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Day In The Life of a Running Brand Founder

Day In The Life of a Running Brand Founder

In a world of thirty second TikToks and attention-grabbing Reels, I want to change  up the pace a bit.

'Day in a life' videos have become popular in the last couple years. Some videos are incredibly interesting, showing how people with unique jobs or lives go about their day.

Then, well, there's some less interesting ones.

I've decided to write this piece of content, because I prefer writing, but also because I want to explain my day in more detail, and why I do certain things.

Some will not find this interesting at all, and that's okay. But I believe there's a small group who will find it fascinating to get a glimpse behind the scenes of founder of a brand they believe in, or at least follow.

Come with me, as I share a typical 'Day In The Life of a Running Brand Founder'.

5.45am - The Alarm

At 5.45am every weekday, my alarm goes off. Like 'clockwork'. It's scheduled in. I don't set my alarm. I don't think about it. That's just when it goes off.

I've always been an early-riser.

Or on the other hand, you could say that I'm just not a good sleeper.

Either way I'm almost always excited to get up in the morning and chase after it. Chase after goals, self-improvement and building the best running brand I possibly can.

I have a quick shower, get dressed and whip the laptop open. It's time to work.

6am - Community Building

In a perfect world, I build my day out into three categories. Community, sales & operations. They're pretty loose categories, and often they overlap, but I've identified these three categories as the clearest and most effective way to build Runly.

One thing I categorise as 'community' that almost every company on the planet would categorise as 'operations' is customer service.

There is no better opportunity for a brand, particularly an up & coming brand to connect with its customers.

As the founder I answer and respond to each and every customer email.

I think it's important.

For sure, there's probably going to be a time in the future where I simply cannot do this, but for now, it's really important.

I spend about 45-60 minutes each morning responding to enquiries, checking orders, following up and ensuring each and every customer is having a good experience with the brand.

If you read some of the reviews on the Runly website, you'll often notice that many customers mention the 'epic customer service' they received.

In this day and age it feels strange to think that great customer service is a surprise.

For us, it's not an after-thought.

First of all, we genuinely care about our customers and community. And secondly, if we have runners that are having a bad experience and then telling their running mates, we're not going to get very far as a brand.

7am - Write

I like to write. It's powerful.

I could spend each and everyday creating production-level thirty second videos for social media, and it will definitely get more views than anything I write.

But if someone like you, who is reading this piece of content, is engaged with my writing you're going to feel a whole lot more connected to what we're doing and what I'm talking about.

That's the power of it.

I like to write something each day. Whether it's an article like this, running guides, event guides or the kinda-famous Runly newsletter that gets published each Thursday.

Weirdly, I've had people come up to me at events across the country and say 'oh are you Robbie, I read your weekly newsletter!'. That's pretty cool!

8am - Breakfast & Walk the Dog

Around this time I close the laptop for half an hour and refocus. I have some breakfast and then grab the lead to take the dog for a walk.

My wife & I adopted a rescue greyhound about five years ago. She's such a gentle soul.

The old girl can't get up to high speeds these days, but she loves a slow trot around the block. This is an easy way to connect, get some fresh air and take a breath before the day continues.

8.30am - 11.30am - Sales Block

Sales is a bit of a dirty word. I don't think sales in the traditional sense is what I'm referring to here.

Rather, it's the sum of small activities that we do to ensure that we're bringing revenue in the business around marketing, creating content and optimising our website.

If we don't bring in revenue consistently, a brand like ours doesn't last.

We're a self-funded, bootstrapped running brand taking on some of the world's biggest running brands with infinite budgets and massive teams.

I spend this time doing a number of things, but it could be reviewing our upcoming marketing campaigns, planning our social media content, reviewing how our advertising is performing, signing up ambassadors, liaising with event organisers and creating partnership proposals.

There's a lot that goes into it.

I'm a firm believer that we could have the best product on the planet, but if no one knows about it, the whole brand is entirely pointless.

You'll notice that I also say 'brand' when referring to Runly. Not 'company' nor 'product'.

We aim to develop the best products we can, but our focus is creating a community and brand around those high-level products.

11.30am - 12pm - Early Lunch

I'm an early-riser, early-eater and early to bed kinda' guy.

