How I Succeeded is a regular series on Lifehacker where we ask business leaders for the secrets and tactics behind their success. Today: Nick Lavidge, CEO and founder of digital marketing agency Alley.
Current gig: CEO and founder Alley
Location: Sydney, Australia
Current mobile device: iPhone X
Current computer: MacBook Pro
One word that best describes how you work: Efficient
What apps/software/tools can't you live without?
Clear, Slack, Monday.com, Zoom, Tripit, Evernote, 7Geese, Podcasts, Audible, Sonos, Spotify.
What were the most important lessons you learned while growing your business?
- The importance of focus. Focus on what you can do in a day that will utilise your strengths and bring the most impact to your business.
- Quickly implement processes and systems, as it will help improve the quality and consistency of your company’s output as you scale. It also allows you and your managers to remove themselves from the day to day. In saying this, process is never complete and as a fast growth company it will constantly be changing or optimised.
- Hiring is a 24/7 job - find people before you need them and have a thorough interview process assessing both performance and culture fit. As a CEO or manager recruiting the right people is probably your most important job function. I’ve also found that just as soon as I think I’m becoming really good at hiring, I make a bad hire and it reminds me that there’s always room for improvement.
- Importance of cashflow - make sure to have all your financial metrics, systems and team set up early on, because it just gets more complicated the bigger you are. If you set up the business model to have positive cashflow, you will eliminate a lot of stress in your life.
What has been the most surprising part of your business journey?
How much I’ve grown as a person. Running a company is a very sobering experience, where you’re really tested in several aspects of your life. I’ve learned the importance of keeping your mind straight - every obstacle is an opportunity in disguise and actually forces you to make the business better than it was before. If you are stressed out, you won’t see solutions clearly, so you must change your perspective and focus on your mental health so you can make good decisions and be an effective leader. In turn this has made me a more balanced, compassionate and thoughtful person.
What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?
No idea! I definitely think there is someone better than me at everything hence I’m always trying to learn more. So maybe that’s what I’m best at, thirst for knowledge? I’m constantly trying to improve myself.
What's your sleep routine like?
Try to get 8 hours but really closer to 7 hours, up by 5am every morning
What advice would you offer to other businesses on how to succeed?
- Try to understand you’re on a rollercoaster and this is not going to be easy. Be comfortable with the struggle. You can’t fail if you don’t quit.
- Business is just a game, games are meant to be fun. Family, friends and your health are the serious things in your life.
- As cliche as it sounds, enjoy the journey and use every failure as an opportunity to improve yourself and the business.