Life is all about priorities and everyone these days seems to grapple with how to get balance into their lives. Work and family are equally important – it is obvious that family is a huge focus, but providing a secure and comfortable life for that family is just as necessary.
In the search for this balance, many people choose entrepreneurship as the sure-fire way to get that elusive balance and are under the impression that by running their own business, they will finally enjoy and succeed at being both a dad or mom and an entrepreneur. But the real truth is that sacrifices will still have to be made and working parents will continue to have to prioritise each role over the other at different times.
The trick to being a great entrepreneur and a great parent is giving your business and your family 100 percent of your time and focus. It might sound impossible, but here are a few tips to make it work:
- Stick to a routine, but work flexibly. Kids thrive on a regular schedule but your job requires a lot of time from you, often completely off-schedule. Make it a priority to spend time with your kids during the day. Yes, this might mean that you have to make up the time that you missed working when everyone is asleep, or first thing in the morning before they wake up. Bottom line is that you will need to find your own strategy to maintain a routine with your kids while still getting work done.
- Prioritise your family, but understand that you’ll have to make sacrifices for your business. Although your family is much more important, certain situations require you to focus on your business. Learn to recognise those true emergencies when your business requires your full attention.
- Be there for your kids. Spend lots of time with your family. Sometimes you might need to miss an important meeting because your child has a milestone event that you need to attend – it is going to happen. You might think that your kids don’t even notice when you are there or not – truth is that they do and choosing them over work for those key occasions will go a long way to proving to them just how much you care.
- Empower your staff and delegate. Prioritising your family means you might not be at work for every important meeting or critical decision. Surround yourself with people you trust – having this back up will also go a long way to ensuring that you are able to be an active participant in your children’s lives. You have to trust your team to make tough decisions and sometimes to perform multiple roles – setting this up from the get go will ensure that you don’t make yourself too depended on.
- Avoid burnout. You aren’t going to be much use as an entrepreneur or a parent if you burn yourself out. It’s essential in that search for balance to make time for yourself. Make sure that you are not only making time for yourself, but that in that time, you do something that you love. It’s hard to take care of your kids or your business if you’re exhausted. But when you do get around to taking time out, don’t just relax, do something you’re passionate about. Pursuing your unique interests, especially if it’s booked into your diary, makes you look forward to them and energises you for the rest of the day.
If money and personal freedom are priorities for you, starting a family and running a company at the same time is not going to be the best idea. Raising kids is hard work, especially if you’re aiming to succeed professionally at the same time. Being a committed parent will affect your business, just as being a business owner will have an effect on your family. You’ll have less time for everything.
An indisputable fact is that both parenting and entrepreneurship will deeply enrich your life. Although each requires sacrifices, its about prioritising and carefully planning your time so that you are there for those once-in-a-lifetime family milestones, but also for those life-changing business deals.