The Family-First Entrepreneur

Physical Copy:


Rating: B+

By: Steven Chou

I wrestle with my relationship with work. I can self-medicate with more work. When life is hard, whether it be at home, at work, with friends and family, my health, or even my faith, it is often my reaction to just bury myself in work. Rather than address the relational issue or sit in the pain, I want to take action. Working gives me a sense of control.

This can come across as a bad answer to the interview question, “Describe your weaknesses.” 

“Umm, I work too much.” How self-aware of me…

The REAL danger here is that work can become an idol. If I am not working and I am not in a healthy place, I can feel lost. That can express itself as workaholism. And that sucks for my family.

Our culture glorifies the high-achievers, the entrepreneurs, and the grinders but ignores the costs. Especially the costs to the family.

What is the purpose of being an entrepreneur?

Freedom of choice with time, money, and impact. 

Having the option to spend more time with your family is one of the biggest draws of entrepreneurship. And yet, if we are not intentional, we can lose that time in pursuit of more.

This book spends a lot of time describing the author’s journey into entrepreneurship. He starts with a side hustle and slowly grows that into a thriving business. Then battles with burnout and overextending himself and his family until they discover better methods to sustain the health of their business and their family.

The sustaining portion of the book spoke to me. 

My favorite takeaways were:

  • Growth is Expensive: When you grow, it costs something. It costs money to increase the capacity, whether it be new capital equipment, new hires, or new software, etc. Growth also costs time. We need to weigh that properly. Is the growth in question worth the additional time out of my day? We need to count the cost and decide when enough is enough.
  • Prioritize Profit, Not Sales: Not all growth is created equal. Whenever a business is struggling the answer is not always MORE SALES! Maybe the answer is cutting the low or no margin offering. As an entrepreneur you have to prioritize sales that have healthy margins and are profitable. If there is no profit, it is not sustainable. 
  • Making the Most of Your Time and Freedom: As an entrepreneur, you get to decide how you spend your time. You get to design your business and your day around your life. To have a successful business and thriving home life requires great intention. If you want to be the one to take your kids to school every morning, maybe your workday needs to start at 9:15 to make that happen. You want to coach your kids’ little league teams? You can choose to spend your time doing that. 

The main point from the author is that:

You have to make a decision of how you are going to spend your time every day. 

My Intentional Week:

Intentional Daily Habits:

  • Cash In: When I sit down at my desk in the morning, before I begin work I read 10 pages of a book of the bible and then 10 pages of a career development book.
  • Cash Out: Before I go to sleep I read 10 pages of a book I keep on my nightstand.
  • Diet: I eat only meat and fruit for Breakfast and Lunch so that I can be more lenient in what I eat with my family for supper.
  • Free Day: The purpose of the Free Day is rejuvenation and enjoyment of physical, mental, psychological, and emotional capabilities. Complete separation and freedom from work-related activities and obligations is required.
  • Focus Day: The purpose of the Focus Day is to maximize concentration of an individual’s capabilities on the most important activities, relationships, and opportunities. Complete freedom from non-productive tasks and details is required.
  • Buffer Day: The purpose of this third kind of day is preparation – for the rejuvenation that will occur during future Free Days and the productivity that will occur during future Focus Days. Complete freedom from the pressures and demands of Focus Day activities and deadlines is required.

What does your ideal week look like?

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