Founders / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Byron Darroch, Co-Founder of Bio-First

Byron Darroch is the Co-Founder of Bio-First, an award-winning range of natural remedies he launched with his mother-in-law Jude Lenart (PhD in Natural Medicine) in 2020.

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

My career has always been in and around start-ups in a variety of industries from finance to retail and then over the last decade or so in life sciences & healthcare.

My specialty, if you want to call it that, is figuring out how to get novel technology/concepts off the ground, out of research and into a commercially viable business model. 2 previous businesses that I have been involved in are now ASX listed and another 2 exited through trade sales. 

I am currently the Co-Founder of Bio-First – a brand that enables families to solve their skin issues and immune support with genuine natural remedies that work. The brand was founded with my mother-in-law and I run the business day-to-day.

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

Multi-faceted. We’re a small growing business that operates internationally. I like my thinking time in the mornings before everyone else gets up and that always involves exercise. Then it is helping get the kids off to school before getting stuck into all aspects of the business.

On a typical day I am working on helping to optimise marketing campaigns, project manage product development (we’ve got a heavy schedule of new products coming in the next 12-18 months), working on customer service responses and working with my team to scale the business in the markets that we operate in. 

A big focus for us at the moment is also putting in the systems and processes that can help us scale faster. So I am working to schedule dedicated time to each task that needs to be performed so that it gets the proper attention it needs before moving onto the next thing.

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

As a direct to consumer brand, we’re all online. So flexible & remote working is really part of our culture. We founded the business at the start of 2020 just before COVID hit and so all through that we were fully remote. Only recently (as in the last 2 months) have we started to come together as a team in a co-working space once a week to align on priorities and spend time together. 

Being flexible is an important aspect for me, we’ve got a young family and being a part of their lives is non-negotiable. I’ve previously done extensive long haul travel for work and it sure takes its toll! 

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

Work-life balance is critical. Burnout is real and I’ve been through it several times – not fun. I often get too focused on the job and so consciously have to work on balancing things out. Breakfast time and time with the family in the afternoons/evenings are sacred nowadays and I love it.

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

Since January, I’ve switched up my morning routine. Still getting up at 5, I no longer do any work in front of a screen or notebook before 8am. This gives me time to exercise, get ready for the day and enjoy breakfast with the family before getting stuck in. That doesn’t mean I am not thinking about a challenge we’re grappling with – but I am doing it without the ‘tether’ of the desk and the constant notifications. 

Something I’ve also just started is stopping constant email/slack message checking. I now only look at them twice a day and find that I am much more focused outside of that and get the important things out the way faster rather than worrying about work for work’s sake.

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

A few podcasts that I listen to when I am driving out to our manufacturers or other meetings include Tim Ferriss & eCommerce Fuel for work related learning. Tim is great at long form interviewing and while I am not interested in all of the interviewees, some have been great. 

I also listen to a few car podcasts (Behind the Glass & Collecting Cars) as I am a car nut.

Recent business books worth a read include The Ride of a Lifetime by Bob Iger and Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike by Phil Knight. A lot of business books can be really tedious – but these chaps have brilliant storytelling ability – a lesson in its own right.

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

Work: I try to limit my digital consumption (funny I know, given I run a DTC brand). Slack is great for internal communication, we’re just rolling out ClickUp for project management and then I’d say Spotify along with my noise-cancelling headphones.

Downtime: a good book. I grew up loving reading and can never get enough of it.

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

An interview with Tim Ferriss himself would be interesting after almost 15 years since he wrote The 4-Hour Workweek.

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

There is no holy grail, life and figuring out your work-life balance is full of ups and downs. Sometimes you’ve got it spot on, sometimes you don’t. As long as you recognise that and work to get back in balance you will be good.

It is something that I am doing right now – mine is out of whack at the moment and that’s because we’re scaling. Now comes the time for systems and processes to accelerate the scaling.

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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.