It’s a familiar battle most entrepreneurs face -- how do you balance time between your business and your personal life? When your business is growing, it’s a thrilling time. Maybe you’re making a move into a larger facility, or you’re hiring new staff. Production may be at capacity, and you’re finally starting to see the vision you had at the start of your business come to life. While it can be tempting to throw yourself into the business and participate in all aspects of its growth, what do you do when your family is growing just as fast as your business?
Jas Brar, CEO of Entripy Custom Clothing, experienced this exact dilemma. His three children were born in the last five years, during a time when Entripy was growing faster than ever. “We had double digit growth every year, making things very hectic at work, and at the same time, my family life was getting busier and busier,” Brar said.
Here’s how Brar managed to keep up with the increased demands of a growing business and a growing family.
Use family as fuel.
Brar’s wife and three children not only keep him grounded, he said, but they actually fuel him to do more at work. “As an entrepreneur, you’re an adrenaline junkie. So having that extra busyness at home kind of fuels you to do more.” Juggling the needs of three young kids gives Brar the momentum he needs to be more productive at work and provides the creative spark to ignite his imagination.
Find time by cutting out the commute.
When Brar was searching for a new home for his growing family, location was the biggest factor in his purchase decision. “I try to cut all waste out of my life, and the commute is a waste,” he said. Brar purchased a home five minutes away from Entripy’s office to ensure the time spent getting to and from work was as short as possible. As the business has grown, Brar has, at times, looked at moving Entripy to a new location, but in order to keep up with his responsibilities at home, he said “Entripy and home can never be far apart."
Keep your foundation strong.
“I wouldn’t be able to do what I do without the support of my spouse,” Brar said. Nourishing his relationship with his wife, Shelli, is front and center of Brar’s weekly to-do list. “You can’t bring all your effort to work. You have to bring it home too,” he said. Because Brar lives close to the office, he’ll often go home to have lunch with his wife, and the couple has a weekly date night to ensure they’re getting enough quality time together.
Business talk is always on the table.
Although many entrepreneurs try to separate work and family life, Brar says in his household, business talk is never off the table. “You don’t walk out the door and the business disappears,” he said. Brar shares the details of Entripy’s successes and struggles with his wife, whom he calls his biggest cheerleader. “No one else knows the ins and outs of the business better than her."
Work when everyone else is sleeping.
Although Brar does bring work home, he avoids sending out emails or working on his laptop during family time, preferring to work while everyone’s in bed. “I feel the least amount of guilt when my family’s asleep because I’m not missing out on anything,” Brar said. “I’ll sacrifice a little bit of sleep, but I won’t sacrifice quality time with them.”
During busy times, Brar will go into the office at 4:30 am and leave by 7 am, just in time for wake-ups. “I try to make sure I’m there for my kids when they’re waking up and when they go to bed,” he said. "There’s nothing better than them going to bed seeing you and waking up and seeing you.” Brar says he always takes the kids to school and schedules work time around the kids drop off time. “That’s a great way to start my day, and I wouldn’t want to start it any other way."
Put trust in others and delegate.
Too often, Brar says, entrepreneurs try to do everything themselves. Learning to let go is the only way he’s been able to balance increased work and life demands. “If you build a good culture and you’re a good leader, you’ll be able to grow the business because it doesn’t need you to micromanage every decision,” Brar said. When making hiring decisions, Brar makes sure he’s bringing people on board who are not only independent and able to take the reins when he isn’t around, but who represent his beliefs and style so he can delegate tasks and get them done the way he would do them.
Be mentally and physically strong.
A growing business takes mental and physical strength, something Brar says he was lacking until about five years ago. “I ate horribly for the longest time and my body took a beating. My brain felt more foggy, I was more moody, and I wasn’t as energetic.” A change in diet and lifestyle helped make his work and family life more enjoyable, Brar said. “I have energy to do things with the kids, and I bring that same energy to work."