How-To Start a Company and Family at the Same Time

Work-life balance is a topic of constant debate. Can you achieve it? Does it exist? What’s it all mean?

Wendy Piersall is asking those very questions. This time she’s asking dads for their input. Certainly, this is a topic of much debate and difficulty for moms. But dads get less attention. It’s assumed that dads will exist more on the work side than the life side. There’s no question, we do.

Yet, I know more and more fathers unwilling to sacrifice the life-side of the equation. They want to be there for their families, they don’t want to be married to their work. It’s tough. Lots of expectations weigh on our shoulders.

So when asked the question, “How do you balance work and life?” I reflect on my current situation – starting Standout Jobs at the same time that I’m raising a young family. Here’s what I’ve got:

You work hard.

weightlifter

Really, really hard.

strong man

Sometimes you win.

tour de france

Sometimes you don’t.

bicycle race crash

You live on a roller coaster.

rollercoaster

Each day you go to battle…

soldiers

And hold on for dear life.

cliff climbing

But you love every minute of it.

And that’s the secret. That’s how you start a company and a family at the same time.

Love your family. Love what you do.

Beyond the love and passion you have for your family and your business, here are some additional things to think about:

  1. Every day, try and move things forward, even just a little bit. Think chess. Granted, your life is more like chess on speed…
  2. Spend time with your kids. As a dad, I like to do those things my wife isn’t fond of, to complement the many talents she brings to the game. Kick a ball. Roughhouse. It can be simple, your kids will love the time.
  3. Don’t take things too seriously. I would never de-value the importance of your business; but it’s not worth sacrificing your life for.
  4. Date your wife.
  5. Become a master of productivity.
  6. Realize that no situation lasts forever. Your child might be having trouble sleeping – that’s OK, it won’t last forever. You need to spend more hours working to get your business going – that’s OK, you can balance it later. As grim as any situation might look, remember that it won’t last.
  7. Develop a routine. This is perhaps the most important thing you can do – for yourself and your family. Kids thrive on routine. It sets good expectations for how things ought to be. It won’t be perfect, but it will help tremendously if you can setup a routine that’s manageable. Squeeze the chaos just a little bit.

Images from Flickr: jsems, pete90291, olive le basque_64, ed from ohio, soldiersmediacenter, dru!

July 11, 2007 Posted in Personal Development, Startups by

  • http://www.kevinsturm.blogspot.com Kevin Sturm

    I just recently found your blog and you and it are inspiring. I especially like this post though because it rings close to home. First and foremost I’m a husband and a father, but I’m also an entrepreneur. While previously fully employed I had a harder time with the work life balance, but now I don’t.

    I agree with what you said, but also believe that working “really” hard needs to be clarified as not working “really” long. When you are working on your business you make every second count. You carefully measure the value of each task, and low return tasks are generally not worth doing. I know that the legacy I live with my kids will long outlive the legacy I leave with my business, but that my legacy with them can be directly affected by the success of my business. It is knowing that that makes me work to ensure my business is successful.

    I don’t think my business model would work for everyone, but it has worked so far for me. If you can find a niche where you offer a very high value service that exceeds what most of the competition can offer, you can charge a lot more for that service or product. You won’t get as much business as some of the competition, but you won’t have to. This allows you to be more selective about your work (which can be harder than you think), and you spend more time working on what you want to work on.

    I see too many business startups trying to meet the needs of everyone. To be successful in that market you have to open a grocery store and work really hard for really long.

  • http://www.instigatorblog.com Ben Yoskovitz

    @Rob and Kevin — thanks guys, for the comments. Much appreciated.

  • http://www.instigatorblog.com Ben Yoskovitz

    @Rob and Kevin — thanks guys, for the comments. Much appreciated.

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  • http://www.kcpowerclean.com Kris Washer

    Great post. My window cleaning company has been dominating almost all of my spare time. Almost 75 hours a week. I need to follow your 3 rule… Date my wife!

  • http://www.kcpowerclean.com Kris Washer

    Great post. My window cleaning company has been dominating almost all of my spare time. Almost 75 hours a week. I need to follow your 3 rule… Date my wife!

  • http://www.madewithcomputers.com Tom

    Hey there. Sooo true. 16 months ago I started POKE (www.pokenewyork.com) the exact same day my son was born. Have him and my wonderful wife in my life has made it quite and interesting roller coaster – but the funny thing is – I have more perspective on what is the REAL priority than ever before.

