We all believe in the American dream: hard work can unlock the doors to endless possibilities…the possibility to become whoever you want to become, to change the world, to make millions of dollars…. In America, the possibilities are limitless.
All of this sounds wonderful, but it comes with a cost.
It was about the time that I was graduating school with overwhelming debt that I decided to start my own business. My wife was working and we had a three month old. My wife’s job was a security blanket for us as we were starting our company, NuVision. We both worked endless hours starting off because we could not afford to hire anyone to do work for us. If we needed a website, we built it. If we needed SEO work done, high-quality images taken for our products, product descriptions written, or an online store built, we did it ourselves.
Fast-forward three years, we continue to build our business, but now we have two children. The biological clock between parents and children don’t match up well, and neither children sleep through the night. (If you’re a parent, you know my pain). Typically, the night before I have a big client meeting or video shoot, or maybe even some travel, that is the night that all heck breaks loose.
Being present for your business & children
When you own your own business, you can find things to do 24 hours a day. The work is never done. You likely have access to your emails at home. You’re passionate about your business (which is great), but can become so busy and entangled with business obligations that you rarely spend quality time with your kids. I mention “quality” because that means no computer, no cell phone, but rather 100% immersion into your child’s life.
If your wife is highly involved in the business, then there is a good chance that your kids could be getting next to no focused time, which can cause them to act out in desperation for your love and attention. This is true whether she works from home or away at the office.
I still remember one night when my daughter started crying because she missed me. It broke my heart because I know that I was there, but not present. I swept her up and took her on a daddy daughter date right then and there. I knew she needed me. That night, brainstormed a massive action plan to be present with my kids.
All the while, I am trying to meet deadlines with product launches, come in on budget and manage a team of people. With only 24 hours in a day, trying to balance my business, my family, and my health became a challenge that I knew I needed to face head on.
I’ve been there…
I can say all these things because I lived them. We want to give our family the best life possible, but we need to do it without ignoring them. I’ve realized that, as an entrepreneur starting businesses, the stress of finances, meetings, and traveling can destroy our family if we aren’t proactive.
Entrepreneurs and family leaders must be smart and strategic.
I really think it’s a beautiful thing, starting a business while starting a family. It just takes discipline on your part and some good strategies. Below are the top six lessons I have learned from starting a business and family at the same time.
6 Success Tips To Starting A Business While Starting A Family
1) Get up early.
Wake up a few hours before your kids get up. You can be 100% focused and studies show this is when we have the most will power. There was a time when I got up at 5 A.M. every morning because I knew it gave me at least 3 hours of focus time before the kids were up.
2) Silence the technology.
My wife and I made a rule that there are no cell phones or computers allowed after 7 pm at night. This allows us to be focused on the kids without texts, calls, emails etc.
Don’t forget this major factor in starting a business. Businesses don’t turn profits over night. It takes time. A rule of thumb is 3 years. Don’t kill yourself with stress when you don’t have your dream business in one year.
4) Have a backup plan. Have an income that will support you as you start your business. Your new business most likely won’t financially support you for a year or two.
5) Give yourself cushion. Businesses always cost more than expected to start. So many little unexpected things come up. You need to have a cushion to fall back on.
6) Have an Inner Circle. You need individuals to bounce ideas off of and confide in. You can’t grow by yourself. Be resourceful and don’t be afraid to ask for help.