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Is it possible to run a business and have a life?

By Patrick Vane

Q: Is it possible to have time for a family life, or a life outside of the office, when you are running a successful business?

A: Yes....but you have to work at it. My experience is that it is best to explain to spouse, significant other and any children, that you are beginning a venture that will change the way you spend time with them. Be as clear and as specific as possible. For example, on the issue of travel away from home, don't just say, " I'll be traveling from time to time." Instead say, I am going to Atlanta to meet with CocaCola, the people who make the pop you like to drink. Try to relate your travel to something in your loved ones' makes you being gone much more tolerable. Second tip...use the technology available to you to keep close touch. Cell phones are great for immediate contact. I once interrupted a funding meeting to listen to the finishing moments of a crew race my daughter was participating in....the folks around the table got so interested in the narration, we put my other daughter on the speaker phone for a moment and everyone congratulated her on the was fun and it made my daughter feel like I was interested in what she was doing (I was interested!) even though I was on the road. E-mail is also great.

When home, make an extra effort to let family know both the good and the bad of your daily life. My kids share my pain when something doesn't go right and they hear about it when things are good. I tell them we're all on a journey for which there is not much of a road map. But part of the fun is the discovery along the way.
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