Food is important to me, not just from a 'I like eating good food' perspective, but because I've learned over the years that being diligent and purposeful with my food selection is important for performance and energy.

Where possible I like to prep my meals in advance for a few days. Each Sunday I do a plan on what to prepare and when, what ingredients I'll need and how much I need. It makes it so much easier for my wife and I during busy work days.

12pm - Head to the Studio

I've recently started working from a studio 3-4 times per week.

I know this sounds bad, but I can't do a full day in a studio or office. I just don't have the attention span for it. I like to change my environment, work from home, work from the studio, work from a cafe or be out for meetings.

When I'm sitting in one spot I get bogged down, eventually I'll get distracted and start wondering whether I should impulse enter a running event on the other side of the world.

The studio is a really vibrant, green, cool environment to work from. We do our photoshoots there and it's great place to knuckle down for a few hours and get some important work done.

12.30pm - Product Development

So begins the 'operations' phase of the day.

You've had a taste of community building, an insight into the sales block, and now it's time to build out our product line and make sure the wheels of operation continue to turn.

I set aside a block of time each day to work on product.

That can be anything from sketching new designs, to super super small iterations or improvements to existing products.

The thing about product development is there is no finish line.

You don't create a new product and then never think about it again. Almost daily, we're listening to feedback, testing products and thinking about where we can make 1% improvements.

Something that takes a lot of time is sampling. We constantly have 2-3 different prototypes on the go and we're testing, iterating and supplying feedback to our production partners on what changes need to be made.

In fact, this has been a focus in the last couple of weeks as we put the final touches on a prototype that's been in the works for a long time.

2.30pm - Finance Review

The reality of running a business is that we need to make sure that we're not going to run out of money!

It's difficult as a self-funded/bootstrapped business. We don't have big budgets that allow us to make mistakes and pick up the pieces later.

It's my responsibility as the founder of the business to ensure that all the columns add up, the staff are paid on time, the suppliers get paid and the lights stay on.

I like to spend just a little bit of time on this each and every day to ensure I'm on top of what's happening.

3pm - Exercise

You know what one of the hardest things for me is at the moment? Owning a running brand and not being able to run.

It's bloody tough!

I've been struggling with a stress fracture just below my knee, so other than the odd jog around, I haven't been able to train properly.

Nevertheless, I always go out and do something. At the moment I'm strength training in the gym so I can come back stronger, but whether it's a bike ride, cross-training or a long walk, I make it a routine to move the body and get outside.

4pm - Regroup

You probably know this feeling.

You spend all day working, meetings, creating things, doing things, phone calls and then you get to the end of the day and you either think, 'what on earth did I actually do today' OR you might think 'bloody hell I forgot to do that thing I needed to do!'.

I always give myself some time in the late afternoon to regroup. It could be going through my emails and getting back to partners, perhaps it's logging back into our customer service emails, making a phone call or just setting up my day for tomorrow.

5pm - Dinner

As I said, I rise early, eat early, and go to bed early!

Around 5pm I start making dinner. I'm really quite passionate about food and cooking. If you had told me as a 15 year old that 30 year old Robbie would be right into his cooking, he would've laughed in your face.

It's something I've developed in the last few years. I like it because it's soothing to me, it's a creative outlet and I also understand that good food and planning is key to health and performance.

6pm - Creative Work & 'Extras'

I get a second wind in the evening. It's chill. I whip out the laptop on the kitchen table and do some no-pressure work.

Maybe it's coming up with new campaign ideas, researching what some other brands are doing, learning about different techniques, events or skills. It doesn't matter.

I find it to be a great time to just let the mind get creative and do what it needs to do. Some days, it will be the most productive hour of my entire day.

Other days, I just end up dreaming about events in a remote part of the world and whether I should enter.

7pm - Relax*

Whether it's a movie, some netflix or going for a drive, like everyone, I really crave that little bit of time in the evening to let the mind settle.

But it doesn't always work like that. Whether it's an urgent enquiry from a partner or a customer needs help, sometimes you gotta' do what you gotta' do. So it doesn't end. And that's why you have to love it.

And I do love it.

I love the community aspect, I love developing products and building a brand that I can be proud of.

I hope you enjoyed this little glimpse into my day as the founder of a growing running brand. Thanks for being here on this journey.

Robbie

 


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