Two years ago this week I started my own firm and became a business owner. I always had an entrepreneur’s mindset and had wanted to be a business owner. I was working for a great firm and had learned a lot there, but I had my own ideas of how I wanted to do things and who I wanted to work with. Making the decision to go on my own was about me following my dreams, to not settle for mediocrity, but to be and create something great. To build a life that I loved and a business that would serve the clients I loved working with best.
I knew there would be a positive impact on me and my clients, but never imagined the effect it would have on my oldest daughter. I often worried that the time I was putting into serving my clients and building my business, would be looked at as a negative by my teenagers. I can’t always pick them up from activities, they make meals part of the week and we are constantly juggling schedules. As with anything, there is a ripple effect from the choices we make that we often can’t see until a while later.
My oldest daughter looks like my mini-me, but we didn’t have too many other similarities, other than our love for math. Two years ago, she wanted to become either a musician or a chef. She never had any interest in finance. Since launching my business and seeing the joy that it brings me, she has decided that she wants to follow in my footsteps. She told me in the car one day, and I questioned her saying “you don’t have to do what I do”. She tends to be a kid who really wants to make you happy. And then she listed off all the reasons why she wanted to do it; You help people understand things just like I do when I tutor kids; You build close relationships with people just like I enjoy doing; You get to meet new people and learn new things all of the time, just like I enjoy doing; It involves math and I love math; You make a difference in people’s lives, and you love what you do. How could I argue with that? She had really thought about it. Not only does she want to follow in my footsteps (we’ll see, I know things can change), but she calls me her hero. She sent me a link to the new Ben Platt song, “In case you don’t live forever” last week. If you are going to listen, have some tissues around.
So, for anyone who thinks, “I can’t start a business now, it would take too much time away from my family, or it will be too stressful”, it may actually be just what you and your family need. Don’t get me wrong, I function with a good amount of stress, but not all stress is bad. There are days that are long, weeks that are hard, and times I doubt myself. That just comes with being an entrepreneur. However, I wake up excited, with a clear vision for the future and the feeling of being in control of whatever happens.
My daughter sees the care and hard work I put into my business and work with clients, and also the flexibility it provides to be able to watch her lacrosse games, even if it means I turn my computer back on later. She always pushes herself as well, setting her goals sky high. Sometimes I want to tell her not to be so hard on herself, to just be a kid. I have to remind myself that is not what she needs, she just needs me to believe in her. There were people who thought I should not start my own business, that I didn’t have the time and my life was too busy. That is not what I needed. I needed that one person who said, “I was wondering when you were going to do it.”
Don’t push all of your dreams to tomorrow thinking that it will be better for those around you. Lead by example and show them what it means to work hard and sacrifice and maybe even fail sometimes. It can be a much better lesson.
“Kid’s don’t care how many sermons you preach to them. The only sermon they’ll hear is how you live your life in front of them.” – Bruce Van Horn