Life is a collection of choices and starting a company is one of the biggest you will ever make. Especially if you already started a family.
There are two major considerations when you choose to become an entrepreneur: you are not only betting your future but the future of your family’s as well. The other consideration: your startup is your baby and so it will become a family member. This means you’ll have to constantly balance priorities between ‘family members’.
First Pitch to Spouse
There’s this rather funny exchange about the difficulty of choosing between your partner and your company. Ask yourself what’s easier to replace: a good business with revenue and growth or a fiancé? That could be an easy call. However, it’s different if you have a happy marriage of 15 years with beautifully adjusted preteens.
In that scenario, your significant others are also your early investors. Therefore, you’ll have to treat them as such. They are your silent board members with a stake and return on investment of 10x “Happiness”. Your loved ones also need an exit and it isn’t cash.
Your time spend and the Quality is determined by the voting rights of those silent board members. If you are a fair founder, they get supervoting on how you spend your time. If board members love you, they will use their veto with discretion.
Part of the Family
So I took Legalpioneer out of the garage and into our home and said: here’s our new baby, will you help me raise it? You can help me pick out the clothes, dress it up, and we can go to parties together.
After an initial euphoric reception, I dutifully mentioned the disclaimers: it means you will also have to share some toys. Food, shelter, privileges and my love are guaranteed under any circumstances, but we may need to be flexible on allowances and daddy time.
Since we’re still in euphoria, I’m unsure how this strategy will play out in the long run. However, as a father first and founder second I’m committed to teaching both babies to Love and Live the things they are passionate about. And good things don’t always come easy.
The recent loss of Avicii made me pause at a simple fact: happiness is an invaluable asset in any human life. It is something which is virtually impossible to buy. My very first post on this journey was a manual to love the things I may hate about building legal technology.
My family makes me Happy and so does making beautiful products that will help us outsmart robots. Similar to great advice from Jeff Bezos, you shouldn’t balance but rather integrate both to measure your success in each.
If you decide to make your startup your destiny, make sure to recruit your family first, give them the right to veto and share the joys of the journey.
Author note: this article was written right after the passing of Avicii in 2018.