9 Tips To Being An Entrepreneur With A Baby

James Preston Reply 7:54 AM
Well, it's finally happened... I've decided to write about this myself. After mentioning it a few times on my Twitter, and not finding much success on the internet at all, I thought I would simply do it myself: Tackling the challenges of being an Entrepreneur all while having the immense responsibilities of a baby.

It frustrates me that almost every entrepreneur serious about helping and inspiring other entrepreneurs makes mention of the importance of early mornings. Now, I understand full well why early mornings are so important, that message alone is not what frustrates me. What frustrates me is that none of them, not a single one, have any advice for how to balance early morning work with the responsibility of a baby.

I read a lot of material from entrepreneurs, and I am yet to see one article. So I figured the best thing to do would be to bang out what I would say to someone embarking on an entrepreneurial venture whilst being a parent at the same time.

WHY WAKE UP EARLY?
Now, I understand full well the theory and encouragement behind waking up early. Not only have I read enough material, but I have over a decade of experience in the practice. I used to do the Breakfast Show on my local radio station. Although, having to be in the studio at 5:30am was something a 21 year battled to get used to.

The primary reason is because you get more hours in the day to work on projects. And of course, for those who aren't early-risers, going to bed late can perform a similar function. Quite a few entrepreneur writers acknowledge this.

Other reasons for waking up early include the fact that we are most attentive, focussed, creative, and "at our peak" in the morning. So it only makes sense to get the important, meaningful work done in the mornings.

And of my favourites is that early mornings are the most quiet, still and peaceful. There is very little that can compare to sitting down to get work done with a cup of coffee, knowing that nothing is going to interrupt you. (If you don't have a baby in the room, of course). As Robin Sharma puts it: "Get your best work done while the world sleeps." That feeling is genuinely satisfying.

But then life catches up with you.

You can't be a selfish, workaholic entrepreneur your whole life. At some point in your adventure you have to contribute to society and add to the population. And of course meet your inner desires of being a parent.

And so you take the plunge and have a baby.

It doesn't take long to realise that your happy little life of routines, plans and projects are tossed into the chasm of chaos.

In my 30 months of being a father, I have had to adjust radically to the varying sleeping and morning patterns of my son in order to maximise my time. Here's what I've learnt in 30 months...

1. Plan with your partner times to work on your projects

You owe it to your partner to communicate where you are at, and what you are feeling. What your plans are, and what you are working on. If you need extra time like needing to work at night during your weekly TV series watching, then explain this to your partner. It's only fair, and most times, they should want to help you.


2. Plan times when (and places where) you can work away from home

Following on from above, when planning with your partner times to work on entrepreneurial or personal projects, plan times to do it away from home. I have found going into the office earlier, before everyone else arrives, is now far more effective than working at home. But it's only fair on my wife that she knows ahead of time that she'll be on "morning duty" that morning I'm out. And I try not do it too often so we balance those "morning shifts". Most times I don't do it more than once a week.


3. Wake up a bit earlier but less frequently

I am blessed that I only have to be in the office at 8:30am, so it gives me extra time to work on personal stuff. So, before Joel came along, I was waking up on average around 6am about 4 times a week. With one of those usually being 5am. This would give me good time to either write, pray, or work. It was a heavenly routine. All until baby came along.

Now, I find a better way to do it is to wake up once or twice a week at 4am, which still gives me a similar amount of time to accomplish things. (Having said this... waking up at 4am is obviously much harder than 5 or 6am, so doing it once a week is more realistic).


4. When it comes to (personal) work projects; work around your baby, don't try make them work around you

Now, when Joel was born, my wife and I said we were determined to let him fit into our lives, he wasn't going to control ours. Hahahaha. It's so funny how arrogantly naive you are before your first little one comes along.

And as with much of our lives, personal work needs to fit into his routine and not mine. So for me, I've had to adjust as he has got older. His sleeping patterns and his requirements have changed. So for the first 18 months, it was easy to work from 5am - 7am most days. But now he wakes up just before 6am, so I have had to change my routine. Radically.


5. Prepare for the 18 month mark: Things change even further after this!

So you think things are tough with a newborn? Just wait.

Before they can talk or walk, they're just helpless little cutie-pies lying around. The moment they can walk, talk and run, they require engagement (and control) that literally require all the energy you have inside! Prepare your mind for this.


6. Learn to be content with the time your child allows you

It's just reality. If you've had a baby (depending on the circumstances), you've either counted the cost and are willing to pay the price, or else you're just having to deal with the cost. Either way, instead of wishing for more time to yourself, be thankful for the times you do get (which isn't much). You'll be much happier this way.


