Being an entrepreneur and starting your own business feels great. But it often comes at a price: no time, no money, no relationship. Well, it’s what many people think. Fortunately I’m not one of them. I’m not saying we have plenty of time and money with ideal relationships. I’m saying you can work on it and here is how…
TIME – Days will never have more than 24 hours!
You know it’s true even though you only rarely admit it. And during those 24 hours, as a human being, you need to fulfill at least three basic needs: sleep, eat and shower (the last one is more for your neighbours and family’s benefit than your own but I still classify it as essential).
So work out how long you need to fulfill these needs and be realistic about how much work you can get done in a day. Don’t forget you also need time to relax from time to time, otherwise you’ll be worn out within a few weeks (or months if you’re particularly tough).
The question you need to answer honestly is “how many hours a day can you work productively?”. 8, 10, 12 hours? Productive work doesn’t include all the stuff that usually comes with it, such as chatting on Twitter and updating your Facebook status.
You also need to figure out what time of the day is best for you. Nic and I prefer starting early in the morning and spending quality time together in the evenings. He blogged about his 5am start a while ago and many people were wondering how on earth you could wake up at 5 to work. Well, I’m wondering now how you can stay up all night and work!
I used to do it but our new routine works better for us as a couple. You just need to find your own routine and organise your daily tasks around it.
MONEY – Stop buying the latest gadgets!
Most entrepreneurs find themselves in a delicate financial situation. No monthly salary, no safety net. But don’t let it stop you from thinking long-term! That is, if you can stop buying the latest gadgets as soon as they are released.
The key is planning. Besides being careful with your expenses and putting money aside when you can (which is only common sense), budget your life: your planned income for the months to come, rent and bills, food etc. Once you’ve covered all the basics, you know how much you’ve got left for nights out and silly buys.
When we created the company last April, we had put enough money aside for both of us to live for 6 months (about £15,000). Because we got new contracts since then, our savings have actually increased, but we’ve kept our monthly expenses at the same level.
We’re always aiming at having 6 months before us, in case we need to face some kind of emergency or unexpected event. And we might as well since we found out recently that we’re having a baby. Another reason why careful financial planning is essential.
One last tip: withdraw a large amount of cash every week or month, and stop using your debit/credit cards. They’re evil! It’s a lot easier to manage your money this way, simply because when there’s none left, well there’s none left and you just postpone your night out to next week or next month.
RELATIONSHIPS – Believe in love!
With no time and no money, the chances of building a happy and long-lasting love relationship are not looking their best. I must admit it’s not as easy as budgeting your life. But you can do it. Others have done it before you. Some entrepreneurs do manage to have a happy marriage and happy family life (I think).
It supposes two important prerequisites though:
She or he needs to understand and accept that being an entrepreneur is not a 9 to 5 job but a 24/7 passion and commitment.
You need to be prepared to make some sort of compromise, even if it’s only small ones.
When I met Nic, he had already been working for himself for a number of years and I soon understood that his job was his passion. As for me, I was still a student and needed to work a number of nights and weekends anyway so we were on the same page from the beginning. We soon agreed that it was ok to work some nights of the week (with a limit of 3 if possible) and some Saturdays. We also agreed that Sundays were no-work days and we’re still sticking to that rule today. It’s not about choosing between relationships and work.
It’s about mutual understanding and ensuring that both can work together. And to be honest, his working nights allow me to have time for myself and do girly stuff, that I don’t have time for otherwise.
So, see? Time, money and relationships are not your enemies. They just need some attention and love. I promise it will benefit your business as well.
photo credit: Michael Beserra