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My wife and I are in our late-twenties, and we have a full emergency fund saved up. Our only debt is our home. We have talked about having a child sometime next year, but I am on the road three weeks a month for my job. I don’t want to be gone so much once we have a child, and I am thinking about opening my own business, so I can eliminate the travel and control my hours better. Do you have any thoughts on this situation?
An entrepreneur is the person I know who can go from sheer terror to sheer exhilaration and back every few hours. You’ve got to have a strong mind and a strong heart to be successful, plus there’s a good chance your idea won’t last long if you don’t love what you’re doing. Remember, too, you’re basically on straight commission as an entrepreneur, and there probably wouldn’t be a regular paycheck you could count on for a while.
Okay, that was a quick dose of reality. Now, if time and money weren’t considerations, what would you rather do—stay at your current job or run your own business?
My advice to anyone, entrepreneur or not, is to make sure your work falls in line with the passions, skills and talents you were born with. You don’t need to work in the construction business if you don’t like being outdoors and working with your hands, just like you don’t want to be stuck in a call center if you hate talking on the phone and being cooped up inside all day.
Everyone wants to be successful in their job, enjoy what they do and make lots of money. But personal happiness is just as important. If you wake up excited about what you’re facing every day, chances are you’ll be successful and happy. If you wake up dreading the day and your job, I can almost guarantee you won’t be successful or happy.
You’ve got a lot more thinking and research to do, Mike. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to change jobs or be an entrepreneur. Being able to spend more time with your family is a noble and worthwhile thing, too. But I’m not hearing a lot of direction in what you’re saying right now. Maybe work with a career coach, and spend some time tossing ideas around with your wife. I know you both want great things for your child, but you’re not going to make the best possible decisions for yourself—and your family—without a lot more planning and thoughtful discussion.