7. Don't get too lost in your work that you miss out on your kids growing up

I cannot believe my son is 30 months old already! I had a shocking revelation the other day when I said to someone "if I double his age he'll be 5!" I thought to myself "what did I just say!? My son's going to be 5??" It was scary.

I've always said that Einstein's Theory of Relativity goes into overdrive when you have a baby. 1 year feels like 3 months, and 1 week can feel like a month!

It's imperative to make the most of your time with your kids. You only get one chance with the age they are now. And they deserve memories with you. I've had to lay down a whole bunch of personal and work-related goals and projects in order to ensure my son (and my wife) gets enough of me, and I get enough of them.


8. Prioritise what is most important, and be prepared to lay down certain projects

Following on from the previous point, one of the biggest things I've had to learn is prioritising the most effective and impacting work, and laying down the work that just isn't worth the sacrifice of my own energy, and my time with my family. It's hard and really sucks laying down big ideas. But I have my whole life ahead of me.


9. Life means so much more than simply accomplishing stuff

For "achievers" and goal-driven visionaries like me, accomplishing goals and succeeding in projects is the lifeblood of my existence. But being goal-driven can distract you from being present in the current moment, enjoying what you've been given right here, right now. You can never get this moment back again, make sure it's a moment that can be looked back on with thankfulness. Time you were glad you "stopped to enjoy".
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That's just about what I can come up with now. There may be more to come as I think of more ways that I have learnt to adjust to being a parent. But this was what came to mind when I decided to write my own perspective on this.

I know that there is so much more to learn. And I've only had one child so far. Who knows what else is to come...

What about you? Are you a parent? What are some of the biggest changes you've had to make since becoming a parent?
Are you still "childless"? What are you preparing for the most knowing your life will change when your first child comes along?


Leave a comment and let me know!


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A Letter To YOU, My Subscribers

James Preston Reply 7:35 AM
Dear all my wonderful subscribers,

Yes, that's you. If you're reading this in your email right now, it means you're a subscriber.

I need your help today. Nothing major. But it will require a short action from you.

(Most of you subscribers would have received this Email already at 07:35 South African Time - please forgive me that this comes to you again, my Blog automatically sends new posts out to all you subscribers - so if you've seen this already, simply ignore it!)

I just wanted to say thank you for subscribing to this Blog. It means a lot to me that you would trust me enough to send you an Email once a week with my material. I understand that your Email is most likely overwhelmed by all kinds of junk-mail, and it humbles me that you would want to receive my material on top of all the other Emails you receive everyday. Thank you.

(On a side note related to that; I hope you employ "filters" on your Email. I'm not sure what you use for Email, but I use Gmail online. And with Gmail I can filter whatever Emails I want to skip my inbox and go to a folder I have preset them to go to. If you're interested, you can read more in the first point of my most-read article ever: http://www.jamespreston.org/2013/07/the-4-basic-apps-you-will-only-ever.html )

Anyways... coming back to this Email. There are two reasons I write to you today.  The first is to say "thank you". As I mentioned above, but sincerely mean it: I really appreciate you. I am not publishing this Blog Post to Facebook or Twitter. I am keeping it private. For you alone. (Yes, it will be available on my Blog for visitors to my site to see, but most people come across my Blog through Twitter or Facebook anyway.)

The second is to ask you awesome subscribers a small favour.

I just want you to take a short survey I've created about my Blog. When I say "short", I mean short! It is only 6 very basic Multiple Choice Questions. I would love your feedback to help me serve you better.

In case you didn't know, my background is Radio (I got my first job as a Radio Presenter at the age of 16). So I love being in front of an audience sharing things with them. Whether it be what's on my heart, a reflection about the world, or helping them live better lives. And I am thinking about expanding this expression from my Blog to a possible YouTube Video Blog. And the feedback I get from you will be invaluable in helping me assess how I go about doing this. Or whether I go about doing it at all!

Would you mind doing taking the survey for me, please?

If you have an extra 90 seconds, just simply click this link: JAMES' SHORT BLOG SURVEY

I would be sincerely grateful.

On top of this survey; I would love to hear from my subscribers individually! I know that some of you are friends, colleagues and family, that's OK. I'd still love to hear from you! I also know that some of you are from the other side of the world who I have never met in my entire life.

No matter who you are, I would be delighted to hear from you. Even if it's just a short email.
Drop a mail right now by clicking this link: EMAIL JAMES.
(That Email address comes straight into my personal Email Inbox, so if ever you want to get in touch, please feel absolutely free to do so!)

