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Can you be a parent and still be an entrepreneur?

You've been dreaming of this moment for a long time - getting your dream venture off the ground. But there‘s something holding you back, a nagging apprehension that being an entrepreneur will mean neglecting your family, considering the demands your work will invariably make.

November 26, 2012 / 01:55 PM IST

Gargi Banerjee


You’ve been dreaming of this moment for a long time – getting your dream venture off the ground. But there’s something holding you back, a nagging apprehension that being an entrepreneur will mean neglecting your family, considering the demands your work will invariably make.


A new business enterprise is like a baby and requires your attention 24x7, 365 days a year. Indeed, there will be time for little else, what with business development to take care of, trouble shooting, monitoring customer feedback, appeasing investors and, of course, managing your staff.


But does this mean entrepreneurship is meant only for single men and women or people who have grown-up children? Of course not! There are many parents around the world who are successful entrepreneurs despite having a spouse and young children. Sure, it’s no picnic but they wear two hats simultaneously and there’s no reason you can’t do the same.


Here are some tricks that these entrepreneurs use to keep it together.


Get Your Priorities Right
Being an entrepreneur while you’re kids are still young means taking some tough decisions. That’s why prioritising is crucial. From the smallest decision to the biggest, they will have to come from a list of priorities you will have to draw up. For instance, is it really important for you to pack your kids off to school with hot lunch boxes first thing in the morning? If the answer is ‘yes’, do it without a second thought. That means no breakfast meetings with prospective clients or your employees. You will probably not be there when they get back from school and will have to depend on grandmothers or nannies to take care of them when they get back from school. But that’s a call you have to take.


Draw Boundaries From The Very Start
An entrepreneur has to act with confidence. Do not over-commit and then under-deliver. If you want to set aside weekends for family, make this clear to your clients at the very beginning. Tell them politely but firmly that weekends are family time and you will be surprised how much they respect your boundaries.


Pearl Uppal and Gaurav Kachru who run 5ideas, a seed fund and an accelerator. They have participated in more than ten start-ups and are bringing up two young children. They decided that they would not work weekends unless there was a crisis and have stuck to this ground rule for more than a decade.


Make Optimum Use Of Technology
We live in an era of communication and thanks to smart phones and tablets, you can stay connected round the clock and literally carry your office with you. If you haven’t invested in a good gadget yet, now is the time. So, for instance, while attending your kids’ parent-teacher meetings, you can also reply to important emails.


Accessing important documents and excel sheets on the go too is a breeze, thanks to apps that have revolutionised communication. More than investing in a goo gadget, it’s about knowing how to use apps that’s important. If you can’t make it to work because you child is sick but have to log in to a video conference, you can do this with Skype. Make sure you keep yourself updated on apps that are relevant to the nature of your business.


Find Some ‘Me’ Time
Often, parents who are also entrepreneurs get sucked into their passion so much that they forget all about themselves. It’s either work or kids and family or chores that need to be done! We get it, you’re a busy bee but don’t forget that you’re only human and need to do something that will replenish yourself. If you don’t you will likely burn out sooner than you think. So take a break once in a while.


Do not think about your work or kids at least once a month and do something you really like. Shack your kids up with their grandparents and take a romantic weekend with your spouse. If you don’t that the time to do that, at least spend a few hours a week doing something you really enjoy. It will do you good in more ways than you can imagine.


Last but not least, don’t worry too much about your kids or feel guilty about the fact that you’re not around your kids all the time. Once you have fixed a particular time of day to be with them, they will adjust to your schedule. Take our word, kids are more flexible than you think!


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