Working nine to wine is a great way to describe Ashleigh Campbell, who launched her wine business in 2013. A working mom of two littles, she has everything on her list you can imagine, and more. The one “to-do” she looks forward to most? Her fun wine job, where she gets to share wine and laughs with new friends—a much needed release from the busy day-to-day, and an extra paycheck. Here’s her story.
“I don’t know how you do it all!”
I hear that a lot. A. Lot. Like at least once a day.
To be totally honest, I have no idea how I do it all either. I’m a mom, a wife, an engineer, and a Wine Guide. In a typical week I have 40 hours at work, hockey for my four-year-old son, playdates or birthday parties, wine tastings, networking events, and training calls. Add in New York Islanders games during hockey season, trips to Dock Dogs competitions in the spring and summer, travel for work (both engineering and wine), and the occasional date night (because my husband and I do still like each other seven years, three dogs, and two kids later) … and you will see very little white space on my calendar. I fill that white space with wine tastings. It sounds totally crazy, and sometimes it is, but I can’t imagine my life any other way.
At some point, between Excel spreadsheets and washing a million sippy cups, I realized that if I am going to fill the precious white space on my calendar, it better be with something fun. It became very clear to me recently how much my wine job fulfills me.
I had pulled into my driveway after a long day at work. Both of my boys were sleeping in the back seat after their long day at daycare. I turned off the car and just sat there, in silence, for about 15 minutes. In that time I was mentally preparing for the crazy night ahead of me, psyching myself up for a night of making dinner, letting the dogs out 97 times, fighting with my toddler over every bite of dinner, changing diapers, potty training, and cleaning up sticky surfaces … because kids. But, the next night, when I pulled into my driveway, both kids asleep once again, I jumped out of the car like I’d just downed a Starbucks quad shot in 10 seconds. I still had all the same things to do as the previous night, except for one thing—this night I had a wine tasting! In just a few hours I was going to be surrounded by fun, wine-loving men and women, sipping wine and eating food (food that was still hot and not my toddler’s leftovers).
Wine tastings are my “me” time. If you’re like me, you see all these articles about how “mom’s need vacations with other mom’s” in order to rejuvenate and maintain sanity. For me, with only a certain amount of vacation days a year, my vacation hours are carefully calculated and typically spent on family trips and kids’ sick days. There is no time for a girls trip in my schedule. But, those hours I spend leading wine tastings give me the “recharge” all of the articles are talking about. I mean, a relaxing vacation typically includes sipping wine, eating food, and some good conversation. Well, guess what? So do my wine tastings!
The best part? Traveling Vineyard allows me to flex my wine tastings around my schedule. We don’t have any sales quotas or minimum number of tastings we have to do each month. I can fill my calendar with all of the important stuff, like work, sports (kids and dogs!), hockey games, and date nights—then fit in wine tastings accordingly. This way I know I’m not missing anything with my family and I’m still getting my fun. This “job” is so much fun! If it wasn’t, I wouldn’t be filling my down time with it.
Everyone needs a release (especially working parents), something they truly enjoy doing in their lives. For some people that’s softball league or book club. For me, it’s wine tasting with friends. So while, yes, I do treat this as a business and enjoy the monetary perks, it’s so much more than a paycheck. It’s my fun, my passion, and my sanity—and that’s why this never feels like “work” to me.
Ashleigh Campbell is a Ruby Director with Traveling Vineyard who operates her business on Long Island, New York. Ashleigh is also a Lead Cost Engineer at GE Aviation. She has a loving husband and two sons who are fully supportive of her wine business because it pays for trips to Disney and New York Islanders season tickets. Her wine gig has also taken her to destinations like Napa Valley, Chile, and Las Vegas! Want to experience the fun and flexibility of the Wine Guide Life? Let’s talk wine.