Entrepreneurs can be considered as one of the backbones of our society. Because of them, people have work and are able to provide for and sustain their families. And because these businesses employ workers, they are able to send their kids to school and these kids are eventually able to form other enterprises. Of course, the government also provides bulk of the work opportunities for many individuals but businesses play a huge role in making individuals in society productive.
Having your own business is certainly something to strive for. Aside from the glamour of actually being the chief executive officer of your own company, having your own business gives you the opportunity to actually do what you love. It also gives you the chance to run your venture the way you want to.
However, starting your own business is not going to be easy, especially on the family front. If you have a spouse—and even more so when you have children— the challenges of running your own business are going to be greater. You need to open your eyes to these difficulties so that you can be better prepared for them.
Here are some tips to help your entrepreneurial venture succeed while still keeping your family life happy and content:
1. Be prepared for the fact that starting a business is going to be very difficult.
This is one thing that you are going to have to understand at the outset. When you begin your business, you’ll have to be ready to face all the stresses and demands that your venture is going to bring you. You have to steel yourself for all these things. If you are going to be faint-hearted and quit at the first sign of difficulty, you’re never going to get your business off the ground.
2. Crunch the numbers and figure out where the money is going to come from.
Money is the key for you to be able to start a venture. Without money, you can’t expect to get your enterprise started. You’ll have to know exactly how much money your venture is going to need and how you are going to fund it. Are you going to quit your job while you build up your business from the ground up? If you are, who is going to fund the needs of the family while the business isn’t earning yet? Make sure that you know what funds to touch and what not to. For example, you might want to keep your retirement savings separate from your new venture because it would not be wise if you included that and your business would go under. Never start a business if you are not sure where the money for your enterprise and your family will come from.
When it comes to crunching the numbers, you need to overestimate the expenses and underestimate the earnings you can expect to get. This is essential so that you’ll know exactly how much you need to prepare. Underestimating the expenses is going to land you in a lot of trouble because that is when you start to borrow funds in the hope that your business will really make it. It is much better to overestimate the funds you will need for your business so that you can prepare adequately for it instead of running out of capital in the middle of the venture and trying to raise funds instead of growing it.
3. Orient the children about the venture.
Your children need to know what’s going on because there will certainly be disruptions to your schedule due to the demands of your business. Whether your endeavor fails or succeeds, you might become so busy that you could miss special occasions. The kids need to understand exactly why you might miss certain dinners or not be at their soccer games sometimes. You have to make them see why it happened beforehand so that when these events occur, they know exactly the reason and won’t berate you for it.
4. Decide to put your family first.
Your family is going to be there for you, whether your business fails or succeeds. The question is: Will you be there for them? You are certainly going to answer yes to this but you’ll find exactly how difficult it is going to be once your endeavor grows and every little problem is going to require your attention. The more successful your enterprise is, the more hectic your schedule is going to be. There will be times when you will be missing PTA meetings and other events that you had promised you will attend.
Before you even start your enterprise, you have to set limits. You need to make certain rules absolute, such as the time you will be spending with your family, how many times you will be traveling each month to grow your enterprise and the events you’ll be attending in school.
5. Go with your original plan.
When your business is already underway, you will be tempted to do things that are not in your original plan. For example, you may want to loan more or borrow money from your 401k even when you said you would not do so. You may keep on making excuses about not spending enough time with your kids because you decided to just get one more client and then another and then another. Before you know it, your kids are already so distant from you and you don’t anymore know them. This is often the start of troubles with the family. If you want to avoid these kinds of drama, stick to the original plan that your family knows about.
It’s very important to understand that devoting time for your family is integral to building a successful enterprise. You can’t succeed if the work you do in your business is half-hearted because you felt so guilty about missing your son’s play or you got distracted because your wife pointed out the many dinners family you have been missing because of the constant overtime you devoted in your endeavor. If you want to focus your energy in your business without any hang-ups, devote time to your family first.
6. Talk to and listen to your loved ones.
When you are starting your venture, you might be so consumed about it that it’s the only thing you talk about with your wife and yes, even with your kids. While they will most likely understand you, remember that they have their own lives, too. As much as possible, always keep the dinner table conversation balanced by asking how your children are doing at school or your spouse at work. Make sure that you really listen to their responses so that if there are problems, you can address them right away. Your family will appreciate your effort and will be more inclined to listen to you when you want to listen about the rough patches you are experiencing in your business.
7. Manage your stress well.
There will be days when your new venture is going to completely overwhelm you. There will be times when you’ll question your sanity about even starting the business in the first place. There will be moments when you just feel like punching yourself in the nose for not doing something that could have prevented a problem from escalating.
When those moments come—and there will be a lot of them in the course of your life as an entrepreneur—make sure that you know when to take a step back. Breathe deeply and relax. If you need to step out from your office to take a jog, go ahead. You won’t be able to think clearly if you’re constantly on the edge. Worse, if you don’t find ways to deal with your stress in the office, you’re going to be bringing it home and taking it out on your family. Manage your stresses well and you’ll be a better entrepreneur and family man.
8. Know why you started your venture in the first place.
A very crucial question that you need to answer is this: Why do you want to start your own business? People start their own entrepreneurial ventures for many different reasons. Some do so because they want to have more control of their time. Others do so because they want to become the CEO of their own company. Still others become entrepreneurs because they want to leave a business to their children when they pass away. If your motivation is the last then you have all the more reason to strive harder and continue pushing forward even if things become very difficult for you. When you know that you are building the business because you want your children to run an already-established endeavor then you are more inspired to face whatever challenges that you will encounter.
Starting a business is inherently difficult. Starting a business when you already have a family is even more so. However, you can make the transition easier for your children and your spouse by knowing what the so-called ground rules are and sticking to them. When your family understands what you do and when you know what is expected of you then you can run your business the best way you know how and make it succeed.
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