10 Tips for Navigating Family Life as an Entrepreneur
Entrepreneurship's ups and downs can have a devastating effect on your family. What is one practical tip you have for entrepreneurs who are falling short in this department?
No. 1: Schedule Your Life, Too
From Doug Bend of Bend Law Group, PC: Reserve set times in your schedule for activities that allow you to recharge and that add value to your life, such as daily exercise, a weekly date or social night, family activities and vacation. You will look forward to it, and a vacation also provides extra motivation to manage your time well so you do not have to cancel on others — or yourself!
No. 2: Prioritize
From John Rampton of Adogy: You need to be honest with yourself and decide which is more important. If money and your startup are more important, that's fine. But if your family is much more important, make time for them and prioritize it over your entrepreneurial adventures. After one failed marriage, I decided that every Saturday and Sunday was my family time. Nothing gets in the way of that time.
No. 3: Provide Full Disclosure
From Joshua Lee of StandOut Authority: One tip is to provide full disclosure to your significant other. Don’t feel like shielding them from the truth protects them. If things are not going well, it’s better they know up front. Hiding it only causes problems on the family front. This piles family stress on top of business stress. They’re your partner in life. Sharing more is the better policy with your business partner. This policy also applies to your family.
No. 4: Make a Calendar for Important Events
From Kim Kaupe of ZinePak: Entrepreneurs who live and die by their calendar can mitigate effects on their family by adding them to the agenda! At the beginning of each month I take 15 minutes to look at the next 30 days: Who has a birthday? Is it the first day of school? An anniversary perhaps? I log each on these events into my calendar to remind myself to pop a card in the mail, send a text or send flowers. It's the most important calendar you'll ever keep!
No. 5: Answer Your Phone
From Mitch Gordon of Go Overseas: Answering your phone when a significant other calls can make a big difference. Even saying, "I'm busy right now, can I call you back in 30 minutes?" is huge. It shows your family that you're making them a priority and that they are important to you. The reality is that you're never too busy to pick up the phone, say hello and tell someone you love them. If you're too busy to pick up the phone, something is wrong.
No. 6: Put Your Work Away for a Bit
From Chris Cancialosi of GothamCulture : You have to make decisions. For entrepreneurs, work is often your life rather than something separate that can be "balanced.” Setting firm boundaries around when and how you work can really help manage the dynamic tensions that exist. For example, I put my work away from dinner until my son goes to sleep at night.
No. 7: Remember Who Loves You
From Elizabeth Saunders of Real Life E®: The right routines can help you invest your time in alignment with your priorities. These are some basic ones to keep your relationships healthy:
- Touch base with your significant other daily and plan a weekly date night
- If you have a family, try to eat at least one meal a day together five days a week
- Be aware of important activities/events in one another's lives and do your best to show up for them
No. 8: Remember to Communicate
From Susan LaMotte of Exaqueo: My husband was an entrepreneur for many years, and now I am. The one thing that keeps our family together? Communication. Tools, calendars, scheduling -- all of those things are helpful, but they won't work without a baseline of communication. My husband and I have daily check-ins to review what's happening in our family, and how we can help each other. We call each other out when we have to and support each other when work gets busy.
9: Be Mentally Present
From Jerry Nevins of Snow & Co: All entrepreneurs have felt it -- that fog where you're with your family but you're not REALLY with your family. You're creating a product, honing a pitch, solving a problem in your head, even though your body is present at home with your partner, kids, brothers, mothers, etc. Your family is on the roller coaster with you in terms of time and money, so don't skimp them on the time you are physically present by being mentally absent.
No. 10: Remember They Support You
From Firas Kittaneh of Amerisleep: Though you should never lash out at your loved ones, know they'll always provide a shoulder you can cry on. Your family is available to support you through any issue you may face with your company. Don't feel the need to insulate them from the things you struggle with. But do remember that they are there to help, not hurt, so treat them fairly and honorably too.
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.