Founders / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Tom Gozney, Founder at Gozney

Tom Gozney is the founder at Gozney, a company that designs and manufactures professional grade wood-fired ovens that change the way people cook outdoors.

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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?

To be honest, my career has been forged at Gozney. Like many other founders of startups, I’ve worked in every element of the business from operations to financial forecasting to marketing, product design and supply chain – the list goes on. 

Before Gozney, I really had no qualifications or proper design experience. At school I struggled with dyslexia, which really impacted my confidence and academic work but in my early twenties I discovered the beauty of live-fire cooking and set out on a mission to make it more accessible for the masses. Slowly that passion developed into a career and led me to where I am today.

Over the last decade, we’ve grown massively. However, Gozney is still a startup at heart on a cultural level. My current role as founder sees me still heavily involved in many elements of the business but I have a particular soft spot for product design and marketing.

2) What does a day in your life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?

This depends a little on where in the world I am. We’ve recently set up a second office in the US to support our UK flagship, so I’ve spent a lot of time stateside over the last six months. 

At home in the UK, I like to wake up early for a spot of training and then I head into meetings with the local team. After lunch, the US team starts stirring and my afternoons are filled with senior leadership calls or meetings regarding whatever our current focuses are for the brand. 

I’m a big family man so after work, I normally head home to spend time with my wife and kids. Home is right on the coast so we often head down to the local beach when the weather is nice or just chill out. 

3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?

Yes, it does. We’re a global team spread out over three main regions so we all regularly work remotely. It’s great! Having that flexibility has really helped me improve my work-life balance. However, there’s nothing like face-to-face catch-ups.I love being around people and building culture within the business so I’m always keen to get in a room with the team. 

4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?

Good question – finding a work-life balance has been something I’ve definitely struggled with over the years. I love work and getting involved in the nitty gritty of the business so it can be difficult to tear myself away.

For me, a work-life balance doesn’t necessarily mean switching my laptop off at 5pm but it does mean finding a balance by learning how to prioritise and how to to set boundaries to ensure I don’t miss the big moments in both parts of my life. Having kids has really helped with that.  There are experiences that I am  not willing to miss out on like bath time. 

Simple steps like putting my phone in a drawer at the end of the day for a few hours has really helped and allowed me to switch off to enjoy quality time with the family. Carving out a little time to  look after myself and my own wellbeing has also been a big factor in me finding a work-life balance that I’m happy with.I make sure I give myself an hour every day to do that – at the moment I like to spend it working out.

5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?

Yes, I now train daily – it’s made a huge impact on my life and mental wellbeing. It gets me ready for the day ahead and kicks it off on a good note. 

I’ve also made some amazing new hires in the business which has really freed me up mentally and allowed me to focus on the bigger picture business strategy and direction.

6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?

A little unconventional I know, but I’m not really into books. The only books I read are cookbooks – check out AngloThai’s or Josh Berber’s latest one. 

7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?

My AirPods Pro – I am obsessed with listening to music. For me, it’s a kind of meditation and some of my best ideas come when I’m lost in an album. 

I am also a bit of a sucker for a Peloton Tread.

8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?

Richard Branson – he’s a big inspiration for me. He’s built an incredible empire but he manages to find balance between family and friends. He’s mastered the challenge that every leader struggles with – the art of delegation which is ultimately key to the success of any business.

9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

I used to work all the time; no breaks, no days off and everything was secondary to work. It wasn’t healthy. Over the last few years, I’ve managed to finally find a good balance between work, quality time with loved ones and looking after my own wellbeing and it’s really paid off. Me, my family AND my business are all actually better off for it. Set boundaries and don’t feel guilty for sticking to them. 

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About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.