The BizFilings blog covering business tips and trends.
Can an Entrepreneur Have a Life Too?
Oct 15, 2009, 07:37 AM
Read 'Can an Entrepreneur Have a Life Too?' at 'Time to Start Up,' the small business blog by BizFilings.
One of the most wonderful daydreams people have is of some day being their own boss, at their own company - of which they only have to show up at maybe 3 days a week, with their dog, simply oversee a few check points with the staff they've managed to hire, and have a life. Then they're off to little Billy's soccer game, or little Sally's play, or the romantic dinner with a loved one...They have finally achieved total control of their lives.
Unfortunately, the reality is that more often than not, the dead opposite is true. Entrepreneurs are completely controlled by their businesses.
In the first couple of years of a new business there is an enormous amount of pressure to "do it all". And, the fact is, you're the owner and you probably don't have enough money to hire any help, so you really are doing it all. Every aspect of running a business calls out for your attention, often demanding more time than there are hours in a day.
So what's a budding entrepreneur to do about Billy, Sally, and family?
I just read a really good article by Meg Cadoux Hirshberg, wife and business partner of Gary Hirshberg, CEO of Stonyfield Farm (the yummy yogurt guys). In it, she gives examples of how both she and Gary were able to survive the early years of entrepreneurship and family life as well.
One thing she points out that I think is really crucial is that they were able to "separate our reactions to our business situation (depressed) from our feelings about our personal future (optimistic)." They didn't let a cash shortage, or rural location, or lack of staff deter them from taking a vacation on credit cards, or having their children, or putting off the things that really forge a lasting relationship with your loved ones.
She learned very early on that there is no magic moment when the business "grows up" and reaches a self-reliant point that allows you to then focus strictly on your personal life. A business is constantly evolving and growing so that it will always need attention, putting off a personal life to wait for a moment that won't happen is futile. So, as Meg's article advises - it might be scary, but jump in and enjoy.
I'd love to hear what you readers think - What is your answer to the question? Can an entrepreneur have a life too?