Entrepreneurship · Entrepreneurs

Is it almost impossible to have a healthy family life for an ambitious entrepreneur?

Saurabh Saha Co Founder at Talent Pegs

April 30th, 2015

I don't have a great family life except for occasional chit chats with mom,dad and my sister. Most of the women I meet wish to settle with me soon as possible as they can't quite comprehend what life of a struggling entrepreneur is. They want me to leave whatever I am doing and take up jobs. But I guess I can't sacrifice my dreams for them so I have parted ways with many. So I am still lonely devoid of a family life and hence I keep myself immersed in work to ignore that personal familial aspect of my life which is nothing but empty space.I can't control the entry of someone in my life but I can for sure control my career by being focused on my entrepreneurial dreams. Works out fine except when you occasionally go to facebook and see your classmates posting snaps of their wife and kids and a part of me craves to have a family.  In retrospect I haven't met women who respect entrepreneurs and their profession and see a potential future with them. We are essentially perceived as outliers and society does not have a soft corner for such outcasts :) Any words of wisdom would be welcome.

Lane Campbell I baked a unicorn cake once.

April 30th, 2015

I've been an entrepreneur my whole career.  While broke and bootstrapping my first company I met a girl who helped me count quarters I had tucked away to afford a frozen pizza for our date.  That was over five years ago.  We are now engaged and share a love for each other that is more precious than I could possibly articulate in writing.

Don't stop looking for a life partner who understands your ambitions and wants to be there for the ride.  You can find it.

Alex Eckelberry CEO at Meros.io

April 30th, 2015

I have run several successful companies and always maintained a balance. I have a wife and four children. I made time for them, and in fact, my only regrets ever were not spending enough time with them. Of course, there are times when you have to really bear down on work, but you can create the balance.

If you can't make the time, you're not managing your time correctly. Who said you have to work 100 hour weeks to be a successful entrepreneur?  That's bullshit. You create the time to have family time. 

If you don't create the balance, it will bite you in the ass.

Julien Fruchier Founder at Republic of Change

April 30th, 2015

It's 3:20 for me and I'm launching a big project tomorrow morning that my team and I are running behind on so I'm catching up. Who in the world would understand this? After many relationships, the one thing that I've found to be true for me is that the women who get me best are those who grew up watching their father working as I do - women with entrepreneur fathers. Looking back, it's undeniable to draw that very clear line.

As for your FOMO when you look around at your friends and acquaintances, I feel you on that too but don't forget the grass is always greener on the other side. Fast forward a decade and a lot of the situations you envy today will be broken marriages or dissatisfied ones at best. Nothing is perfect. Worry about your own path. I find that when you follow what you love (work-wise), what you need shows up at the right moment. Note that "the right moment" is not always "when you want it."

One last word of advice. It's always much easier to meet your partner when you're on top but it's much better to meet them when you're at the bottom. This is not a set rule but if you think about it, it's not difficult to fall in love with a comfortable lifestyle. When you have nothing financially to offer and they love you anyway, there's a much better chance it's true love. In a world of 50% divorce rates, this is something to consider. 

Donald Maycott

April 30th, 2015

You must have a balance between family, partner and work. You must learn how to turn off the work clock and have you time. Your family/partner should be number 1 and work is just that work and will always be their. My suggestion would be do what makes you happy but you must have time with family and your partner. It's very lonely if you don't have someone in your life.  

Tran Tieu Omnichannel Strategy & Innovation at Brighton Collectibles

April 30th, 2015

Saurabh,  "great family life" and "having it all" is a mythical idealization of what is socially considered "healthy". First advice is life is a journey with ups and downs- Accept It and Be Kind to YOURSELF and the choices you make on the amount of time you spend to nurture your professional growth and family relationships. Romantic relationships as a non-entrepreneur has its challenges too. The only parameters that matter is you being your authentic self in your own life story. A woman who accepts you as a whole is worthy of your time in the long haul. It’s okay if it’s a short haul too. Give yourself the time, space and emotional capacity to walk through it instead of kicking your own ego to the ground when it fails. Know that the only compass in life that matters is your own and every human encounter serves a purpose great or small. I bet your life story is a page turn. Keep being in the moment and be open to what pulls you forward in all engagements.           

