Looking for blogs and real life stories about entrepreneurs with a family


3

I really need to read and learn about startup entrepreneurs that have a family, and are managing to take the big risk and do this crazy thing called "start-up". As I see it from my point of view ( 2 kids and wife + mortgage) it's an impossible task.

Thanks for sharing!

Solo Entrepreneur Entrepreneurs Family

asked Aug 2 '10 at 15:46
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Meir
238 points

9 Answers


3

My father started his ventures after he "retired". Even with 3 kids (we were only teens then), he kick some major butt. Before he died, I asked him how he managed to pull off the things he did. His advice was: "it is amazing what you can do, if you have built a safety net and don't give a s**t about falling". Wise man. For majority of his career before his "retirement" he always had side projects.

One of my former CEOs had 4 kids. During his younger years he saved up some money, bought couple of rental properties. When he started his venture with a co-founder (let me remind you, he had 4 kids), I think his success was partly due to that rental property income and the fact his wife took a part time job to make sure he could just swing for the fences. For the last 4 years company has been pulling in $15MM plus.

Most entrepreneurs with 2+ kids and wives who still talk to them I know have side income to take care of what is at home, their wives work at least part time, and they are not engaging in any BS startups. They are doing real businesses that create real revenue from day one. No building anything before there is $1 from a customer.

answered Aug 3 '10 at 13:56
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Apollo Sinkevicius
3,323 points
  • Great stories! They really illustrate how if you can give yourself a safety net, you can take risks that you otherwise wouldn't - financially and psychologically. Thanks for sharing them – Susan Jones 9 years ago

2

Don't do it without having another income stream. We tried it and it wasn't good for us.

answered Aug 2 '10 at 21:14
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Susan Jones
4,128 points

2

I started a venture with a one year old child and a wife while keeping my full time job.

It is quite a challenge. It is certainly a strain on personal life, day job and the family relationships. My eating habits are horrible and I gained too much weight.

I still have not made the jump to be full time on my venture.

You need to talk to your family about this and be realistic about what it is like. It is certainly possible, but you have to keep your priorities and also manage the expectations.

Good luck.

See also this post.

answered Aug 3 '10 at 06:37
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Tim J
8,346 points
  • great link you gave – Meir 9 years ago

1

Check out Meg Cadoux Hirshberg's articles. She is a regular contributor to Inc. Magazine. Her articles, Balancing Acts, are about the impact of entrepreneurial businesses on families.

Here is a link to her articles.

answered Aug 2 '10 at 23:14
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Zuly Gonzalez
9,194 points
  • Great articles. Thanks for posting! – Susan Jones 9 years ago
  • I think I'm immediately going to go hug and thank my wife for being there for me and to alleviate most of these pressures allowing me to focus on what I do... – Xs Direct 9 years ago

1

Mixergy.com is great for entrepreneurial stories

answered Nov 11 '10 at 21:29
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Rob
151 points

1

It is do-able. I started my first company when I found out my husband and I were divorcing. I had been a stay-at-home mom for some time before that, so it was quite the challenge: re-entering the work force, moving cross-country, adjusting to single motherhood, and accommodating my son's special needs, all while starting a business.

I should probably blog about this some day, but I haven't yet. In the mean time, a few of the most important lessons I've learned:

  • If you want to work at home with small children, you must take the time to help them understand what you are doing, why you are doing it, and what is expected of them. Then, find ways to involve your children in what you do. It can be as simple as putting a desk/table in your work space where the kids can do their work (coloring for preschoolers, homework for older kids), letting a little one fall asleep in a sleeping bag in the office once in a while when they miss you, or setting up your laptop in the living room once a week for a family movie night with pizza while you do a paperwork/email/coding marathon. We even had a three-segment wheel on the wall for when Mommy is in "work mode" "play mode" and "mommytasking" (a term we used for when I'm juggling multiple things, like chatting with coworkers on IRC, the laptop propped up on the counter near where I make dinner, or work/movie night, etc).

