Balancing the Grind with Zoe Bowles, Founder of Reimagia

Zoe Bowles is the Founder of Reimagia, a platform that is bridging the gap between content creators and AI companies.

Let’s start with your background! Can you share with us your career journey and what you’re currently up to?

It’s been a long journey but an exciting one! I started out working part-time at a martial arts store in Northcote, while studying at uni in Bundoora. It was close and convenient and I really enjoyed being in a customer-facing sales environment. While I was still studying, I was offered a sales role from the adidas Combat Sports branch that supplied the retail store I worked at.

I took the role and worked as a sales consultant, eventually finishing uni and remaining there because I loved it so much. My degree had nothing to do with my job but I had learnt so much and had a lot of product knowledge that my role expanded and I ended up staying with adidas Combat Sports AU for 15 years, working my way up to Sales Manager, Sales & Marketing Director and eventually, VP of Sales & Marketing.

We were a really small team when I first started and so I loved that I got to wear many, many hats – inbound/outbound and customer facing sales, GTM strategy; marketing – strategy development and implementation, online and social media marketing, I did it all. I also worked closely with the COO and CEO which helped me develop skills I never knew I had – financials, operations and liaising with global stakeholders. We saw the core range grow from 3 product lines to 8 over the 15 year period I was there. 

I’ve since had 2 kids and an international move to Singapore. We moved here just before I had my second child and then COVID hit. It was really tough looking for a sponsored role post-covid and so I started reading a lot online about what was happening in the world of AI. My partner is in tech so would always show me really cool beta-products his company was working on.

At the same time, I was reading and learning more about AI online – the lawsuits, LAION5B, Midjourney and Getty Images and copyright law. My brother is a musician and my cousin is a graphic artist so I could see both sides of the arguments. A little while later, my partner and I started seriously working on the idea of creating a licensing marketplace for creators so they could provide consent and receive fair compensation. 

After months of work and talking to artists, content creators, music labels, ai ethicists, lawyers and ai companies, we realised that more was needed. We’ve now built an entire ecosystem that enables artists to licence their work, focusing on simplicity, safety and making sure that artists are treated fairly and compensated for their work. And so, Reimagia was born.

Reimagia is essentially a digital toolbox that makes it easy to licence your work – whether it’s your digital lookalike or voice twin. You can set your own rules, create your own custom licensing contracts and decide who gets to use your work and where.

We’ve also developed a system that secures creative assets – in the case of an actor, that would be their digital twin or voice clone – for verification of ownership, attribution, licence validity, and calculation of any owed royalties. For any content found that is being used without consent, we issue DMCA takedowns on your behalf or provide the user with a licensing and royalty payment contract. 

Did I also mention I’ve recently applied to do my MBA? 

We’d love to know what a typical day is like for you. Could you describe a recent workday?

Do we have enough time? 

Morning’s are always hectic. I often have early morning 6.30am calls with stakeholders in the US. Then it’s time to get my kids ready for school – they’re 4 and 6, both go to (different) schools and start at different times. The whole child morning routine, school drop off finishes at approx 9am. 

I get stuck into my emails for the next hour then take an hour to myself and head to the gym. Then it’s time for breakfast while doing social media management, catching up on industry news, and going over meetings for tomorrow before I jump into the next block of late morning meetings. 

My calendar is generally blocked from 12 – 1pm so that I can pick my daughter up from school and have lunch. Then it’s focus time to work on key tasks like sales, marketing, scheduling of meetings, administrative work, going over our platform UX and UI processes – we are always making improvements. 

Between 2.30 – 5.30pm I pick my son up from school and run the kids to any extracurricular activities. Most classes are an hour long so the laptop comes with me and I take meetings while I’m out or use this time to review our progress, look at and analyse our CRM reports and make any adjustments to our strategy or plans. 