Once again, thank you. I just wanted to take this time to appreciate you and thank you for reading my material every week! You are all amazing, and remember that you were born to change the world. No matter how small or great, it's all contributing to something greater! A better world!

Together in this journey of changing the world, with my sincerest regards.

Have an absolutely superlative day!

James

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A life musing...about what comes afterwards - Guest Post!

James Preston Reply 7:23 AM
Well here it is! The Guest Blog Post I've been promising you since last week. I asked Cath Jenkin, a prolific Durban writer, to be a Guest on this Blog, and to write whatever she feels! She knows my Blog, and knows its content and where it comes from. So I was keenly interested to see what she would produce. 

Either way, I count myself extremely privileged to have Cath write for this Blog, because not only is she a gifted writer, but she's also an extremely busy one! Writing is literally her life. Cath writes for News24's Parent24, Digikids.co.za, Mail & Guardian Women, her own Blog, and many many more. You can check out a portfolio of her work at the link on her website.

What she has produced is a gem! It may (or may not) come across as slightly controversial to the Christian audience. But I love it! I don't know exactly what Cath believes about God or the afterlife. But having chatted to her fairly extensively, it seems as though she had Christian parents (at the time) and had an introduction to (fairly religious, regimented) church in her early years. After her and her parents had some very unfortunate experiences at the hands of Christians, I don't blame her for her subsequent weariness of the church. But these experiences don't seem to have extinguished her awareness of God. They simply allowed her to remove the boxes of preconceived theological paradigms, and explore the possibility of what God really might be like.

So this Post comes from a fresh new perspective for us Christians. What a beautiful opportunity for Christians like me to see what people like Cath believe both about God, the afterlife, and the "religious community".

You don't have to agree with it. Simply consider the perspective. And give us your thoughts in the comments below. She has said she is completely unafraid of the religious backlash should your thoughts be on those lines.

Her post reminds me of Paul's glorious statement in Romans 2:4...
"not realizing that God's kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?"

Enjoy!

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What about the afterlife? Perhaps we get what we believe in.

It really freaks me out when someone tells me I’m going to hell for something. I’ve had lots of that type of comment thrown at me over the years. Whether it’s because I had a child out of wedlock or have done something that someone else may have considered wrong, in their view. It’s irked me, primarily because - what right does someone have to judge me and, similarly, how could they know I’d end up in hell because of something I do that - to them - is “wrong” in this life? How and why do they believe they get the right and power to make these choices and judgement calls?

The concept of heaven and hell has always interested me. Not in any particularly religious sense but, more vividly because the idea that someone could, definitely and without question, tell me what happens when we die, and then actively prove it for me, seems a little preposterous. Of course, there are numerous tales and stories written by people who claim to know what happens when we die…but those are written by people who are still alive so, I can’t help but take those with a little pinch of salt.

At the same time, if a person wants to believe in these notions, then they are free to. For me, I don’t believe in hell, as a concept, notion or destination. But I do like to think, for a lot of reasons, that there’s an afterlife.

And why am I okay with that idea? I realise it’s primarily a comfort thing. I like to think that my beloved parents, when they died, went somewhere great. Somewhere fantastic, beautiful and scenic. I like to think they met up with our family pets and my cat is now sitting on the couch arm next to my dad, just like she always did. I like to believe that they’ve had quite a few parties and that they’ve danced the family-famous grasshopper a hundred times or more. I like to think they don’t have back problems anymore and that they are no longer feeling concerned about world issues. I hope they do the word puzzle every morning and the crossword every afternoon. They were – and still are to me – far too full of life to be doing anything else but living it up and having fun together. If there is an afterlife, I hope they got the ones they believed in. To me, each person on this planet has a unique life experience that is entirely their own. Why would it be any different after we die?

I wouldn’t mind at all if my folks could do a little detour, pop back into the living world and let me know how it is for them. At least then I’d have some sort of reference point and an idea of what the afterlife is. Sadly though, and this is the fate of us mortals, no matter how much we may wish them back…our loved ones who die don’t come back.

Most of all, I think, a little too much societal energy is placed on the idea of an afterlife. The concept that how good or how bad we are during our living days, will determine what happens to us when we die, is also a little irksome. Why do we place so much focus on “being good” for “the next life” that we forget to “be good” and simply enjoy the days of this life?

