What makes you smile the more at the end of the day, a big sale or your child’s laugh when you toss him or her up in the air?
When my two children were born, I thought I could easily enjoy and succeed at being a dad and an entrepreneur. But I quickly realized a fact that most people don’t like to talk about: You have to make sacrifices, prioritizing each role over the other at different times.
The trick to being a great entrepreneur and 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:
1. Stick to a routine, but work flexibly. Kids thrive on a regular schedule but your job requires a lot of time from you, often completely off-schedule. Make it a priority to spend time with your kids during the day. I make up the time I missed by working when everyone is asleep because I don’t need much sleep. Find your own strategy to maintain a routine with your kids while still getting work done.
2. Prioritize your family, but understand that you’ll have to make sacrifices for your business. Although your family is much more important, certain situations require you to focus on your business. Learn to recognize those true emergencies when your business requires your full attention.
Right after my second child was born, there was an emergency with my company’s factories in Turkey. I had to get on a plane immediately to fix the situation, even though it meant leaving my newborn with my wife, who was still recovering. It was a hard decision, but ultimately, it was the right one.
3. Be there for your kids. Spend lots of time with your family. So what if you miss an important meeting with a client to attend your kid’s preschool graduation? When I get into a rut working too much, I ask myself, “Why did I choose to have kids if I wasn’t going to be there for them?” That helps me realign my priorities.
4. Cross-train your staff and delegate. Prioritizing your family means you might not be at work for every important meeting or critical decision. You have to trust your team to make tough decisions. Cross-train your staff so everyone feels comfortable performing multiple jobs.
5. Avoid burnout. It’s essential to make time for yourself. Pick one or two days a week, along with a specific time, to pursue something that excites you. It’s hard to take care of your kids or your business if you’re exhausted. But don’t just relax, do something you’re passionate about. Pursuing your unique interests, especially on a schedule, makes you look forward to them and energizes you for the rest of the day.
6. Help your team avoid burnout, too. You’ll need support from your staff to prioritize your family, so make sure your employees feel valued. My company organizes weekend trips for employees who meet sales goals. These incentives are a win-win, good for our bottom line while creating an air of excitement in the office.
If money and personal freedom are priorities for you, starting a family and running a company at the same time is not be the best 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 effect on your family. You’ll have less time for everything.
But both fatherhood and entrepreneurship have deeply enriched my life. Although each requires sacrifices, you can ease the pain by prioritizing and carefully planning your time. While it’s great to bask in the glow of a wonderful day at work, it’s just as awe-inspiring to hear that laugh of joy when you toss your child in the air.