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The Effect My Kids Have Had on My Business

The Effect My Kids Have Had on My Business

By Pat Flynn on

flynnsMy kids have changed me, and they’ve changed my business.

It has been an incredible challenge to balance being a parent to little children and being a parent to a business too, but despite the challenges I can definitely say that my kids have made an extremely positive impact on the growth of my business and who I am as a person.

This isn’t a post about why and whether or not you should have kids—it’s a post about the lessons I’ve learned since becoming a parent and how they apply to my business—and how they might apply to yours too—whether you have kids or not.

I’ve Learned to Be Super Efficient (Because I Have to Be)

Before having kids, I remember having all the time in the world to work on my business. I had long stretches of time to really get things done and I didn’t realize just how precious that time was until my kids were born. Once they entered this world, most of that time was dedicated to them and there was very little time left over for my business and my blog.

Any extra time was typically spent catching up on sleep, and the blocks of time and opportunity I did have to work on my business usually didn’t last longer than an hour at a time.

It was a huge struggle at first and although I was blessed with a flexible, passive income business that allowed me take a few weeks off after the birth of each of my children, there were new projects I wanted to begin, and for a while I just felt like I wasn’t getting anything done because I didn’t have as much time as I did before.

I realized that I had a decision to make: I could either spend less time with my children so I can work on my business, or I could learn to work smarter and become incredibly efficient with the time I did have to work.

I decided to go for maximum efficiency, and it changed everything. It was then that I realized just how much time I was actually wasting when I was working.

In my head, wasting time while working became wasting time that I could potentially spend with my kids, and suddenly I felt bad every time I went down a YouTube wormhole or started something that directly was not helping me achieve my goals.

I also realized just how important goal-setting was, and understanding, even before getting into work-mode, exactly what it was that I wanted to accomplish in that short period of time I did have to work.

Cutting down the time I did have to work forced me to work smarter, and I’m so thankful I’ve learned how to do that. Even though I have two kids now, I feel like I’m accomplishing much much more than before.

There are several other productivity tips and strategies that I learned along the way. In the next podcast session (Session #76), I’ll be sharing everything I learned to help me become a more productive person—so look out for that later this week.

I’ve Learned the Importance of Teamwork (And Simply Having a Team)

It would be very difficult for me to raise my kids on my own. They’re super active and I’ve spent alone time with just the kids before, and I’m always exhausted afterwards. To the single parents out there, you are amazing—I don’t think I’d able to do all that you do.

Along the same lines, this is a great time to give a special shout out to the most important member of the SPI team, my wife. The most under-rated job in the world is that of any stay-at-home mom. Without my wife, my kids wouldn’t be as awesome (and good looking) as they are and my business wouldn’t be where it’s at today. She is amazing, works much harder than me and is one of the most important reasons why my business has taken off like it has.

When my wife and I were married, we became a team. When we had kids, we had to become a different kind of team, one that focused not on us anymore, but our children.

Having kids has taught us the important of communication within our team, as well as the idea of how important is it to do what we can to make the other person happy. I’ve taken the same approach with my business.

For one, I wouldn’t be where I’m at today and couldn’t do what I do without the help of other people, including those in my (3) mastermind groups, the people I’ve hired to work with me on various projects, and you, those of the SPI audience.

With these groups of people, I it’s important to me to be completely honest and upfront with everything. Plus, the more I can better serve them, the happier everyone is and the bigger the business grows.

I Make Better Decisions for My Business

Before I had kids, I wanted to succeed so I could live a happy, fulfilled life.

Now that I have kids, I want to succeed so my kids can live a happy, fulfilled life, which puts a whole new spin on the decisions I make in my business and why I do what I do.

A lot of what I do and the decisions I make are a result of thinking about the future of my children—not only what I could do now to give them the most opportunity down the road, but I try to imagine them as adults who are talking about their parents, and I want them to be proud of what we’ve done and the decisions we’ve made.

This thought guides me, and I know it’ll ultimately help me better serve my audience too.

