Ending Soon! Save 33% on All Access

You Don't Need to Sacrifice Your Family to Pursue Being an Entrepreneur. Here's How to Save Yourself 500 Hours Per Year. Here's some advice for dadpreneurs on how to be a great dad while building an amazing business.

By Derek Notman Edited by Kara McIntyre

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

I used to think being a dad and an entrepreneur were mutually exclusive; boy, was I wrong. I went back to work two days after my son was born believing — like most entrepreneurs — that if I wasn't working, I was going to fail. Fast forward to when my son turned 1 year old, then 2 years old; he was growing and reaching milestones like crawling, milestones I was missing or, at best, getting via text from my wife. I was starting to realize that if I wasn't around as a dad, I would end up failing as a father.

Talk about a wake-up call.

The internal struggle between being a dad and an entrepreneur is real. But as a dadpreneur, you can overcome the challenges of both to be a great dad while building an amazing business. Here's how I did it, more than once, and what you can do today to embrace your inner dadpreneur.

Related: 5 Ways 'Dadpreneurs' Can Balance Home and Work

1. Embrace remote work

I used to commute every day to an office until I bought my own office building, all because I thought it was what successful people did. After years of slogging through this model, I decided to challenge the status quo and I questioned everything. Long story short, I sold my office building, moved across the country, was one of the first financial advisors to take their business virtual, and then created two more companies completely virtually.

How did I do this? I embraced remote work. I did this by investing a small amount into the right infrastructure to be able to work from anywhere: a solid computer with dual monitors, wired internet, a great mic and camera, a standing desk and a dedicated space to work in my home. I also embraced tech and put together a tech stack that empowered me to be really efficient. I saved over 500 hours a year by making this transition — the equivalent of 12.5, 40-hour work weeks! Let that sink in.

How does this save 500 hours a year you may ask? Well, if you commute an average of two hours round trip each day, five days a week for 50 weeks a year (factoring in roughly two weeks off for vacation), that equals 500 hours. Most of us never think of the time we lose to commuting, but it is very much a big part of our day, week and year. I for one can think of a lot better things to do than spend over 12 weeks a year commuting!

By embracing remote work we get our time back, time that we can reallocate to more important things like our family, hobbies and even getting more/better work done.

Related: From Mark Zuckerberg to Richard Branson: Here Are 5 Amazing Leadership Lessons From Famous 'Dadpreneurs'

2. Use your entrepreneurial mind

Isn't entrepreneurship all about solving problems and challenging the status quo? So why not rethink how you balance being a great dad while building an amazing business? Do you really have to commute to an office that has ping-pong tables? Do you really need to work 15-hour days? The list goes on.

I reached a tipping point when my son was about 2 years old. I was tired, stressed and feeling down about missing time with my son. I ended up taking a solo trip to rethink everything I was doing as an entrepreneur and dad, and questioned how I could do things better. This is what being an entrepreneur is all about. Take your blinders off, pause for a day or week and question everything — chances are you'll come out on the other side with great ideas that you can act on.

3. Focus on balance

Work-life balance is not a myth, but it also doesn't happen by accident. If you've ever flown somewhere, you've heard the pre-flight safety announcement about putting on your oxygen mask first before assisting others. Well, the same holds true in life when being a dad and business owner. How can you be the best dad and entrepreneur possible if you aren't first taking care of yourself? You can't!

I learned this the hard way and was headed for an "early dirt nap," as they say. To find balance, I started by creating a vision board with my family that helped us crystalize what is truly important to us in life; things like health, travel, experiences, etc. It was a fun experience that I highly recommend everyone do. But having a vision board doesn't mean anything if we don't take action, so the next thing we did was determine specific action steps. I started time blocking my calendar, putting time with family first. I focused on my health and surrounded myself with people that had similar visions for life and business. It's amazing what happens when we're intentional; we are happier and healthier, and we are in a better position to help others. Balance has empowered me to be a much better dad and entrepreneur.

4. Be a leader

Leadership can sometimes seem like a scary or daunting idea, but I've found that it's actually freeing. Being a leader is simply being proud of yourself and what you stand for and not being afraid to publically share it. Of course, you must be respectful and considerate of others, but that doesn't mean you can't put your stake in the ground.

By being a vocal leader, you will attract your tribe with your vibe. It's human nature to seek out those like us, those that are further down the path we're on. We look up to these leaders for inspiration, motivation and to learn from them. I'm a leader at home, following only my wife of course! I'm a leader as a dad, showing my son how to be a great young man and teaching him about the world. I'm a leader in the work that I do, inspiring and empowering others to be their best and hopefully learn from my experiences. This is what leaders do.

Related: Leadership Lessons For Dadpreneurs

5. Think like a dadpreneur

Dads who focus on remote work, entrepreneurship, work-life balance and leadership tend to be happier, healthier and more successful. This is what being a dadpreneur is all about! It still takes work but being thoughtful and aware of how to be a better dad and entrepreneur will surely have a positive impact on those you care about and work with.

By focusing on balancing my personal and work lives, I've been able to work all over the world, start multiple businesses and meet amazing people who've become friends, investors and even business partners, and I've been able to do all of it while taking my dad game to the next level. Although each of our paths will vary consider embracing this methodology to take your dadpreneur game to the next level.

Derek Notman

Founder & CEO of Couplr

Derek Notman, once compared to "The World's Most Interesting Man," is now a recovering financial advisor turned fintech founder. He dislike ties, loves flip-flops and enjoys challenging the status quo. He's a dadpreneur, loves world travel and is on a mission to fix this thing we call money.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.


Is Consumer Services a Good Career Path for 2024? Here's the Verdict

Consumer services is a broad field with a variety of benefits and drawbacks. Here's what you should consider before choosing it as a career path.

Business News

'Creators Left So Much Money on the Table': Kickstarter's CEO Reveals the Story Behind the Company's Biggest Changes in 15 Years

In an interview with Entrepreneur, Kickstarter CEO Everette Taylor explains the decision-making behind the changes, how he approaches leading Kickstarter, and his advice for future CEOs.

Business Models

How to Become an AI-Centric Business (and Why It's Crucial for Long-Term Success)

Learn the essential steps to integrate AI at the core of your operations and stay competitive in an ever-evolving landscape.