CEOs / Founders / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Rohan Workman, Co-Founder & CEO at Skalata Ventures

Rohan Workman is the Co-Founder & CEO at Skalata Ventures, a seed-stage venture capital firm that invests in the most promising startups across the region.

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

I started my career at a professional services firm called McGrathNicol which was a great opportunity to work across a number of industries and in a number of different types of roles. From there, I wanted to start my own company and so, with a couple of friends, started a business that provided HR management solutions to hospitality businesses. 

This was before there was much of a startup industry in Melbourne and so it was super hard to get the support we needed (predominantly advice but also certainly capital). We made a lot of mistakes along the way but were lucky to sell the company in 2016. I also worked at the University of Melbourne running some entrepreneurial programs which was great fun. 

Then, in late 2017 a few former colleagues from the University and I hatched up the idea for Skalata. We incorporated the company in 2018, managed to obtain a government grant to help establish the business and here we are almost five years later.

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

Too much time in meetings! Luckily this has gotten better lately. I try to focus my time on the highest leverage activities for the business which normally includes supporting our team to achieve their goals. If I can help them workshop a problem or come up with a solution then that is time well spent. Aside from that, I spent a lot of time with our portfolio companies and also our investors.

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

I don’t think I’ve figured this out to the extent that I would like just yet, but I’m getting better at it. The key thing that I try to remind myself is that this is a long-game and that we’ll only be successful if we can pace ourselves.

For me, this means making time to exercise, spending time with friends and family and also ensuring that I work reasonable hours. If I can’t take care of myself, how can I take care of a business? We also try to role model this for our team because work should complement life, not consume it.

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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?

I’m generally a pretty impatient person and so am always keen to take advantage of opportunities, or solve problems, immediately. However, similar to the above, I’m trying to recognise that sometimes resolving something just takes time, especially the more complex projects and exercise more patience. Sometimes this is easier said than done!

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?

I’ve been reading School of Life by Alain de Botton recently and that has been really interesting and which I’d recommend.

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?

One piece of feedback that I received recently was that making time for the things you love and need to replenish your energy is an investment and the dividends include being more effective at work. I think sometimes we feel guilty about not doing work when we could be, but recognising that this makes us more effective is really helpful.

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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.