Starting a business isn’t for everyone, but there has been a rise in the number of dadpreneurs – fathers who are turning to entrepreneurship and using flexible working arrangements to care for their children. With changing gender roles, more fathers are creating a lifestyle that offers the flexibility to spend time with their families and work to a schedule that moves beyond the nine-to-five.
I made the decision to leave full time employment behind a few years back, whilst my wife was pregnant with twins. I was completing an MBA, had two daughters on the way and was taking one of the biggest risks of my life. It paid off.
In full-time employment, I experienced the stress and pressures that came with senior leadership roles, working to someone else’s schedules and demands. I was overweight, rarely sleeping (working circa 80-100hr weeks at times) and my health and mental wellbeing began to suffer.
When I made the decision to leave and launch my business, the fear was enormous, but I knew I would make it work one way or another.
My life changed dramatically for the better. I had the fortune to build my entire work and life around my pending family, knowing that I could be present to help support my wife with the challenging task of raising twins. I now divide my week between raising my three young kids, consulting with businesses, leading my team at Menace Group – a marketing, digital and social-media agency – and soaking up the sun at the local beaches.
If you’re thinking of taking the leap, here are my four tips to becoming a Dadpreneur:
1 Don’t let your ego get in the way
Fear of failure holds so many people back from following their passions. You have to be willing to take risks to reap the rewards! What if it didn’t work? Be honest with yourself about what you have to lose and consider a backup plan. Try and be realistic about the workforce, and don’t necessarily think that because you were paid a small fortune in the corporate world, your initial customers are going to pay you the same straight off the cuff (but if they do, all kudos to you!)
2 Don’t start a business for the sake of starting a business
Hone in on your passion and look for ways you can monetize these. No one has your exact skills. There might be thousands of people in the world in your industry, but no one will do things and see things exactly as you do. Use these points of difference to showcase your expertise in the work you love most. Make sure you’re playing the long game and pursuing your passions, not just jumping on a business fad or trend.
3 Set clear boundaries for work and family
As an entrepreneur, you’re never fully switched off from work, but there are things you can do to make the boundaries clearer. Switching off from tech when spending time with family, for example, or setting specific timeframes for work. Some crossover can be a good thing though – I share the things I’m doing with my family across my social networks, both business and personal, because business IS personal. We’re working with other people after all, and they want to see the real you!
When you first launch it can be an isolating experience, so establishing a strong support network from the outset is critical. Getting involved in a co-working space can be a fantastic and cost-effective way to meet new people who are on the same business journey as you, as well as providing opportunities to collaborate.
Kevin Spiteri, Founder, Menace Group and author of “I Just Want It To Work: A Guide to Understanding Digital Marketing and Social Media for Frustrated Business Owners, Managers and Marketers”