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Fatherpreneurship, six tips for being a great business owner and father

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First of all I’m super excited to announce the birth of my son Joshua. He was born on Friday, May 16 at 3:44 p.m. He weighted 10lbs 9oz. My wife is a super woman, and has done something infinitely harder than any Ultra Marathon I will ever run.

Hello, World!

Hello, World!

The birth of Joshua got me thinking a lot about how much of a privilege it is to have a family and be an entrepreneur. Running your own business essentially allows you to set your own schedule so that you can have more time with family.

Here are six tips for being an awesome father and entrepreneur. For some entrepreneurs, this might not be easy, but I can tell you from personal experience these things work, and are totally worth it. It will strengthen your relationship with your kids, and your spouse.

1. Don’t make 50-60 hour workweeks the norm. Limit your workweeks to 40 hours or less on a normal week. If you do find yourself needing extra hours to get things done, wake up early in the morning to complete those tasks, rather than cutting into family time in the evening.

2. Establish a work cut off time. For me this is typically 5pm, but I sometimes take calls until 6pm because of time zone differences. Once I’m home, that time is family time. I even have my phone scheduled to enter do not disturb mode every day at 6pm, and it stays that way until 7am the next day.

3. The home life is your sanctuary. Guard the time you have with your family in the evening. Resist checking email, and don’t check social media. I admit these are actually hard ones fore me to be consistent with, but when I do I find the time with my daughter and newborn son much more rich, and my wife appreciates it A LOT as well.

4. Take your kids along for the ride. We all have hobbies, so include them in your hobbies with you. I love running and rock climbing, so I try to take my daughter on a run with me at least once a week, and I bring her to the crag to go climbing whenever I can. The running actually ends up giving my wife a break from taking care of the little one, and the trips to the crag give the entire family time to bond. Sure, your training plans are going to look different with a little one in tow, but sharing the joys you have with your children are far more important than setting a new PR in your next race.

5. Stop being selfish. Just as you have to focus on the needs of your team to have a successful business, you have to focus on the needs of your family to have a rocking family life. If you focus less on yourself and more on your little ones and wife, life will be much more rich.

6. Get your work life organized. If you struggle working 50-60 hours a week, chances are you are not working efficiently, and are wasting lots of time. The most valuable thing you can do for yourself and your family is to get organized so that you can peacefully leave work at the end of each day and be devoted to family time. I highly recommend the KanBan system for organization, as well as reading Getting Things Done by David Allen.

Being overworked sucks! Being in control of your work and spending time with your family is awesome. How do you manage running a business and carving out quality time with your family?

Expect Great Things

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Shoot beyond the moon

Shoot beyond the moon. Expect great things for your business.

In just a few days my wife and I will have our second child. Joshua will be born sometime in the next week, God willing. We have great expectations for Joshua, as well as our daughter Abigail. I don’t know of any parent that doesn’t have high hopes for their children. I hope that both Abigail and Joshua pursue and excel at whatever their heart desires most.

I also believe that entrepreneurs should expect great things for their business endeavors. If they don’t, it’s probably not a good fit. Looking back at my past attempts at becoming an entrepreneur I realize why those things never took off for me. I never had high hopes and big expectations. I merely wanted to work for myself and make a decent income at something I enjoyed doing. Many people do manage to work for themselves, but their business never really leaves the stratosphere. I would venture to say this is because their heart is only in it half way.

But once you have found something that REALLY grabs you, that is what you should pursue. And you should expect great things! If you don’t you will never reach your full potential. When I started Bearded Brothers I had great expectations, which only have gotten greater as the business has grown. What was once a small great expectation, is now a mega grand expectation. It keeps me going. Does it scare the crap out of me? You bet it does! I see the potential my little company has, it extends beyond the moon.

How big are you dreaming? Are you expecting great things for your business? You should, especially if it’s something you truly believe in, or are passionate about. You should expect nothing less than the magnificent.

Also, if you are not following me on social media yet, you should be? I also just set up a new Facebook page, just for this blog:
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How to love your entrepreneur

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Caleb, Kristy, and Abigail

Caleb, Kristy, and Abigail

Today, I present you with a guest post from my loving and supporting wife, Kristy. She has been right by my side ever since starting my entrepreneurial  journey with Bearded Brothers. It has been amazing to have such a supportive wife by my side over the past three years. We have both learned a lot during that time, and today Kristy shares her advice for other wives of entrepreneurs.

