Entrepreneur Dad

A creative entrepreneur shares how he makes time for his family and keeps his business going.

We spoke to Richard*, a 40-something father of two teenagers, and who runs his own design business. His wife is a partner in a busy speech therapy practice.

1. What advice would you give to other would-be entrepreneur dads?

I think the fact that you have your own business allows you as a father to be more involved in your kids' lives. Things are busier and as your own boss, you need to work hard to keep your company going. But if you use your time wisely and plan well, you can work around helping with carting the kids around and supporting their sport and extramural activities. It's good to be around and see how they grow and develop. It's also good for them to be around you and see what you do.

2. What's the secret to work/life balance?

It's about good planning and being strict with when you turn the work button off. This isn't always easy if you're working from home, as home is also work. However, if you're helping with carting the kids, or supporting them at their games, they know you might have to work a bit later as you took work time out of the day. Being disciplined and keeping the comms between family going are essential.

3. What's the biggest lesson you've learnt from being a dad and an entrepreneur?

I think while you need to work hard to put the hours in to get the business up and running, you also need to make sure your time is spent with the family - it is a balancing act. Before you know it, your once-little kids are out of the house and doing their own thing. You need to use the time wisely and treasure the moments you have with them - before you know it, that's gone!

4. What would you tell yourself 10 years ago knowing what you know now?

I would have told myself to start my own business sooner. The kids are busier now that they're in their teens, and they actually needed me more when they were younger. Not that I wasn't around, but think the business is more settled now, and it's taken a while to get there. If it was settled sooner, I think it would have been better now, to be more available for them but also for myself. There's a saying that we as parents get our lives back when your kids are out of the house, but I want to enjoy my time with them now!

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