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Founder of Ipswich firm shares tips for ‘parentpreneurs’

PUBLISHED: 16:50 01 October 2018 | UPDATED: 16:51 01 October 2018

Peter Tuvey of Fleximize

Peter Tuvey of Fleximize

Archant

According to entrepreneur Peter Tuvey, father of five and founder of Ipswich-based alternative lender Fleximize, parentpreneurs must balance two types of offspring, each demanding nurture and both carrying the same risk of heartbreak.

Working parents know how difficult it can be to manage a career and caring for children, but when you’re a parentpreneur and run your own business, it becomes a whole different ball game. With this in mind, here are five brutal truths every parentpreneur needs to hear about balancing the two labours of love.

Swallow your pride

The help of others – colleagues, family, friends and hired help – will be essential to the success of both ventures. Whether you’re a business owner who has decided to have children, or a parent starting out in business, you won’t be able to do it alone. If you try, you will simply end up compromising both your children and your business.

Yes, you are ‘the parent’ and the ‘founder’ of your business, but that doesn’t mean you should suffer in silence and refuse help when it’s offered. When commitments surface that you cannot miss, the people that you trust – whether your business partner, a junior team member or a best friend – will be the ones you call on.

In addition, the people who work for you will thrive and grow from the added responsibility you give them. When I sold my last business and set up Fleximize with my business partner, I was fortunate enough to have eight amazing staff follow me. Without them, Fleximize wouldn’t be what it is today, and I would have missed out on far more time with my children.

Qualifications don’t cut it

There are no qualifications that can set you on a straight path. As every entrepreneur knows, once you’ve got that first investment in your business there’s no turning back, and no one can prepare you for the culture shock.

Equally, the moment you come back from the hospital with your first child, your whole life changes forever. Your only option is to develop a strong sense of self, learn quickly and accept the sacrifices you are going to have to make.

You are in control

Despite the inevitable compromises you’ll make and the responsibilities you’ll have, you’ll find you enjoy a great degree of freedom as your own boss. You can organise your day how you want and don’t have to abide by an employment contract or report to a manager.

Equally, as an entrepreneur – and I still don’t know if this is a positive or negative – the emails never stop, and your brain never switches off. It’s fine for you to be out of the office for the afternoon, because if your team really need you they can still reach you. This can feel liberating because you don’t have to feel guilty for leaving the office to look after your children.

Ultimately though, it is you who has the responsibility for all staff members. At some point, you’ll probably find yourself dealing with an impromptu work crisis on a bench next to the kids’ playpark.

Other relationships will be put on the line

This one is particularly true for romantic relationships. With commitments like raising children and running your own business, it’s easy to neglect loved ones because of stress or lack of time.

The available hours you have to spend with your partner will be reduced, but the way to tackle this is simple – make time. Carving out even a few hours with your loved one to relax together and to talk can save you a lot of stress and needless arguments.

Be resilient

Being a parentpreneur necessitates having conviction in your decisions and being resilient in the face of criticism. A negative situation does not need to be permanent and if you manage your own and others’ expectations and keep sight of what is important, then you’ll have a much higher chance of success. If done correctly, running a successful business and a healthy family can even complement each other and make for a truly fulfilling life.

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