Peter Schravemade is the Global Director of Sales, Marketing & Revenue at BoxBrownie.com, a photo editing company based on the Sunshine Coast.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I began in real estate as a fresh-faced 18 year old and accelerated through the industry to fill nearly every role attached to property in commercial, residential and property management, including operationally and management.
Prior to my role here at BoxBrownie.com, I was the operations manager for an all-in-one company whereby I would acquire sites for development, seek approval, begin to sell those developments off-the plan, follow the build through to settlement, then either rent the product in a traditional property management style, or throw it to our short term/hotel letting pool. Sometimes we would resell the product, but that was rare.
All through those roles and my sometimes ever-changing position, I was always involved in the marketing of the products for rent, for sale either existing or not existing.
When I first heard about BoxBrownie.com, I thought it was a fantastic idea, but I didn’t end up working for the operation for at least a year later, after I had resigned by previous role and was wondering why the company hadn’t progressed to a stage whereby it was an agent wide name across the industry.
2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
My days are ridiculous, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
1:30am a webinar to an association who were wanting advice on copyright and best practice with regards to photography.
2:15am I met with a franchise partner in America to discuss an up-coming webinar and how BoxBrownie.com can partner with the franchise in a closer way
3:00am a webinar with a fellow vendor to the property industry of North America. We were dealing with the topic of “finding listings in a hot market”
3:45am an interview with an Inman.com writer for an upcoming article
5:00am I was catching up with my internal team including my Executive Assistant and two department heads
6:00am my wife and I have coffee before she begins her working day (also for Boxbrownie.com)
6:30 – 8:30am is working on coming/future presentations
8:30am was a catch up with management about a research document release we have coming out in early July
9am-10am working on the research article report
10am I am dealing with operational aspects of BoxBrownie.com, escalations and Australian related issues as by this time our North American market is finished for the day
11am I will break from work and catch up on industry news, and topics on social media through lunch
12:30pm I will complete any projects for the day
1:30pm I will sign off and go for a siesta
3pm – time with the family and children
7pm the UK time zone begins with an API discussion with a US vendor
8pm I meeting with the marketing head of a UK franchise
8:30pm I have my final meeting for the day with a UK journalist talking listing presentations
My day tomorrow commences at 2:30am.
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
Our company is entirely viewed as a graphic design / photoshop sweatshop, which is not really what we are about. We are one of the largest outsourcers that I know of. My role needs to be flexible and I need to be able to work instantly from any place around the globe.
Right now QLD is on lock-down, and I and the staff at Headquarters in Maroochydore have seamlessly slipped back into remote operations.
Personally I prefer working from home, but there is no doubt that working in one place has huge advantages to staff focus and direction. Both fit well into my lifestyle and routine.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
At the moment, my daily schedule is flexible. To me, life balance in particular is important. The daily siesta is something that I have loved implementing since not being allowed to travel.
I get quality time now to spend with my son and daughters at their sporting sessions and doing homework.
And whilst not many people will be jealous of the hours I work or rise, they allow for peace and quiet and I can work with my remote team who are all in different time zones. Currently I play soccer twice a week and enjoy a Sunday off.
5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
Yes, I have absolutely tightened up on the hours that people can book me for time and who and what those people want. I love to be accessible to all whenever, particularly staff, so rather than remove the access.
I have simply limited the times I will handle that particular enquiry. I have also tightened up on meetings to make them to the point and less inclined to go on a tangent.
6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
I am a huge fan of Rob Hahn (aka Notorious Rob), who is a USA property industry commentator. He speaks frankly and directly which are two things I absolutely love! Whether he is right or wrong, he is happy to have an opinion. I follow his podcast and news releases.
7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?
My iPhone is pretty much attached to me given I can operate from it and most recently I became that much closer to being a disciple of Apple with the iWatch and am loving the freedom that allows me away from the device and more specifically being able to control when I am contactable and when not.
I am becoming a fan of my automatic stand and sit desk and have noticed a huge improvement to my well-being and posture since its inception 6 months ago.
I would also give a vote for the Microsoft Suite of programs and in particular Teams which we use to run all our internal correspondence.
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
I was a guest speaker at a conference in America two years ago and generally I like to sit and listen to the other guest speakers. There I was listening to one after the other of them that got up each tended to be the fire and brimstone approach of getting the crowd hyped to get excited about the hustle and grind of real estate.
One was making the crowd shout “I will make 200 calls per day”. As a former successful operational agent, the things that they were touting just did not reflect the reality of having a life and working in the industry.
Almost as some kind of programming mistake, the last speaker of the day was a diminutive woman by the name of Sarah Kalke.
She spoke about her work life balance as a mother and wife running a highly successful operation with such authenticity.
Her message was simple: I have found a work-life balance that works for myself and my family. If you haven’t found your balance, you should find it with the knowledge that it might not mean that you need to have 10,000 Instagram followers, or 5000 Facebook friends. And it may mean that you are happy to only sell 5 properties a month.
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
Identify the priorities you have in your life. Acknowledge the parts you must cover to achieve those priorities (like work, earning money and staying healthy). Find a work-life balance that speaks to both of those. Reassess your operations every 6 months to fine tune the balance that you have found as your balance will keep changing.
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