Entrepreneur Beginners Guide
“Business Comes First, Family Second”
Good things happen when you: get your priorities straight. —Scott Caan, actor
I am almost 100 percent sure that the concept of putting business before, family has caused me to lose some followers on Twitter, or at least it has given some of my followers a negative perception of me. Who in the world admits to putting their business before their family? To the average person, this notion is ludicrous and totally not politically correct.
When I first tweeted about how my business comes first and family second, I received the following comments: “You lost some friends on that one.” “I disagree. I always put my family first.” I cringed when I saw these and other comments pop up in my Twitter feed. I certainly don’t like to invite controversy, but I think people who aren’t diehard entrepreneurs miss my point. I don’t blame them necessarily, because I can’t explain my reasoning within the 140 characters that Twitter allows. Ironically, I didn’t receive any backlash from seasoned entrepreneurs. Something tells me they understood.
Some of the pushback on this comment came from people who work a normal job. The irony of their comments was overwhelming. Some said, “I always put family first.” I doubt it. If they wanted to take off a year to take care of a sick parent and relied on the income of their job, they couldn’t do it. They would get fired. They are beholden to the employer.
Why do top-performing entrepreneurs put their businesses first? I’ll use an analogy to explain. When informing passengers of emergency procedures on airplanes, flight attendants always tell adult passengers traveling with a child to put on their oxygen mask first before they put one on a’ child. It’s counter intuitive, but it makes sense when you think about it. Children depend on adult passengers to protect them because they cannot put on their own mask. If you do not follow this procedure, you could lose- consciousness before giving a child a chance to live. This simple step saves lives. Similarly, business is a life-or-death situation. If you don’t take care of your business first, everyone could eventually “die.” As my father often says, quoting a Bible passage, if you don’t work, you don’t eat.
Likewise, I love how financial guru Suze Orman discourages parents from starting a college fund for their children if they don’t have adequate savings. She admonishes them, saying, “Slow down! Your children will be better off if your finances are in order first.”
Now that I’ve explained putting business first, let’s take a step back. I don’t follow this rule absolutely. Of course, there are some exceptions: I wouldn’t miss a close family member’s funeral, for example. However, if I am about to close a million-dollar deal and my son asks me to play catch that evening, my son will have to take a rain check. It’s not cruel; it’s common sense. Though he may be disappointed in the short term, he’ll really appreciate the income later perhaps in the form of receiving front-row seats at the Braves game right next to baseball legend Hank Aaron.
One of the biggest advantages of entrepreneurship is independence and flexibility to prioritize. If your business is doing well, you deserve to take more breaks and to spend quality time with family. If not, you should be hard at work, making sure that you can pro-vide for your family and generations to come.