Poonam Advani is the Co-Founder at Press Play Ventures, a pre-accelerator program backed by LaunchVic for women who want to transition from employment to entrepreneurship.
Let’s start with your background! Can you share with us your career journey and what you’re currently up to?
I am a business owner, accountant and writer.
I started my career as a student journalist at Mumbai Mirror (local daily in Mumbai, India) and reported on issues impacting students across the city. Around this time, I also began writing for the internet and realised it was possible to leverage the opportunities that were hidden in plain sight.
I spent the next few years building a content writing agency from the ground up that serviced clients across the US, UK and India.
Sometime in 2009 I took the decision to study in Melbourne and decided to pursue a Masters in Accounting & Financial Management. I graduated in 2013 and worked as an accountant in small to medium companies in Melbourne until 2022.
I took some time to assess what I wanted to do going forward and realised I was seeking an opportunity that allowed me to create a direct impact on people and their lives.
Right around this time, Press Play Ventures (PPV) came alive. PPV is a partnership between 4 co-founders and we’re delivering a pre-accelerator program for women who want to transition from employment to entrepreneurship. This is backed by LaunchVic with a $300,000 grant.
Besides PPV, I also help small to medium businesses create and consolidate their media presence using digital marketing frameworks via Vox360.
We’d love to know what a typical day is like for you. Could you describe a recent workday?
Unlike in a 9 to 5 job, I now have a lot more autonomy with how I structure my day. So, I find myself creating pockets of time where I focus on work related to PPV and Vox360. It can get quite challenging to manage two growing businesses, but I think that’s where the biggest opportunities for growth come about.
Most recently, I spent a morning meeting with a potential client for Vox360 and the afternoon interviewing candidates for the pre-accelerator program. I also volunteer and sit on the board for VicWise – a student-volunteer run organisation that helps international students unlock employment opportunities. I finished my day with a team meeting for VicWise.
Can you define work-life balance for yourself and share with us your approach in maintaining it?
I’ve struggled with the definition, to be honest. And what little control I had over maintaining a balance – took a hit, especially during COVID19. But I’m making an effort to have more clear boundaries now.
Since I primarily work from home, I have set start and finish times for PPV and Vox360 related tasks. I can also afford to start later than usual – so I try to get in a little quiet time before my day starts – this is either with a cup of coffee in one hand and a book in the other or a quick 10 min mind dump in a journal / laptop, as is the need of the hour.
Besides that, I take plenty of time to reset. Weekends are now dedicated to leisure activities – I love reading, so I try to get a lot of that in. I also love connecting with peers and colleagues over coffee / brunch, so I try to schedule these over the weekend as well.
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?
Yes! I’ve signed up at my local gym and incorporated more exercise in my life.
I find that I have a long way to go here – I am getting started and have realised that consistency really is key.
Going to the gym isn’t about fitting into a specific size anymore – fitness is a lifestyle change – one that I’m cultivating for the long term.
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?
For the last year and a half, I’ve tried to incorporate Ayurvedic practices and knowledge into my daily life. I’ve done this through books and an online course I’ve taken with an Ayurvedic practitioner.
- Ayurveda for Women: A Guide to Vitality and Health, Robert E. Svoboda
- Prakriti: Your Ayurvedic Constitution, Robert E. Svoboda
- Bright, Light & Confident: Dr Dhanya Nambiar, Prana Ayurveda.
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?
Sure. This is short and to the point. It’s an ideology that helped me immensely over the last 1 year: Life happens for you – not to you. Accept your reality and if you don’t like it – change it!