I’ve Learned to Be More Patient

There’s a joke I heard once from Louis C.K. about how impatient everybody is nowadays. He mentioned how when we call someone on our smartphone and it ‘hangs’ for a bit, taking a few extra seconds to actually dial through, we get all frustrated because it’s not instant.

“Give it a second! It’s going to space!” he says.

And it’s true—we live in a world of virtually instantaneous results. Do a Google Search for anything and it will tell you that it took 0.27 seconds to complete the search.

Building a business in a world of instanteous results is difficult, because as easy as it is to setup a business these days, results and success are the opposite of instant—it takes a lot of time, hard work and patience to win.

Having kids has taught me to become more patient, because anything that has to do with kids will always take a lot of time, hard work and patience.

“It’s bedtime!” And then they fall asleep 3 hours later.

“We’re leaving, please put your shoes on! No, that’s the shoe for your left foot. The other left. No not like that. Ugh!”

“Please eat your vegetables. No no, your vegetables. Here, watch me eat one. Yum! So good! Okay, now your turn. How about we eat one together? Ready, set…”

Since having kids, I’ve been less stressed about certain aspects of my business, especially the parts that involve waiting for things to happen when it’s not entirely under my control.

I’ve Learned to Appreciate the Small Wins

The other day, my son opened up a bottle of water and poured it into his mug. Afterwards, he jumped up and down with excitement shouting, “I did it! I did it! Look mommy and daddy, I did it!”

Who in the world celebrates something like pouring water into a mug? Well—kids do, and watching how excited my son gets over the smallest things as he learns and grows is inspiring.

I’ve noticed that when he celebrates these seemingly unimportant events, he keeps moving forward and pushes himself to try something new, and that’s how I’ve structured how I move forward in my business. I take big goals and chop them up into tiny, acheivable milestones and make sure to celebrate after each achievement.

Can you imagine what it would be like to go up to a kid who’s excited about pouring water or tying a shoe or opening a door and say, “Kid, that’s not a big deal—everyone can do that.” How much of an impact would a comment like that have on a child’s life? How much would that kind of thinking limit a child’s energy and motivation?

Well, that’s exactly how we treat ourselves a lot of the times. Yes, it would be silly to get extremely excited about the same types of things (like pouring water), but when we’re learning something or trying something new, we forget about the learning process and how cool it is to accomplish even the smallest of tasks.

Appreciate the small wins. They’ll keep you motivated and moving forward.

I’ve Learned That Adapting Quickly is Important

The experience of raising a child is very similar to that of starting a new business for several different reasons. But to me, there is no bigger reason than the idea that in order to succeed, you need to learn how to adapt.

In both worlds, things will never go according to plan. A plan helps us prepare, which is important, but no matter how well you plan, things will change and new situations, problems, issues and scenarios will arise, and when that happens you can decide to freak out and give up, or adapt, adjust and pivot accordingly.

Even before our son was born, he’s been teaching us how to adapt.

About 4 weeks before our son was due, my wife woke me up and told me her water broke. I don’t remember since I was half asleep, but apparently my initial response was, “I’ll fix it later.”

Then, after she reiterated and I understood exactly what she meant, I temporarily freaked out. We didn’t expect all of this to happen so early.

After forgetting how to put my pants on, we got things moving. She packed her things, I packed mine, and we were off. We had to leave Gizmo (our dog) in the apartment and call one of our friends to come to the hospital to pick up our keys, then get Gizmo and puppysit for a few days. The car seat wasn’t installed yet, but when April was napping at the hospital my dad and I quickly put that together, and everything worked out beautifully.

Since then, our son’s been making the experience of parenthood quite challenging, forcing us to adapt in ways big and small every single day. But, I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.

The same goes for my experience with business. Things never go 100% according to plan, and many times its the things that happen unplanned that turn out even better even better in the end.

As much as I was worried about the impact having kids would have on my business, I can honestly say that they’ve helped me become a stronger man and smarter businessperson. 🙂

I hope you enjoyed this post—something a little different amongst the Niche Site Duel posts I’ve been publishing lately, and look out for a new podcast session coming later this week on productivity!

Which of the above lessons resonates with you the most, and why? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below.

Cheers, and have an awesome week!

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