Balancing the Grind with Sophie Giakoumidis, Managing Director – Marketing & Strategy at oa agency

Sophie Giakoumidis is the Managing Director – Marketing & Strategy at oa agency, a company focused on online marketing, websites and developing business strategies.

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

My background has always been in marketing. When I was 19, I landed an internship in a small marketing agency in Surry Hills while I was studying and got to work with clients hands on. This kicked off my career and interest in digital.

I’ve worked in video production, social media, paid search, seo and for the last 10 years have been working for oa agency where I’ve worked my way up to managing director. I currently oversee all operations and client strategy for our agency which specialises in SEO, paid search and social media.

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

The workday will always start with sorting my emails. I like to keep actionable items for the day in my inbox and everything else filed or snoozed (thank you Gmail). Then, we will have a team meeting over Zoom as we’re all currently working remotely.

Usually by mid morning, I start to get a lot of calls from clients who want to talk strategy and run ideas past our agency.

 I will then get some time to work on clients and proposals and will end my day working on our agency and how we can make improvements/expand or do things better. 

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

Working remotely is great as it’s shifted our clients mindset. This has allowed for more meetings over Zoom than face to face. Some days, I’d spend hours driving out to see a client, have a 45 min meeting then have to drive back to the office and be so tired by the afternoon that I wouldn’t get much work done. Now, I can be more productive with online meetings even though I do still like to catch up face to face in some instances as it really makes things a bit more personal.

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

Work life balance is so important for me and ensuring my staff also have this. I’ve seen way too many CEOs burn out and I’ve been on the other side of things where I’ve seen the output of CEOs who have looked after their physical and mental health whilst working in a fast paced job.

I personally make sure that I always keep any plans that I have outside of work on a weeknight – if I have dinner plans at say 6pm, I will make sure that I finish and get to those plans no matter what I’m working on. I also make sure my staff finish at a time where they can still enjoy the daylight and get out and about after a hard workday.

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

I’ve started to go for a swim after work (when the weather permits!). This helps clear my head and allows me to put a hard stop on work for the day (most of the time). Some work habits I’ve adopted are having regular check-ins and catch ups with the team which is something I didn’t do pre-pandemic.

This not only helps get an insight into how everyones going but also what motivates staff and what tools and resources our agency can provide them to do their job better and gain personal growth. 

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

Some great books I recommend are Never Split The Difference by Christopher Voss & Tahl Rz and Agent of Influence by David Hanson – easy to read and apply to work. 

When I go to the gym or am on a flight, I like to listen to Small Business, Big Marketing by Tim Reid – as it’s Aussie, you can hear some great stories of local businesses in different industries and how they have succeeded with their company growth. 

A great newsletter I subscribe to is Friday Forward by Robert Glazer (good for motivation and managing staff). 

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

Nothing out of the ordinary. Gmail, Spotify and HubSpot – I can pretty much work anywhere with those!

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

 It would probably be a footballer like Cristiano Ronaldo. He manages to keep match fit and be one of the best players in the world, run businesses all over the world, have a family and time for holidays. I would love to know his secrets.

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

If you set the expectations and work with the right people, work-life balance should come naturally, it shouldn’t be something special, it should just be a given. Take time to recharge fully so you can go at full capacity, If you can do it with your phone, you can do it with yourself!

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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.