I’m no marriage or business expert, but I have had the privileged of being married to a visionary man and learning from his entrepreneurial spirit. Our journey has not always been easy and most of what I’ve learned so far has been trial and error (mostly error). Every now and then, women will ask me how I do it. I imagine what they mean is how do I stay (somewhat) flexible and (mostly) sane under the pressure of starting a family business. Well, here are just a few lessons I’ve learned along my path of loving my entrepreneur

1- I am his biggest fan, not his critic. This is especially important in the early, formative stages of the business planning. When Caleb first entertained the idea of starting Bearded Brothers, there was a fair amount of uncertainty in both of us. I could have easily pointed out every reason why this was a risky move, but I chose to cheer him on. Thankfully, I had already learned from wiser women that encouraging my husband to follow his dreams does not mean passively saying, “Whatever you want, Dear.” What it does mean is giving him the space and support to figure things out on his own, knowing that I’ve got his back, even if his idea fails completely.

2- I am his sounding board. This one is probably the most difficult for me to master. Caleb and I have always enjoyed recapping our days over dinner. We share our highlights, problems and triumphs. This was all great, until we started a family business. Now, when he comes home with worries and set-backs, it is personal. I mean, if he comes home worried about making payroll or paying rent on the commercial kitchen, I naturally want to freak out. Because not making payroll means we don’t eat. I’ve had to learn the hard way that what he needs in those moments is for me to listen and let him mentally unload. My job is to let his worries be his worries and not take them on and try to solve them myself. Do I occasionally give him my advice? Yes. But I try to choose those moments wisely.

3- I help him separate work from home. It is so easy for entrepreneurs to be workaholics and I understand why. There is never an end to Caleb’s to-do list and, these days, business is happening 24/7. Making sure your family and marriage get quality time is tough, but so worth it. I suggest communicating early on about expectations. Does the phone turn off at 6pm? Are there appropriate/inappropriate times for checking email? Are tweets and status updates considered date night activities? Having these conversations will hopefully keep you from resenting his work and keep him from being consumed by it.

I hope you enjoyed this little peek into our marriage and that you will find some benefit from it. Loving an entrepreneur isn’t always easy, but knowing you are following the man you love on the journey toward his dream job is an amazing experience. I’d love to hear your thoughts and insights from your journey!

Sacrifice is needed to START

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Starting a business is never easy.

It will never be a cakewalk.

You will never start anything if you don’t give something up.

Sacrifice  can be many different things, it can be:

  • Financial, dropping from a two income household to one
  • Time, and insane amount of time may me required to start
  • Security, giving up the false sense of security of a well paying job with insurance
  • Beginning something new that is foreign and scary to you

Starting takes a leap of faith. If it’s not difficult for you to do, it’s probably not worth doing and will probably never happen.

Starting takes being bold, and doing things most people think is CRAZY!

Starting takes leaving your comfort zone, living on rice and beans, beginning your journey before you FEEL ready, because you will never truly feel ready.

Excuses are a dime a dozen..just START!

Step out in faith start your journey. Embrace the discomfort of new beginnings. You will be glad you did.

Take a break for crying out loud

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I’ve never understood the workaholic mentality. It’s though working 50-70 hours a weeks is a badge of honor for some people, but I see it as misplaced priorities. Even if you love what you do for a living, truly love it, nobody should be working that much on a regular basis. There is a time and maybe even a season for it, but it should never be the norm.

Everybody needs time off from work to rejuvenate, recuperate, and refresh (RR&R) the mind. We all need a bit of RR&R. The frequency in which we need RR&R may be different for everybody, but we all need it! Vayner Media is known for it’s unlimited vacation days policy because they know that everybody has different needs in terms of RR&R. One person might only need a total of one week off a year to get the rest the need from work, others might require 3-4.

If you are not used to this mindset you might see it as sucking away productive time, but I would venture to say you are likely to have more productive hours if you get plenty of RR&R, or rather just the right amount. It’s not a system to be abused, it’s put there in order to make team members more productive, not less. Burn out will only lead to frustration and lower productivity, but if a person is given the ability to re-charge and refresh as needed, they are going to have more productive hours when they are at work.

All this to say, taking some time off is good! This past weekend after a trade show in Las Vegas I stayed an extra day so I could get some rock climbing in at Red Rocks Canyon. It was just the refreshment I needed after a very busy month. For me, breathing mountain air soothes the soul, calms the nerves, and helps me rejuvenate so I can get more done, and I didn’t feel the least bit guilty for taking an extra day for myself.

Here are a few photos from my day on the rock:

Summit of Solar Slab in Red Rocks Canyon.

Summit of Solar Slab in Red Rocks Canyon.

 

About half way up Solar Slab, pitch 3 or 4 in climbers terminology.

About half way up Solar Slab, pitch 3 or 4 in climbers terminology.

 

Climbing high!

Climbing high!

 

Moon Rise in Red Rocks Canyon

Moon Rise in Red Rocks Canyon