CEOs / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Rojie Tadros, CEO & Founder at Payday Deals

Rojie Tadros is the founder and CEO of Payday Deals, a leading Australia-based online marketplace, featuring deals on over 25,000 products across a variety of categories.

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

I took my first job back when I was fourteen, working as a dishwasher in a local restaurant.

From there, I went on to work numerous hospitality and retail roles, alongside studying for my degree in a Bachelor of Business (Marketing/Management) at Swinburne University of Technology.

I guess that was the foundation of my progression into sales and marketing roles at Sensis White Pages – that’s where I found my passion for helping Australian businesses to grow through smart and innovative marketing.

I founded Payday Deals in 2017 and since my very first online sale, I’ve been committed to the business’ growth.

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

I like to wake up in time to fit in a quick HIIT workout before getting stuck into the day. I’m usually out of the house and making my way to the office by 7 a.m.

On the way, I stop off at the supermarket to pick up some fresh pre-made meals and fruit for the team, because I’m a big advocate for providing a healthy and well-balanced working environment, filled with a happy and energetic team.

This little pit stop also means our employees don’t have to worry about the expense of preparing or buying food throughout the day – unless they want to.

Once at work, I usually have an hour on my own to work through a few operational tasks before the team arrives.

I make sure I block out my mornings so I can spend time with them, assisting with professional tasks, going through department updates and getting to know everyone on a personal level; that means no external meetings or appointments until after lunch.

At 12.30, we tend to eat lunch together and have some real down-time and after that, my calendar is filled with meetings and appointments, and generally getting stuff done.

After 4 p.m., I block out my calendar again to make sure I’m available for the team.

I’m usually out of the office by 6.30 and spend evenings catching up with friends and family, working in my home office or just relaxing.

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

Running my own business gives me the flexibility to plan my day how I like it. Although I can work remotely, I prefer to spend most of my time in the office with the rest of the team, so we can build on our culture and help each other out when we need it.

I really believe a flexible working environment is what today’s professionals want. I know my staff will work hard once they get to the office, so I don’t pressure them to arrive on the dot every day.

They can come in when they want, and make up the hours at a time that works for them. (I’ve believed in this approach since seeing individuals being given a hard time from management at previous workplaces when they didn’t arrive on time.)

If myself or anyone else ever needs to take an afternoon off to run personal errands, that’s not an issue.

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

When the team and I take the time to relax and recharge, that complements our work and boosts productivity far more than powering through long hours ever could.

I encourage flexible working hours and I get strict when it comes to making sure the team takes regular breaks throughout the day – and don’t cut their lunch breaks short. In fact, I’ve been known to stand at a team member’s desk until they get up and take a break.

I used to think that putting the hours in is what would make someone successful. Nowadays, I don’t allow myself or the team to stay in the office after 6.30 p.m., because everyone needs that time at home to rest or spend time with family and friends.

Unless it’s super urgent, I don’t allow the team to work on weekends at all. If they request, I’ll allow a maximum of one hour per day on Saturdays and Sundays so they can get across emails.

I genuinely encourage the team to achieve a good work-life balance and I believe that starts with the company. Having the time to switch off, enjoy a hobby or hang out with people they love leads to a happy, productive team.

Overworking anybody is counter-productive; I want the Payday Deals employees to love coming to the office and to feel refreshed and motivated when they get there.

4) What do you think are some of the best habits or routines that you’ve developed over the years to help you achieve success in your life?

I had to almost train myself to switch off when I leave work – or the lines between work and leisure can easily blur.

One way I do that is by removing work emails from my personal phone, so I’m not tempted to dive back into work mode when I’m supposed to be recuperating. I also incorporate regular days off in my routine, giving my mind and body time to rest to ensure I don’t burn out.

Regular exercise is extremely important; it puts me in the right mind frame every morning and I think it’s vital to include a sustainable, positive exercise plan into a routine in order to be successful both in business and on a personal level.

Getting a good night’s sleep keeps me feeling motivated each day. For the last year or so, I’ve stopped sleeping with my phone in my bedroom. Instead, I listen to audio books before bed and I find this helps me to switch off and feel much more refreshed in the morning.

6) Are there any books that have helped you improve over the years?

As much as I get the appeal of a good book, I’m an advocate for audiobooks right now – I can listen while I get on with other things such as cooking or driving.

One awesome audiobook that helped me improve my mentality is Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds, by David Goggins. I listen to it during challenging times, or those times I need to perform at 110% to achieve my goals.

I recommend it to anyone – especially business owners – as it’s hugely motivating, and teaches methods on how to push past those mental blocks we all experience at some stages in our lives.

A second audiobook I swear by is Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari.

Simply put; it’s about learning to be a better human. The book teaches how being a better human is the best thing one can achieve in life, and I believe the definition of “better human” varies according to different people, so the book takes you on a bit of a personal journey.

For me, it’s all about helping others and giving back to other humans and the environment – something which attracts like-minded people that share the same values.

7) What is the number one thing you do to make sure you get the most out of your day?

Structure. What I mean by that is that it’s important to understand which times of the day are best for you to perform certain tasks.

Trying to force yourself to tick something off your to-do list at a time you know you’re not at your creative/analytical/productive best or when your decision-making brain power is diminished is simply a waste of time.

Structuring the day to best suit your performance abilities at certain times has worked wonders for me.

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

I’d love to get more insights from Nikola Tesla, a true creator and inventor of his time. Tesla made monster advances in his field, and had a highly interesting personal life with a focus on spending time in, and learning from, nature.

One of his most famous quotes reads: “Our virtues and our failings are inseparable, like force and matter. When they separate, man is no more.”

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This conversation is brought to you by Think Bespoke, providing LinkedIn training for individuals and organisations in Melbourne and Sydney.

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.