The Truth About Work/Life Balance at Startups

Posted by Eleanor Rae Carman /July 1, 2015 / Advisors, Entrepreneurial Advice, Hot Topics, How To

elusive-work-life-balanceWith family-focused, 4th of July fast-approaching the struggle to maintain work/life balance is top of mind. We don’t need another article explaining that there is a struggle. So instead, here’s the honest take from real entrepreneurs about how they try to find some balance while in the midst of starting and running a startup. Some find maintaining a balance near impossible, while others have been able to make it work. Here’s what they said in a recent FounderDating Discussion on work/life balance

1. Worry About You

Entrepreneurs are often led astray when they start comparing their lives to those around them. Focus on what makes you happy and what you need. The life of an entrepreneur can be lonely, “but don’t forget the grass is always greener on the other side,” writes Julien Fruchier, Founder of Republic of Change. “Fast forward a decade and a lot of the situations you envy today will be broken ‘marriages’ or dissatisfied ones at best. Nothing is perfect. Worry about your own path.”

You’ll hear people tell you what is and isn’t possible. Learn to ignore them – literally. Only you know and get to dictate what’s good and possible for you. “I feel far more productive these days than I did pre-kids,” writes Ariel McNicol, founder of SmartSpark, Inc.

“I execute much faster and am far more efficient because I am constantly in fear of running out of time.” Tweet this 

“I think the ‘no kids’ start-up stuff is said by inefficient people who are in denial about the hours per day they spend checking sports scores, dating, clothes shopping (etc.) which parents with young kids just don’t do.”

2. Manage Your Time

Time management is a skill many entrepreneurs have worked hard to get good at. However, there are very few that are on it, all the time. If you already have a family, Alex Eckleberry, CEO of Technology Growth Engineering, suggests you make time for them; otherwise, you’ll regret it.

“I made time for my family, and in fact, my only regrets ever were not spending enough time with them. Of course, there are times when you have to really bear down on work, but you can create the balance.”

“If you can’t make the time, you’re not managing your time correctly.”  Tweet this

“Who said you have to work 100 hour weeks to be a successful entrepreneur? That’s bullshit. You create the time to have family time. If you don’t create time, it will bite you in the ass.”4th-Of-July-Paradess

3. Make Choices 

The life of an entrepreneur is fast-paced and time is a precious resource. The best anyone can do is make the right choice for themselves at the time and hope it works out in the end. “Entrepreneurship is demanding on so many different levels, and you have to make sacrifices,” writes JC Duarte, COO of 

“You might as well determine for yourself which sacrifices you’ll make and when, and embrace the why.”  Tweet this

Shingai Samudzi, Founder and CEO of ProjectVision, also knows that family time is a choice that you have to make over and over again. “I live in a happily married household where both my wife and I are entrepreneurs. We choose to make time for each other, we choose to be understanding, we choose to make the effort to be emotionally self-sustaining when the other is stuck in crunch time.”

At the end of day remember that you define what ‘balance’ means for you and that definition can evolve over time. Don’t worry about what other people are doing or saying you should do, worry about what makes you happy.  Happy 4th!

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