Founders / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Stacey Isaac, Managing Director & Co-Founder of New Republique

Stacey Isaac is the co-founder and managing director of New Republique, an agency specialising in digital design, UX and conversion rate optimisation (CRO) strategies.

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

I worked as a womenswear fashion designer for 15 years both internationally in Italy and London and locally in Sydney before moving into digital in 2015.

I am the Managing Director and cofounder of New Republique, a specialist digital consultancy specialising in user experience design, experimentation and personalisation.

My husband, Nima Yassini, and I started the business in 2010 and our goal is to help organisations make better data led decisions by adopting a culture of experimentation and we work with some of Australia’s biggest brands including Chemist Warehouse, Qantas, HCF and Fantastic Furniture.

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

Busy! I always try to take 5 mins to enjoy a coffee in the mornings before the craziness of the day. Then it’s juggling a toddler in the morning including day care drop off, then back to the office (or house at the moment) to kick off the day.

I try to segment each day to focus on a different part of my job. My job is quite varied so I find focusing on a different part of my role each day helps me get through everything I need to do each week and keep momentum moving across different areas of the business.

I tend to keep Monday’s for emails and other work I need to get done as meetings tend to fill up the rest of my week. As a manager of people, I find it is really important to block out time for my own work.

My afternoon includes daycare pick up and spending time with my son before sitting down around 8pm to finish off any urgent work for the day and fit in a bit of me time before it all starts again the next day.

I’m lucky to have an incredibly hands on husband who is also my business partner so we work together as a team, helping each other and tag teaming between meetings, daycare drop offs, and domestic stuff to allow us both to manage our schedules as best we can.

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

Yes. One of the advantages of running your own business means you can create flexibility which I didn’t really do until I had my first child. It usually means I work late into the evening or on weekends to make up those hours.

I essentially don’t have any free time between 6am – 8pm so the days can be long! Since having a child I’ve really tried to limit my work on weekends and dedicate that time to family. Work life balance is so important and as I’ve gotten older, I’ve made this more of a priority.

With COVID-19 we are working full time from home so the trip from Sydney’s Northern Beaches into the city each day has been cut allowing me extra hours in the day to get things done instead of being stuck in traffic!

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

Achieving work life balance is challenging as I find it difficult to switch off. I am often on my computer working each night. However, having my son forced me to carve out that time and create balance. I have become very efficient at prioritising work and getting things done in the time I have.

In recent years we have focussed on building a team of great people at New Republique who we can delegate to and trust to take on important roles in the business. I also try not to work on the weekends and give myself a bit of a break and focus on family time.

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

I have Thursdays’ with my son which has been great to have some quality time together. I used to try and juggle work, emails, calls and time with him and realised I was missing those precious moments with him.

I now make an effort to close my computer and spend a few special hours with him, just mother and son, which I really love and has become our weekly routine. I work while he naps and still feel like I’ve achieved things at the end of the day.

I also created my ‘meeting free Mondays’ which was a game changer for me. By doing this on a Monday it created a really positive start to the week for me, giving myself time to clear my emails and get urgent work done and start the week on the right foot.

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

For books I’ve always loved The E Myth by Michael Gerber. It talks about how every successful business needs a mix of an entrepreneur, manager and technician.

Many business owners are only one of the three and it talks about how the secret to success is creating that balance of skills within a business. Both my husband and I fill different roles and have different skill sets, and it helps us navigate the types of people we need to hire when growing our team or filling certain roles.

For enjoyment I’ve always loved travelling but now more than ever I am loving my travel inspo. I absolutely love travelling the world and designing our next trip away, so I love having that inspiration of the coolest travel destinations and can’t wait to be able to travel to my favourite places again.

I lived overseas in Europe for 10 years and absolutely loved living life in another country, speaking a different language and immersing in a different culture. I love Mr&MrsSmith, Tablet Hotels, Contemporary Hotels, The Cool Hunter and Conde Nast.

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

My Todoist app on my phone. I set up all my projects and lists in there and it helps me get organised. It’s also very satisfying to tick everything off once it’s done.

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

I am inspired by any woman in business who has successfully built a business, alongside having children and finding time for themselves and a social life too.

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

Focus on a different project or goal each day and block out times in your diary to get your own work done. I also set up projects and lists in my Todoist app which makes sure I don’t forget the important stuff and helps me get organised.

Try and carve out at least a few hours per week for personal time. It does so much for your health and sanity and helps you keep momentum of a busy lifestyle.

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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.