Posts tagged ‘business’

September 20, 2013

On the lam from the 9 to 5

A year ago today I sat in Duck & Waffle, looking out across the City of London, and beyond. Up there on the 40th floor I could see my life in London spread out on the streets below. The offices that I’d worked in, the areas I’d lived in, the pubs I’d drunk in, the architectural markers that trigger bursts of memories. 

The last day of one career and the start of another. I’d worked in 6 roles, with 12 bosses, across 5 offices, in 3 cities, for the same employer. I’d been there as the Global Financial Crisis hit, had microphones thrust in my face as I exited the building (novel the first time but annoying by the 4th or 5th) and seen public perception of my industry nose dive.  My time was up.

A year later and I sat this morning looking out across Perth CBD, from Kings Park. Perched on a wall, coffee in hand, I couldn’t help but reflect. It’s been a year of travel and change, getting to grips with a career change and the building of a business. So what have I learnt from a year on the lam from the 9 to 5?

Simply, there is no 9 to 5 when you’re working for yourself. Ideas strike at any point; no respecter of the clock. While these lightbulb moments excite there is the drudge of the paperwork. Insurance, tax, accounting, licence agreements, all those things that you want to put off but are essential to getting paid and protecting your business.

We made the move from the UK to ensure some balance. We haven’t found it yet. Working 7 days a week is common. Realising that there’s always something that needs to be done no matter how many days you work is a start to regaining a semblance of balance. You have to impose some rules,  structure and draw lines of work and home. A great lesson learnt from another couple working together: No business before coffee. A simple rule that ensures work isn’t the first thing that’s discussed in a morning.

Procrastination, my old enemy, isn’t just the enemy of the to do list, but of your bank balance. A simple equation that if the work isn’t  done, then you don’t get paid. Let’s be honest. In a 9 to 5, you easily get away with an off day (or week), safe in the knowledge that payday will come regardless.

The lesson above all others is that being on the lam from the 9 to 5, isn’t easy. It is the most work you’ll ever do. Sometimes for little reward or praise. You’ll wonder, why the f*** am I doing this. But then you immediately know why you’re doing it. Becuase when things come right, when you have wins (however big or small) you know that it was down to your work, the decision to get out and do things for yourself.

 

May 24, 2012

Q&A: Tom Byng of Byron

We mix beer and burgers this week as we have a chat with London’s true Burger King, Tom Byng.

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What is the Byng – Byron ethos…

Do a simple thing properly

First beer experience…

Nicking a couple of Double Diamonds out of my Dad’s fridge as a 10 year old and drinking them with my brother behind a bush in the garden. Terrible beer, but it tasted pretty good at the time.

Best beer find of the last year…

SKA beers, we managed to get True Blonde and Steel Toe Stout on to our latest list pretty much exclusive to us

What sounds are to be heard in the office…

I spend quite a lot of time in the restaurants so the sizzling of grills, bubbling of fryers and gentle tapping of ketchup bottles is ever present. In a nice way obviously.

If I wasn’t running Byron I’d be…

About 10kg lighter for sure

Before Byron…

I had a couple of restaurants in Notting Hill for 10 years. The rents doubled so I sold up and started Byron

Favourite thing about what I do…

Getting paid to eat burgers and drink beer is tough to beat.

What drew you to Camden Town Brewery to brew Byron Pale…

Camden not only supply Hells but act as a quasi consultant for the whole list. We have a great relationship, so having them brew our own beer was a no brainer. We wouldn’t have had anybody else do it to be honest.
What have you learnt from working with CTB and vice versa… They’ve pretty much taught us everything we know. We started out as enthusiasts with a relatively low knowledge base and in a year they’ve turned us into something approaching experts. From their perspective, they certainly know a lot more about hamburgers than a year ago! I think also having a big volume customer has been a good test for them in terms of how they set up their infrastructure to support growth.

Greatest achievement to date…

Byron Pale Ale becoming our top seller within 2 weeks of launch. For it to outsell Peroni in a chain restaurant environment was as satisfying as it was unexpected. For Byron generally I think we’ve been instrumental in instigating the burger revolution which has swept London in the last 5 years, the result being that if you like hamburgers there is a now plenty of quality options available irrespective of taste and budget

Brewers I look up to…

Camden Town Brewery, Kernel and Brewdog in the UK. Sierra Nevada, Bear Republic and Lagunitas in the US

Pub heaven…

Big range of craft beer on tap and in bottles with some decent food coming out of the kitchen

Pub hell…

Wetherspoons

Favourite local pub…

Anglesea Arms, Wingate Rd, W6

Favourite non local pub…

Craft Beer Co, Hatton Garden

Advice for an aspiring startup…

If you’re not shitting yourself you’re not being brave enough. Back yourself and go for it.

What’s on the horizon…

We have 5 more restaurants to open this year (including our first out of London in Oxford), a new burger van for street food events, a full summer festival season for our Shack, a Chilli Queen burger special for the Jubilee and a new beer list for September.

Next week the Q&A takes a techie turn with Greg Avola, the beer brain behine Untappd

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