A client of mine recently sent me this tweet regarding the time one must devote to his/her new entrepreneurial lifestyle. I’m not saying she’s entirely wrong, I just disagree.
Let’s break this down. It’s always about prioritizing. When my wife and I volunteer for things such as the school PTA or at church we often here other’s say ‘I wish I had the time to volunteer.’ Which is great. Thank you for letting me know your wishes, I wish I could be a baseball play by play man, actually, starting 2nd baseman for the Pirates would be something I wish I could be as well. (I think anyone can truly be anything they want to be, with the exception of professional athletes. There are literal physical limitations)
The truth of the matter is how we prioritize our efforts determine what we do and do not do. If being at a few events the PTA puts on every school year is truly important, there would be a way to find the time. Not to be at everything, but time would be found. When starting an entrepreneurial adventure you must be aware of what you’ll be putting into the game. If you want success overnight, yes, you’ll have to sacrifice time with friends, time with family, and sleep. BUT that is because you want it immediately. Those are time constraints. You put those constraints on yourself.
REAL EXPECTATIONS, especially regarding time, should be your first research. If you want to start a beach body business, expecting to have a loyal and enthusiastic network of clients over night is unrealistic. Of the multiple friends I see doing Beach Body, the ones who are the most successful and most happy took their time to start this business, had low expectations out the gate, and grew a loyal network over weeks and months, most took years. BUT if you ask them, none would say, ‘I wish I were where I am now when I started.’ For them, its the journey, growing at a pace that works for them. You won’t believe what little you know now vs. what you’ll learn as you grow.
There is never a perfect scenario to start something like a business. I would liken starting a company to having a baby. The similarities are ridiculous.
When you get married the first baby questions start. I’ve been to over 1100 weddings (It’s what I do) and I can tell you that within the toasts to the Bride and Groom at least 60% include some kind of reference to when the couple will be welcoming a child.
When you set out with a skill or trade that may or may not lend itself to starting your own personal operation the questions immediately being. ‘When will you open your own salon?’ ‘Have you looked into starting your own yoga facility?’ ‘You just bought a camera, what’s your company going to be called?’
With babies and businesses there is always pressure from those who will have very little to do with helping to make either work. But everyone wants you to do it. The fact of the matter is this, there is never going to be a perfect time to start something, so waiting until you have every duck in a row does not work. If you have the passion and you want it, do it sooner rather than later- If you wait, you’ll regret it. OR wait until YOU are ready! In the end you’ll be the one up late at night with the business or the baby, so you should always do what you are comfortable with.
BE CAREFUL WHO YOU TELL WHAT YOU’RE PLANNING Like trying to get pregnant and trying to organize yourself into starting your business, it’s likely best to keep the beginning to yourself. Not the grand opening of your business, that should be broadcast. I’m referring to getting your thoughts in order. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen great ideas fall by the waste side because of announcing plans too early. Sometimes the excitement you feel about your new project can be diluted by telling too many people before anything actually starts. Even with the shared excitement, wind does leave the sails. Only tell those who can actually do things to help you, not just pat you on the back and say ‘I can’t wait to see what you come up with.’ Wait until you’ve got actual things in motion.
IGNORE THE NEGATIVE ADVICE. The above tweet is what typically follows the telling of friends and family about your new business idea. “BUT WHAT ABOUT YOUR FAMILY?” or ‘I guess you won’t be sleeping much!’
SLEEP IS ENTIRELY OVERRATED. Note the time she wrote the above tweet! Entrepreneurs love late nights because its the freest time to work! Especially on a new passion project. 10p-2a is the entrepreneurial happy hour. Creativity flows when there are no distractions. THIS IS NOT AN EVERYDAY THING. Late nights are based on urgent need and inspiration, not a common practice. If it is, then you need to review your daylight productivity. Its about prioritizing. If you NEED 2 hour lunches everyday to maintain friends, thats fine I guess, but you’ll need more late nights to cover that. I’m a big sports fan and when I attend a playoff game or stay up late to watch a game, no matter how little sleep I’ll get, its worth it to me. I prioritize the experience of going to the game or staying up late watching over the extra bit of sleep I could get. And if my team won a late game I still wake up with a smile.
STAYING FIT SHOULD GO HAND IN HAND WITH BEING AN ENTREPRENEUR. I don’t love that she says ‘staying fit’ is a challenge for entrepreneurs. I can honestly say that the 90 minutes I spend at the gym is my second most productive time. This tweet may have been pre-podcast, but if you spend your time running or power walking or biking listening to the latest ariana grande album and not listening to podcasts that help your business-self then I suggest trying that now. When you exercise your mind is more open to information, to learning. This is the IDEAL time to be expanding your sales, marketing, productivity via self education with podcasts, books, etc.
YOUR FAMILY WILL UNDERSTAND AS LONG AS YOU ARE FAIR WITH THEM. No one benefits more from your success than your family. This is a FACT. They’ll have no problem never seeing you because of the benefit coming their way. This is FICTION.
Your toughest prioritizing will be how you handle your family. Use their smiles, laughs, and heartwarming moments to your advantage. I know that during my hardest working times I let my mind drift to memories or expectations of our family vacations. It keeps me going. Its what inspires me. Schedule many trips, as many as you can afford. Even if its camping for a night. You should be working to get back to your family as much as possible. Use them as motivation, not deterrent.
I understand Randi’s tweet, but don’t let what she tweeted and turned into a book be a deterrent. Entrepreneurs can have it all. Just takes some prioritizing and planning.