Founders / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Liam Gostencnik, Co-Founder at Bae Juice

Liam Gostencnik is the co-founder at Bae Juice, a company selling 100% Korean pear juice, which has been used to help reduce hangover symptoms for centuries.

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

My first job was knocking doors for the Peter MacCallum Cancer Foundation raising funds for cancer research. I then thought it would be a good idea and quick way to make some cash if I went into real estate.

Turns out it wasn’t but I worked for CBRE in commercial real estate for four years. Although it wasn’t the best years of my life, it was an extremely important time for me as I was surrounded by lots of successful people who all worked unbelievably hard. I learned a lot from that experience.

I left that to start Bae Juice with my best mate Tim O’Sullivan and haven’t looked back. I’ve worn a lot of hats since starting Bae Juice, but have mainly focused on the sales, logistics and finances side of the business. Of course, as a business owner, you need to constantly be playing the role of a BDM to win more business and get more people consuming your product.

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

Honestly, each day is different, which is one of the bonuses of running your own show. We are heading into our first capital raise soon, so recently we have been cleaning up the edges and getting all our ducks in a row to bring on some new investors.

Logistics has been a bloody nightmare recently for anyone involved in importing and exporting, so a lot of our time in the last few months has been consumed by solving issues in that space. We are also working a lot on our next product over the last 2 months, which we hope to launch early in Q2 this year so watch this space.

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

Yeah, it definitely does. All our meetings these days, much like everyone else’s, are conducted via zoom. It’s so important to find out what works for you individually and stick to that. For me, I am far more productive at 9pm than I am at 9am.

I also never really have stuck to a routine because I would just get bored. Whilst there are still some regular activities or meetings every week for me, I do try and change it up, which helps me stay engaged.  

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

Again, I think work-life balance is doing what is best for you personally. Running your own business or working to become successful means you must make sacrifices but that doesn’t mean you have to give up holidays, big nights out, friendships, relationships or family. I’ll never be a Mark Wahlberg type that is in the gym at 4am, had 7 meals and 8 showers before 8am, because that just wouldn’t work for me. 

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

No major changes over the last 12 months, but I always make little changes to keep things interesting for me. For instance, last year I said to myself I would read more books to break up my days and weeks. In 2021, I read more books than I had in my previous 26 years. 

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

You Can Negotiate Anything by Herb Cohen is a book that really changed my life. If you love to sell as I do then definitely ready that, as well as Sell Like Crazy by Sabri Suby. For some personal development, my mum gave me this book last year called The Road Less Travelled by Scott Peck, which was a ripper.

I love a true-crime podcast, but for business, give the Funny Business Podcast a listen. I love hearing stories of founders; they are the most interesting for me and I feel these guys really nail it – plus they are both legends and are hilarious. 

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

Like most millennials, my phone is always by my side. You won’t find me swiping left or right on it but mainly snooping at new companies, taking photos of various advertising that is intriguing around Melbourne or talking shop with my business partner Tim.

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

It’s hard to pinpoint one person or medium that will give you the golden rules or answers to balancing the grind but what I find most helpful is leaning on my network and group of mates and those business relationships for advice and anecdotes to help shape what works for me which I navigate through differently as it comes.

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

The most important thing is to uncover what works for you when it comes to work-life balance. This doesn’t happen overnight to discover but definitely takes an appetite for risk and to try new things.

If you’re sitting at home and getting FOMO because you haven’t been out with your mates recently, then go do that. If you’re at an 8am meeting and nothing is getting through, try an afternoon slot.

If you’re craving a week away to recharge, go and do it. On the same note, if you can find within yourself the ability to get to work, when you know others aren’t, you’ll be ahead of the game and in a very good position. Everyone has the ability to switch on when they need to, but not everyone does.

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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.