CEOs / Founders / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Sam Saideman, Co-Founder & CEO of Innovo Management

Sam Saideman is the co-founder & CEO of Innovo Management, a multi-faceted management company that handles all aspects of a musician’s careers.

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

Sure! I co-founded my business in 2014 and during its beginnings held jobs at Sony/ATV Music Publishing, Marathon Music Works, and ONErpm. My background beyond the music industry is in marketing and sales.

I’ve always had an affinity to creative marketing and trying to build things that were unique and innovative. My current role is that of CEO at Innovo Management. I have a great team alongside me which allows me to mostly focus on the vision and strategy as well as managing my music and influencer rosters.

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

I think everyone in this industry can agree (especially those who work on the commission side of things) that everyday is completely different. I usually get into the office pretty early and catch up on all of the influencer inquiries received in the middle of the night (usually from Europe.)

Then when the team gets in, we’re talking over any important to-do’s and getting to it. My days right now are a good mix of artists and influencers sporadically needing things, and my scheduled calendar of calls and meetings.

In January 2022 we launched our brand marketing division so we’ve been dedicating a lot of time as a team to getting that side off to the races (tech build-out, systems build-out, etc.)

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

It does. I would say I’m fairly regimented in that I’m my best or most efficient self when I’m working through a calendar rather than all sporadic.

I try to keep somewhat of a schedule of going into the office and working remotely. It’s usually about 3 days a week in and 2 days a week from coffee shops, home, or running around to meetings. It’s definitely really busy, but my calendar system makes it manageable! 

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

That answer has changed over the years of being an Entrepreneur. When we launched Innovo I believed in “hustle culture.”

I believed that in order to be “successful” you had to make all of these massive sacrifices (time, debt, relationships, physical health, sleep, mental health, etc.) I’d work ridiculous days and not take care of myself.

Obviously that isn’t sustainable. Eventually I realised that in order to be my best at work, I had to be my best outside of work. That meant working out often, eating better, picking up hobbies, trying to sleep more, working smarter not harder/(longer,) setting boundaries, etc.

I think that social media’s prominence has created a really dangerous narrative about “hustle culture” and it’s just not true. Work hard, but allow yourself to recharge and reset.

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

I get the Music Ally Bulletin everyday which is a good quick recap of industry happenings. I also get a weekly newsletter (Monday Morning Report) from the Nashville Chamber of Commerce which is really helpful for more geographically significant events.

I listen to a lot of Arsenal (soccer/football depending on where you’re reading this from) podcasts as a nice change of pace. I’m also currently in my second month of trying out a book club to push me to prioritise reading more. The club prioritises women, POC, and LGBTQIA+ authors.

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

We swear by Basecamp at Innovo. All of our clients are on there, calendars, task management, integrations, files, etc.

I also use the Chrome plug-in Streak dailly which allows me to track when, where, and how often someone opened an email I sent. It’s really useful for knowing when to follow up, when to try from a different email, or when to stop contacting.

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

People make fun of MySpace a lot, but the owner (Tom Anderson) travels the world exploring and photographing year-round and I believe he’s been doing that pretty consistently since he sold the company in ’05 and retired in ’09.

I’d love to hear his perspective as his company played an integral role in how we consume social media today. Instead of jumping to the next thing like many of us do, he moved to Hawaii and now travels the world. Of course there are so many giant entrepreneurs whose opinions would be valuable, but I think Tom’s would be extremely unique.

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

It’s easy to get caught up in the minutiae of the daily grind. Just don’t let 30 years go by only thinking about the micro.

Work at a place that supports you and you believe in the shared vision, but take time to give yourself the things you need (better sleep, healthier meals, more time with friends, etc) too.

We can be so hard on ourselves because of how social media portrays other’s lives. Be kind to yourself! It’s okay if you’re having a bad day, tomorrow will be better.

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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.