Today on Day in the Life, we’re getting to know Heather Staff, co-founder of Street Group.
Heather co-founded Street Group with her brother Tom. The company is home to two industry-leading proptech products: Street.co.uk and Spectre. Heather tells us they are “building the software estate agents have been waiting for – a truly modern estate agency platform which revolutionises the customer experience.”
That all sounds great, but what we really want to know is what does being a co-founder of a tech company in the property space look like on a normal day?
06.30 – 07.00: Time to wake up
I stopped setting an alarm during the first lockdown last year and found that I wake up naturally at around 6.30am-ish every morning. I used to have a terrible habit of browsing my phone for a while before getting up, but I’ve recently banned my phone from the bedroom and have got so much time back!
07.30: Morning coffee
I love my first coffee of the day. I recently bought a bean to cup coffee machine so I’m now classing it as a hobby rather than an addiction.
08.00: At my desk
This first hour of the day is by far my most productive time. I’ve tried every productivity hack going, but the one I’ve found that consistently works for me is the Ivy Lee method. Each evening, I write out the 6 most important things I want to get done the following day, starting with the most important first. I know I’m most productive in the morning, and I use the hour before 9am (before the emails and the calls start) to tick off that most important task.
09.00 – Daily briefing
We have had a daily team call in the diary at 9am every day since the first lockdown. We take turns to lead the call and without fail I come off it more motivated and energised each time. I feel incredibly lucky to work with such creative and uplifting people every day.
09.30 – 10.30: Spectre Taskforce
I love this meeting. Led by the Product Owner on Spectre, it brings together the Head of Engineering, the Lead Dev for Spectre, our Head of Data, Head of Customer Success, Head of Sales and Head of Marketing. It’s always a focused hour on listening to the feedback from Spectre clients, including product and feature suggestions (to any Spectre clients reading – thank you for your ongoing feedback, it’s incredibly valued and we take it very seriously). We then decide priorities for the development team for future sprints based on the feedback.
11.00 – 12.00: Word on the Street
Every week myself, Tom, the Street Product Owner and https://street.co.uk/ Street commercial team get together on a call to update each other about onboarding progress, feedback from Street beta clients and to discuss the product roadmap. We have the most forward-thinking agents in the UK either on the Street platform or on the waitlist, so we work closely with them to help shape the direction of the product.
12.00 – 12.30: “Donut” chat
We use slack as a communication tool across the business. In March, when we moved to working 100% remotely, we found a slack integration called Donut, that randomly pairs you with someone else in the business for a 30min non-work chat each day. We’ve had 19 people join the team since March and I’ve found this a really useful way of getting to know people that I wouldn’t normally be having meetings with on a day-to-day basis.
13.00 – 14.00: Recruitment update
Our Head of Talent Laura has been tasked with doubling the size of the team this year as we’re investing heavily to cope with the demand for both Street and Spectre. Laura, Tom and I regularly catch up to discuss the talent pipeline and how we can continue to find people who love this industry as much as we do.
14.00 – 15.00: Emails, calls & admin
Usually plenty of these to fill more than a couple of hours!
15.00: Proptech supplier calls
I’m talking a lot to other proptech suppliers around integrations with Street at the moment. There is huge momentum within the proptech space to build integrations with each other and reduce duplicate data entry for agents.
17.00: End of day calls
Wrap up with the team. We all share anything of note from the day.
17.30 – 18.00: Co-founder debrief/catchup
In reality, Tom and I often speak to each other throughout the day. Truthfully, I lean on Tom a lot, even if it’s just to vent, laugh or debate something with him, it’s very useful to have a sibling who you get along with as a co-founder!
18.00: A spot of exercise
Indoor cycle whilst listening to a podcast (can’t claim to do this every day… although the recently established Street Group Strava team competition has helped!)
19.00: Dinner time
Hope that my husband has cooked dinner, do my best to attempt to cook (poorly) if not.
20.00: Aaaannnd relax!
Usually involves a bit of Netflix and whatever book I’m reading at the time. I used to read a lot on holiday, but since holidays are off the cards at the moment, I’m trying to fit it more into my daily routine.
Follow up questions
Do you work at weekends? If so, how many hours? Not usually. The lead up to the launch of Street necessitated it a few times but generally not (although can’t help but check slack).
Typically how many hours a week do you work on average? Probably around 50 hours a week in terms of ‘at my desk’ but I think one of the hardest things about being a founder is that you never really switch off.
Do you work from home? If yes, how often? Currently, yes. 100% of the time. I really enjoy being in the office normally, but post-Covid we will be continuing with the option for the team to choose to work from home up to 2 or 3 days a week, so I expect I probably won’t go back to being 100% in the office.
How did you get your job? My brother Tom had the idea of Spectre and we were discussing it one Christmas. I was a consultant in London at the time, but having two estate agents as parents meant that I understood the industry very well and immediately thought it was a fantastic idea. So essentially, I jumped on the bandwagon and haven’t looked back since!
Out of ten, how much do you like your job? 10! I genuinely feel extremely lucky to be doing what I’m doing and to work with such an incredible bunch of people on a day-to-day basis. There are always ups and downs with running a business, but the highs definitely outnumber the lows!’
Share your day
If you would like to share your Day in the Life with the Proptech-X community, let us know. Whether you are a CEO, COO, assessor, surveyor, lettings manager, inventory clerk, solicitor….any role in any vertical in the industry, what is your day like?
Andrew Stanton is the founder of Proptech-PR, a consultancy for Founders of Proptechs looking to grow and exit, using his influence from decades of industry experience. Separately he is a consultant to some of the biggest names in global real estate, advising on sales and acquisitions, market positioning, and operations. He is also the founder of Proptech-X Proptech & Property News, where his insights, connections and detailed analysis and commentary on proptech and real estate are second to none.