The Young Entrepreneur Council asked 12 successful young entrepreneurs about how to better balance the demands of growing children and a growing business. Here are their best answers.
1. Schedule, Schedule, Schedule
As an entrepreneur who is also a mom to a 19-month-old, I understand balancing work and kids while running a business. The key is to schedule out as much as you can but maintain some flexibility. I have a set workday, but I also know that if I wake up and my daughter is sick, it's going to mean shifting things around. Most days, though, I work my full day and then leave to be with her 100%.
--Erin Blaskie, BSETC
2. Prioritizing Your Life
While your job is important, so is your family. As a father with a 4- and 2-year-old, kids know when you don't spend time with them. You need to make your schedule so that you have family time. If you travel for three days, make sure the day after can be spent working from home or you get home early. Or turn your trip into a family vacation. Your family's support will make your work better.
--Aron Schoenfeld, Do It in Person
3. Enjoy Each Moment
When you're juggling 1,001 things with kids, start-ups, and daily life, it is so easy to rush from one thing to the next without ever really being there in each moment. Whether you're working on your start-up or playing with your kids, instead of always thinking about what's next or what you've not done yet, invest in and enjoy every single moment. You'll never get it back.
--Lea Woodward, Startup Training School
4. Hire for Home and Work
Your home team will ideally include a supportive spouse who also has a somewhat flexible job, as well as a trusted caregiver who is on the same page regarding how your children are to be raised. It also helps to have some local family members available to pitch in. I actually feel that kids learn a lot about time management and life balance from start-up parents.
--Alexandra Levit, Inspiration at Work
5. Date Your Kids!
I have two short dates per day with my infant daughter, Ella. Around 6 a.m., I take her out of bed and change her diaper. Then we read a book and dance together during one song before my wife, Annie, takes over. In the evenings, I make a point of getting home in time to cuddle and interact with Ella before humming her to sleep. I guard these dates on my calendar like important business meetings.
--Kevon Saber, Stealth
6. Just Do It!
As a father of three kids under 3, as well as running a busy start-up, I'm asked all the time, "How do you do it?" I always joke: "Well, I choose one of the three to love each day, which makes it much easier." The fact is, to take the plunge of launching a new business, you need to have the chops to get up at 5 a.m. with a crying baby, help clean up after dinner, and still find a way to hustle at work.
--Joe Cassara, You Need My Guy
7. Compartmentalize Everything
We spend hordes of time trying to balance work and life when sometimes, learning to compartmentalize the two is the better method. Leaving work at work and leaving family at home may prove to be the best way to stay 100% focused on each.
--Carmen Benitez, Fetch Plus
8. Use Your Time Wisely
When you have a kid, you quickly realize how much time you were wasting before you had a kid. I find that allocating time and using it wisely makes a huge difference. I try to get a lot done during naps and while my little guy is in bed at night.
--Tim Jahn, Entrepreneurs Unpluggd
9. Focus on the Task at Hand
Balance or focus? Focus on what you're doing at the moment; if you're working, work your butt off until you're done so you can go home feeling accomplished. When you're at home, focus on your kids. There is no such thing as giving equal time; it wouldn't make any sense. Put 100% of your focus on one thing, and it will be better in the end.
--Jordan Guernsey, Molding Box
10. Incorporate Your Life Into Business
I introduce different projects that incorporate what I'm doing in my life at the time. Currently, my kids are 7 and 5, and we've actually created a series of trips for entrepreneurial families in order for the kids to learn about business and engage in these conversations.
--Yanik Silver, Maverick1000.com
11. Get Rid of the Excuses
Don't try to justify spending more time at work by saying it can provide a better future for your kids. Personal time with your kids is a very limited resource, and you can never get it back. Put down the iPhone and focus on your kids when you're with them.
--Brant Bukowsky, Veterans United Home Loans
12. Honor Rituals and Commitments
Children thrive on routine, so develop and honor certain rituals like family dinner, bedtime, or movie night. Make sure that no matter what's going on, they can depend on you to be there during those key times. Also, make and keep your commitments to your kids. This shows them that they can trust you and that they are a priority.
--Elizabeth Saunders, Real Life E