One thing I find that people are surprised about when it comes to Entrepreneurship is that you’re always connected to work. It doesn’t matter how much you try to separate life from work, work is life.
First of all, it’s essential to be connected because there’s no one else to take that late night customer call, and someone needs to answer.
Next, because you’re so connected and on call, all of life literally revolves around work. Luckily, we’re doing what we love, most of the time, so this isn’t a big deal. But that advice to go out to dinner with your spouse and don’t talk about work or kids is totally hopeless when you’re an Entrepreneur. Because, everything connects back to our business.
Want to plan a vacation? What’s the business calendar look like? Is there wi-fi at this destination? How about we pick a destination where we can be on site with a client – work AND play at the same time? Just try planning around work travel and kid’s activities…
Planning a child’s birthday party? What’s the travel schedule? Is anyone out of town for work? Any late night product launches scheduled?
We’re going out of town for a wedding in a few months and hubby is even trying to set up some networking while we’re there. It’s a new city, so why not? It brings back memories of our “ski” trip several years ago where we spent 1/2 day skiing and 3 days networking. I did warn him that we do have to actually be on time for the wedding… We’ve also check on wi-fi, teathering for the drive, and the most efficient travel schedule.
Honestly, I’ve come to accept that as a business owner, you take advantage of opportunities wherever they are. So, no matter where you’re at, or what you’re doing, you’re constantly connected to your company.
What people think I do
What I think I do
What I actually do
Seriously, there’s a lot more to being an Entrepreneur than filling out forms, but I’m pretty sure I spend a very large portion of my time making charts, filling forms, and basically just running a business. There’s no beaches here!
Owning your own business requires that you be all in. You want to be successful? You have to commit. It’s not for the faint of heart. And early on you realize that it’s a whole family affair. From accommodating non-traditional work schedules to hosting clients for dinner, everyone is involved.
It’s things like running some forgotten papers to the office on the way to the kid’s science classes. Taking calls while we’re on a family outing. Planning vacation around work deadlines. And lots of late nights.
Since we love football, and football is on my mind, with the superbowl coming up – which btw, is a great time to have friends and business associates over – it’s easy for me to come up with a football illustration. The beginning of the football season I was listening to an interview on tv and the player had a quote that I wrote on my kid’s marker board. “The Success is in the Struggle”. It’s something I remind my kids of when they’re having a tough day in school. And it’s something I’ve had to apply to being an entrepreneur. When things get hard, I remind myself that we’re in this for the long haul, it’s not about everything being smooth, it’s about learning what can be learned from the struggles and coming out successful in the end.
Or like Thomas Edison said – he’s also on my mind because my 4th grader is studying him this week – “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10000 ways that won’t work”. It’s learning to look at “failures” not as failures but as something learned and an opportunity to use that experience and improve on it next try.
So, we do our best work and if it doesn’t work out, we learn from it and try again because truly success doesn’t happen when it’s easy, success comes from trying again when it’s hard.
My husband has always dreamed of owning his own company, and always had his own little business that we just earned extra income from. So, a few years ago he decided to go out fully on his own and start a company. A couple of years in and he loves being an entrepreneur. I love it too, and since by now it’s fully integrated into our family life, I think it’s time to do a blog series on what it looks like to own a company, homeschool, and keep up with 4 kids.
Let’s cover a couple of ground rules:
- This isn’t for the faint of heart – it’s a lot of work. Hubby works 80 hr work weeks and I log a lot of hours as well. Because I work with him that means that I know what’s going on. I know if things are going well, if a client isn’t happy, etc. This is how we make money to live and knowing all the details is scary at times.
- It requires boundaries – Dinner turns into an executive meeting, “going out” is a dinner with clients, and pillow talk is all about how to draft the latest client agreement. We’ve had to find the line and draw it, because the kids need our attention too. We need to hear about their day at dinner, return home more relaxed after we go out, and actually be proactive about our kids needs.
- My to-do list is ridiculous – It reads something like: new stair rail, e-mail accountant, make banana muffins, find new math curriculum, food for office meeting, check on insurance, find flower girl dresses, review book on blog. Seriously, it’s impossible to keep up with multiple to-dos so everything ends up on one big list and it all has to happen at once. Just get used to it. Especially since I work from home, all my stuff is overlapping.
As crazy as things can get, there’s just something to be said for going out on your own. Because it’s not just “Daddy” going to work every day and coming home at night. It’s a whole family affair. From a family dinner with a client’s family, to business discussions at dinner, to my kids watching me work, to the kids helping me clean the office. It’s really shown my kids that work isn’t this isolated thing that Daddy does 8 hours every day, it’s something that you choose, you make it your own, and it’s just part of life. They keep asking when they get to work!
I love what we do, and love that as the kids get older they’ll get to be more involved as well and we’ll make it more of a whole family thing.