    Believe it or not, once these things become part of your routine, they aren't distractions. Your business is just an accepted part of their lives. My 7yo just spoke at a local technical conference a couple of weeks ago, having built his own web site on the technology I use!

  • Kids need some time with you in which they can depend on having your full attention. Unless servers are melting and people are bleeding, no one bothers me while I walk my son to and from school each day, or during our twice-weekly classes at the local karate dojo. When someone tries to call me during these times, they get a message explaining when I will be available again, and giving them the choice to be sent to voicemail, or to agree to an exorbitant fee to contact me directly during Do-Not-Disturb hours. They almost always leave voice mail, and when they don't, I walk away with a few hundred extra dollars which get used for some sort of family adventure the next weekend. It's only 320 minutes per week, (never in a block longer than 50 minutes) that I am on DND mode, but it makes all the difference to me and my son.
  • Have multiple revenue streams. I'm thinking of joining another start-up, but even after I stop accepting new clients under my current consulting business, I will have residual income from hosting and maintenance contracts to supplement whatever I make through my start-up. I can't cover all of my household bills out of that money, but it's a little bit of a cushion should things go awry.
  • Really talk to your wife about what she wants, for herself and for you and for your kids. Going from a more predictable type employment to founding a start-up means a massive lifestyle change for the entire family.
  • Make sure everyone's had check-ups, the kids' vaccinations are up to date, etc. before you give up your health insurance. If you use birth control, your wife might want to consider switching to a non-hormonal (copper) IUD. She could get it done while you still have insurance, and it will normally last at least 10 years. Much better than expensive regular pills and shots!
  • If you have a monthly mortgage payment, check your papers to see if you have any fees for making multiple payments per month. Paying half twice a month instead of the whole thing once a month saves you a tiny bit of interest that can add up over the years.
  • Refinance anything you need to refinance, or if you need a car loan or something get it now while you have long-term employment instead of new startup to put on the application. (I am not suggesting that this is the time to go into debt, only that if you can refinance something existing to a lower rate, or if you must get a necessity like a second or more reliable vehicle, now is the time.) Similarly, if you can trade in a luxury vehicle on a more practical car, do it. A $200 lower payment can be a godsend when you are working on a startup.
  • Do everything you can to cut costs around home. Bread is $2 a loaf, but 5 minute bread is even better (because it's fresh) and costs pennies per loaf. Soft Scrub is about $4 a can but a huge box of baking soda (which works better and doesn't smell as bad) is less than 50 cents (and regularly on sale for about 30 cents). Stop eating out, period. Ditch the cable or satellite TV, get Netflix or watch less TV. All these little belt-tightening things and more can drastically reduce the amount of income your family needs to get by until your new venture takes off.

I hope that helps -- I'll keep my eye out in case you post any more questions on the subject. :)

--Susan

answered Nov 6 '10 at 07:00
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Hedge Mage
1,438 points

0

Been in that boat. Wait, I'm still in it.

Basically, as Susan said, you need another income stream. In my case, that stream is consulting, which pays quite well by the hour, so I don't need to work 40 hours a week on that to have a level of income I'm comfortable (plus getting that many hours can be quite hard at first, at least in my field). The rest of the time I work on my idea, and as it increases in its ability to pay my bills, I decrease my consulting accordingly.

There's a website devoted to consulting, and many of the consultants on the site are spending portions of their day working on their pet ideas - Advice Tap. If you're going to start consulting, you may want to check it out for support, ideas, and answers to questions particular to the consulting industry. (I am not affiliated with the site, but I do use it.)

answered Aug 2 '10 at 23:47
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Elie
4,692 points

0

It is challenging, but pressure is a good way to push yourself outside your boundaries and grow. I would recommend that you have a couple of years worth of savings before you start out. Even with that, it will stil be stressful.

answered Aug 4 '10 at 10:31
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User3776
172 points

0

nice stuff...I agree with all of it...safety net definitely helps a great deal to alleviate day to day pressures of normalizing your home life. Certainly enough stress trying to launch a business without additional pressures of "life" coming into play.

answered Nov 6 '10 at 05:19
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Xs Direct
275 points

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