He has successfully sold a company and is the founder and CEO of The Stella Group, which is the parent company of LensDirect.com, 1-888-GO-ANSWER!, and InTouchMD. One would think he has no time for a personal life, but he is also a husband and father to a growing family. How can this young CEO juggle the responsibilities of multiple staffs, his family, and taking care of himself?
How does The Stella Group encourage work-life balance for consumers?
We are all about making our customers lives easier at Lens Direct and 1-888-GO-ANSWER! With Lens Direct, we provide our customers with the convenience of having discount contact lenses shipped right to their door - removing the hassle of going to the doctors office. We also know our customers are busy, which is why we launched our AutoRefill subscription service, so they don't even have to think about ordering new contact lenses.
With 1-888-GO-ANSWER!, business owners hire us to take over the customer services, which gives them the freedom of not having their phones attached to their hands. Whether they are on vacation during a weekday, or it’s 5:00PM, and they want to get out of work mode, they can forward their business calls straight to our contact centers, and our friendly agents are available 24/7 to take messages, book appointments, order entry, and more.
Aside from making business owners lives easier, when consumer call businesses who use us they get 24/7 access to a representative, via phone of live chat, with the average wait time of only 8 seconds. We know people are busy and pulled in a million directions, so we want them to be able to take care of what they need to quickly, then get back to enjoying their time.
How do you encourage The Stella Group employees to develop work-life balance or integration?
We offer Summer Friday’s - which encourages everybody to leave the office at 2:00PM from Memorial Day Weekend to Labor Day Weekend. We allow employees to bring their dogs in, which honestly, really makes for a much happier office. The Stella Group treats the employees like family - so whether it’s bringing in lunch, having a Nerf war, or having extremely flexible PTO’s - we like to make our team feel like going to the office is a pleasure…not a pain.
What does work-life balance look like for you?
When I’m at work, I’m really at work. I put myself in the zone - it’s mental isolation from anything really happening outside the office. I try to be 100% present when I’m at work but at the same time, I also have a wife and a 15 month old that are the single most important things in my life. To accomplish work-life balance, I moved my family to be closer to my office so I could hang with my son in the mornings, and if possible, see him before he goes down at night. It's about talking with your significant other or those most important to you, and see how you can support one another and create balance that rounds out your life in a meaningful way.
What advice do you have for millennials trying to create their own work-life balance?
Work-life balance is extremely difficult when you’re starting out. At least it was for me. It was solely up to me to get where I wanted to go. My destiny was in my hands, and not anybody else's, which is true for all of us. When I was first starting out with the company I sold, I had no work-life balance. We were bootstrapped for cash and the technology was flawed, which meant I was setting my alarm to wake up at 1 am every day and connect with the developers out of India every morning. I never could "turn off" so to speak. Even though I was a newlywed, I had to fix things in the business and grow it so I could hire the right staff to support the business. The insanity of my schedule during that time became my version of normal. I spoke with my wife and we were on the same page about what balance looked like for us during that time.
If you're unable to accomplish a healthy dose of work-life balance in the beginning, don’t beat yourself up. If you’re in a relationship and your partner doesn’t understand the process - be vocal with them, whether it’s asking for help, or simply explaining what’s going on and figure out how you both can best support one another. You need to know that sometimes work-life balance may be weighed heavily on one side, and that’s fine - it's an investment in your future. All great things take time. Growing your career or a business is an evolution - not a revolution.
Now that your schedule has calmed down since those early days, how do you practice self care to be at your best in all the areas of your life?
Rest is extremely important for me. Sleep is what fuels me and I always need to make it a priority. I try to make daily physical activity a priority too, whether that a quick run on the treadmill or taking my dog for a walk outside. It's a therapeutic break from the daily grind for me.
What is one tip you have for millennials looking to create work-life balance?
When you’re at work, be at work - don’t be somewhere else because you’ve got a phone. Unless your job entails social media, try to stay off it. Whenever you are adding a responsibility to your life try to figure out how it's an investment in your future.