Brauz, a platform that connects shoppers to retailers through amazing, immersive experiences.
Let’s start with your background! Can you share with us your career journey and what you’re currently up to?
It definitely feels like my career is firmly in Omnichannel retail, having set out, full-time, 10 years ago on my journey in bridging the gap between online and in-store shopping.
Rajesh (Brauz co-founder) and I have been working with a range of technologies, talking to retailers and trialling solutions for so long that my previous career as an advertising sales executive feels like a distant memory.
It was during my time at News Corp that I could see a real disconnect between online and in-store shopping, with retailers advertising .com addresses instead of physical addresses. Knowing that physical stores played a major role in our lives and had the ability to fulfil orders faster than warehouses was really how Brauz began.
Now, we’re 18 months into having our full suite of omnichannel solutions in the market, from find in-store, reserve in-store, click and collect, and video commerce to 30-minute delivery. Retailers can now connect their physical stores to their website with one integration at a fraction of the time (and cost) it would normally take them.
We’re partnered with amazing companies like Zoom and Uber, the business is thriving and we’re loving watching retailers succeed using Brauz.
We’d love to know what a typical day is like for you. Could you describe a recent workday?
Mental and physical health is really important, most work days I walk 10kms, and I walk any time I have phone calls.
A typical day starts around 6am, clearing my inbox and actioning anything that our team needs for their day-to-day.
I spend an hour with one of my mentors every week. Then break up the days into operational, strategic and health activities with 80% spent across operational activities such as sales, marketing and product.
I used to work nights but now I find that time with family and friends is just as important and limit the amount of days I work into the night to 1 or 2 days max.
Can you define work-life balance for yourself and share with us your approach to maintaining it?
Stop, start, focus and reset. Being highly focused on our goals and not trying to achieve too much is key to work-life balance and our success.
Personally, I used to work day and night, weekdays and weekends. It was too much and I think I may have been overcompensating in areas I lacked knowledge or skills. I think as a founder it’s really easy to slip into this bad behaviour.
Now, we place a strong emphasis on happiness in the workplace and a major factor is a healthy personal life. Stop, start, focus and reset. We stay focused on our goals and one of those goals is a healthy and happy workplace. Knowing when to stop and lean on others for help or just reset is equally important.
Change is constant, and it’s essential for growth. Have you made any lifestyle changes in the past year to improve your work-life balance?
Maybe I’m just getting old but the biggest change I’ve made is early nights, most nights I’m in bed by 9pm. I find an early night means I’m more productive earlier in the morning and throughout the day.
Also, switching off on weekends and being present for my family and friends. Time has flown by so fast while building Brauz and I’m conscious of making sure Brauz complements my life and doesn’t overtake it.
We’re always on the lookout for new resources! Can you recommend any books, podcasts, or newsletters that have helped you in your journey towards balance?
The startup podcast is a great podcast for founders trying to navigate early entrepreneurship. There are a lot of unknowns when you take the leap as a founder and I wish this podcast was around when I first started.
I also highly recommend reading The Resilience Project by Hugh Van Cuylenburg and if reading isn’t your thing, catch his documentary on Amazon Prime. In all the craziness of innovation and creating a successful startup, I think it’s important to find gratitude in every step of the way and be grateful for all the people that help.
Before we wrap up, do you have any final words of wisdom or insights on work, life, or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
Your business isn’t you, separate yourself and find happiness in the challenges along the way.