I’ve seen it happen a few too many times for it to not be annoying. The brigade of “if you do that, you’re evil and going to hell” has probably made me grit my teeth a few too many times and that’s possibly why I get irritated. But, when I see someone wasting a perfectly good sunny day, because they think they should be indoors doing what someone else told them to do, I always want to ask if they really feel that they’re on the right path, for themselves. The concepts of control and fear do, of course, come into play. Tell a three year old that they’ll get a time-out if they steal a biscuit and they will probably not steal the biscuit. But, tell an adult that they’re going to hell if they have a baby without getting married - how is that okay? The thing about consequences is, in parenting, you have to prove that you can and will follow through on them.

In essence, I cannot say for certain if there’s an afterlife. If there is, that’s cool - I’d like something to look forward to, after all. But, most of all, why would anyone want to live this life with an aim that’s directed at the next one? Do the best that you can in this life you have now and enjoy this life you have, for the sun is shining and, you know, it’s a damn fine day to soak up some rays.

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What do YOU believe about the afterlife?

Maybe you're a Christian. What do you think about modern Christianity's emphasis on hell in its message?

Share your thoughts below...

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11 Industries Revolutionized by the Internet

James Preston Reply 11:27 AM
The internet has changed the game. Completely. Everything has been radically disrupted by the internet. And the funny thing is, the internet isn't a single company or idea. It is a collective project made by people who want to share. Something humanity would do well to note.

Who would've expected, though, that one single "invention" (if you can call it that?) could change the world this much? Has anything revolutionised the way we live our lives as radically as the internet?

The printing press? Electricity? The car? I really do think the internet trumps them all. And with this post, I want to show just how radically the internet has changed the game by highlighting 11 industries that have been completely upended with the advent of the Internet.

In order of most radically transformed (so far)...

1. Music Industry
This was the first industry to feel the weight of the Internet's power. And it all started with "Napster". Sean Parker had an idea to share music with everyone who had an internet connection. The only thing is, he did it from one centralised hub. This was his downfall.

With the invention of the "Mp3" codec making music files being so small and accessible, people could download music without buying the whole CD, FOR FREE! The music industry would never be the same again. Then came P2P Sharing sites like Kazaa, then Steve Jobs brilliantly caught on and released iTunes. Then bitTorrents. And now YouTube. Which brings us to the second industry...

2. TV and Movie Industry
When last did you watch an advertisement during your favourite TV show? The only TV these days worth watching advertisements for is Live Events, like sport. That's it. We now watch the TV Shows and Movies we want, when we want, how we want.

And with the development of YouTube and Vimeo, and the accelerating change of video technology making it more accessible, people are able to make video content and share it for free with the world! Soon, we won't need to pay to go see our favourite movies, because they will be made by people with a passion for Film, not by people who are doing it for money.

The Film Industry will fight back. And has been since BitTorrents were invented. But like all the industries on this list, It will lose.

Blockbuster? Dead. Netflix? Competing with HBO, CBS and Paramount! An internet company!

Fun Fact: Did you know? The amount of full-production movies being made in Hollywood DROPPED since a peak in 2010 and has been steadily dropping since? Ominous me thinks.

3. News
Where do you go the moment you hear of a crazy story? News24.com? CNN.com? The TV? No, Twitter. That's where. And that's where live, breaking, as-it-happens, uncensored news gets broken first. Twitter has changed the News game forever.

I found out about Steve Jobs, Michael Jackson, and Robin Williams dying on Twitter. Get your head around that Generation-Xers!

The Asiana Flight 214 plane crash in San Francisco? Twitter.

Malaysian Flight MH370 that went missing? Twitter.

Malaysian (Poor Malaysian Airways) Flight MH17? Twitter.

You get the point.

People can write their own spin, their own perspective, and more importantly, their own experiences, on breaking news with the likes of Blogs, YouTube, Vlogs and Social Media. News outlets have to adapt or die. It's as simple as that.

4. Shopping
I'm really excited about this one because eCommerce is only really taking off in South Africa now. It's taken a while, and has been dominated by Kalahari and TakeAlot, but with genius franchised couriers like FastWay that's about to change for South Africa.

But look at shopping overall in the West and it's clear to see the game has changed. I mean, for an internet shopping company to be one of the wealthiest companies on the planet has to tell you something! 10 years ago the word "Amazon" meant the Amazon jungle! Now kids immediately associate the word with the online store.

Which brings us to number 5...

5. Publishing
Amazon has rocked publishing forever. But without the internet, this would never have been possible. And of course you can publish your own book without Amazon.

But with the largest directory of publications available for immediate download direct to your Tablet or eReader, print publishing and its associated administration is fighting a very steep uphill battle. The way publishers have been running the market for the last century is over. Authors are free to write what they want. Wanting to actually be heard is another story of course. Good marketing the key there.

