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Striking a Balance: What I've learned in striving for work/life balance.

Balancing Raising a Family and Starting a Business


It’s safe to say everyone wants it, but in today’s world, it can feel harder than ever to achieve.

Man in field holding child

I’m a dad and anyone who has kids knows it’s a full-time job. That’s before we talk about the 9-5, studying for my WSET Diploma and before I decided to brave it and throw kick-starting a new business in the mix too. Let’s just say my days are busy.


In today’s society, I recognize that my situation is common. Like so many parents and

families striving for balance, I am in the thick of it. I get more sleep than I did in the newborn phase, but in addition to work and study, my days are spent trying to remember when hot lunch is, breaking up fights and nursing injuries from stepping on lego - oh yes, and pinching myself that I get to start this company with some of the best in the biz.


There are a few key elements that I’ve found are essential in my quest for work/life balance:


Routine: With so much more responsibility on our family's shoulders, and with only so

many hours in a day, I’ve had to make some changes. The first being cultivating a routine

structure that can bend and flex to work with the realities of the world, and the most

unpredictable of all - kids. By creating that structure, it gives us clarity in what we’re looking to achieve that day or that hour.


So, my day starts at 5 a.m, I try to give myself two hours of study time every weekday

morning. I say a little prayer every night that the kids will sleep in long enough. This is why

it’s important that my routine can bend.


From there, my wife and I get down to preparing the kids breakfast and lunches, getting

Family hiking in mountains by waterfall

them dressed and ready for the day, followed by our full day of work. We make the most of

our time with them in the evenings, spending time playing board games, asking about their

day and getting them involved in our tasks. Honestly, bedtime is a struggle like it is for

everyone else, our hope is that they've managed to exhaust all their energy and only come out of their room 2 or 3 times before crashing for the night.


Teamwork: I’m pretty lucky, I have a great partner in my wife who’s extremely supportive

and is a key ingredient of getting balance - for both of us. Raising a family is a team effort

and dividing and conquering parental duties as well as business responsibilities makes the

work load more achievable.


Boundaries: In the evenings, we pour our energies into SOMM Zero. We spend at least an

hour, often more, dedicated to working on the business tasks . Ranging from emailing

suppliers, researching products, creating content or simply organizing our schedules

together. Keeping a schedule has helped keep things on track, it's important to set

boundaries to know when it’s time for family, when it's time for studying, when it's time to

focus on the business and most importantly, when it’s time for rest.


Vision/Motivation: We feel incredibly fortunate to have SOMM Zero as a common goal;

we have always enjoyed working together, but now being able to bring the best in the now and low markets to our community feels like a dream come true. We both share in the excitement watching everything come together with some of our best friends by our side.


Overall the interest in the company has helped us focus and support each other.

All of these things come together to help me, and my wife from feeling burnt out and allow us to recharge and become energized to bring more to our respective tables, be it the dinner table or the conference table.


So, how did I get here?


I’ve always been passionate about the hospitality industry since my first job in a restaurant as a teen. As I worked up the ranks over the years, I learned the front and back of the house of restaurants and hotels in Vancouver, and eventually became a Sommelier. In getting here I credit the colleagues who made even the worst of nights positive ones. I have always loved seeing how a meaningful experience can turn a guest’s night around, and feeling the power of a strong team even on the busiest of nights.

Person pouring red wine from a bottle into a glass

Over a decade ago, a mentor of mine put me onto the idea of studying wine and I dove headfirst and never looked back. Did I think I would own a no n-alcoholic bar one day?


Absolutely not. In saying that, I also never thought that there would be great non alcoholic wines in my lifetime. I think we can credit this growing ‘sober curious’ movement for that.


Alongside the incredible opportunity of developing new skills, refining current ones and

exploring such an exciting new market, my friends and I started SOMM Zero together,

because we’re passionate about bringing together our talents and skills, to create room for

more inclusive spaces in our industry, and champion the craft we know and love.


It starts with belief and by investing in ourselves, and that includes our families. Hard work and making sacrifices of our personal time is a small price to pay when it comes to bringing this dream to reality.

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