Family-First Startups

A couple of months ago, I started working on my new startup and I set myself a bit of a “soft” goal: I wanted to try create a startup that generates $1m in annual revenue and I wanted to work only 5 or 6 hours a day.

The motivation for that goal was to seek greater work+life balance. In my past, working 80+ hours was the norm for me and I really become addicted to being connected to any of my devices (Macbook, iPhone or iPad). The fact that I had founded an “always-on” startup obviously didn’t help with that.

All of this reached a tipping point for me 12 months ago. And I committed (to myself and my family) that I wouldn’t relapse to those old, bad habits again.

But a couple of months into my new startup journey and I already feel immense pressure (and temptation) to go back to my old ways.

We all know startups are hard and it mostly runs on fear. And I know that it is that fear that is piling on the pressure to work more and literally throw time at the problem. Because the underlying belief is that, that de-risks what we’re doing.

Time is critical there, because every early-stage startup has a runway which is dictated by money in the bank. For my new startup that runway is $100k long.

All of that said though, I’d still argue that our generally-held beliefs about startups are broken.

So it’s somewhere within this grey area between startup “best-practice” (or ideals as preached by everyone) and the notion that I can craft a better work+life balance, that I’m pursuing a family-first startup. These are the types of questions that I’m asking myself, which has lead me here:

If there’s one thing that I’ve learnt over the last 6 years of my entrepreneurial journey, it’s that my family is the most important part of my life. I’m convinced that I would not be as happy or as successful as I am today without my family.

And in the last 2 years that “value” doubled, when I welcomed my first-born into the world.

So in the vein of making PublicBeta a family-first startup, here’s some of the decisions I’ve made and actions I’m taking:

I know the biggest challenge here is accepting that there’s no absolute right or wrong answer in this regard. That is partly why this is so damn hard.

I am however allowing myself to be guided (in my tactical decision-making at least) by the goal that I want to create a startup where I can consistently put my family first. That is what is important to me.

That is also one of the reasons why I decided to become an entrepreneur and work on my own things. I don’t like being put into a box. Instead I believe that I’d rather craft my own box; whether that’s bigger, better or just plain different to the generic boxes out there.

I’m an entrepreneur, because I believe that I can create startups for whatever reason I want. Working on something I’m passionate about is one of those reasons.

The primary reason though is to (help) create the best-possible life for and with my family.


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