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Balancing the Grind with Mark Avery, Founder & CEO of Bell Resources

Mark Avery is the founder & CEO of Bell Resources, a new age energy technology company focused on developing profitable operations in three areas: EV Charging (including car washing), Renewables and Lithium-ion batteries in short to medium term.

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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role as CEO and founder of Bell Resources?

I am an experienced business leader, with extensive experience across a range of diversified industries including property, childcare, law and now energy.

I have a strong background in business aggregation where I have been directly involved in the development, restructure, and acquisition of various companies across a number of sectors.

I am also a non-practising solicitor and currently hold an Australian practising certificate, having graduated with a Bachelor of Laws and a Master of Business Administration from Bond University. I was awarded the Law Scholarship from Bond in 1997 and am currently a member of the NSW Law Society. 

I have previously served as an Executive Director of Childs Family Kindergartens Limited (CFK), a significant Australian childcare operator listed on the Australian Securities Exchange. It was here where I played a pivotal role in the development of the Australian child care industry in the early 2000s, spearheading the consolidation and evolution of the Australian child care industry from individually run small businesses into larger enterprises operating a network of quality childcare operations.

Before founding Bell Resources in 2017, I previously acted as corporate advisor for a number private and public companies

As the founder and chief executive officer of Bell Resources, I bring forth my skills and experience in multi-site corporate integration of small businesses as well as my business nous and experience as a business leader.

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

There is no typical workday for me, as every day is very different. I will usually try to get most of my meetings done in the morning, I find that is when I work most effectively.

I like to ensure that I make the most of when I’m feeling fully switched on, energised and productive, which for me is usually the mornings.

I have a window from about 9am – 1pm which I schedule meetings for to ensure they are productive, in comparison to afternoon meetings which I find can be a bit slower and less efficient. 

My day-to-day work life has changed drastically since COVID lockdowns, I definitely have a new normal in terms of work and productivity. I found that lockdown forced me to take time to switch off, take a walk or concentrate on something else like reading or socialising, otherwise there is the potential to overwork well into the night.

So, I find it’s very important to incorporate some kind of exercise into my day to break things up and make sure my productivity is steady. 

3) What is the culture like at Bell Resources – does Bell Resources allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?

The culture at Bell embodies the idea of continuous improvement and progression. What we strive for is to create a culture similar to that of Google.

By that I mean we never want to stop thinking of ways to improve, we always want to be ahead of the curve as the market evolves. Our ethos is about maintaining a relevancy in the market and continuously finding ways to refresh our processes, this is always at the top of our agenda. 

When you look at the market, it is relentless. So, we always need to be doing whatever we can to improve and remain in front of these changes. At Bell, we place a lot of emphasis on the overall experience and service of our business and how these can be improved to better suit the evolving needs and standards of consumers.

For me, this culture fits seamlessly into my life and routine. I find it is a great source of my inspiration and really avoids the day to day from becoming mundane or too much of the same. I’m constantly finding new avenues or ways of thinking and I think that is important when creating something for the future rather than the present. 

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

As an entrepreneur, a work life balance doesn’t really exist. In saying that, I don’t really consider it work. I don’t mind the late hours because it’s at these times that I’m usually hit with an idea or a spark of inspiration that I have to get down before I forget.

It’ll usually be when I’m watching TV or browsing on my computer that ideas will come to me, and I find myself working on something again. So, the idea of a 9-5 doesn’t exist in my world, even on the weekends I find myself working or doing things for the business, but it’s probably because my personal interests overlap greatly with my work.  

Aside from working, I do read quite a lot, whether it’s the newspaper or bulletin updates on my phone. I subscribe to the Wall Street Journal which I really enjoy reading each morning for general updates.

Matthew Reilly and Dan Brown novels are a favourite of mine also, as well as similar political novels about famous politicians or businesspeople who have been in the public eye at some point – such as Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos. 

I’ve found that when you become passionate about something, you won’t ever really consider it work, it just becomes part of your lifestyle. There are definitely a lot of after-hours, but this is usually when the innovation happens, so it is more than welcome. 

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

In the last year I’ve developed a lot of new habits, probably because the pandemic was such a disruption to normal life. However, through this time it has made me take a step back to see just how important a simple walk or some exercise can be. 

Trying to wedge good habits into your home life can be really difficult, so for me it’s all about making home as simple as possible. Trying to reduce the number of distractions is key so that you can concentrate on business without unnecessary noise, some of which often comes with sacrifices. 

Good habits that I’ve done my best to adopt over the last 12 months have been around taking breaks to clear the mind. Putting myself into different environments other than the office or home has been really beneficial.

Whether this be going for a run or socialising in different settings is a really great way to recharge and come back to work refreshed and ready. I believe this is how the mind evolves, when you have a flexible schedule with time to recharge. 

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

I find with books, podcasts, and newsletters, it’s all a matter of filtering what’s important to you and being selective about what you consume.

Favourites of mine that I would recommend would include the Wall Street Journal and similar business publications. Although I might not read each and every article, subconsciously I’ll find myself aware of the headlines despite not drilling down into each and every article. 

‘The Energy Insiders’ is a great podcast which I listen to in my free time, another great way of consuming information in a more relaxed form. I spend a lot of time on Twitter too, looking through the breaking news stories and more topical daily news.

Social media platforms are a really handy way to absorb information and stay up to date with current affairs. Publications like Renew Economy and The Driven are up there with some of my favourites and I would recommend these to anyone with an interest in renewables, sustainability, and mobility; they are great ways for staying on top of cutting energy news and analysis. 

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

Twitter is a part of my daily ritual. I find it to be an interesting source of information and does a great job of alerting me if I’ve missed anything.

Spotify is the main app that I couldn’t live without, it is a big part of my daily life and a go-to for nearly everything. I would consider my top three apps to be Spotify, Twitter and YouTube – each of them play a major part in my day to day, and I’m sure to a lot of other people. 

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

The pin up boys for me would be Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos. They’ve set the media alight with their stories of innovation and new ideas, and it serves as a real inspiration to me and what I do.

You look at people like Henry Ford and compare his ways of thinking to that of Bezos and Musk and there are some pretty major differences in culture and thought leadership which is really interesting to see and take note of. 

Everyone has different habits for a good work-life balance. For me, I’m not an early riser so I make sure that the first half of my day is as productive and efficient as possible so that by the evening I’m free to delve into personal interests, many of which overlap with work which works out well, so I find myself in deep dives for new ideas.

I think what I’ve taken from business people like Bezos and Musk, is that they haven’t confined their work or life to certain hours of the day, they don’t follow a restrictive schedule. Instead, they understand their personal working habits and know when they’ll be most productive to make the most out of their time and produce the best quality work. 

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

For the team at Bell Resources, success is operating our business not just in Australia but in the US market. Our primary focus is to create a strong robust company that will survive and prosper into the future.

It’s about creating something that will thrive and will ultimately attract people to want to work with us. Externally, success is measured in profitability. Internally, success is about creating a larger entity that has appeal within the market and a uniqueness that separates us from others. 

We are building for the future; we are not building for the moment. So, my belief is that these smaller electric vehicle chargers, 22kw for example, will be like the telephone boxes you see on the street every now and then.

They’re there, but their purpose is long gone. They have been disrupted in favour of far superior reliable, mobile communications technology. With technology moving so rapidly, we live in a world where there is an expectation that businesses should always be one step ahead, planning for the future rather than the present.

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About Author

Balance the Grind is a work-life balance publication on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.