I wish I had quit my job sooner. 18 months ago I went into real estate investing full time after pursuing it as a side hustle for nearly 10 years. I wanted to quit sooner. Before I actually had the courage to do it I dreamed about working for myself daily. It took a big kick in the butt and a lot of support from my wife (truthfully she was pushing me by the time I decided), before I was ready to walk away from the warm but drab security of a high-paying corporate job.
Leading up to that point, she and I talked a lot about leading a Life By Design and how working for ourselves would open up our time and flexibility. This focused around dreams about what life would look like without a commute and working on someone else’s schedule. What we didn’t have an appreciation of at the time, and didn’t spend enough time preparing for, was how much this change would impact our relationship with the kids.
As I sit here typing this article, I can hear our older two kids playing above me in the loft space of our studio. We built this studio in our backyard in order to allow Wildhorn Capital to have a dedicated space for the business that didn’t require me to leave the house. The fact that it doubles as the kids favorite play place is a just another pleasant accident. In this article, I want to highlight the four most unexpected, exciting changes I’ve noticed in my relationship with my kids since we took the entrepreneurial plunge.
I see them more Both obvious and counter intuitive–we’ve never worked harder or longer, but I’ve also never been around more than I am now. Think about how just getting multiple 5 minute increments throughout the day can add up. Without thinking about getting in the car, I’m able to jump off a call and be sitting at the dinner table within 10 seconds. I’m more engaged and around than I have ever have been (confirmed by my wife). So much more than what I thought was possible in starting your own business. On my vision board I have a picture of a school bus–one of my goals is to be there when they get off the bus in the afternoon. I am able to do that almost every day. This and all the other little moments I get to steal have been pure joy.
Be unexpected places at unexpected time This may wear off over time, but I still love being able to surprise the kids during the day. Whether its picking up my 4-year old from preschool, or taking him to swim lessons and watching (through the window while I’m on a call); driving carpool to camp with my daughter and her friends or showing up to read to her first grade class on a random Tuesday. I truly cherish the looks on their faces when Dad walks through the door to pick them up and they aren’t expecting it.
Sharing the parenting load with my wife We just had baby #3. With his birth we shifted our parenting strategy from man-to-man to zone defense. All of the examples above not only allow me to steal a special moment with my kids, but also help out my wife. Having two of us around the house allows us to have more flexible schedules. Say there’s a change in the daily schedule (kid goes to the nurse’s office, emergency at our parent’s, unexpected post office trip), we have the ability to react quickly to all of these changes without calling anyone else for help.
Include them in the business The biggest way that this has changed my relationship with them is seeing their interest in the family business. As of this writing, the older two are only 7 and 4 years old, but the questions I get have started to center around our apartments. “Who lives there?”, “How do we own them?”, “Why do we buy them?”, “Can I drive the golf cart?”. The interest we’ve created in allowing them to see and visit The Joseph, The Lila and our most recent two acquisitions, I believe, shows them that anything is possible, entrepreneurial tendencies should be encouraged, and why you should follow your dreams.
If you can’t tell by now, being a Dad is really the most important job title I’ve ever had. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to be more readily available for them, and to raise them in an entrepreneurial family. When I’m talking with people considering leaving their job, I always encourage them to do so. And I always lead by talking about the benefits to their family relationships, particularly with their kids. So, if you’re pondering a change and wanting to follow your dreams with a new venture–do it. Your kids (or future kids) will thank you for it.