I started this article wanting to create a heartfelt piece about how children are the ultimate motivation for any solopreneur. I thought about all the emotions that run through my head as I sit at my writing desk and tried to come up with a list of adjectives that suitably describe the experience. How does it feel to be a solopreneur with young kids? I have two wonderful children aged 8 and 10 – surely I could come up with a whole load of words to reflect my thoughts.
I wasn’t very successful.
It isn’t often that a word monopolises my mind, but I couldn’t escape this one:
I’m not ashamed to admit it. Fear of letting them down is my biggest motivator.
I am blessed that I have enough loyal clients to be able to put food on the table, pay the mortgage and take the occasional holiday, but as the master of my own destiny, I am acutely aware that this could all stop one day. My wife and I have only been financially stretched once during our marriage, and that was before the kids came along, but now that I have two little people depending on me, this would be unbearably difficult if it happened.
Millions of people across the world live and breathe these pressures every day.
Of course, it is scary.
For me, the thought of not being able to provide for my family is like a horror movie that lurks at the back of my consciousness. It isn’t real, and it happily isn’t close to my reality, but it is always there in the background. When a client fails to pay me for weeks on end, I hear footsteps coming up the creaky stairs. When I read about robots writing movie scripts, the door swings open, but there is no one there. When I mentally wave goodbye to my financial services clients (thanks to Brexit), I see a pair of eyes in the dark, staring back at me.
Contemplating failure is scary, and when you have kids, it is doubly so.
Lots of people would say that entertaining the possibility of failure isn’t healthy and will affect the decisions that you make in everyday life. I simply see it as the flip side of the coin from success. It is always there, there is always a chance that it will turn up at some point, and it would be foolish not to be a little scared of the consequences. That is what makes you feel alive, and that is certainly what pushes me on to greater personal successes.
To make a sporting analogy, every sportsman has that little bit of fear in the back of their mind that they might miss that crucial shot. They expect to make it, but that little bit of fear gives them the extra 1% of concentration to make sure that they do.
That is why the fear of letting down my kids makes me (reasonably) successful at what I do. Being scared isn’t necessarily a bad thing – that extra shot of adrenaline and determination could make all the difference between success and failure one day.
Being a solopreneur with young kids is scary.
But that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
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