CEOs / Founders / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Reuben Williams, Co-Founder & CEO at SportsGrad

Reuben Williams is the co-founder & CEO at SportsGrad, a platform where the best graduate talent come to accelerate their careers in sports.

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

I started a marketing degree, but dropped out after 1.5 years. Completed Sport Management. Went into Cricket Australia for 3 years (2017 Ashes > ball tampering > Women’s World Cup > Covid), then was made redundant in 2020.

This gave me the time to pursue my passion project and start The SportsGrad Podcast with my mate Ryan Walker. 1.5 years later, helping people find jobs in sport through content and community is now my full-time job – check it out here.

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

Depends what phase of work we’re in: maintenance, or build.

In maintenance mode, I have a fair bit of balance: Wake up at 7 to walk, read, and write. Start my main task for the day at 9 – this could be creating content, writing guest interview questions, or preparing to speak on webinars.

Stop for lunch at 12:30 (I had to put this in place because I would just work straight through). Email and meetings in the afternoon, hopefully tools down at 5:30pm, cook dinner, then continue on anything pressing around 9:00pm

In build mode, I struggle to think about anything else until a job is done. We’re currently going through a product launch, so it’s a lot of website updates, playing with automations, writing press releases, and creating content.

Build mode is when all timings and routine tend to go out the window and I try to get as much done as I physically can in a day. (wouldn’t recommend, sleep and nutrition often gets neglected and I get rundown)

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

Yes absolutely, I love having the freedom to work from anywhere, and was one of the main motivations to work for myself. I spent 8 months of 2021 living and working from home in Lorne on the Great Ocean Road of Victoria which allowed me to cycle the coastline almost everyday.

I also worked whilst on a road trip to Uluru last July! You do have to keep your wits about you however, I left my laptop in Kings Canyon, thank goodness someone found it!

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

I achieve it by trying to combine them in one. One definition of retirement is that it starts when you stop sacrificing today for some imaginary tomorrow.

I am very grateful to be doing something I love, building SportsGrad feels like playing a video game and I happily play it all day sometimes. Outside of that, having regular times to call friends and family ensures I don’t lose sight of important relationships.

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

Yes, I read Atomic Habits by James Clear last year and it really set me on a good path. Each day I began waking up early, reading, walking, writing, and exercising. I also stopped watching all TV. News would still find a way to reach me via a group chat, but it really helped keep my mind clear.

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

The SportsGrad Podcast of course! I’m a pretty classic case of someone who read The 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss and followed the steps. I’ve never finished a book so quickly in my life! 10 days after I read it I moved to the beach in Lorne.

Tim Ferriss also has two podcast interviews with Hugh Jackman and Jerry Seinfeld that I’ve listened to ~30 times each. Jerry is very systematic in his excellence, while Hugh goes with his gut. I find they each cover a lot of core principles of success and so I refer back often while I ride my bike.

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

  • Zapier – automates my life
  • Marley Spoon – saves me deciding what to cook for dinner
  • My bike – Gets me to work, and from Lorne to Apollo Bay
  • Spotify/AirPods – Allows Hugh Jackman to keep me company on my bike

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

Barack Obama whilst in power – not that I’d want to emulate it, I’d just be interested to see how a President manages his life along with huge responsibility.

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

Value your time more than anything, and put a dollar amount on how much each hour of your life is worth and stick to it. This will help you identify what is worth doing, and what you should outsource.

For example, Marley Spoon saves me heaps of time wandering around super markets. Saying ‘no’ and stripping things back has made the biggest difference in my life.

I do very few things these days so I’m not stretched thin, and can put all my efforts into the essentials that keep me happy and healthy and allow me to scale SportsGrad. This probably sounds extreme, but when you’ve got a big vision, you’ve got to be.

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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.