Kevin Lentz

May 1st, 2015

Sounds like you've answered your own question and indicated your preference. Your current approach isn't 100% fulfilling. Continue on that path and you will continue to get the same results.

I have run my own business for 11 years, and am launching my second startup now.

Balance is difficult (really, really REALLY difficult), but my wife and kids trump work - always.  ALWAYS.  I refuse to find myself at the end of my days only to wish I had given less to work and more to family.

That doesn't mean that I stop working every day at 3pm when my son wants to throw the ball. But they know who/what I value more by the daily decisions I make.

Pretty common to hear/say, 'Hi Honey. I'm going to miss dinner tonight. Got a meeting at 6. Sorry'
But how often do you hear/say, 'Sorry. Can't make that 6pm meeting. I'm having dinner with my family.'

Do I want to be a 'successful' entrepreneur and 'Get Rich?' Hell yes.
Am I willing to damage the amazing relationships I have with my wife and kids to do it? Hell no.

Life is about people and relationships. That's it.

Jerry Mahabub Chairman of the Board and CEO at Astound Holdings, Inc.

April 30th, 2015

I hear ya Liz!!  I average about 2 to 4 hours of sleep per night, work 7 days a week for 11 years straight, have not had a vacation with my family in over 7 years, and here I still am in front of my computer day and night, non-stop, and it caused my divorce no doubt!  When you make the decision to become an "entrepreneur" you pretty much give up on anything and everything that brings you any kind of personal happiness with your family.  Your new family is your team, your company is your life, period.  You do not stop, ever, until its done.  You wish you could still be studying for finals in college.  Being an entrepreneur gives new meaning to an "all-nighter" its more like an "all-lifer"!  Of course, we are all after the same goal as entrepreneurs, but be careful, if you have shareholders, they can try and destroy you, they will do anything they can to take your thunder away if they are not happy with the pace of monetization typically due to sub-neanderthal mentalities, and everyone you come across can "do it better" than you can!  That is the biggest crock of BS.  Be a visionary, and if you can't handle the heat of what it means to be an entrepeneur and give up your entire life to your company, go work for someone else - you will be much happier!  If you can handle the heat of the kitchen, good luck and work like you have never worked before, and if you get lucky, you may never have to work again sometime in the future!  Last, no matter how good you are at enabling your Sr. Management team to make the right decisions and you try your hardest not to be a bit of a control freak, you will always find something for yourself to do, so scale cautiously and always take however much you think something will cost or how much time it will take, and multiply it by 10 at a minimum, not 3 or 4.  That is about it!

John Zamoiski Chief Opportunity Officer at ADLarge Media

April 30th, 2015

Finding balance is never easy for an entrepreneur. You worry that the next big idea is just around the corner and you want to be there to catch it or drive it. What you fail to see is that balance helps you become a more successful entrepreneur and a more complete person which makes you more attractive as both a business and life partner. Force yourself to make choices that may not always be in the best interest of the big idea or the big bucks at that moment and you will find that your overall happiness will project in ways you never imagined which will make you more attractive as a business person and as potential social partner.

Tyler Goelz

April 30th, 2015

I've had a similar experience and luckily had a stint with a girl that wasn't completely understanding of my lifestyle, which is an entrepreneur AND full-time traveler, but was at least supportive in the ways she could be. Though, we reached a point where she could no longer be supportive. As a human being, up-and-beyond being an entrepreneur, I've found it's easier to focus on oneself first. Find happiness and wholeness within yourself before trying to fill any voids with others. The emptiness you feel can not be filled with the presence of others, but instead with your own happiness and self worth. Once you've established this, found yourself, become complete, etc., then it is time to share YOUR happiness with significant others. Until then, you will simply be searching for others to define and fulfill your happiness which is always a slippery slope. -Tyler

Joshua Falcon-Grey Founder of The Quantum Theater

May 1st, 2015

Great question! I'd add that entrepreneurship can be a beautiful path if owned as a form of authentic self expression. Romantic relationships are our mirrors to help us grow, and to heal our childhood wounds so that we may express ourselves more authentically. If balanced properly, they can compliment each other well toward a more satisfying expience overall!