There are so many amazing parts to starting your own business. Things like never having a boss again, being able to build a business and brand, making choices based on your own preferences and opinions, and how every day is a new and amazing adventure. These are experiences beyond words and they have helped to make the process of starting a craft brewery all that you think it would be. The other side of this equation involves many other experiences and instances that are less than glamorous, or things that become worse through this process.
One of these things is the relationship you have with family and friends. It is not that the business directly effects these relationships, rather the extra time and attention starting a business takes will eat into the amount of time you have for those close to you. It is a slippery slope to walk, and one that you will often find yourself on the wrong side of. There are many ways to get back to the other side, but it takes ingenuity and changing the established patterns you have …. and lots of coffee.
For me family is everything. I love spending time with my wife and kids. For the most part it is a release from the challenges and grind that makes up starting a business. However, that can become a challenge when you have a list of 40 or 50 hours of work sitting on your desk. Things like entering information into Quickbooks, marketing, ordering equipment, budget revisions, brewhouse work, manual labour, meeting with trades people, and even writing this blog. All these things help to chip away at any sense of release you can enjoy when not at your desk. In other words, your mind starts to wander when you let it, when sometimes what you need is to forget about the business. That is always easier said than done.
Starting a brewery also means that you have a LOT less time for family and friends. Saturdays become work days, early mornings are the domain of getting to-do’s checked off your list and late nights are for preparing for the following day. Sitting with my wife watching a little TV, figuring out who is working when, or even talking about life seems like something we rarely do anymore. Life is busy enough with all that is going on, but to think how much time I have taken away from focusing on my life partner is a little alarming. Same goes for my kids. I have been accustomed to being there for my kids over the past 7 years. I pride myself on coaching their sports teams, dropping off and picking up them from school, and helping with the myriad of chores around the house. All of these things become much harder to do when you are focusing on your selfish dreams.
This selfishness is something we all deal with at some point. Maybe you are looking for additional work to pay off some bills, or you are back in school trying to get a degree, or maybe you are starting a brewery! No matter how you break it down, being selfish results in different things at different times in your life. When you are in your 20’s, focusing on yourself is a lot easier that your 30’s, when family becomes a (really good) drain on your time. Now that Iain and I are into our early 40’s, the lack of time for family and friends is only made worse by a lack of energy.
So with all this in mind, I should officially take this forum to apologize to my dear family and my amazing friends. I am sorry that you don’t see me as much, or hear from me as much as you have in the past. Or when I am around I might be distracted or preoccupied with thoughts of my life. Just know that during this chapter of my life, my focus has changed and that I hope balance and normalcy will return one day. Until then, maybe tell me to lighten up or crack a joke when you can, it will help me be in the moment.
Family sure is important. Glad you see that and you want to try and balance things as much as possible.
A heartfelt post. I am sure many of us in mid-life can relate. You can do it! You’re very brave to be striking out on your own, and wise to recognize the pitfalls of the path you’ve chosen.
Thanks for that. What I have realized is that you are unable to conceive of how a process like this will change your life, and that is both a good thing and a bad thing. Definitely being in mid-life is a huge part of it, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Catch 22….When you work for yourself, you’re hanging out with the boss 24/7. Therein lies the problem. It’ll get easier eventually. Embrace the journey mate, you got no choice.
Remember what Eminem said.
You speak the truth there my friend. You should be enjoying your vacation and not commenting on the ditherings of a random Vancouverite.