The number of dads using flexible working arrangements to care for their children has doubled since the mid 90s, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Changing gender roles have meant more dads are opting for flexible work arrangements or turning to entrepreneurship, for a greater work-life balance.
When I left the safety and security of my job behind a few years ago, my wife was pregnant with twins. It was a daunting experience but the time was right to branch out on my own and I knew it would allow me to curate the best life for me.
To add to the pressure of launching a new business, I was in the middle of completing an MBA. Study, a new business and twins on the way sounds like a recipe for stress, but mostly it was exhilarating.
Four years on and I’m grateful I pushed through. I’m now lucky enough to live by the beach with my wife and 3 kids, all under 4 now, and have the freedom and flexibility to spend time with them while working to my own schedule. Hiring a few team members has helped too! Being a parent has only added to my work and the drive to succeed. I want to set the example for my kids that fears should be tackled head on, because really, what’s the worst that can happen?
Here are my five tips for aspiring Dadpreneurs:
1. Don’t let your Ego get in the way
Fear of failure holds so many people back from following their passions. You have to be willing to take risks to reap the rewards! What if it didn’t work? Be honest with yourself about what you have to lose and consider a backup plan. Also, be realistic about the workforce, and don’t necessarily think that because you were paid a small fortune in the corporate world, that your initial customers are going to pay you the same straight off the cuff (but if they do, all kudos to you!)
2. Don’t start a business for the sake of starting a business!
Hone in on your passion and look for ways you can monetise these. No one has your exact skills. There might be thousands of people in the world in your industry, but no one will do things and see things exactly as you do. Use these points of difference to showcase your expertise in the work you love most. Make sure you’re playing the long game and pursuing your passions, not just jumping on a business fad or trend.
3. Set clear boundaries for work and family
As an entrepreneur, you’re never fully switched off from work, but there are things you can do to make the boundaries clearer. Switching off from tech when spending time with family, for example, or setting specific timeframes for work. Some crossover can be a good thing though – I share the things I’m doing with my family across my social networks, both business and personal, because business IS personal. We’re working with other people after all, and they want to see the real you!
When you first launch it can be an isolating experience. Men, in particular, are at greater risk of experiencing mental health issues and not reaching out, so establishing a strong support network from the outset is critical. Getting involved in a co-working space can be a fantastic and cost-effective way to meet new people who are on the same business journey as you, as well as providing opportunities to collaborate.
5. Build your profile
Having a strong online presence is essential. You don’t need to be on every social media channel, just the 2 or 3 where your target audience frequent most. Research who your target audience is and what media they are consuming. If they’re on LinkedIn, put in place a content marketing strategy to post regular, engaging insights to LinkedIn to reach them.
About the author
Entrepreneur, author of ‘I Just Want It To Work!’ and founder of boutique digital and social media marketing agency, Menace Group, Kevin Spiteri works with 7, 8 and 9 figure businesses to develop dangerously good digital marketing strategies that yield measurable results. He has contributed What I learned from starting a business at 14 and Negative feedback: it’s a gift, don’t waste it to Dynamic Business.