    I also used to be that type of person who jumped in and “did” everything. This new world has taught me to let go of what isn’t important and hire people that are smarter than me :P to solve problems.

    Jump in and do it. It works!

    /t

    tom (at) http://www.madewithcomputers.com

  • http://www.madewithcomputers.com Tom

    Hey there. Sooo true. 16 months ago I started POKE (www.pokenewyork.com) the exact same day my son was born. Have him and my wonderful wife in my life has made it quite and interesting roller coaster – but the funny thing is – I have more perspective on what is the REAL priority than ever before.

    I also used to be that type of person who jumped in and “did” everything. This new world has taught me to let go of what isn’t important and hire people that are smarter than me :P to solve problems.

    Jump in and do it. It works!

    /t

    tom (at) http://www.madewithcomputers.com

  • Chase

    tats a stupid ass story ben

    maybe you should just fall in a hole and die

  • http://www.focusfurnishing.com/ Rachel Suites

    I do like this post, I think the most important thing is to schedule that you are happy with so you can fit in everything you want but are happy with it as well

  • http://www.focusfurnishing.com/ Rachel Suites

    I do like this post, I think the most important thing is to schedule that you are happy with so you can fit in everything you want but are happy with it as well

  • http://www.pdm-archive.co.uk/ Bethany Storage

    I hope this post isnt true as I have just started my own business and I have a family too! I think am gonna need help along the way but I am confident

  • http://www.pdm-archive.co.uk/ Bethany Storage

    I hope this post isnt true as I have just started my own business and I have a family too! I think am gonna need help along the way but I am confident

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    Inflatable bouncer, also know as bouncy house or inflatable jumper or inflatable trampoline. Kids and adults can bounce up and down on inflatable bouncers and have a lot of fun after they blow up the bouncer
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  • http://www.china-inflatable.com/ chinee inflatable

    Inflatable bouncer, also know as bouncy house or inflatable jumper or inflatable trampoline. Kids and adults can bounce up and down on inflatable bouncers and have a lot of fun after they blow up the bouncer
    http://www.china-inflatable.com/

  • http://www.china-inflatable.com/ chinee inflatable

    Inflatable bouncer, also know as bouncy house or inflatable jumper or inflatable trampoline. Kids and adults can bounce up and down on inflatable bouncers and have a lot of fun after they blow up the bouncer
    http://www.china-inflatable.com/

  • http://phone-lookup-spy.com/210/ Nicole

    Great post. Indeed men are facing a new age crisis of their own . It is sad our society tends to downplay the importance of men not only as providers , but also as care-takers ( fathers, husbands, sons etc.) While women had their emancipation , and jumped to the job market, leaving stoves and husbands behind, men got stuck with a double load. It might just be my opinion, but i truly believe that a lot of pressure is being put on the men of the 21st century. Your post is inspirational and motivational and gives men that extra thumbs up.Hang in there guys :)

  • http://phone-lookup-spy.com/210/ Nicole

    Great post. Indeed men are facing a new age crisis of their own . It is sad our society tends to downplay the importance of men not only as providers , but also as care-takers ( fathers, husbands, sons etc.) While women had their emancipation , and jumped to the job market, leaving stoves and husbands behind, men got stuck with a double load. It might just be my opinion, but i truly believe that a lot of pressure is being put on the men of the 21st century. Your post is inspirational and motivational and gives men that extra thumbs up.Hang in there guys :)

  • http://phone-lookup-spy.com/210/ Nicole

    Great post. Indeed men are facing a new age crisis of their own . It is sad our society tends to downplay the importance of men not only as providers , but also as care-takers ( fathers, husbands, sons etc.) While women had their emancipation , and jumped to the job market, leaving stoves and husbands behind, men got stuck with a double load. It might just be my opinion, but i truly believe that a lot of pressure is being put on the men of the 21st century. Your post is inspirational and motivational and gives men that extra thumbs up.Hang in there guys :)

  • http://phone-lookup-spy.com/210/ Nicole

    Great post. Indeed men are facing a new age crisis of their own . It is sad our society tends to downplay the importance of men not only as providers , but also as care-takers ( fathers, husbands, sons etc.) While women had their emancipation , and jumped to the job market, leaving stoves and husbands behind, men got stuck with a double load. It might just be my opinion, but i truly believe that a lot of pressure is being put on the men of the 21st century. Your post is inspirational and motivational and gives men that extra thumbs up.Hang in there guys :)

