Interviews / Marketing & Advertising

Balancing the Grind with Michael Haynes, B2B Customer & Marketing Strategy Adviser

Michael Haynes is a B2B customer & marketing strategy adviser, working with service-based SMEs to help them acquire, retain and grow business.

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

I am the founder and Principal Consultant of my own consulting firm, Listen Innovate Grow. It is based in Sydney Australia and operates globally. The aim is to empower service-based SMEs with the confidence and roadmap to acquire, retain and grow business (B2B) clients.

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

A typical day will commence at 6am where I will check emails to see what has come through overnight(as I have clients and colleagues globally).

After providing responses, I will then proceed to work on one of the Priority “A” tasks that I have assigned myself for the day.

I will then head to gym to do cardio and stretching for an hour. While travelling to and from (via walking and train) I will listen to one of several business related podcasts.

Podcasts are one of the key ways I “listen to the market” i.e keep abreast of market/industry trends, SME market needs, best practices and approaches for B2B marketing, sales, client engagement and solution development.

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

I work for myself. I have been an independent consultant for over 10 years. I work about 95% remotely working with SME clients in Australia, Canada, USA, Asia and the Middle East

Being an independent SME adviser working with companies around the world is exactly the life I want to lead. Even with the current situation, I am blessed to be able to work with great clients and also collaborate with colleagues and subject matter experts around the world.

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

Work-life balance means working with whom I want and where I want. As a business owner, I work very hard, both in the business (working with clients) as well as working ON the business to continue to grow and expand the practice.

Creating and distributing content is a big part of this. I do this both solo and in collaboration with colleagues both here in Australia and overseas.

I also believe strongly in helping to encourage and develop aspiring entrepreneurs so have been doing some guest speaking for the likes of the Sydney School of Entrepreneurship, the Global Startup School and Startup Vancouver.

Keeping in contact and engaging with friends and family is very important so I try my best to do this somewhat regularly. A bit challenging given the current situation (as I have many close friends and family overseas in Canada-where I was born and raised as well as the USA, the UK and Asia).

I work hard and definitely put in the hours. But I can honestly say that I love what I do, so, travel restrictions aside, cannot say I would have things any other way!

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

Doing a lot more walking and listening to podcasts while doing so. It allows me to get a little more exercise in, both unwind a bit as well as become inspired and informed on an array of topics.

I am also a massive athletics fan. Have started watching the vlogs and YouTube channels of some of my favourite athletes both current and past.

They have been great to not only learn more about them and my favourite sport but many also have a great perspective about life. i.e. the importance of mindset, tenacity, overcoming failure and setbacks.

As a business owner particularly in this environment I find it very inspiring and helpful in me maintaining my mental toughness and mindset-which I think for all of us can waver from time to time.

I am an avid traveller. As a result of the current situation I will not be doing that for awhile. I occasionally will “torment” myself and watch travel vlogs of places that are on my Travel to Do list when travel resumes in the next few years.

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

I love podcasts! I regularly listen to the following.

Business related:

  • The B2B Growth Show hosted by James Carbary, Logan Lyles and many others
  • The Speaking Show hosted by David Newman
  • Coaches Corner by Lucas Rubix
  • B2B Founder by Brett Trainor
  • Making It Count hosted by Julie Hyde

To unwind:

  • Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen

To keep up to date on Athletics:

  • World Athletics Podcast
  • The Narrative Podcast

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

My iPhone and the LinkedIn app—both are key lifelines for my business.

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

Michelle Obama—I am a massive fan. Very impressed with all of her accomplishments. She started from a regular middle class family and had to work very very hard to get to where she is today whereby she is involved on some many worthwhile initiatives and is just “crushing” all of them!

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

While we are in some unprecedented and challenging times, if you are able to do what you truly love (and that may not be easy nor feasible for some right now) then you can have the fulfilled and happy life you seek.

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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.