Most people will tell you that one of the biggest challenges in life is starting your own business. Others might argue that getting married and raising kids is the biggest feat of all. But for those of us who are raising a family and growing a business? We must be absolutely insane, right? I will admit that’s how I’ve felt more than once in the last 24 years of being in business. Growing a successful company and trying to be a good father, husband, and caretaker can seem like you’re carrying the world on your shoulders. Though it hasn’t been easy juggling both roles, I am still happily married to my wife (of 30 years) and we have three wonderful children and a dog. My company is continuously growing year over year and we were recently chosen as the 2019 recipient of the Canadian Business Excellence Awards for Private Businesses.
So, what’s the secret?
The secret to successfully running a business and raising a family is there is no one-size-fits-all. No two families are the same, just as no two businesses are run the same. I built my business and raised my family on advice from others and through my own trials and errors. Although there isn’t one magical secret that will make you a successful business owner and parent of the year, I would like to share some advice I’ve learned that will certainly help point you in the right direction.
Don’t be Afraid to Delegate
A friend of mine, Sophie Knowles, Founder of PDF Pro once told me “delegate both in business and family.” New business owners tend to want to control everything around them. It makes sense to be protective of both babies, your actual baby, and your “business baby”, but long term success can rarely be achieved as a one-person job. Don’t be afraid to delegate business and family tasks as needed to create a healthy balance between the two. It’s okay to hire a babysitter or let your partner babysit while you focus on an important task. At the same time, it’s alright to let someone else handle mundane day-to-day business tasks that don’t need your oversight. It can be hard to let go of even little bits of responsibility, but it will allow you to enjoy your family and your business that much more.
Your Family Is Your Motivation
I keep a picture of my family taped to the top of my computer screen at work. Anytime I get overwhelmed, stressed out, or feel like I’m ready to throw in the towel, that picture always catches my eye and suddenly I remember why I’m doing all of this. It’s a small detail but it has powerful meaning to me. When times get tough, it’s good to take a step back and focus on the bigger picture. It helps put things in perspective.
Be Flexible and Invest in Technology
Technology is your best friend. Automation in both your business and personal life can save you precious time with your family and keep you from getting burnt out. I am in the business of document management and the elimination of paper clutter in both my personal and private life has helped me stay organized and more efficient. One of my favorite personal tools is Evernote. The app allows me to organize my notes, tasks, and store files and documents as I go. My day to day is run on Google Calendar. From meetings to family events, if it’s on the calendar, I’m there. I love technology, and anytime I find myself struggling with something, I immediately wonder if there’s an app or solution to help me. Don’t be afraid to explore new technology, both for your business and personal life. If it saves you time, it’s worth the investment.
Get Started Early While Everyone is Sleeping
When my children were younger, trying to work while they were awake was nearly impossible. Adjusting my sleeping habits to a much later schedule was a challenge but I got used to it and found a balance that allowed me to still be productive and spend time with my family. Whether you’re a morning person or night owl, finding some quiet downtime while the rest of the family is sleeping is an opportunity to get work done.
Be Realistic and Cut Yourself Some Slack
There are only 24 hours in a day and sometimes it doesn’t feel like enough. You need to work, manage people, be a parent, spouse, and still find time to eat, sleep and take a deep breath. You have to remember, you are in control and not everything needs to be perfect. Your business will only grow as fast as you want it to. If it’s too fast or you’re too overwhelmed, hit the brakes a little. Your household may not be run perfectly either. Maybe it isn’t the tidiest or the laundry is starting to pile up and last night’s dinner was take-out. That’s ok. Be realistic about what you can achieve and cut yourself some slack on the rest of it.
Co-Authored with Sid Soil:
Sid Soil is the Founder & CEO of DOCUDavit Solutions. DOCUdavit is the leading provider for secure document imaging, EMR conversion, document/data management, and storage solutions for Canadian businesses and retiring lawyers and doctors. Since Docudavit’s inception in 1994, Sid and his teams have worked with over 600 medical practices, 200 law firms, multiple corporations, and 10 government departments. They were also recently the 2019 recipient of the Canadian Business Excellence Awards for Private Businesses.