Balancing the Grind with Paul Bevan, Founder & CEO at Magic Valley

For our latest Balancing the Grind conversation, we feature Paul Bevan, Founder & CEO of Magic Valley, who shares his transition from the finance sector and entrepreneurship in mixed martial arts to launching a cultivated meat startup.

Paul discusses his daily routine, focusing on R&D and partnerships to drive Magic Valley’s mission of food sustainability and animal welfare. He highlights the importance of exercise and setting clear boundaries for work-life balance, along with the benefits of engaging in new physical activities like Reformer Pilates.

Let’s start with your background! Can you share with us your career journey and what you’re currently up to?

My career has been a non-linear blend of corporate experience and entrepreneurship. After spending years in finance, I co-founded Absolute MMA – Melbourne’s biggest mixed martial arts centre and Boss Finance – an award-winning finance brokerage.

It’s only recently where I’ve found my true calling – founding Magic Valley to address the pressing issues of food sustainability and animal welfare through cultivated meat. Currently, I’m dedicated to scaling our operations, enhancing our R&D capabilities, and building partnerships to bring our products to a global market.

We’d love to know what a typical day is like for you. Could you describe a recent workday?

A recent workday started with a team meeting to discuss R&D progress and set priorities for our upcoming product development and regulation. I then reviewed partnership proposals with potential, worked on a funding round presentation, and ended the day brainstorming with our marketing team on campaign ideas. A late-night gym session then ensued! No two days are the same, but they’re all driven by a common goal: to make sustainable meat alternatives accessible to everyone.

Can you define work-life balance for yourself and share with us your approach in maintaining it?

For me, work-life balance means having the flexibility to dedicate time to both professional ambitions and personal well-being. It’s about making intentional choices that align with my values and long-term goals. I maintain this balance by setting clear boundaries, prioritising tasks, and ensuring I have quality time for self-care. Daily exercise is extremely important to me and has been a staple in my life since I was a teenager.

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?

In the past year, I’ve made a conscious effort to incorporate new physical activities into my routine, which has significantly improved my overall well-being and productivity. Starting Reformer Pilates has enabled me to not only improve my flexibility and balance, but it enables me to switch off from work for an hour as well. This could apply to learning any new skill, where you’re forced to concentrate and be present. I can highly recommend Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for this as well.

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?

Books: Living the 80/20 Way by Richard Koch has been instrumental in helping me focus on tasks that drive the most value.

Podcasts: Modern Wisdom with Chris Williamson offers incredible insights from various experts and has been a source of inspiration and learning.

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?

Balance isn’t about dividing your time equally but about aligning your activities with your priorities and values. It’s okay to lean more into work or life as demands arise, as long as you’re conscious of your needs and adjust accordingly. Remember, the journey of entrepreneurship is a marathon, not a sprint; maintaining your well-being is crucial for long-term success and fulfilment.

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.