That’s a question Queue-it cofounder Camilla Ley Valentin is often asked by future entrepreneurs who wonder how she – with kids, family and a house – found the time to start her own company.
My answer is that starting your own company obviously requires a significant time investment, but whether you think it is a lot of hours or not really depends on your point of reference. Are you comparing it to a part-time job or a regular job with normal working hours? Well then, yes, you would probably have to work more than that. On the other hand, do you compare it to a career position, for instance within management, in a large company? The hours are likely relatively comparable.
If you are considering becoming an entrepreneur, you really should not be intimidated by the fear of long work days. You work with something that you are (hopefully) really passionate about. It is your “baby”. That in itself makes a big difference. Also, remember that, at least in some fields such as technology, it is more flexible than your typical corporate career position. Usually, as an entrepreneur you can manage your day as you like; what you do when and where. For me, it helps to reduce the level of stress at home. For example, if we are running a little late in the morning, or I need to see the doctor with one of my kids, it does not cause any major problems because I don’t normally have to be at work at a specific time (unless of course, I have a meeting, travel, or similar). The work that I will miss in those hours is work that I can just do at a different time.
The entrepreneurial life
The entrepreneur life that I have chosen also means that I spend some of my time at different networking events. In my book, that also counts as work. It must be taken seriously and is something I do to expand my skills and my network, and I look at it as mandatory personal and professional development. As an entrepreneur, it is extremely important to meet people from both small and large companies who can provide input on development, go-to-market strategy, finance etc. You simply need inspiration and help from other people than the very few colleagues you might have around you in the beginning of your start-up adventure. Besides, it also helps you to overcome another challenge that may arise which is that life as an entrepreneur can be quite lonely. I have not personally struggled much with this because I founded Queue-it with two co-founders, but if you are all by yourself, it will certainly be an issue to consider.
Once you are an entrepreneur, I think you will look at your day in a completely different way. Your working hours and/or workday blend very much with your spare time, but you are also the boss and get to choose when and where you work. You work with something that you are really passionate about and counting the actual work hours are less important to you. I am often asked how many hours I work, but honestly, I do not know.
Follow Camilla Ley Valentin on Twitter: www.twitter.com/camillaley