People often ask me about balance in life. Well, I can tell you there was never any balance in my life for many years. In the early days of being in business, it was all about choice and I chose to build a successful business, and to do that I needed to work 7 days a week for long hours. Luckily for me, my wife Christine gave me great support and provided the kids and our home with good ‘balance’. She also worked lots of hours in the business, especially during the busy times. But she always managed to devote quality time to our children, and also our community by volunteering quite a few times to be on several festival committees etc in the early days when Beechworth was establishing itself as a tourism destination.
For me, I just worked in – and on – our business all the time. If I wasn’t baking, I was busy planning the next renovation, extension to our business, investigating new equipment, new products… I went 100 miles an hour and no one got in my way!
I often see people trying to balance all these things…business, family, community etc, and they suffer all this guilt because hardly anyone can achieve this when they first go into business. I learnt in the early days that balance is bullshit; you’re either in there – boots and all, 100% – or you won’t have a great business. It is all about choices and there is always a price to pay. (Of course, these are just my thoughts…you may already be a very balanced person who can manage building up a great business in a balanced way.)
Today, I can say I have quite a balanced life, I am still busy doing lots of stuff, but my business is now at a stage where it doesn’t need me to be there all the time. I also have a great business partner now, Marty, and some terrific managers who run the business today. These days I am a lot more involved in the lives of my kids and grandchildren, and the community, plus we have some great friends who we enjoy travelling with. There was a price I paid in the early days, but today there is lots of love & laughter in my life. It’s all about choices.