CEOs / Founders / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Sam McNamara, Founder & CEO at Getahead

Sam McNamara is the Founder & CEO at Getahead, a ‘Tinder for jobs’ app that matches jobseekers with employers by matching their preferences for work hours, salary expectations, lifestyle, benefits and prior experience.

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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’ve had an interesting background starting out in the fitness industry. I have always been very passionate about health and fitness and this led me straight into a job at the local gym when I finished school.

I grew my business as a personal trainer until I started looking for ways I could train more people, optimising my time and benefiting more people. This was where my love for online businesses started. 

My best friend and I went on to build a website that demonstrated how to use equipment, different workout ideas for home, park or even on holiday and recipe options. We tried to sell QR codes into unstaffed gyms in hotels and cruise ships and this was a time where you had to have a separate app to even read QR codes so it was a little before its time. 

We didn’t really have any idea what we were doing and massively missed the opportunity on this one. It was a great experience but one we still wish we had pushed a little harder. We engaged a nutritionist to the platform Jessica Sebel, who has gone on to build a more modern version of this business and is today worth more than $426m. Good lesson learnt there. I went on to buy a gym which I used as a hub whilst I focused on other online projects. 

During this time I was exposed to the RTO world where I met Jordan Belfort, the infamous wolf of wall st. I worked my absolute butt off during this job building a good relationship with Jordan where I went on to work as his Global head of sales for a number of years.

I built a few other online subscription products, some which were a great success and some that weren’t but I was addicted to learning and growing my knowledge and I wouldn’t have been able to build what we have with Getahead without this. 

Looking for local mentors I met a successful entrepreneur in the recruitment industry and this is where I found myself working for the next couple of years. I was not sure why I was in recruitment, it was my first full time office job and to be honest I hated the 9-5 routine, sitting on a train for two hours a day watching everyone go about their regimented days but I just had a feeling something good was going to come from this experience. 

I was in the midst of working for a recruitment firm in Melbourne when COVID hit and I was basically stuck in Brisbane looking for my next career step. I knew my passion was building digital products, I had extensive design experience (which I had been teaching myself this whole time), I saw the pain points within the recruitment industry and I was quite baffled how backwards most hiring processes are. 

The more I researched and networked I saw a huge pain point in a number of faster hiring industries. They could not afford to hire, their businesses had taken the biggest hits during COVID, there was no platform that really assisted with what they were trying to achieve. It was at that point I dedicated the next two years of my life to putting everything I could into building a product to revolutionise the job seeking and hiring world. 

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

I’m an early riser and am usually at my desk by about 6/6:30am. I put in an hour of emails and then jump in the ice bath for 4-5 minutes. My days then consist of development meetings, marketing meetings, ad management, sales, finance and creative.

I am running this business as lean as possible currently which is allowing me to get a great insight and learn every role in great depth which has been so beneficial when hiring and growing our team. I then walk our dog Harvey every afternoon before dark before dinner, gym and some more emails. 

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

I am a big believer in getting ahead (no pun intended) of your work stresses and doing as much as I can to ensure I am in a fit mental state. I really think this is key to not burning out and managing a high workload. I have been LOVING ice baths lately and have locked in a 4-5 minute ice bath 4-5 times a week.

I find my head is so clear and I feel so energised following these and it really sets me up for a good working day. I also take my dog for a walk every afternoon before dark and enjoy this time a lot before heading to the gym. I am also quite strict on my fluid intake and food and anytime I can feel myself burning out I love a good sauna or float session at City Cave. 

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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 am definitely being stricter with my time, surrounding myself with people that push me even harder and am really putting in a big focus on my mental state to ensure I am at the top of my game. It is an emotional rollercoaster building a startup and I am about as competitive as they come with a massive vision for Getahead and I will not give up until I achieve what I have set out to achieve.

I need to know my body can handle the pressure I put on myself. This might sound a little crazy but I also track as much as I can to know when I am slipping in any department. I have an Oura ring to track my sleep, sleep efficiency, resting heart rate, body temp and readiness so I know when I can push harder and when I need to recover more.

I also track my exercise through my apple watch, water intake and even track my teeth cleaning through an app (don’t judge). I treat the world of business as war and I want to ensure I am prepared for anything at any time.

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 am not a massive reader, I struggle to sit down for long but the last book I read was Michael PhelpsNo Limits: The Will to Succeed. This was epic. I also recently read Principles by Ray Dalio, a great book as well. I enjoy working with a YouTube interview or podcast going and love listening to people that inspire me in business or life. 

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?

If you have a plan b, don’t bother with plan a, burn the boats, put yourself in the deep end and go all in.  

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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.