CEOs / Founders / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Philip Linardos, CEO & Co-Founder of ShelfNow

Philip Linardos is the CEO & co-founder of ShelfNow, an online trading platform designed specifically for food producers to trade with buyers.

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

Immersing myself in early stage ventures has been a passion of mine since the start of my career, and I’ve been fortunate enough to have worked in different areas of startup businesses, from scaling operations to leading sales and business development to investing in pre-seed rounds.

I believe I’m lucky to have experienced the full spectrum of what it takes to build a successful startup and I’ve bought this into my current role at ShelfNow.

At the company, I look after business operations, commercial development and shaping the company’s vision which is aiming to establish ShelfNow as the leading marketplace for small and medium-sized brands and buyers in Europe.

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

My day starts officially at 8am when I enjoy a morning coffee to set me up for the day. I prioritise looking at emails for the first 30 minutes, as well as catching up on colleagues’ messages.

Before I officially start my work day I make sure to have breakfast – having at least three meals a day is important to me to ensure I’m fueling my brain and body to perform at its best.

I like to use my mornings to action urgent emails and also reflect on what I have coming up in the day. As I’m feeling refreshed, I make sure to respond to emails and activities that require more brainpower. 

Lunch is usually on the go as my day is busy. Most of my meetings are in the afternoon after I’ve completed the time sensitive tasks for the day.

When possible, I like to take calls while walking to help with productivity and also get some much-needed steps in my day. I like to ensure I have some time between meetings (at least 10-15 mins) to decompress and pick up any important in-between work / following up.

As an entrepreneur, my work days rarely finish at the same time. However, by 8pm I always make sure to wrap up officially the workday to enable time for some evening exercise followed by dinner.

Basketball is a passion of mine, it’s one of the most played sports in Greece and I grew up playing it throughout my childhood. If I’m not playing basketball, I usually spend three evenings a week in the gym.

After this, I feel ready to rest and relax ahead of another productive day the next day. Sometimes however, night time work is essential, during hours where distractions cease to exist between 11pm-1am.

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

It is now more than ever important that we are able to accommodate our employees from wherever they may be. We want to attract the best talent possible and if that means that someone may need to work in a different country for some months then we are happy to work around this.

As someone of Greek heritage living in the UK, it’s important that I’m able to spend time outside our London base throughout the year, so I can appreciate the importance of working from home / remote, as sometimes it is about reconnecting with loved ones.

This year we had employees working remotely from as far as Indonesia and the UAE. Luckily, due to modern technology, we’re able to work from all over the world and still feel as though we’re in the same office.

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

Being an entrepreneur sometimes means I work longer hours than I should, but as I am so lucky to be passionate about my job and what our company has achieved, that work isn’t a chore.

However, I value time offline and think it’s important that we all put some time in our schedule to switch off. After work and on weekends I love to spend time with my friends and loved ones, enjoying culture, London’s avid food scene and travel, when possible. 

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

The pandemic gave me time to increase the amount of time I spend exercising and the time I spend in nature, as I had more time at home, and no need to commute.

I’ve always enjoyed exercising or being out in the green, whether it’s a park or the countryside, but with a busy work life I’ve found it hard from time to time to incorporate it regularly into my daily routine.

After spending more time keeping fit and seeing the benefits on my productivity and overall wellness, I’ve made sure to prioritise time for this in my life when things have opened up and life has once again got busier. For example I try to walk with my dog to the nearest park every chance I get, something I would not have been able to do as often before.

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

Podcasts provide a way for me to escape from busy day to day life and get a better understanding of some interesting people.

I enjoy listening to entrepreneurial podcasts that share an insight into the lives and processes of other entrepreneurs, whether that’s those similar to myself or those who I aspire to be like. How I Built This with Guy Ruz is one of my favourites easy-to-listen-to, as it shares a unique perspective and some of the biggest names in business telling their story.

The pandemic gave me more time to pick up books again. Some of my favourite recent books that I’ve read are Factfulness, Intelligent Investor, How to Win Friends and Influence People, A Life On Our Planet.

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

There are many productivity apps I use that help to keep my busy life in order whether that’s for messaging colleagues, file-sharing or project management.

However, the main thing I couldn’t live without is my dog, Gloria. She kept me company through the lockdown and is a great distraction to help me switch off after a busy day. Animals give back way more than they receive and there’s a great deal you learn by taking care of them. 

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

Like many, I look up to and respect some of the greatest biographies/books of our time such as Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Obama, and other classic names. However, I also like to read/watch interviews with individuals who are also in different industries and less established as it offers great insight.

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

With more of us working flexibly, whether that means a hybrid of office and home more frequently or working from different countries, it’s important to create a break between the working day and your evening.

I recommend setting a cut off time and going for a walk to mark the end of your workday. This helps to act as a commute of sorts and helps you to switch off after your day. At the end of the day, we want the people we work with to be mentally stimulated, and that requires rest, exercise, a healthy lifestyle and just enough time for people to pursue non-work matters also.

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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.