Dave Kerpen | What’s Missing From An Entrepreneur’s Life?
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What’s Missing From An Entrepreneur’s Life?

What’s Missing From An Entrepreneur’s Life?

We tend to either glorify or oversimplify the life of the entrepreneur. We’ve all heard the stories of entrepreneurs slaving away in their basements, garages or dorm rooms until they hit the jackpot and build their fortunes. But for many entrepreneurs, it’s more of a slow and steady grind, and moderate success over time.

I’m so grateful for my amazing wife, family, teams and entrepreneurial success. I consider myself to be blessed beyond my wildest dreams. Still, up until recently, there’s been something missing. I’ll share what’s been missing in my life and what I’m doing about it in a bit. But first, I asked, “What’s missing in your life?” to other young leaders from The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. Here are their interesting answers, followed by mine.

1. Direction

One of the great things about being an entrepreneur is you get to do something you love and tend to wear a lot of different hats. But unlike someone who goes to school, gets a degree in a specific field and then practices in that field, entrepreneurs are chasing a different dream. So at times, it can feel like there’s no clear direction, which can be frustrating

- Andrew Howlett, Chief Digital Officer, Rain

2. Security

Trying to seek security in work or life is a fatal pursuit. The truth is that it doesn’t exist. As we all know, change is the only constant. You can do your best to protect yourself, but in the end, everything dissolves. It’s all just dust in the wind, so to speak. You can either let that scare you, or let it liberate you — your choice.

Jonathan Mead, Co-Founder, Playbook

3. Answers

I never know what a day, week, month or year will look like exactly, but that’s why I chose this lifestyle. I don’t have all the answers for my business or personal success either, and running businesses reminds you of that almost daily!

Darrah Brustein, Founder, Finance Whiz Kids | Equitable Payments

4. My Kids

My company has grown, and that has meant both challenges and opportunities. Business has brought me to San Francisco, and my kids live all the way back in a small town in Ontario, Canada. I see them every couple of weeks, and I take a week off to be with them every two months. I end up seeing them more than most busy working fathers in some ways, but I don’t see them every day, and that is hard.

Andrew Angus, CEO, Switch Video

5. A Normal Schedule

I think achieving perfect work-life balance is complete BS, but I will say that having no balance whatsoever is difficult day-to-day. If I could infuse anything that I wanted into my life, it would be the ability to wake up, do a yoga class in the morning (or meditate), hang out with my daughter, work from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and then be with my family. Keep weekends sacred. That would be pure bliss.
- Erin Blaskie, CEO, Erin Blaskie, Digital Strategist

6. Work-Life Balance

Finding the right work-life balance is something I’ve struggled with ever since becoming an entrepreneur. If I could achieve that, I would be content and satisfied.

Andrew Schrage, Co-Owner, Money Crashers Personal Finance

7. Job Security

One of the things you give up as an entrepreneur is job security. I may be having a great year in 2013, but 2014 is much less certain. Life is always a hustle — there’s no such thing as sitting back and collecting a reliable paycheck.

Alexandra Levit, President and Founder, Inspiration at Work


8. Television

When you are working 70+ hours a week consistently, TV is the first thing you will want to sacrifice. Unfortunately for me, that usually means I have no idea what my friends are talking about when they bring up TV programs.

Chuck Cohn, Founder and CEO, Varsity Tutors

9. Structure

When you become an entrepreneur, you no longer have the warm blanket of structure most people have in their lives. You generally don’t “have to” be at work from 9 to 5. No one gives you a performance review. That’s why it’s so important to surround yourself with people who will be honest with you and challenge you. It’s the most important thing an entrepreneur can have — even when it hurts.

Mitch Gordon, CEO/ Co-Founder, Go Overseas

10. A Personal Life

Being a startup founder is quite lonely. There are a lot of sacrifices that have to be made to build the company, and it seems like one of the major ones is going out with friends to happy hours, sporting games and other normal outings.

Ryan Shank, COO, Mhelpdesk

11. Consistency

When you run your own business, you quickly learn that things are ever-changing, and you have to learn to be adaptable, flexible and OK with chaos. Entrepreneurship is akin to being in the tornado that drops you in Oz. It’s chaotic, dangerous and scary at times, but it’s always worth the journey.
- Steven Le Vine, CEO/President, grapevine pr


12. The 9-to-5

Most 9-to-5 schedules mean rising early in the morning and retreating early in the evenings. For entrepreneurs, a schedule like that is obsolete. Days blend into nights as the lack of division between the two creates a flow of continuous working, coffee drinking and repeating.

Zach Cutler, Founder and CEO, Cutler Group

Those are the things 12 young entrepreneurs are missing from their lives. What I found I was missing was my own personal health. For years, I’ve put my wife and daughters first, followed closely by our company’s success. But I struggled with my weight and my overall health. Lots of late night snacks, coffee, and cocktail parties later, my freshman 15 had turned into 50. I had high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and high probability of continued decline in overall health.

Over the last 2 months, I’ve recommitted to making my own weight and health a priority. I’ve begun exercising regularly, and eating better. I’ve been working with an amazing holistic doctor, , a nutritionist coach and his team at The Morrison Center, and I’m proud to say I’ve lost 30 pounds on my way to losing 45, and hopefully, on my way to better health. The real challenge for me, will be in the maintenance of good health, but I’m up for the challenge, and hopeful that you’ll keep me honest. Social accountability is a great thing.

Whether you’re an entrepreneur or not, it’s easy to become unbalanced. It’s easy to be missing things in your life. It’s harder to focus on many priorities and get it all in – but isn’t it worth it?

Now it’s your turn. What is the one thing missing from your life? What’s the one thing you wished you had more or less of? Do you wish you had a better work-life-balance? Do you wish your career challenged you more? Would you rather be an entrepreneur or work for someone? Please let me know in the comments section below.

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