We are home for dinner by 5.45pm then it’s some playground time with the family and get the kids showered and ready for bed. We often have calls between 7.30 – 9.30pm due to time zone constraints but we also keep a small block in there for a quick daily status update and use this time to discuss the agenda for tomorrow’s meetings, any updates to our plans or any upcoming events we are likely to attend. Occasionally we have networking events in the evenings too. 

I usually wind down by taking my dog for a late night walk and some tv before hitting the sack and doing it all over again the next day!

Can you define work-life balance for yourself and share with us your approach in maintaining it?

I think the most important thing is to make time not only for yourself, but also for your kids (if you have them) and family or friends. It’s so easy to get buried in work, but honestly, the work never ends anyway.

You need the time for a mental break otherwise it can get overwhelming and you find yourself feeling like you are drowning in so much that you can’t stop. The work won’t go anywhere – it will still be there after you take an hour to yourself. My key steps in maintaining work life balance include

Setting my own boundaries and sticking to them: I make sure my work hours are clearly defined and I try to stick to this as much as possible. Even when dealing with stakeholders outside of my timezone, it’s important to keep that block there so that I know how my day will go. These boundaries also help to not have any crossover when I spend quality time with my family. 

Prioritising tasks: So important when balancing my day. Placing emphasis on high-impact tasks and setting priorities and deadlines helps me to stay focused and get the job done. 

Utilise Technology: Where possible, utilise tech wisely. I use a number of tools that assist in streamlining my day or week. I use automated posting tools to help stay active on socials and post during high traffic times of day, making sure that I curate industry-specific content and post it on relevant days is important. By scheduling posts weekly, this helps to free up my time to focus on other tasks. 

Me Time: I try to take an hour for myself every morning, whether it’s to go for a walk, do some pilates or mindfulness, it really helps to set the tone for the remainder of the day. I always feel that if your work space or mind is cluttered, that will pour out into the type of day you’ll have. Giving yourself short 10 min breaks throughout the day also helps clear your mind and focus on the next task at hand. 

Family Time: Always schedule time for friends and family. I make these blocks non-negotiable and keep the phone and laptop closed so my family has my 100% attention. When on vacation, I make sure my calls are scheduled after my kids have gone to bed and I work poolside when they have child-friendly activities booked. 

Change is constant, and it’s essential for growth. Have you made any lifestyle changes in the past year to improve your work-life balance?

I recently started keeping my phone at home when I go to the gym, for a walk or take the kids to the pool or playground. If it’s with me, I find myself forever replying to emails, checking LinkedIN or reading any industry news. Keeping it at home sets clear boundaries and stops my work life from creeping into my family/personal time. 

We’re always on the lookout for new resources! Can you recommend any books, podcasts, or newsletters that have helped you in your journey towards balance?

I love reading and some of my favourite books include The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss, Make Time: How to Focus on What Matters Every Day by John Zeratsky and Jake Knapp, and The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson. Whilst I don’t follow every single step outlined in these books, I love to take pieces and adjust them to suit my goals and lifestyle. 

In addition, I love mindfulness apps and podcasts like 10% Happier, Mindful Mama and Wake Up, Wind Down. Another awesome app is Headway which basically summarises all of your favourite books into a short, direct and concise read. It’s great for people who want to learn or don’t have the bandwidth to read an entire book.

Before we wrap up, do you have any final words of wisdom or insights on work, life, or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

The most important thing I would say is to always focus on and stick to what works for you and your lifestyle. You can read hundreds of books on mindfulness, work-life balance and entrepreneurship, but if it doesn’t fit with your life it’s not going to stick, no matter how hard you try.

I see these books more as inspiration, like a recipe for success. Take bits and pieces, make tiny adjustments – keep what works and discard the rest. Don’t force yourself to try to make it work, you need to be comfortable with the process.

I think if you can prioritise tasks, set clear boundaries and block out time in your day for yourself, friends or family, you’ll find more peace, happiness and control. And you’ll be far more productive.

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.