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6 Founders Share Advice on How to Start a Family while Running a Startup

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Starting your own company while balancing a family life is a difficult task. But for some entrepreneurs, growing a family coincides with the mayhem of launching a startup. Founders engage in the challenging balancing act of growing a business while upholding their parental responsibilities.

Sure, working and raising a family is part of life for executives in all industries. But let’s face it; startup founders face an existential threat to their business daily, which can be an added pressure.

So how do founders balance growing their startups and their families?

They take advantage of the flexibility of being the boss

“Setting up a business gives you independence and flexibility that a day job doesn’t. I am lucky that my new office is a five-minute walk from home, so I can help with kids in emergencies,” says Shane Leonard, COO of Stockflare and father of three.

They make family time non-negotiable

“Kids’ hours are non-negotiable so you end up scheduling around bedtime. Instead of putting in a few hours during downtime on Saturday and Sunday, it becomes: try to do a ‘full day,’ starting early, on one or the other weekend day, leaving a full day free with family, and, hopefully, an additional afternoon. Industry catch-ups become breakfasts rather than after-work drinks,” says Marc Cenedella, founder of Knozen, father of one (and expecting another).

“I work approximately 11 hours (8 am – 7 pm) then come home and TURN OFF for family time for a couple hours, then go back online for an hour or so before going to bed. Having that ‘off button’ for two to three hours at night, to read books, give kids a bath, etc., is really therapeutic – and if we didn’t have kids, I’d probably just work non-stop,” says Nathan Beckord, founder of FounderSuite.com and father of two.

“As an entrepreneur, the work never stops. It doesn’t matter how successful the business is, it is a personality trait of many entrepreneurs. With that in mind, my wife and I had to establish rules when deciding to have a child. First and foremost, my daughter comes first. Family is the number one priority and business is second. We established a rule of ‘no business talk.’ We had no email rules but that devolved into ideas of businesses around babies such as new bottle holders, bibs, and interactive feeding software,” says Todd Oretsky, cofounder of Pipeline and father of one.

They accept that there aren’t enough hours in the day

“I officially quit my full-time job and started Fancred a week before my second child was born. I should also mention that my wife and I already had a two-year old daughter and we just purchased our first home a few months prior. I didn’t truly understand the magnitude of what I had just done until I was literally taking conference calls with my team and pitching investors right outside the hospital room that my wife and newborn were resting in. The last two years haven’t been much different,” says Hossein Kash Razzaghi, CEO of Fancred and father of two.

“The term ‘organized chaos’ is the best way I can think of managing family life and my business. The one rule I did give myself, though, is that I try very hard to eat at least one meal a day with the entire family without cell phone or laptop interruption. That sometimes means I leave work in the middle of a late evening meeting to get home for dinner. I also include my family in my company’s culture. We organize family-oriented events for the weekends or weeknights that are inclusive of spouses and kids,” says Mat Franken, founder of Aunt Fannie and father of two.

How do you manage both your family and your startup? Share with us.

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About the Author

Camila is a writer and community manager for Tech Cocktail in Miami. She has been heavily active in South Florida’s tech startup community, where she co-founded a communication strategy company called pFunk Media. Camila previously worked at Greenpeace International and the Organization of the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in various communication roles. A proud Brazilian who spent most of he life in Peru, she is passionate about traveling and documentaries.

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