Chatting with our resident surfer-dad about life, business and his grommets

Co-founder of Few and Far, Danny Solberg wears a number of different hats behind the scenes, not only boss and leader, but graphic designer, product photographer and overseas liaison.

He keeps himself very busy, but we managed to find time in his schedule ahead of Father's Day to have a catch-up over a cup of coffee (or chocolate milkshake in Danny's case!) about the last year, life as a dad and balancing work/life as a business owner! 

What does a day-in-the-life look like for you?

One thing I know is everyday is usually different to the one before and the one to follow. These days Tara is actually busier (self-inflicted) than me so being the gentlemen I am and the amazing parent I am, I tend to do more of the inconvenient kids stuff like bus stop drop off, preschool drop off, pick ups and afternoon entertainment for our 2 kids and now latest addition puppy... As most Mums will agree - the hardest job in the house?
Every day does usually start with a 6am-ish wake up call from Moby our new dog which then gets us all up. I do like to squeeze in a quick glance at emails for anything urgent and as I am usually dealing with India and all our overseas suppliers a lot of that correspondence comes in over night. Having a quick glance helps me get a grip on how I can plan my windows of time if i need to respond or do some work to fulfil a requirement for any of those tasks.  Any of those "to do" emails I generally set as a task in Gmail. I also have a small notebook that goes most places with me and that usually has my daily duties including personal tasks...
Most mornings involve getting kids ready for school/preschool which means getting them fed, dressed, beds made (hopefully by them) and then getting our son up the road to the bus stop by 8:15am. Our daughter always has to come as well so we all (dog too obviously) head up there to get Jonah on the bus. Sari then gets off to preschool and then "my day" starts around 9:30am. From here it can go a few ways depending on what's required. My days can be catching up with staff at the warehouse, meeting people outside our business for strategic reasons whether its banks, real estate agents, builders, architects... we have a bit going on.
If I am at home - it's editing images, dealing with strategic issues via emails and phone calls, designing new ranges which is a constant need these days or buying online from overseas suppliers... One thing is certain every day is different.
Afternoons usually consist of driving to Milton to collect Jonah from school and Sari from preschool. Once that's done it's game on with kids, dog, dinner, baths, reading homework etc. I do tend to check emails periodically during the day and usually end the night with emails and catch-ups, noting the next days "to do"s in my notebook, before going to bed.

What's the best thing about working for yourself?

Well, when we first started self employment it was this crazy great feeling of generating your own income and future - the possibilities seemed boundless. tara and I would stay up late discussing opportunities and ventures (we still do this) . I do feel for us opportunities are greater and we are both not necessarily good at working for someone else. For me I kept trying to get my way and having your business you generally get your way most of the time. Am I sounding like a control freak??
Another amazing thing about having your own business is working with your team. I get very proud of our guys and the business they've helped become successful.

Tell us about your hobbies.

If it's me time then it's generally surfing or free diving for crays. My mood definitely lifts when i am getting in the ocean regularly. Having your own business that requires a LOT of attention though means sometimes my surfs can be extremely brief. In winter the snow lure. The mountains have a real sense of adventure to me. I also have this weird passion for cars. I wouldn't know how to do an oil change but I often find myself researching cars often as TV doesn't do it for me most nights.

The business has grown a lot in the last 12 months - what's the biggest change for you?

I think the addition of the right people in key positions has been great for allowing me to be confident and comfortable with the business going in the right way. The addition of Justin our Operations Manager is a big one for me personally and he takes care of a lot of the operational goings on that I typically tried to handle in a very time poor way and to be honest he's so much better at it than me. Just recently we have finally managed to grow our sorely needed marketing team which is making a massive impact on our brand's consistency and reliability.
It's actually weird to think not that long ago I was packing boxes, delivering furniture and all the roles that we now have teams for. Even the day to day activities are all the same just lots more of them and the people doing them doing it with passion.

What's the best gift you've ever received?

I have a special surfboard made for me for my 40th from my family which is pretty cool... Otherwise it would have to be the camping mattress Tara bought for me when we were having challenges with Jonah sleeping through the night... I used that mattress for a very long time nearly every night.

What's the best gift you've ever given?

I once surprised Tara with a holiday to Bali. She had no idea and we left 2 days after her birthday...

Is there something you've always wanted to do or experience that you haven't had a chance to yet - what is it?

I love free diving and keep telling myself I should do a course to improve my breath-hold. I'd also love to experience amazing snow maybe either in Europe or Japan.

Tell us your funniest memory of Jonah and Sari.

I don't really have one but with a 7 and a 4 year old, everyday they say and do things to make me laugh. It's usually around bedtime when I try and get the gossip on their day and how it went that they make me laugh. It's my favourite time of day with them.

Tell us about the three best decisions you've ever made.

  1. Spending my life with Tara - She inspires me, understands me and has made my life so much better.
  2. Having Jonah and Sari - i was always so scared of having kids and the responsibility of taking care of little humans, but I just love watching them grow up - it's the most amazing thing ever.
  3. Buying the house we live in. We seriously live in our dream location.

Finally, if you could give your younger self one piece of advice, what would it be?

Buy real estate! I was a little late to the scene on buying a house and would have loved to have had my time again to buy something sooner.