Will Richards is the founder of Overnight Success, a weekly newsletter on a mission to make the Aussie start-up & VC ecosystem more accessible, transparent & connected.
To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
My background is varied but connected. I’ve worked at a couple of automotive insurance start-ups, had a short stint in software sales and an internship at a PE shop. Before this, I spent a lot of time making coffees at a very expensive golf club while studying Commerce & Design.
Right now, I work at a private equity group that specialises in services industries across Australia — our focus is childcare and education. It’s a pretty awesome job considering how many different types of projects I get to work across. We develop properties, operate businesses and develop software in-house to solve problems we experience within these businesses. The long-term plan is to take the software to the broader market.
My other role is the founder of Overnight Success, which started as a weekly newsletter about the Australian start-up ecosystem, and has since flourished into something bigger with much more potential.
We’re on a mission to make the Aussie start-up & VC ecosystem more accessible, transparent & connected. Our hope is to make way for a new generation of thriving entrepreneurs, investors and operators.
What does a day in your life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
My days are quite routine. I generally always exercise early, usually 5-6 days a week, which is a mix of running or gym.
When I get to work, I start the morning going through my inbox to get to inbox zero — although inbox 50 is the usual reality. I then book meetings between 11-3, which gives me time for ‘deep’ work in the afternoon.
When I get home, I’ll knock out some work for the newsletter, which could include a call with Gemma or Bronte, an interview with a founder or writing about a fantastic Aussie start-up that just raised some capital.
What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
Work-life balance is transitory for me. It’s a moving target, and I know I get it wrong. I’ve probably burnt a few relationships from being too busy.
I’ve restructured myself in the last couple of years so the majority of things I work on are helping me achieve some of my goals in life. I’m not someone who can sit still for very long. If I’m watching TV at home, I’ll generally have my laptop out.
Unless I’m watching The Crown. I try to keep that productive — either wrapping up stuff for work, reading or writing for Overnight Success.
In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
I’ve started saying no more often. I went through a phase of saying yes to everything. Which I actually highly recommend, especially to young people, because by saying yes, you learn what you like and don’t like.
Now, however, I’ve got a good understanding of what I enjoy and what my time is worth. This makes it easier to say no to stuff when it doesn’t tick my internal boxes. If it’s not a fuck yeah, it’s probably a no.
I’ve joined a social running club as well which is full of some high quality people and athletes. It’s amazing how a group of people can lift your own standards.
The other main habit I’ve started is writing! Starting a newsletter and writing long-form pieces about start-ups, founders and investors has allowed me to think deeper about topics that interest me.
Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
I’m a big audio guy. My podcast wrapped for 2022 informed me I spent 18 days listening to podcasts. That’s over 430 hours.
Here are my top five pods, with my why:
- All-In: This has been one of the few podcasts I’ve shared with friends who have become weekly listeners. It gives an interesting first-hand perspective on tech, investing, world events and politics.
- Acquired and the Acquired LP show: History and playbooks of companies.
- Business Breakdowns: Each episode is an hour or so on a company, and runs through the history, business model and even breaks down the P&L. I highly recommend the Rolex or Salesforce episodes. I always learn something new with these.
- The Rest Is History: This one was first recommended by my Dad. It’s very digestible conversations about history, which are unapologetically from a British perspective — but at least they know it.
- Lenny’s Podcast: Lenny does a good job of going deep on specific problems and making them interesting. His guests are experts in their fields, and there is always some actionable insights to take out of an episode.
For newsletters, I always read Letter of Intent for Aussie M&A activities. Tech Safari is my gateway into entrepreneurship in Africa. The Community Collective gives me insights on building my own community and What The Health?! keeps me informed on the healthtech space.
If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
Taylor Swift. Also, Packy McCormick.
Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
Start it. Whatever it is, just start it. And when it’s up and running, reach out. I’d love to write about it.
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