Founders / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Tyler Martin, Co-Founder of Yes You Can Drinks

Tyler Martin is the co-founder of Yes You Can Drinks, a non-alcoholic beverage brand that he launched in 2021.

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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 17 years ago, at age 14. Earning a hefty $6.90 per hour at City Beach (Which is actually more than I am paying myself now!). My first serious job was actually while I was still at Uni – working in Home Loan Case Management at CBA.

I quickly decided that a big corporation wasn’t for me and when I finished my degree, focused full time on my sporting career. Unfortunately for me, water polo isn’t the most financially lucrative sporting choice! 

Fortunately, however, I ended up playing 7 years in the Australian Team, 3 years professionally (in Italy, Hungary and France) and competed in 2 World Championships, a World Cup, 4 World Leagues and the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

It was in 2013, on a tour with the Australian team that I had the idea for my first business. I ended up staying on after a tournament in Barcelona, and flew to Bulgaria to meet a textiles manufacturer.

From there, Delfina Sport was born – a customised swimwear and sportswear brand focused on made to order teamwear. We kept our Delfina team small and agile and ended up partnering with a number of National Aquatic Federations, the Red Bull Cliff Diving circuit and a number of international sporting events.

I ran this business remotely, bringing a number of amazing team members on board throughout to help manage the workload while I was still focusing 100% on playing for Australia and my club teams.

In 2017, starting as a bit of a joke with a friend, we launched another business called Petflair – a Kickstarter that ended up pre-selling more than $100k to customers from almost 40 countries!

Through Petflair, people could put a photo of their pet on swimwear, towels and beach bags and the idea went viral! Two weeks post launch we had 50 million views of our video content, thousands of orders and a few major supply chain problems we didn’t forecast! Thankfully, we got through the Christmas rush and I ended up exiting to another co-founder not too long thereafter.

The ideation for my third start up over lunch with my then pregnant partner Sophie. She was craving a spritz but while pregnant, couldn’t have one. So we thought, why not make a nonalcoholic spritz! How hard could it be?

Evidently, extremely hard! I suppose there was a good reason why we couldn’t find anything we liked on the market!

We trialled and changed, tested and iterated our way to not only a spritz, but also an alcohol free G&T and Dark & Stormy (with more in the pipeline!). We somehow fumbled and bumbled our way to launching a new brand, in a category full of scepticism, with ZERO experience in food and beverage! Needless to say, if we had known all the hurdles we would encounter, we probably wouldn’t have started!

Yes You Can Drinks is my complete business focus now and we are looking to expand our range, distribution and geography rapidly. We are looking to capitalise on the brand and community we have already built and move ahead quickly in this exciting and thriving category.

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

At the moment it is pretty full on! The day starts with Teddy, our 16 month old waking us up (usually talking to himself or by hitting his palm against his bedroom wall to get our attention). I lift him out of bed while my fiancé and co-founder, Soph, gets ready.

From there I check my calendar, emails, have a double espresso and I am ready to tackle the day! Depending on what needs to get done, I either head into our office/warehouse in Ultimo or am off to a meeting in person, wherever that may be.

At present, given our business is in its infancy, I am wearing (too) many hats so no two days are ever the same. Today for example, started with financial reconciliations, before a few back to back meetings (with our ingredients supplier, a VC and then a prospective marketing hire – so all very different conversations and outcomes) and after writing this, I will drop some samples to our distributor for some promising new accounts. Then I have a call with our branding team as we work on the new flavour packaging designs for Spring!

After that I will head home, spend some time with Soph and Teddy and then I will go to water polo training. I am still playing for my local team Drummoyne, in the National League, and we are 6 weeks from the finals and I am a long long way from peak fitness.

I will get back home at around 9.30pm, probably (and not proudly) do the rotation of Business Instagram > Facebook Business Suite > Email > Linkedin a few times and then finally head to bed.

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

It does – sometimes I will work from home, or a cafe.. or even in the car or on a plane if need be. This flexibility is, however, a blessing and curse. In a startup, where the work and possibilities are endless – it does sometimes get hard to define a ‘working day’ and often Soph will remind me about boundaries and balance. I am by no means an expert and often find myself working harder and not smarter so she is great at steering me in the right direction!

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

Through COVID, having a baby and starting a new business, I have probably lost touch at times with a solid work-life balance. There is always more that could be done and I often feel that ‘just one more email/call/text etc’ is needed. 

For me, the ideal work-life balance is where I am feeling fulfilled individually, as a family and in business. It is not always easy to manage and I am in the process of resetting some goals around this matrix.

For me, there is a causal relationship between mental and physical wellbeing. When I am active and am staying on top physically, I feel much more content mentally. I notice when I start to drop off exercising or prioritising physical health that all aspects of my life seem more challenging and I am less enthusiastic and resilient.

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

I would say that a few cornerstones of my personal wellness routine have been fractionally off which has had an accumulative effect.

I am a little less physically active, reading a little less, a little less disciplined with sleep, eating a little more junk food – and on the whole, all the little pieces make a larger problem. It has been a particularly stressful and challenging time for many and I have been no exception. 

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

My normal cycle is to binge a whole heap of business related books and podcasts, over-do it, then detox with comedy or crime options – and then repeat it all over again. I really like the How I Built This podcast – it covers a huge range of companies from their Day 1.

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

In order of priorities: iPhone, Laptop, Whoop. In terms of apps, I speak to most of my friends through WhatsApp and for work I would say Slack and Gmail are most crucial. Also, with a 16 month old – our baby monitor plays a pretty important role, and is one of my most used apps! haha

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

I don’t have one person in mind. Throughout my life (sporting and business) I like to borrow elements of different people’s methods, routines or mantras that make sense to me. I took just as much away from Andre Agassi’s autobiography, for example, then I did from How to Win Friends & Influence People.

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

“You will never find time for anything. If you want time, you must make it.”– Charles Buxton. 

A simple quote that I think rings so true for me (and probably many others!) is from 19th century Writer, politician (and funnily enough) brewer Charles Buxton. I have fallen into the trap of waiting to ‘find time’ and I never do! Only when I make time, seize my internal locus of control, do I actually use my time in line with my priorities.

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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.