Balancing the Grind with Chad Wyatt, Director & Head of Development at Pitch

Chad Wyatt is the Director & Head of Development at Pitch, an early-stage venture capital fund investing in start-ups for up to $2 million.

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

Sure so I started when I was 18 in a plumbing apprenticeship and pursued that through various different industry types until I finished it 4 years later, after that I worked as a qualified plumber in the commercial field for most of the next 10 years.

I spent a few years overseas and a little bit of time doing other stuff during that time but mostly that was work. I was made redundant around 2014 and started my own plumbing business in the residential sector mostly doing maintenance work for real estates. 

It wasn’t where I had seen myself going as a kid. I was going to be a games designer in Brisbane which was the place it was happening in the 90’s. I enjoyed the problem solving of plumbing and the running of the business but I never knew what it was to be happy with what I was doing. 

During the last couple of years I learnt a no-code software development tool to build out some software for my business. After a pretty disastrous job one day I mentioned to the wife that I enjoyed making software more than plumbing, we had a discussion and within a few days I had started the process of winding down the business.

Since then I have worked for a few private clients building apps, notably a start up in New York for almost 2 years building out a short term rental platform and most recently developing software and managing the development team for Pitch Venture Capital, the company I am now a co-founder of.

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

Yes, obviously it differs in and out of lockdown. The daily tasks are similar but the morning and afternoon are different.

If we aren’t in lockdown I get up around 6-7 and ride 20km from Sunshine to Collingwood, 2 inner suburbs of Melbourne. I try to meditate early, particularly if I’m working from home. Sometimes the bike ride can be a form of meditation and it really does a lot for my physical and mental health to do that. 

It’s really obvious, probably because I spent so many years doing physical work, if I don’t get the exercise, I can notice that challenging tasks can get me down a lot easier if I’m not on the ball.

I like to get in a team meeting early with the staff who work selling, designing and developing the software so I am always aware of how people are going.

I also love being able to help them be their best, catching up and working closely allows me to do this and I can identify issues and help my people always be on the front foot. I don’t always get that meeting early but I catch up with my team multiple times a day.

Other time is spent doing business tasks, at the moment writing SOP’s, lot’s of 1 on 1 with the new designer, touching base with customers, managing projects and always looking for the right people to join our team.

Once the days are done I like to be available for my kids and wife from 5pm onwards, I start early to get a jump on everyone else but also to enable me to spend good quality time with my 2 daughters. I usually do the bath, have dinner, lately we have been doing an evening walk and then it’s a bit of Bluey’s and bed time.

Sometimes I work after they go to bed if there is something pressing or I have no other plans, spending time with my wife is also a priority as is some alone time which I spend having a sauna which I have built in our outdoor bathroom.

If I’m doing the right thing by myself I’m in bed before 10, I’m a great sleeper so sometimes I’m even asleep by 10.

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

Yes, there is a major difference between plumbing. Remote work is fine. Obviously now everything is remote, I have an office in the outhouse at the back so I’m luckier than most. When we get out of lockdown I will see what my team wants to do and depending on them I may split the time between home and work.

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

I’ve had a lot of periods where I have completely messed this up. Once or twice I have run myself into the ground. Mostly because I like working and I don’t know when to stop. Recently though it’s become really obvious that I have more output when I get it right. I can do maybe 2 months doing 12-16 hour days and I fall in a heap. 

Recently it contributed to me getting the flu for a couple weeks and then I wasted that time. Also I find once you get past the 8 hours a day on a continual basis the output is not a 1-1.

You might get 8 good hours but driving myself harder, the next 4-6 hours may be half as effective, then the next day I’m less than 100%. My wife helps a lot to keep me in line, I have also learned to listen to myself. 

Being in flow is also a good indicator. If I’m bumping out of a flow state I know I’m probably in need of some rest or context change. Sometimes in the right flow state I can do a whole day’s work before 10am.

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

I try a fair few things. I listen to a lot of Joe Rogan and Tim Ferris and often try different things that their guests recommend. The biggest things for me have been the sauna followed by a cold shower. 

Sauna I’ve been doing almost 2 years and cold showers for 3, pretty much all my showers end with a cold spurt.

Riding to work has been great. It gives you the energy and the confidence to really put in when you need to.

Additionally, from my years plumbing my body was banged up somewhat but I have been able to heal it for the most part by doing a lot of body movements and adding weight, over the period of a couple of years.

First I started just swinging my arms and moving different ways until I could find a way of doing that movement without anything clicking or hurting, then I started adding weights to re-enforce those movements. No program I just listened to what my body was saying, I’ve tried personal trainers but I find it detrimental when they just want to break you. Maybe now my body is better having that kind of training might work but it hasn’t previously

Last one, and I’ve only done a few sessions but it completely changed the way I carry myself permanently was some pilates. Hahaha plumber doing pilates, I don’t tell everyone that. It woke up some core muscles that I didn’t know were there, now I use them everyday. Everyone should do a few sessions of pilates

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

Absolutely. Joe Rogan – I don’t like the political stuff I like when he has experts on. Tim Ferriss is great. Someone who has also made a big difference in my life is a speaker called John Demartini, he’s got some great methods of working through challenging moments you’ve had in your life that you find hard to shake.

Also I read a lot of startup books. The odd health book, performance books etc.

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

Hmm, that I can’t live without I’m not sure but I love The Waking Up app for meditation, I have an Oura ring to track sleep and recovery, my sauna, fish oil supplements, lions Maine, coffee, and my MacBook. I love my MacBook.

Oh and also since in lockdown I modified an old exercise bike I bought for 20 bucks to fit under my stand desk so I can ride while I am working. Haha I’m riding it now.

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

Good question. Joe Rogan maybe, Elon Musk. I really love them guys.

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

Yes I do, when I stopped plumbing my mission was to find what I loved and I left that to the universe. I made a promise that I wouldn’t get stuck back in another job/industry I didn’t like. I wasn’t going to let my life finish the way it had been before.

For some reason I had a thought, and I reinforce this every day, it’s something like “Just cause you’ve started late doesn’t mean you won’t end up in the place you’re meant to be. There will be a lot of catching up to do, so strap in and hold on cause things are going to move fast.”

Believe me, the last 2+ years have been unbelievable. From plumber to a partner in a venture capital firm, don’t be scared, follow your dreams, and hang on!

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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.