Many people seem to think that in order to build a successful startup company, you need to be young and single. Although I can understand why some would have this perspective, I have found the complete opposite to be true from first-hand experience.
While being young and single can mean one has more time to focus on their dreams or career goals, it can also mean that certain life lessons haven’t been learned yet. The fact is, with my last company I became more successful after I got married and had kids. Now, some may say my success could have just been luck or that the timing of how it all worked out was merely a coincidence. However, I personally believe that it was the addition of my family to my life that made me a better entrepreneur.
I took some time to think about what the biggest influences my family has made on the business side of my life. Here are six inspiring things my family has brought into my career:
1. It gives you a valued support system
Being an entrepreneur can be a lonely job. You generally work alone, make decisions alone, struggle alone, and often, quietly celebrate successes alone. The bottom line, however, is that you can’t do it alone, nor should you.
Having a sounding board to bounce ideas off, someone to point out when you’re off the course, to encourage you when you face challenges and to cheer you on when you succeed, are all very valuable. At the same time, engaging your partner in those discussions demonstrates that you value their opinion, opens the lines of communication, and helps build respect and trust in each other.
2. It provides you with a purpose
Along with a support system, family reminds you why you are working so hard, and inspires you to keep going, even through the tough times.
The family keeps you grounded when you’re overwhelmed by the thousands of small crises that develop almost daily when you’re an entrepreneur. The major ups and downs, daunting challenges and successes as an entrepreneur can distract you from your end goal, but I find it’s always my family that brings me back to reality.
3. It teaches you better time management
Being part of a family requires you to use your time more wisely and to be more productive. Moving from the “me” to the “we,” and then into the role of a parent, forces you to wear many hats.
When you are a spouse, parent and business owner, you learn to take on many roles and become more adept at managing those roles, at determining the best use of your time, and deciding what is worth your time, both at home and at work.
4. It forces you to take downtime
Part of managing your time well is knowing when it’s time for a break or a vacation. By taking part in activities with your kids and family, you have a chance to step away momentarily from the business, to de-stress the mind and to gain new focus and fresh perspective.
Even a short break at a soccer game or in the backyard gives you an opportunity to refocus your priorities, perhaps for you to remember why you do what you do.
5. It teaches you to delegate better
Entrepreneurs, by their nature, are do-for-themselves kinds of people. Unfortunately, that can mean they are sometimes not great at asking for help. But if you’re going to manage your time effectively, you need to delegate tasks to people you trust.
In the end, it often makes you more successful because you have trusted a complex task to someone with expertise in one specific area. Asking for help at home lets your family be engaged in supporting you. It also opens the doors for people to ask for the same of you. Cooperation, support… this is, after all, what family is all about.
6. It makes you a positive role model
As parents we think about the example we are setting for our kids. Building something from scratch teaches your kids about taking risks and hard work. Whatever level of success you achieve as an entrepreneur demonstrates the value of hard work, of dreaming, and of perspective in life. On the business side, having family will encourage you to act in ways that your family can be proud of. This accountability, in turn, will be evident to your clients and team members, making you someone they want to work with and do business with.
On the business side, having a family will encourage you to act in ways that your family can be proud of. This accountability, in turn, will be evident to your clients and team members, making you someone they want to work with and do business with.
The values, work ethic and perspectives that help a family thrive and a business succeed are one and the same. It is not only possible to have both, but can be better for both when you do.