Success in business isn’t just measured by the financial wins and loses that you experience as an entrepreneur or as a business owner. There is a human cost.
When you spend long hours at your business, when you make a bad business decision, when you work on your business on your own, you must consider the tremendous impact entrepreneurship has on your family.
You may have already heard of my story of how I got into entrepreneurship at an early age. I worked long hours, failing at 13 businesses before I reached success and was able to retire at 27. What you might not know is what motivated me to teach and impact millions about mindset, wealth and financial confidence.
You see, I had an early taste of what it was like to have an entrepreneur in the family, particularly when that business person is a parent.
What I want to share are three lessons I learned about what it was like to have an entrepreneur as a father, so that people who are considering becoming an entrepreneur will be better prepared for the challenges of that lifestyle.
Time Away From Family
As a young boy growing up in Hong Kong, I didn’t see my dad a lot because he was a businessman in international trade. He was always traveling and meeting with people. I didn’t know at that young age that travel and networking was part of what being a businessman is like.
What I do remember is that I would see him roughly once a month. That’s it. Once a month he would come back home.
At that time, we lived in a high rise, so I would see my dad from the balcony when he parked the car. I would say, “Hey, Dad!” when I saw him. And every single time when I knew he was coming back, I would get his slippers ready so when he came home he could put them on. That was our relationship.
So the sacrifice of being an entrepreneur was that I didn’t see him a lot. But that did teach me about work ethics, that to be an entrepreneur or businessman, you sacrificed a lot. You don’t see your family much.
It’s this memory that inspires me to teach my mentees, my students, about financial confidence. I teach them about getting a high income skill before starting a business that they can scale.
The first few years of being an entrepreneur are hard, with long hours, but eventually, you want to reach your financial goals, whether it is six figures, seven figures, or more… so that you can have that time to spend with your family, and especially your kids.
Having the skills to make a high income are so important, and one of the reasons why I teach it is because of what happened to my dad when I was a teenager.
Financial Impact on Family
I was 17 years old when my dad went bankrupt. My parents were no longer together – he was still living in Hong Kong while my mom and I were struggling in Canada. I was trying to learn English and the two of us were barely able to afford good food or a decent place to live.
The news about my dad hit us hard. He had been too trusting. His business partner had taken all his money and moved to the U.S., leaving my dad a million dollars in debt. By the time he realized he’d been scammed, it was too late.
The devastation was like a tidal wave that hit both him, my mom, and me. When he ran out of money, he couldn’t send us an allowance anymore. As an entrepreneur and as a father, when he failed, it affected everybody.
In hindsight, I’m grateful in a way that it happened because it made me strong and made me self reliant. Yes, it affected us deeply, but I probably wouldn’t be where I am today if that hadn’t happened.
The financial struggles that my family went through made me realize I never wanted to experience that again. It’s why I teach people to have a wealth mindset, to view being wealthy as something positive and highly achievable. As a spouse, and especially as a parent, you want to be able to do much more than provide the bare minimum for your family.
You want to have enough wealth for rainy days and for the unexpected so that your family doesn’t have to experience the kind of devastation my family did.
The last lesson I want to share is about entrepreneurship as a shared journey. Some entrepreneurs, like my dad, decide to become a lone wolf, facing their struggles alone, but what I’ve found through experience is that entrepreneurship is a family business.
A Wolf Pack, Not A Lone Wolf
Years later, when my dad passed away, I went to Hong Kong to set up the funeral. It was the first time that I got to see where he lived while I went through his documents and belongings. That was when I finally got to know my dad more.
It’s interesting how I got to know more about him after he passed away. I found a binder that had all the communications that we’d had: letters and faxes that we’d collected over the years.
My dad was a very secretive kind of guy, even to my mom and me. He didn’t share a lot about his life. It was almost like he was a spy because I never knew what was going on with him or what he did.
For example, my mom and dad got divorced because my dad had an affair within the first year of their marriage. My mom thought about getting a divorce, but she found out she was pregnant with me. So for the sake of the baby, she stayed in the relationship.
During all those years, my dad had an affair, and after my mom came to Canada, he was actually with my aunt, the other woman. So when I was at the funeral, it was my first time meeting this woman.
I had to work with her on my dad’s banking and other paperwork, and that’s when I finally got to know more about my dad. It wasn’t until that time that I learned about some of his issues, like how he had borrowed money and how that had affected his finances.
Now, as a business mentor, I teach my mentees not to be lone wolves. When they become a student, they join a supportive community, a wolf pack. Why is this important?
There are a lot of inner mindset transformations and struggles that entrepreneurs face. Society encourages us to get a job and work for a boss for a set number of hours each week, for many years. Entrepreneurs and business owners pursue a career path that they don’t teach you in school.
So I encourage my students to share their experiences with their spouses and children. I don’t want a community of entrepreneurs who live a spy-like existence from their loved ones. Entrepreneurship should be a family business.
Now, not all families will support you if you do decide to become an entrepreneur. They don’t understand what we do and they don’t want to. We can’t change their minds.
But if the family can be involved in your journey as you work on your own business, you won’t be facing your struggles and challenges alone. When one family member takes my High-Ticket Closer ™ Certification program, for example, their spouse can also take the program. Also, I have training events where the spouses of my mentees can attend, to share the transformational journey of their spouse as they become better business people.
I realized the impact I was having on the families of my mentees when I saw this note the other day, written by the child of one of my students. He wants to be a High-Ticket Closer when he grows up.
Final Thoughts On How Entrepreneurship Impacts Your Family
If you’re thinking of becoming an entrepreneur, consider the impact you’ll have on your spouse or kids. I learned firsthand what it was like to have an entrepreneur in the family: time away from family, shared financial burdens, a life not shared with loved ones.
For me, I learned a lot more about my dad after he had passed. When I went back to Hong Kong as an adult, we reunited and our relationship was great. I talked to him on a weekly basis and told him I loved him all the time. I’m glad I said that many times.
The only thing I wish I could say to him if he were here today is that I did it! I’m successful. I want to make him proud. He had high hopes for me but I don’t know if he would have guessed I would be this successful. I wish he could see it, what I’ve done and what I’ve accomplished today.
So if you’re starting a business, or if you’re already an entrepreneur, include your family in your entrepreneurship journey if you can. Yes, you’ll go through hardships and challenges together, but the best part is sharing the successes.
What future success would you want to share with your family? Comment below.