Becoming an entrepreneur is very similar to becoming a parent: they are both life-changing and heart-melting experiences that require risk, vulnerability, willingness to learn, and patience. However, it can be challenging to find harmony between being an entrepreneur and raising children simultaneously. What can a parent, who wants to focus on both their career and family, do to find the right balance?
Work-life balance refers to the equilibrium between a person’s personal and professional lives. Work often takes priority over everything else in life because our desire to achieve professionally can cause us to put our own well-being and family aside. This is why it’s essential to find the balance between work and family. At the same time, keep in mind that there is no ‘perfect’ work and family balance. Every family is unique, so balance can look vastly different from family to family.
Once you learn how to balance caring for your children and company, it will improve not only you and your family’s emotional and mental well-being, but also your business.
Fatherhood and Entrepreneurship
Father’s Day is a time to honor all fathers and father figures who have sacrificed, encouraged, empowered, and protected us. As we celebrate Father’s Day, we asked 6 father-entrepreneurs to share their tips on how to balance fatherhood and entrepreneurship.
Find Ways to Slow Down
“When my son was born, other Dads warned me that the first ten years go by in a flash. I was determined to find ways to slow it down; these days, I have bent my work life to take my son to school and pick him up. There is gold in the conversations that happen on our walk to and from school.
My wife works in a hospital so when lockdown happened, only I could do the school run. It forced me to make all my main work happen 9am–3pm on weekdays.
I moved to a coworking space near our home, so he comes back after school sometimes when I need to wrap up. While our work team is all over the world, my world is very local and I love the deeper connection we have with our local area.”
– Bernie Mitchell, Chief Operating Officer of Velvet
Bring Your Best Self to Both
“I’d keep it simple and just say to bring your best self to both. Both fatherhood and entrepreneurship require compromises and hard decisions about priorities—and at times they may even conflict with each other—but the rewards are so worth it.
Certainly, if there were even a conflict between the two, fatherhood comes first, but it’s really the other “priorities” that you need to consider.”
– Chris Selland, CEO of DipJar
“Being a presently engaged parent is one of life’s greatest blessings. I believe that the best way to grow is to help others grow, and the best people to help grow are your loved ones, especially your children. In the bigger scheme of life, being a quality father is more important than being a successful entrepreneur because no one will write on your grave “founded this” or “pioneered this”. At best they write beloved father, mother, brother, and friend for those who invest in their families.
Those who spend their whole lives chasing growth or money are missing out on the magic of life. Life isn’t about making money; it’s about making memories.
As an entrepreneur who has built two global software companies, I poured my heart, soul, and time into the first one, missing out on countless opportunities to spend time with my family and even my friends. Luckily, I sold that company when I was 40 and was lucky to spend the next ten years being a present father and husband. Those years were the greatest gift I could have ever given myself and my family, and I would encourage others to do their best to find a work-life balance.“
– Jon Ferrara, CEO of Nimble
Enjoy Every Moment
“When I was building my voice over business, I was a single workaholic with very little concept of work-life balance.
In 2017 I got married and in addition to an amazing wife, I was also blessed with two amazing daughters (4 and 9 at the time). With no experience being a dad, I learned quickly how “disruptive” they can be. It turns out, that’s exactly what I needed!
Now, nothing is better than my kids busting into my office during my day to show me something they’re working on, ask me a question, or just hug me because they can. They brought a balance I didn’t even know I needed before they were in my life, and now I can’t imagine living without them.
Enjoy every moment you can with your kids before they’re too old to stop offering them as often!”
– Marc Scott, Professional Voice Over Talent of Marc Scott Voice Over
Health First, Family Second, and Job Third
“When it comes to balancing being an entrepreneur with being a father, the best advice and life lessons I can share are as follows. I believe it’s important to keep things in this perspective. Health first, family second and job third. Why this order? Because unless you’re physically and mentally healthy, it’s hard to be there for everyone else. With health taken care of, the next most important thing is your personal and family life. Treasure every moment. Lastly, take care of your business.
There’s plenty of time for all three. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.”
– Mitch Jackson, Senior Partner and Founding Attorney of Jackson & Wilson, Inc.
Treat Others with Respect
“As a Step-Father to two teenage sons and someone who has built and sold businesses, I think that it is important for entrepreneurs to remember that how we behave at work should be congruent with how we behave at home.
Treating those around us with respect—not just when we think our children are watching us, but even when they are not—can help positively influence our children as they grow up.
Let’s make sure we let our kids know that business is not a zero-sum game, and that by treating our clients, suppliers, peers and competitors with respect, we’re setting a great example for the next generation of business owners.”
– Richard Tubb, IT Business Growth Expert of Tubblog
Fathers must make deliberate and often difficult decisions around work and family, continually finding the balance. We hope this advice can help father entrepreneurs find balance in their own lives. So, thank you to all the fathers out there making those tough calls. Happy Fathers Day!