The Secret To Running A Successful Business While Raising A Family

Being an entrepreneur is incredibly rewarding. It also requires a lot of time and energy. If you are building and shaping a business while raising kids, you may feel like you don’t have enough time to do both well. But as many entrepreneurial parents have realized, it is possible. The key is learning to prioritize and organize your time so you can find balance between the two endeavors and succeed at both.

Patrick Cummings, author of The Family–Business Balancing Act, knows how. He left a lucrative corporate job to start a business from scratch because he suspected that becoming an entrepreneur would mean a better relationship with his wife of 32 years and young children while simultaneously creating a great life for them. Now as a wealth advisor, he has over $500 million in assets under management. “Running a successful business while enjoying a happy family life isn’t impossible,” Cummings said, “as long as you take steps to stay present and attentive in both your work and home life.”

Achieving balance starts with creating space for the people who are most important to you. Once you organize your business in a way that gives you the freedom to do that, you will have the time and energy to give both your work and home life the attention they deserve.

You are not your business

“The first step to creating space so you can spend more time with your family is to set your business up so you can take time away from work responsibilities,” explained Cummings. This doesn’t mean your company has to suffer. It does mean that you need to relinquish some control. You should run your business, not the other way around. Ideally, you’re not the bottleneck to every task and decision.

If your business is in the early stages, be patient with yourself. If you are focused on getting your business up and running, you may not yet have the revenue to hire more staff to take over some of the responsibilities. In that situation, often the only option is to put in the time to generate the revenue yourself.

Cummings advises that you make modest changes in your schedule. “Plan your schedule so you can get home for dinner a few nights a week, or carve out time to go to one of your kid’s games or recitals a few times per month,” Cummings explained. “Make them non-negotiable by adding them to your diary, and don’t book anything before them that could run over.”

Once you are through the early startup phase, you may find opening up your schedule requires sacrificing some control (by hiring or outsourcing), but it is worth it. Once you’ve accepted that you need to remove yourself from the center of your business, you can make that change a reality by finding the right people to take on extra responsibility.

Build a team that can work without you

“Start by identifying your weakest areas and hire people who are good at (and enjoy) those tasks,” advised Cummings. Focus on making the biggest possible impact in the areas where you excel, and delegate the rest.

“Once you’ve recruited and trained people who add new strengths to the team, you can move on to hiring others to reinforce your strengths,” Cummings said. “A racecar driver may also excel at changing tires, but if he changes his own wheels at every pit stop, he’s certainly not going to win any races.”

You may prove excellent at any number of tasks, but a well-run organization requires others to take on most of the responsibility. That leaves you free to concentrate on the big picture items that move the company forward. It also gives you more freedom to step away from the day-to-day, so you have more time to spend with the people who are most important to you.

“Your job is to win that race and then get home to your family,” Cummings explained. To do that, you need a team that can handle everything so you create success at home and in the office.

Create a culture of independence

Hiring a team can free your resources to take a day off or focus on other tasks, but a team, even a great one, doesn’t necessarily free you to be away from work. To do that, you have to foster a culture of independence. This culture is crucial to avoid being pulled away from personal time to deal with issues that arise at work.

Fostering a culture of independence is a process that starts with training your team members to take on overlapping responsibilities. “These overlapping responsibilities should include everyone’s tasks,” explained Cummings, because he believes each person in the office should be able to expand their duties to cover for others when needed.

“This is how you create the space to step away,” Cummings said. “There may not be one individual person who can do all that you do or make all the decisions you make, but the team as a whole should be able to handle everything except emergencies when you’re out of the office.”

Remember to allow for growing pains as things transition. Eventually, everyone will grow comfortable with the new expectations and the new freedoms, and you will have a true culture of independence.

Ensure your business and your family thrive

Cummings believes that structuring your business this way creates the initial balance necessary to be present and attentive to every area of ​​your life. Ongoing success, however, requires intentional focus.

“Be present with your kids, not checking emails,” Cummings said. “Pay attention to your partner rather than working through a business problem in your head. Truly letting go is more than hiring and delegating; it’s about switching your brain to family mode and making sure it stays there.” Flutting between work and home versions of you will serve neither.

Remember, you are not your business. Give yourself permission to relinquish control over every decision and task. Build a team that can work without you and create a culture of independence. Once you do, you will have plenty of time for your personal life, while ensuring your business thrives.

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