Succeed as a parent and entrepreneur

Life is all about priorities, and achieving a perfect work/life balance is something everyone seems to be grappling with.

By Gary Epstein

Work and family are both important aspects of our day-to-day living. Spending time with family is important, but so too is providing a secure and comfortable life for that family. Often it is this constant strive for a healthy work/life balance that drives people towards entrepreneurship, convinced that self-employment is the answer to achieving that elusive balance. 

In reality, even when you are your own boss, sacrifices will have to be made and working parents will continue to have to prioritise one role over the other. The trick to being a great entrepreneur as well as a great parent is giving your business and your family 100 percent of your time and focus. It might sound impossible, but here are a few tips to make it work:

Stick to a routine, but work flexibly
Kids thrive on a regular schedule while work also demands a lot of your time, often completely off-schedule. Make it a priority to spend time with your kids during the day and, yes, this might mean catching up on work missed when everyone else is asleep. The bottom line is that it is up to you to develop a strategy that will allow you to maintain a routine with your kids and get your work done.

Be there for your kids
Sometimes you might have to miss an important meeting to share a milestone event with your child. You may think that your kids don’t notice whether you are there or not, but the truth is that they do and putting them first for those key occasions will go a long way to proving how much you care.

Empower your staff and delegate
Prioritising your family means you might not be able to attend every important meeting or be there for every critical decision, so surround yourself with people you trust. Then trust your team to make tough decisions and sometimes to perform multiple roles — setting this up from the get go will ensure a flexible schedule and will go a long way to ensuring that you can be an active participant in your children’s lives.

Avoid burnout
You are not going to be much use as an entrepreneur or a parent if you burn yourself out, so be sure to make time for yourself and in that time, do something you love. Pursuing your unique interests, especially if it’s booked into your diary, gives you something to look forward to and energises you for the rest of the day.

Know that sacrifices are unavoidable
Although your family is much more important, certain situations require you to focus on your business. Learn to recognise those true emergencies when your business requires your full attention.

If money and personal freedom are priorities for you, starting a family and running a company at the same time is not a good idea. Raising kids is hard work, especially if you’re aiming to succeed professionally at the same time. Being a committed parent will affect your business, just as being a business owner will have an impact on your family — you’ll have less time for everything.

An indisputable fact is that both parenting and entrepreneurship will deeply enrich your life, but doing it together will require sacrifices. Prioritise and plan your time carefully so that you are there for those once-in-a-lifetime family milestones, but also for those life-changing business deals.