Balancing the Grind with Sanjay Shah, Director of Visionary Digital Studios

Sanjay Shah is the founder and director of Visionary Digital Studios, an Australian video marketing agency working with tech companies.

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

I went from climbing the corporate ladder and a “lukewarm” life to … living my wildest dreams running an international digital business from coastal hotel rooms!

My career started in IT, where I climbed the corporate ladder and eventually ended up running a nationwide tech team for a Top 4 consultancy, Deloitte. The journey was actually quite fun – but once I’d done that last role, I knew I’d achieved everything I ever wanted to in the corporate life.

So I quit, and started again, 5 years ago. I built my company, Visionary Digital Studios, from scratch. The journey has been epic. More pain than I could have expected, and more glory than I ever could have imagined.

These days, Visionary Digital Studios works with Australian and international tech companies, including some great high profile clients along the way.

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

My morning routine starts at 5:15am with a run to the beach (2 blocks away!), and a quick ocean swim. I’ve also got mindset work, vision boards, and learning as part of my morning routine – before I kick off my first work session from 7am – 9am.

I power that session with 2 bulletproof coffees to have my brain super-charged! Then, I usually do my next work session from the 34th story rooftop of my apartment which overlooks the ocean!

Depending on the day, my work can finish anywhere between 6pm – 8pm – but I’ve usually got gym/yoga and “de-stress walks” interspersed.

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

Very much so – it’s one of the most important reasons I built a digital business.

I can live anywhere in Australia – which generally has me living in a coastal town away from large cities – currently, I’m looking over the ocean in Broadbeach, Queensland.

But I found myself missing the office and interaction with my team and clients. So we meet in the office 2 days every week these days. And as often as possible I’ll visit clients, partners and team members when I happen to be in their city.

But I have to admit – the ability to work from anywhere also means I’m working A LOT. Even nights and weekends – the laptop is always here.

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

I don’t believe there is a “work life balance” in entrepreneurship. At least not until you’ve put in the initial hard yards.

But by living in hotels by the beach, building a business that I enjoy, and attracting clients and networks that truly inspire me – work and play tend to be synonymous. I have fun with my work, and the friends I “play” with are often business partners or advisors.

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

Many! I’m always tweaking my routines and trying new things to keep evolving and ensure it stays interesting and inspiring.

For example, I used to wake up and start straight on the laptop at 5am. But I found myself waking up anxious and not working effectively – so now I do the run/swim/mindset routine first. Makes every morning feel great!

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

For business, my favourite podcast is The Traffic and Funnels Show. Those guys are very powerful agency builders, but also very wise teachers.

If you can’t resist getting a little esoteric, the book Reality Transurfing is a rare piece of wisdom, and a path to making all of your dreams come true.

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

I’m proudly Apple indoctrinated! So my Mac and iPhone are mandatory.

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

Tim Ferriss, the master of work-life balance! But what people fail to see is that Ferriss was working grueling 90 hour weeks first, before he systemised and automated into the 4 hour work week. He definitely did the hard yards first!

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

For building a business and getting past the crazy first few years that the majority of business owners fail to surpass .. here is a simple formula that almost guarantees success:

  • Work minimum 50 hours per week
  • Join a business mastermind
  • Read at least 1 book per week
  • Carefully curate all the social media and digital content around youso only high quality content programs your subconscious

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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.