Posted on September 15 2017
Provider Power: Balancing work, family, and new business
October 28, 2016
I conceived Kryofit Sport in the summer of 2015, started my LLC in January of 2016, and had our first son in April of 2016. All the while, I plugged away at work and developing our startup. Since our son, Greyson, was a 28 week preemie, we had an extreme amount of stress with his medical needs and it ate up every second of the day. So, how did we continue to make gains on the startup while balancing a full-time day job and nights by his bedside? I call it Provider Power.
Before Greyson came around, I enjoyed naps. I love…sorry, loved naps. As a DINK couple (double income, no kids) I worked out, hit the bar once in a while, and took those precious naps whenever I felt like one. It was awesome…or was it? I was and still am a successful medical sales professional and our other businesses are running strong with 60+ employees and millions in revenue annually. Did I have it made? Was I happy? No, I wasn’t. As I bounced from business idea to the next and one hobby to the next in my free time, I wasn’t enjoying my time spent. I was actually filling a hole in my personal life.
Success to me isn’t about stuff. It’s about decisions for me. Success, to me, is the ability to make decisions based on what I want to do rather than what I must do. Success allows me to choose where to go, how to get there, when, and why. So, when I looked at my “success” I didn’t see fancy cars, clothes, or anything other than the ability to pay bills without stressing out or having to do algebra to get the money together. Growing up destitute in north east Pennsylvania, the ability to live in a decent house with a reliable car AND pay bills was almost enough for me. Ultimately, my needs are little but my ambition continued to exert itself. But, I continued to resist my true potential because, after all, I was relatively content and why did I need to kill myself.
Enter my son. After 11 years of trying for a child and failing, we resolved ourselves to adopt. Suddenly and unexpectedly, my wife was pregnant and threatened to blow up my new startup and my precious, precious naps. Fast forward to April, and the little bugger decided to come out a few months early. Talk about challenges stacked on challenges! Then, something happened to me: I grew up. Now, I’m responsible for more than paying bills, keeping my job, and performing with a killer hangover. Now, I have to slow down on the turnpike, eat better, drink less, and plan more. Flying by the seat of my pants suddenly phased itself out. Somehow, this little guy shows up and transforms me into a reasonably responsible adult overnight so I shelved the startup, right? Wrong. Even though free time left town, and I became busier than ever, I persisted with the startup. Why? For Greyson. For my wife. Because I have PROVIDER POWER!
When asked how I balance it, it comes down to a straight forward concept: Responsibility for someone other than yourself, aka becoming less selfish. Here’s how I’m doing it:
Look at life with a business eye. One great thing about sales and business is hammering home the point of spending time on valuable endeavors and ROI. Looking at a list of tasks is daunting but if you place your business lens in front, you can break apart the large list into “Must-Haves” and “Nice-To-Haves”. Hell, you can even make a third list of “Dreams”. Naps are on the Dreams list. This forces you to look at what you want to do vs what you have to do. In turn, the unforgiving clock pushes you where you NEED to be, not where you necessarily feel like being. Make your lists and break them down.
Make your goals. My goals quickly moved from a “beach house” to “college fund”. I never had college fund but every parent should dream of making their kids lot better than they had it. Now that we are in that position, I shifted from short-term to long-term goals. Where do we want to be for his education? How are we going to show him and teach him life lessons to make him an excellent human? Our goals shifted to less selfish and re-focused to quality long-term strategy.
To do this, we discussed our dreams for our son and for ourselves and just like business, we worked backwards. This gave us timelines which drives current activity.
Focus! I knew the moment a new shiny object came into view, I could lose focus. I know this about myself because it turns out it’s a trait of many entrepreneurs and creative people. The difference between an unfocused scatterbrain and a successful entrepreneur is the ability to self-assess your needs and act on the solutions. Be honest with yourself and apply the same mind-set towards your own development as you with entrepreneurialism. I looked at the multitude of ideas from the past and the B.S. excuses I used to quite them or the weak due diligence performed that ultimately killed the concepts. I knew that if I was to achieve our goals, I had to channel ‘ol Mikey Jackson, and look at the man in the mirror. Hee heeeee!
Looking at my current start up, Kryofit Sport, I dedicated extra time to due diligence and polling the market to determine a level of demand. I spent time testing prototypes to understand if my concept could work. I spent time doing the math to see if the idea is viable as a business. Then, I turned the camera inward and looked the aspects about me that could torpedo my business. I found that the bit of background work overcame a lot of my shortcomings. I received help from my wife on being my accountability partner. I carved out time each day to chase down the list of work for the startup. I knew that building the business, maintaining my day job, and being a good dad and husband all work hand in hand. To be an effective example to my son and to make my wife proud (and myself), taking the concept of Targeted Thermal Support to athletes to improve performance and reduce heat related injury drove me and continues to drive me to succeed. A successful on-line business means I have options and my family can make decisions.
To help focus, I control my intake of information. There’s too many distractions out there that will crush focus; Facebook, TV, Twitter, talk radio, alcohol, un-healthy food. I subscribed to some killer podcasts like the Shopify Masters, EOFire, and a few others all dedicated to talking business and offering advice to entrepreneurs. I went back to the gym to burn off the extra caffeine and sugar from the day, and get the blood to my brain so ideas are fueled and unchained. Many of my daily ideas are forged from a run or even in the post workout shower.
Lastly, time management needed to be addressed. Based on my son’s needs, my wife’s, and mine, we set up a schedule to keep my boy on track, work running on all cylinders, and the startup needs. We decided that I needed to get up earlier to get Greyson around, tag out for the day job, catch a couple hours of Kryofit Sport work at the end of the day, and stop at the gym for a quick HIIT workout before going home. This leaves me pretty tired after dinner but if I have any gas in the tank, I’ll do a bit more work after my son goes down.
Look, it’s hard work. There isn’t a magic method or some sort of innate talent here. It’s being honest with yourself and your spouse, making a plan, and by God sticking to it. I just happen to do it with big stupid grin on my face because I finally have what I’ve been missing. I have a level of financial security, a loving wife, a great business startup, and now I have my son. In short, I needed to re-evaluate my life so that I can provide, prosper, and parent. I harnessed that primal drive to achieve these goals and that’s why I call it Provider Power. Don’t let a kid stop you down or be an excuse to quit or even worse not start. It will be a bit slower but you CAN chase down your goals, your dreams, whatever you are willing to fight for. Your children and spouse won’t see the wrong priorities on something other than them. They’ll see a warrior parent and spouse putting it out there in the big bad world of business to forge a better life and they’ll learn from it. In the end, isn’t that the whole point?