6. Taxi Services
What if I told you I was going to create an app, and because of it the transport associations of Berlin, London and other main cities would rise up in massive protest? You'd laugh me off, right?

Of course, no one actually plans something like that when writing an app. They're just trying to solve a problem. Help somebody.

But this is exactly what Uber did. Their genius self-employed taxi cab service has so changed the game that there have been huge protests in the above-mentioned cities because Uber was taking their business.

Did you lads not learn? If you can't beat 'em, join 'em!

7. Telecommunications
The way we communicate has changed forever. Thanks to Skype, Whatsapp, BBM, Email, and so many more the traditional form of Faxes and Telephone calls are as good as dead.

Gary Vaynerchuk does a poll when he does a live event talk: Who gets angry when their phone rings? He says that for the last 2 years the people who stick their hand up has been steadily increasing to now be at about 60% of the room! I don't know about you, but I'm one of the 60%!

Because time is such a precious commodity, the advent of a short message before a phone call or Skype has become commonplace, and far more socially accepted. People don't want phone calls anymore! Why? Because technology has changed the way we do things.

Phone companies have had to adapt or... you guest it... die.

8. Radio
Before, you were always subjected to whatever the DJ or radio station wanted to tell or play you. Now? Find your favourite podcast, song, sermon or Ted talk, put on your iPod, iPhone, Mp3 player, phone, whatever, and play it when it suits you. You choose what you want to hear!

There is still a lot of opportunity and scope for this one, but the very fact that people are making a living (and a good one at that) entirely off podcasting, and industry unheard of not 10 years ago, just goes to show how much transformation has taken place.

South Africa's very own Gareth Cliff is a prime example of this. With the world at his feet, he took his audience off FM radio and online. Putting all his shows into podcasts, so people can listen to them when they want!

5FM replaced him with the afternoon drive's DJ Fresh. I don't listen to DJ Fresh anymore. I used to listen to him at least 15-30 minutes every week. Now that he's moved to 5-8am? Nothing. I don't hear him anymore. And I used to enjoy his show. But now? That time just doesn't work for me. Not to mention the fact that I only ever listened to him in the car, the place I listen to most my podcasts. (I can't listen to podcasts much in the gym, I can't focus properly! On the podcast, that is.)

Gareth Cliff on the other hand? He's onto something...

9. Education
I was hoping my Facebook and Twitter question this morning would provide something new that I hadn't thought of yet. And it did. Right here. Education!

Cath Jenkin (actually a Guest Blogger next week) brilliantly suggested that Education is about to be turned on its head. And she's 100% right.

Do you know how many Entrepreneurs that I listen to and read are saying not to send your kids to college? Yes, you Generation-Xers would vomit at that. But it's making more and more sense.

With the amount of information available, the way people are getting educated is in for a radical change. It hasn't reached tipping point yet, but when it does... it's going to be radical.

I am pretty confident my son won't go to college/university. I know that's a big statement for many of us old-school thinkers. But man, so much is going to change by the time he's 16. And I'm sure education is one of the big ones!


10. Financial
This is actually the reason I wrote this post. The Financial Industry is about to get radically turned on its head. I don't know how, I don't know when. But with the horrendous crash of 2008, the bankruptcies of Iceland, Cyprus and Greece (and who knows who next?) it is only a matter of time before something radical changes.

And the trend I am seeing is Cryptocurrency. If you've never heard of Cryptocurrency or BitCoin, it is the gamechanger. Do yourself a favour and watch this brilliant video by the World Bitcoin Network explains it comprehensively. (One of the videos I downloaded and put on my iPod for cartime listening).

Based on an asset/commodity, and a secure and entirely transparent ledger, with no central banking controlling prices, interest rates, fees or accessibility, BitCoin (or other Cryptocurrencies) really are going to change the financial game. Because it is desperate to be changed. Cryptocurrencies could be it.

With a current market capitalization of $ 6,410,045,846 (at writing - from here) there is already so much momentum for BitCoin and other Cryptocurrencies that this wave is pretty unstoppable. For economists and sociologists, this is a gamechanger...

11. Politics
And finally, politics. Sure, this isn't really an industry. But I'm sure you'd agree it belongs on the list?

We've already seen it in Turkey, Egypt, Syria, and more. Social Media has upended entire governments. People are fed up with police states and big corporations running the show. True democracy is here. In the form of the internet.

How the change will happen or take place? I don't know. But there's no doubt, change is in the air.

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That's it for now. 

What industries have I left out? What else is at the mercy of the Internet? Waiting for a revolution?

We are in interesting times. And as a Millennial (or Generation-Yer) I love it! What about you?


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