CEOs / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Trent McGraw, CEO of Equity Story

Trent McGraw is the CEO of Equity Story, a Sydney-based stock market research and reporting firm.

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

I was 27 years old when I started my first business in the commercial construction sector. I sold it four years later and found myself semi-retired at 31.

But that was too soon for me. I had a drive and a desire to help other businesses grow. This led me to start a seed/venture capital firm in 2014 and eventually come across Equity Story a year later.

What attracted me most to Equity Story was the company’s goal to provide meaningful assistance to any and all investors, regardless of how much money they have. 

I ended up taking over the business in 2016 and working in an unpaid capacity for 3 years.

I had a vision that Equity Story could one day go public and allow the members who had been with us on our journey, as well as others, to invest in it.

Five short years later, our client numbers and revenue are up ten-fold, we have additional business units and a separate funds management business. All whilst keeping capital restrained. We’re now on the verge of listing on the Australian Stock Exchange and, even after all of this, we still feel as though we are only just getting started.

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

Well, I am still working from home so I wear many hats.

5:30am-6:30am: Review the overnight US market activity and action emails that have come in from overseas overnight

6:30am-7:30am: Help with getting our children ready for the day. We have an 11 year old, 9 year old and 8 month old. Our mornings are busy!

7:30-8:30: Gym

9:00am-10:00am: Touch base with the sales/ support/ analyst teams

10:00am-5:00pm: It’s basically a Zoomathon! Anything from web dev, to raising capital, to board meetings, marketing meetings, PR meetings, and just generally doing my best to make sure everyone is happy

5:30pm-6:30pm: I am a Duber (Dad Uber) driver for my sons’ many sports training sessions

6:30pm: My gorgeous wife and I look at each other for the first time in the day! 

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

I’m still working from home, which I love. I believe flexibility around remote working allows me to achieve a greater sense of work-life balance.  

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

Work-life balance means giving the best version of myself to both my businesses and my family. It is about working efficiently in the workplace by leveraging the technology we have available to us in 2022 to complete my tasks within traditional 9-5 work hours. This allows me the freedom and time to be a part of my childrens’ before and after school activities.

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

Nothing really has changed in the past 12 months. One major change I made was quitting drinking alcohol around six years ago. Honestly it was the best thing I ever did for myself. I have found it really smoothes out the life experience, provides me with daily clarity, motivation.

I could go on and on. It’s a pretty extreme decision relative to the strong Australian drinking culture, but one I would recommend to anyone.

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

Business – Screw It, Let’s Do It: Lessons In Life, Richard Branson’s wild story and Key Lessons; Just Do it; Have Fun; Be Bold; Challenge Yourself; Stand on Your Own Feet; Live the Moment; Value Family and Friends; Have Respect; Do Some Good

Investing – The Man Who Solved the Market: How Jim Simons Launched the Quant Revolution. Jim Simons is the greatest money maker in modern financial history. Since 1988, his Renaissance Medallion fund has generated average annual returns of 66 percent.

Life – The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment. Eckhart Tolle offers simple language in a question and answer format to bring you into the Now, the present moment. It is here you can find your joy and are able to embrace your true self. Listening to him is even better, where he can be quite humorous when discussing difficult topics.

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

I have a bit of a love/ hate relationship with my iPhone, but that’s more around me than the phone, and putting boundaries in place as to when I actually need to be on it. But overall it’s range of uses anables my work to be executed efficiently.

I’m not really a gadget or app guy. I watch (end up listening as I fall asleep) a podcast on YouTube every night. I try to mix it up each night. It could be anything from sports, politics, comedy, nutrition. I like learning a little bit about a lot of things.

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

Without doubt, Richard Branson. He is probably the business person I admire above all else. For two main reasons:

  • He has always just backed himself, time and time again, even when on the brink of failure
  • He has been married now for over 32yrs, and looks to have a wonderful relationship with his wife and kids. To have maintained this whilst running businesses at the level he has is something few have done

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

I’m not a huge fan of the 24/7 hustle culture that I am bombarded with daily on my social media feeds. I believe we should be leveraging the technology we have available to us, working smarter, investing our money and looking for balance in our lives. 

You do not need to be doing everything yourself. Focus on what you are good at between 9 and 5 then make your money work for you while you’re sleeping. Work smart and invest smart. Like in Equity Story!

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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.