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I sold my home and quit my job to follow my dream. Here’s how it went

·4-min read
Jaz Wearin smiling and holding a six pack of Nort Beer, group of friends sharing beers.
Here's why Jaz Wearin quit her job, sold her home and travelled America six months for her dream. (Images: Supplied, Getty).

Read part two to find out the role storytelling played in Jaz Wearin's business success.

Jaz Wearin laughs when she remembers the epiphany that changed her life.

It was 2014 and she was a country girl pulling the daily grind in a corporate job.

One day, she and her partner, Grant, decided they had simply had enough.

They’d done the corporate thing. They both came from families that had run businesses and both were avid beer fans, with Grant himself a keen home brewer. Wearin had grown up on a wheat farm, so malt was in her blood.

Sam's story:

So in 2014, they both quit their corporate jobs and left to travel America for six months in the name of education.

Beer education. They rented a motorhome and travelled the USA for months, tasting beers, speaking to makers and immersing themselves in knowledge.

When they got home, they decided to just go for it, Wearin, now the name behind popular Northern Beaches brewery Modus Operandi and non-alcoholic beer Nort, told Yahoo Finance.

They sold their apartment and put everything into the business. When they started, they had just $7 in their bank account - everything else was forming Modus Operandi.

Cathy's story:

“You’re a bit naive when you’re a bit younger, I’m not sure I’d be so silly these days - just quitting your job and flying overseas,”

“Naivete is a wonderful thing, sometimes.”

For Wearin, that naivete has paid off: her Nort beer is stocked on Woolworths shelves, while Modus Operandi is opening another venue and its products are also stocked in both major and independent retailers.

Mixing business with family

She works on Modus Operandi with Grant, while Nort is her own personal project, after coming up with the idea while pregnant.

Working with her husband is surprisingly simple, she says.

In the early days, they divided tasks based on what needed to be done.

“It was like, ‘Get behind that bar and pour the beer, get in the office, get selling, get on that tank,’” she said.

“It was just hell for leather. There was no delineation [of roles], it was just get what needs to be done, done.”

Today, there is a more structured approach to work, but the main thing they try to do is avoid work talk at home.

“It’s really hard sometimes - especially when you’ve got exciting things to talk about or when something bad has happened, but I just think that when you blend personal with business too much, it’s not a great recipe for success.”

And she believes that all in all, it’s an “awesome” thing to work with a partner - there’s no one else she would trust more with the business.

Nort Beer is born

A few years after Modus Operandi sprang into existence, Wearin had her second epiphany.

She was pregnant and realising quickly that the non-alcoholic options on the market left a lot to be desired.

“It just came to me one morning… I just said, ‘This is the time to bring out a non-alc.’

“I knew we could do a good job after having seven years experience in the brewing industry, I knew we could do this. We could make something that really tastes like beer.”

She decided to take action, and in late 2020 launched Nort Beer, which now offers four varieties: Pacific Ale, All Day IPA, Tropical XPA and Refreshing Ale.

Briony's story:

And unlike Modus Operandi, which she co-founded with Grant, Nort is much more of Jaz’s project.

While he’s still involved with it, Wearin’s passion for Nort meant she wanted to go it alone.

“I had something in my head and I almost didn’t want anyone else involved. I almost run the process all by myself, while outsourcing marketing, design and packaging,” she said.

“I had such a clear vision that I almost ran at it and let it fulfill the brand by myself.”

Today, Wearin is grateful that she took the leap to change her life, admitting that most days she pinches herself.

“It's a real privilege to run a business, and especially in beer. That would be people’s dreams to do that, and I’ve been able to do it with two brands.”

Read part two to find out the role storytelling played in Jaz Wearin's business success.

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