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Entrepreneur Office Hours: Issue #201
A little inspiration and some looking head
In last week’s milestone Issue #200, I explained that my biggest learnings over the past three years of writing this newsletters are related to the importance of growing audiences on social media. Simply put, social media isn’t the silly thing Gen Z kids do. Regularly creating and posting social media content is the single most important thing a working professional should be doing to enable new opportunities.
A bunch of you wrote to congratulate me on the issue and agree with my learning. A lot of you even joined my first online class about the topic — the 7 Day LinkedIn Accelerator. (Thanks, by the way, to everyone who joined!)
Your overwhelmingly positive responses inspired me. I was worried my message wasn’t a message people wanted or that they weren’t ready to hear it. Instead, I learned most of you are where I was a few years ago. You all seem to know that engaging on social media is important for your future careers and ventures, but you just don’t know how to get started.
That inspired me to figure out more ways of sharing audience building strategies with entrepreneurs and business people like all of you.
To be clear, I’m not trying to teach anyone how to become TikTok famous overnight. You can find plenty of other people doing (a poor job of) that. Instead, my goal is to expand the way I use this space (and some of my other online spaces) to share practical, actionable insights on how to leverage all the new, noisy, and often confusing digital media platforms around us in ways that will enable professional opportunities for folks like all of you.
In other words, stay tuned because there’s much more coming in future issues about personal brand building on social media as it relates to enabling professional and entrepreneurial opportunities.
For now, let’s get to this week’s articles…
Hiring and managing employees is more similar to parenting than most startup founders would like.
Spend 30 minutes building paper airplanes and you’ll quickly learn some of the most important lessons in entrepreneurship.
Office Hours Q&A
I hope this message finds you well. I've been following your newsletter and articles for quite a long time, and I'm truly inspired by your success and your willingness to share your honest insights with aspiring entrepreneurs such as myself.
My question for you today is this: How do you balance a startup and a personal life to maintain your well-being while growing a business?
I am a new father, and I am increasingly finding it hard to balance the demands of being a dad with the time commitment required of a startup. Since you write often about your children, I thought you would be a good person to ask.
Thank you in advance for your guidance, and I look forward to any wisdom you can share.
I feel like a lot of people would start their response to a question like yours with a heartfelt “congratulations” to celebrate and honor the birth of your child.
I’m not one of those people.
Being a parent and a startup founder is hard. It just is. Pretending like it isn’t while offering you a big “congratulations” would be me responding how the world expects people to respond in these types of situations rather than me telling you the truth. The truth is that having a kid changes things. It makes building startups much, much, much harder. In some extreme cases – like mine – it might even contribute directly to your startup’s failure.
With that caveat out of the way, let me answer your question. You asked: “how do you balance a startup and a personal life to maintain your well-being while growing a business?”
The answer is: you don’t.
There’s nothing to balance. Your child always comes first because that’s your main job as someone’s parent. Everything else – including how to get work done for your startup – sheets dealt with around the needs of your kid.
The good news is, over time, you figure out how to get stuff done as you become more efficient and more effective. Just be warned that the circumstances of doing so won’t always be ideal.
For example, I’m writing to you at nearly midnight from a hotel room in Salt Lake City, Utah. Why am I doing that? Because my daughter had an event she needed to attend in Salt Lake City!
I spent the entire day with her, now she’s asleep, and I’m doing my entrepreneurial thing.
It’s not balance. It’s a combination of love and passion. The love is for my children. Yes, they exhaust and frustrate me, but I love them endlessly and prioritize them and their needs whenever and however I possibly can.
Then there’s my entrepreneurial projects (like this newsletter). I’m passionate about their purpose and mission, so I make time to do them. That time always comes at the expense of other things I could be doing (for example, sleep sounds wonderful right about now).
In other words, the “balance” you’re looking for doesn’t exist. If you want to be a great parent and still pursue your entrepreneurial ambitions, then that’s pretty much all you get to do. You simply won’t have time for anything else, and there’s nothing to balance. However, so long as you love your children and are passionate about startups, that lack of balance won’t feel like a bad thing. After all, no matter what you build, your greatest contribution to this world will always be your children.
Got startup questions of your own? Reply to this email with whatever you want to know, and I’ll do my best to answer!