Are You In?

When starting a new business, most business owners realize that it’s going to be a long and arduous journey. It means long hours and dedication. Budgets must be tightened and luxuries foregone. Entrepreneurs know they are going to have to dedicate themselves to their business.

However, business owners often don’t realize the effect that starting a business will have on their own families. They don’t think about the impact that it will have on the lives of their spouse and kids.

Before you embark on a new business venture, it is important to have the support of your family. You will need their love and support as you begin to work hard. They need to understand what the next few months, years, etc. will entail. They need to be ready to start the journey with you.

The May 2009 issue of Entrepreneur Magazine raised this issue in its article “Balancing Marriage and Business.” Written by the spouse of an entrepreneur, this article discusses how starting a business is hard, especially while juggling family life. Meg Cadoux Hirshberg, wife of Stonyfield Farm yogurt company entrepreneur Gary, details the daily stresses of life with an entrepreneur. Most importantly, she talks about truly being “in” – buying into the entrepreneur’s dream. Although she acted “in,” she realized that she really wasn’t. She went along for many years, outwardly showing a semblance of being “in.” However, she was forced to confront the ultimate decision of being “in,” when asked to give the business the money her father had left her.

When I was young, my father was a tax attorney in a two-person law firm. He worked long hours, especially around tax season. During those times, my mother carried the burden of caring for three toddlers, while we saw little of my father. Recently, my mother informed me that my memories of celebrating my father’s birthday as a child were not actually celebrations on his actual birthday. My father’s birthday is March 27 – just a few weeks before Tax Day. When he surfaced from his work mid-May, my mother would declare a random weekend to be dad’s birthday, her three young children none-the-wiser.

Although this particular example is hardly a great sacrifice by my parents, it is a great way in which my mother adjusted life to fit around my father’s business dreams. My point here is that my father could not have handled a family and a growing business simultaneously by himself. He relied on my mother to be “in” – to buy into his business dreams and goals. As the years have passed, his business grew and stabilized, allowing him to spend more time with us and juggle his business.

The first step of creating a successful business is dreaming. But a well thought-out plan, motivation, and commitment are the necessary steps to turn that dream into a reality. As you begin your business, ask yourself, “Am I in?” Then, ask yourself whether your family is also in as well. You will need their help. Good luck on your journey towards success!

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