‘Surviving the Entrepreneurial Life’ Can Help New Business Owners Meet Needs of Both Business and Family

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Kauffman Founders School releases a series offering insights from author Meg Cadoux Hirshberg, a contributing editor to Inc. magazine and spouse of an entrepreneur.

Many an entrepreneur has struggled to balance the needs of the business and the needs of family. Concerns over time away from home, the allocation of financial resources and which spouse is responsible for what can put families under tremendous pressure as entrepreneurs grapple with the uncertainties, challenges, and ups and downs of entrepreneurial ventures.

The online “Surviving the Entrepreneurial Life” series, released today by Kauffman Founders School, features insights from Meg Cadoux Hirshberg, an Inc.com columnist and author of the award-winning book "For Better or For Work: A Survival Guide for Entrepreneurs and Their Families," which draws on her experiences when she was helping her husband build his company and on her hundreds of interviews with entrepreneurs and their families. Presented through a series of videos and supporting materials, Hirshberg delves into the delicate interplay between work and personal life and the numerous stress points that can undermine relationships.

The Surviving the Entrepreneurial Life curriculum offers practical advice on how entrepreneurs can run their businesses without alienating their families, including:

  •     The entrepreneur and spouse should talk about the risks and opportunities of a startup before the company launches.
  •     Once the business is underway, the entrepreneur and spouse need to decide together how much and what kinds of information the spouse wants to be told about the business.
  •     Entrepreneurs must devise strategies to balance the competing demands of work and family. Besides attending the recitals and soccer games, the entrepreneur should reserve unstructured “hangout” time with his or her children.
  •     Couples in which one spouse is an entrepreneur and the other spouse is working a job to support the family and/or the business face distinct pressures. A working spouse’s financial contribution to the entrepreneur’s business should be viewed as an investment.
  •     Empathy is especially crucial for an entrepreneurial family. The spouse needs to understand that the entrepreneur has to be “all in,” and the entrepreneur needs to understand that the race toward business success may seem like a “lonely marathon” to the spouse.
  •     Even though entrepreneurship demands intense dedication, entrepreneurs shouldn’t get so wrapped up in the business that they forego vacations or indefinitely postpone important life goals such as marriage and starting a family.    

Teaching entrepreneurs best practices in areas not typically covered in other training programs, the Kauffman Founders School enables entrepreneurs to learn anywhere, anytime, and to immediately apply the lessons to their businesses. Other Founders School topics include:

  •     Lessons on Start-Ups, including “The Lean Approach” to starting a business, presented by Steve Blank, a Silicon Valley serial entrepreneur and academician.
  •     Entrepreneurial Selling, presented by Craig Wortmann, CEO and founder, Sales Engine, and clinical professor at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business.
  •     Intellectual Property, presented by Peter McDermott, partner, Banner and Witcoff.
  •     Powerful Presentations, presented by Nathan Gold, founder, The Demo Coach.
  •     Founder’s Dilemmas, presented by Noam Wasserman, who teaches an award-winning course on entrepreneurship at Harvard Business School.

The Founders School online education program is housed on the Kauffman Foundation’s Entrepreneurship.org web platform, which offers resources, educational information and tools for entrepreneurs. It can be accessed at http://www.KauffmanFoundersSchool.org or via http://www.Entrepreneurship.org.


About the Kauffman Foundation
The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is a private, nonpartisan foundation that aims to foster economic independence by advancing educational achievement and entrepreneurial success. Founded by late entrepreneur and philanthropist Ewing Marion Kauffman, the Foundation is based in Kansas City, Mo., and has approximately $2 billion in assets. For more information, visit http://www.kauffman.org, and follow the Foundation on http://www.twitter.com/kauffmanfdn and http://www.facebook.com/kauffmanfdn.

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