Thank heaven for entrepreneurs. Unless you are one of the one-in-three who work for the government, if you have a job, you have an entrepreneur to thank. Someone back in time launched that business and created the job that feeds your family. If you’d like to be an entrepreneur, the following tips will help you succeed at launching your own business while you maintain a happy and healthy home environment.
Remember it will be tough
Entrepreneurship is not for the weak. It is going to be tough. A lot tougher than you think. Really.
Talk about it
Sit down with your spouse and talk about the implications of your plan. Make sure that your spouse is 100 percent behind you. It may take time, but this is the most critical step for maintaining a happy home with an entrepreneur in it. It may also be more important than you think for the success of the business. Because an entrepreneur has to invest so many hours into ramping up the business, and may not add a dime to the family wallet for months, spousal support can make or break the dream. Many entrepreneurs have said their spouses were key to their success.
Coach the kids
Your kids will be impacted by the change in ways that may be difficult to predict. The more successful the business is, the more they’ll likely be impacted. An entrepreneur becomes completely absorbed in the business. Help the kids to understand what’s going on so they aren’t confused by changes in your routine, especially since you may be spending less time with them. You don’t want your kids to think you love them any less just because you’re changing your career.
Figure out the money
Don’t take one more step until you’ve figured out the money. You will need money to live while you launch your business. Will you keep working at a day job while you work on your business at night? Is your spouse working? Will your spouse continue to work? Can you live on your spouse’s income alone? What about the money for the business? Where will that come from? Don’t be cavalier about spending college savings or retirement savings. Odds are against you getting this money back. Decide how much to risk and commit to risking no more than that.
Draw some boundaries
The business, especially if it is successful, will encroach into the home and impact your family in unforeseen ways. Draw some boundaries now. Decide when you’ll be home for dinner, how much you’ll travel, when you’ll make time for the kids, when you turn your phone off — not just the ringer — to protect your family. Entrepreneurship takes time and commitment, but so do families. Decide today that your family is more important than your business.
Live the limits
As you go forward, you will be tempted every day to violate the limits you’ve established. You’ll want to use more money than planned. You’ll want to travel more, work through dinner and skip family time. Don’t do any of that. Keep the commitments to your family. The business will not succeed or fail based on late-evening, semi-productive, half-focused work product and phone calls. To the contrary, you may save your business, too, by empowering yourself to focus on work during work time and on the family during family time.
By following these six simple tips for successful entrepreneurship you can succeed both as a parent and as an entrepreneur. It doesn’t matter whether you’re hoping to launch the next Microsoft-scale technology venture or if you’re planning to start doing day care in your home, the rules apply equally.