How to balance a startup, family and a full time job

As some of you may know, we just launched the alpha version of our product – EndorseYou

People have written that startup and family life do not mix but no one offers real advice for people that want to try.

It’s been a crazy ride so far to say the least. But after having spent some time on this, I have a fair idea of what needs to be done to balance the three. So here goes …

Here are some things I follow that will help you as well. Make sure you read each of these carefully.

Decide on when you will spend time on each of the three and do that meticulously day in and day out. In my case, I know that my job takes away the weekday working hours of my life. So what’s left is evenings and weekends. I have each day planned out in terms of how much time I spend with my family and how I will allocate time to the startup.

Know that you cannot do the startup alone. Either you need partners or you need to hire employees. In my case I have a team of 4 excellent and hardworking people working for my company in India. And the team is going to grow so these people will soon become leaders which will hopefully keep them motivated.

Know your limitations and plan for those in advance. I think I am a great developer myself. But I know given my schedule, I cannot spend time developing the whole thing myself. So I spend more time on the product and my team works on the development and I just review code. That frees up my time a lot to look at the big picture, define the product spec and the long term goal for the product.

Communicate, communicate, and communicate again. Communicate with your family. There will be times that you will need to spend more time on your startup. Make sure you let your family know so they are not surprised that you cannot make it to the ski trip you had planned with the family. Communicate with your partners and employees so they know what to expect and have adequate direction. Over-communicate, and then over-communicate again.

Control your emotions. If something went wrong with your startup the previous night, don’t let that affect you at work the next day. Leave that behind. If you had a fight with your boss, don’t take that out on someone else. Especially for startups, you’ll see that you have an emotional high one day when you did your product release and the very next hour you’re thinking what’s next. Learn to easily jump from one tone to another – learn to control your emotions.

Help your family see the big picture. Explain why your startup is so important to you. More importantly, explain why this is so important to your family in the long run. Explain how you will have more time for them later when this succeeds. Garner their support because without that your success is not possible.

Re-assess from time to time. Don’t just keep going on. Set some time aside to re-assess how you are doing, for your startup, for your family and for work. It doesn’t matter if this is when you are taking a shower or waiting for a hair-cut. And write down what you need to improve on and act on it immediately.

Understand your work limitations. It would be physically too taxing for you to work hard at your startup and push that extra bit at your job. Know that one of them will have to take a little bit of a back seat. It does not always have to one or the other, be creative. Sometimes it’s a bit longer at work, sometimes you have to make sure you leave work at work and not bring it home so you can spend time on your startup.

Don’t procrastinate. – Now this is standard advice but in this case, you just cannot. You have to act on it and you have to act on it right away. Whether it be solving that important bug in your startup, or dealing with a work emergency or making sure you go plan well to that important family event. If you have procrastination issues, fix those first before you decide to jump in.

Make a commitment. In the end, you have to really want to do this and be committed to take it all the way. You should not have any doubt in your mind. If you are stern, your brain will find a way to be creative and work out of difficult unplanned situations. But if you are not committed, this will not last too long and you will falter somewhere (and most likely you will falter every where – in your work, your family life and your startup).

It’s not the end of the world – have fun. There will be days when things will go wrong at work, at your startup and you will have a fight with your spouse. But the next day, get over it. Fix it and move on. If there are problems, have fun in solving them. You chose this life for yourself – remember? It’s not the destination, it’s the ride. It will teach you a lot about yourself on the way and don’t forget to cherish the failures as much as the success.

Good luck – and if I can help you with any specific answers, feel free to contact me. I am still answering customer service emails for EndorseYou so you can find the email address on our contact page.


7 comments so far

  1. j on

    Great article, knowing that I’m not the only one crazy enough to do this is reassuring.

    BTW, you have an error on :

    Warning: mysqli_connect() . . .

  2. Gregory on

    Communicate, control (emotions), commitment – yea you nailed it. Thanks for the read.

  3. Rick on

    Ditto to J.

    I am in the same situation and, while it is probably more difficult than if I were single, having a family keeps me focused on my tasks so that I am actually making progress on my startup.

    My family is also my incentive to do the startup. I don’t think I had the maturity, experience, or initiative needed to start my business when I was 20 — or even 30. It took being in my present situation to give me the reason I needed.

    When someone tells you that something can’t be done, it’s because they haven’t yet figured out how to do it.

    I would also look at the people saying that it can’t be done … if they’re other entrepreneurs, I believe they are trying to reduce the competition in an already crowded marketplace.

  4. Eddie Mac on

    This is a completely lame article. Are you kidding me?

  5. aj batac on

    Awesome advice! :) I’m guilty on some of those and I need to shape up. ;)

  6. brweb on

    Its really hard to manage between working full time and with your family. So I tried internet marketing and it works for me. Its never been a lame! Check at my page how i made it.

  7. Aaron H. on

    Wow, great article. Thanks for the encouragement and advice. You have some great points.

    I heartily agree with your advice about segmenting your time for family and work. Both work and family have a creeping effect when it comes to your time. Put them both in their place and keep them there. Sometimes you need to sacrifice one over the other as the need arises, but generally it is possible to compartmentalize these portions of the life you have chosen.

    I’m only 24, but I have enjoyed the ride I have had so far (going on a 4 years being full time at this). I agree with Rick, perhaps I won’t hit a home run this time around, but I never want to work for someone else, and there are ALWAYS new ideas to try. The world is constantly changing, there is always room for a new idea realized.

    I can’t express enough how much this experience has taught me. I have learned not only through my mistakes, but have learned to expect and accept mistakes as a regular part of business. Ultimately your success is not based on how many things you do right, but how you deal with things when they go wrong, because they will, they will go REALLY wrong sometimes.

    Much <3

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