  • http://phone-lookup-spy.com/210/ Nicole

    Great post. Indeed men are facing a new age crisis of their own . It is sad our society tends to downplay the importance of men not only as providers , but also as care-takers ( fathers, husbands, sons etc.) While women had their emancipation , and jumped to the job market, leaving stoves and husbands behind, men got stuck with a double load. It might just be my opinion, but i truly believe that a lot of pressure is being put on the men of the 21st century. Your post is inspirational and motivational and gives men that extra thumbs up.Hang in there guys :)

  • http://phone-lookup-spy.com/210/ Nicole

    Great post. Indeed men are facing a new age crisis of their own . It is sad our society tends to downplay the importance of men not only as providers , but also as care-takers ( fathers, husbands, sons etc.) While women had their emancipation , and jumped to the job market, leaving stoves and husbands behind, men got stuck with a double load. It might just be my opinion, but i truly believe that a lot of pressure is being put on the men of the 21st century. Your post is inspirational and motivational and gives men that extra thumbs up.Hang in there guys :)

  • http://phone-lookup-spy.com/210/ Nicole

    Great post. Indeed men are facing a new age crisis of their own . It is sad our society tends to downplay the importance of men not only as providers , but also as care-takers ( fathers, husbands, sons etc.) While women had their emancipation , and jumped to the job market, leaving stoves and husbands behind, men got stuck with a double load. It might just be my opinion, but i truly believe that a lot of pressure is being put on the men of the 21st century. Your post is inspirational and motivational and gives men that extra thumbs up.Hang in there guys :)

  • http://phone-lookup-spy.com/210/ Nicole

    Great post. Indeed men are facing a new age crisis of their own . It is sad our society tends to downplay the importance of men not only as providers , but also as care-takers ( fathers, husbands, sons etc.) While women had their emancipation , and jumped to the job market, leaving stoves and husbands behind, men got stuck with a double load. It might just be my opinion, but i truly believe that a lot of pressure is being put on the men of the 21st century. Your post is inspirational and motivational and gives men that extra thumbs up.Hang in there guys :)

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  • madhusudhan

    Dear sir, this is madhusudhan from india having a dream to be an entrepreneur in BPO industry. Could you please tell me what steps i should take to go ahead of this dream?

  • http://www.zerovib.com/ Robin Buckley

    I read something once, “I dream life was nothing but joy, then I woke up and found that there was work to do, so I found joy in the work”

  • http://twitter.com/PassionParent Christine Hiebel

    i love this post, only… I think the idea that you must work HARD is from my parents generation. It is the value that I was raised with. The older I get, the more I realize that when I relax, allow, move with ease and a sense of humor… the easier and faster my company grows.

    I suggest people look to what is fun, exciting, really juices them up and then pursue it! Then the “work” becomes not work, but something you enjoy.

    For example, I was looking for something so I could stay at home with my now four year old daughter. She LOVES bounce houses….I see they are getting really popular. I now have an internet site where we sell them (she loves them all). And we are starting to work with parents (I call them the parentprenuers!) to start their own bounce house rental business. For $6K, they can have a part time business (mostly weekends and evenings) that can quickly grow into a fulltime, stay-at-home-with-the-kids business. It is all inclusive, simple, fun and something the kids can participate in.

    My husband and I work together (I LOVE that one of your points was to love your wife!!! That is so key to have a happy marriage). And my daughter LOVES to go with us to set up the inflatables… (she gets to jump on them for a bit).

    I love my business, I love my family and I love the life we live!

    Christine Hiebel
    Christine@passionparent.com
    http://www.zerovib.com

  • http://www.instigatorblog.com Benjamin Yoskovitz

    Christine – thank you so much for the comment. And congrats on the business success.

    I understand your point that “work hard” is something our parents' generation pushed and promoted. And work should be fun. It's a good point to add to the equation. But it's still hard work, whether you enjoy it or not.

  • inflatables

    manufacturers of inflatable bouncers, jumpers, moonwlks, water slides, bounce houses, inflatables,

  • http://www.doylesroom.com/ Poker

    great post !

    it shows the beautiful way of balancing the work and life by simply setting priorities for family and work.

  • http://www.doylesroom.com/ Poker

    great post !

    it shows the beautiful way of balancing the work and life by simply setting priorities for family and work.

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Ben Yoskovitz
I'm VP Product at Codified (makers of VarageSale).

I'm also a Founding Partner at Year One Labs, an early stage accelerator in Montreal. Previously I founded Standout Jobs (and sold it).

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