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Balancing the Grind with Melanie Corlett, Founder & CEO of Mumli

Melanie Corlett is the founder & CEO of Mumli, a mobile-first platform that connects mothers with questions to content, community & businesses with personalised solutions.

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

My career first started in finance and banking – I had a thing for numbers! But my passion was women’s health, especially for mums.

So after a year and a half of planning, I opened my first fitness facility – a women’s only gym in Sydney where I worked closely with women and mums for four years before I stepped away and went into the world of tech to continue my passion, just in a different way. 

I’m now the CEO and founder of Mumli, a first-of-its-kind social sharing and discovery app that connects mums with the resources, products and services they need, when they need them.

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

Mornings are pure chaos! My son, Callum, is usually awake at 6am and my daughter, Emme, at 7am. My partner and I tag team workouts in the morning so we get that done first thing. Then we feed the kiddos, pack lunch boxes, and at 8:30am I either drop Emme off at school or stay back and put Callum down for his first nap. 

I aim to be at my desk by 9am to start work. Callum is still breastfeeding, which means home is my work scene for the time being! When he wakes from his naps, I take a break from work to feed him. We’re doing a cap raise for Mumli at the moment, so my days are currently a lot of meetings and a lot of talking! But I’m really loving it because I’m working on something I’m passionate about.

3pm is school pick-up, so one of us will pop out to get Emme from school.  The end of my day varies but I try to wrap up work by 5pm because that’s usually when my partner gets home as well. My evenings are for unwinding, catching up with my partner, and spending time with the kids. I try to refrain from doing work during this time as my brain really benefits from time away from thinking about the business. 

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

Running your own business means you get to set your own hours and manage how you work – whether it’s from home or at the office. I’m lucky to be in a position where I’m able to work where and when I want, but that does mean I have to hold myself accountable!

As a mum of two, having this flexibility means I get to spend time with them throughout the day when I’m home and not miss out on those moments you share with your kids. It also means I get to do some life admin in between tasks! 

We are a mostly remote team, and we work quite well that way. This means I can prioritise things like breastfeeding and school pick ups because I have the flexibility to plan around these things.

Our team culture is also very much a “you run your work” approach. We care more about the work getting done well – and that looks different for different people. Having that flexibility is a superpower for us. 

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

For me that means having hard boundaries and committing to them. When I’m at work, I’m completely focused on work. When I’m mum-ing, I’m completely focused on being with my family.

One of the other concepts I’ve leaned into more recently is the idea of improving output efficiency. Can I work smarter? Can I get things done in a better way? With limited hours, it forces you to work extremely productively.

I also avoid “finding” work for the sake of doing work. If 4pm comes around and I’ve finished everything I wanted to accomplish for the day, I have zero problem signing off and soaking up the extra time with my babies. 

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

We recently got back from a four month trip to Canada, and one of the obstacles I had to face with work was the timezone. It meant that we had to schedule most of our meetings with Sydney in the late evening.

This did mean, however, that my whole day was free to think, get work done and actually allocate serious time to solving big problems. It is one of the habits I have kept  since we returned: blocking out my diary from 9am – 12pm so that I give myself time to ‘do work’ and go deep on projects. Otherwise you’re just jumping from meeting to meeting and there’s nobody pushing the business forward. 

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

In the last 12 months, some standouts have been: 

  • Zero to One by Peter Thiel (great for startups and anyone thinking about building a brand from scratch)
  • Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek (for anyone currently managing a team)
  • The Gift of Failure by Jessica Lahey (meant to be a book for parents, but honestly I’d recommend to anyone wanting to learn about their own behavioral patterns and what holds them back)
  • The Cold Start Problem by Andrew Chen (great for any business looking to dive deeper into viral growth loops and network effects)
  • Shoe Dog by Phil Knight (just an inspiring story about having a friggin’ go!)

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

I use Spotify and Slack throughout the day, and love my reMarkable for jotting down notes, drawing out new ideas for the app or brainstorming. I also love going on Mumli to browse my daily collections and see what other mums are loving that day.

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

Michelle Obama or Reese Witherspoon

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

Don’t forget to ENJOY YOUR LIFE! Pick what you give energy to and protect that energy. Even from yourself.

Having clear boundaries and a set of family values has helped me evaluate where I give my time. You don’t have to run yourself into the ground to run a successful business. You just need to be smart and adaptive with how you work.

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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.