Kombucha startup owner Krister finds balance in work life

Krister Häll discovered the world of tea on a trip through rural Sri Lanka. It gave rise to The Good Guys, a kombucha company set on transforming drinking culture and promoting healthy choices. Krister talks about how even the most enthusiastic entrepreneurs can find a balance between work and play – and how running a business doesn’t need to be a grind.

‘I knew I wanted to be my own boss, but didn’t know how to make it happen. I was missing a bigger vision that comes from discovering your passion and its place in the world.’

For Krister Häll, entrepreneurship is in the blood. His family is made up of small business owners – makers and doers who create their own chances in life. Krister’s first contact with entrepreneurship was at 18, when he helped out a family member after class. But his own business would have to wait a few years. No sense jumping into self-employment just for the sake of it, young Krister thought, I’ve got to find something I truly care about.

Krister found just this on a trip through the lush mountains of Sri Lanka. While travelling with his partner, he was introduced to the local tea scene.

‘We immersed ourselves in Sri Lankan culture through their tea, visiting plantations and factories. It was eye opening – I’d never thought much about where tea comes from, or the many ways it can be brewed. When I got home this idea kept steeping. It was like a whole new world had opened up.’

Creating a new kind of drinking culture

The Good Guys is a full-spirited brewing company, without the spirits. The company manufactures kombucha and other tea-related products – its own blends and starter packs for home brewing.

Krister and friends set up The Good Guys in early 2018 with the aim of promoting a healthier lifestyle. Not by preaching a trend, but by offering quality products that use bacterial cultures to achieve deliciousness and improve their customers’ lives (and gut). In doing so, they’re hoping to create a culture of positive change.

‘You can always be better than yesterday. Our company is here to support anyone wanting to make smart, healthy choices.’

The Good Guys is about challenging the norm and sparking new conversations. Tomorrow, instead of bringing beer or wine to the dinner party, maybe you’ll bring kombucha!

‘Our social lives are largely built around food and drink. There’s absolutely room for a new drink that has so much to offer.’

Maker and doer by nature, Krister had to learn to balance work life

When business and passion fuse together, it can be tricky to separate work from the rest of your life.

‘It’s hard to make that distinction: what’s work and what’s just raw enthusiasm finding an outlet, you know? I’ve still got that. It’s not easy to let go of the work stuff – I still have much to learn about balancing work with the rest of my life.’

Krister is a maker and doer by nature. And as the company continues to grow, he’s found it harder and harder to let go of the practical tasks that come along with running a business. But you don’t become a tea-brewing entrepreneur out of the joy of paperwork. You do it out of a belief in your own product and vision. This is where a lot of small business owners get stuck: when you care this much, how can you scale without handing over at least some responsibility?

‘As the business grows, you find out pretty quickly you can’t do everything. Either your company stays one size or, like us, it grows and you need to adapt. You have to trust the people around you.’

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Self-employment doesn’t need to be a grind

The Good Guys might make its drinks using ground up leaves, but Krister believes running a business itself doesn’t need to be a grind. 

‘Any small business owner sees themselves as invaluable. You need that self-belief to succeed. But going solo doesn’t have to wear you down. There are lots of successful self-employed people who don’t work around the clock.’

When you dare to delegate, trust your team and get the right tools to make daily life easier, running a business doesn’t mean 16-hour work days and non-existent vacations.

Actually, self-employment hits its stride when you find balance. In Krister’s words, ‘The freedom to live as you choose.’

Krister bid farewell to paperwork on weekends

Sometimes it happens, work finds its way into your personal life. It’s sneaky like that. But Holvi helps Krister find a balance between work and the rest of life. With Holvi, Krister can tick off tasks quickly – so he can say bye to nights hunched over the laptop, glowering at spreadsheets. 

For The Good Guys’ wider team, Holvi’s Grower plan gives them all they need to manage finances and stay tax ready.

‘We chose Holvi because it works so well for our business needs. It handles invoicing, tracks receivables easily, we get two cards plus unlimited e-invoicing. You don’t get that anywhere else for this price.’

For Krister, Holvi’s ‘beyond business banking’ approach means he’ll never go back to a traditional bank.

‘Holvi got our business up and running smoothly – and it’s still making life easier, every day.’

Krister’s parting tip: Save your time for what matters most

So what tip would Krister share with other self-starters? Time is limited – and running a business takes a lot of it! The sooner you find ways to save time, the better off your chances of success.

‘I wish I’d known how much time it takes to run a business. The actual work is just a fraction. On top of that there’s invoicing, accounting and wading through financial reports.’

Luckily, you don’t need to do it all yourself. Holvi can help. By freeing up time for other things, Holvi takes some stress out of running a business.

‘The better your tools, the easier you can handle business admin and scale. That’s why I use Holvi. Saving my brainpower for real work means my business is always moving forward.’

How’s that for work life simplified?

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