On Christmas Eve 2012, I found myself in the basement of my sister’s condo working on my laptop. My wife and sister in law were in the corner wrapping presents and laughing. Then it hit me. I hadn’t bought any presents for my children! I didn’t have the money, and now I didn’t have the time. My girls were going to wake up that morning around their cousins, and they weren’t going to have any presents to open. What kind of a father was I? That’s when I started to hate Christmas. And it was all my fault.

Christmas morning came and my wife, in her wisdom and understanding, had bought all of the presents for the girls. Everyone had something, and the room was filled with laughter and smiles. Every Christmas I almost cry thinking of how my wife saved the day (and the year), and our children will never know. Entrepreneurship is fun, but I don’t want to hate Christmas…ever. Here are some things you can do to keep the family and finances in order:

  • Close the Laptop – I love what I do, but sometimes I need to stop. Close the laptop and turn off the phone. My failure in Christmas 2012 was not because I made so little money. I failed my family because I forgot them. If you don’t want to hate Christmas, close the laptop and focus on what’s important.
  • Set Something Aside – I save at least 10% of everything I make. I started my company with no money in the bank. I never want to be in that position again. As with financial planning, you’ll need to save something for “a rainy day.” When unexpected expenses come for the businesses, you can handle it.
  • Prioritize – I will never get everything done in one day, and that’s what tomorrow is for. There is always another time and day to make money. Decide what you need to get done and work on that first (hint: it’s not email). Before you open your laptop or turn on your iPhone, write down what you NEED to get done. That will help you get to the important things first…like remembering Christmas.

5 Things Every Entrepreneur Needs

  • Communicate – Entrepreneurs talk to their clients and network with peers. No one is an island. Talk with friends and family about things other than the business. Never become so preoccupied with work that you forget birthdays, holidays or anniversaries. My lack of communication almost made me hate Christmas.
  • Smile – Don’t forget to have fun. I decided a long time ago that If I don’t enjoy my career, I won’t do it. This advice is not just for your family and friends. My clients like to work with me because my workshops are fun. Even if I have a bad day, there are only a few people who will see the tracks of my tears. If you don’t want to hate Christmas, smile. 🙂

I don’t hate Christmas, but it was a close call. My wife saved the day, and helped me remember what is really important in business and life. Family has become an important part of my business and it’s subsequent success. I still work crazy hours, but I never want to go back to Christmas 2012. And I don’t think my wife will let me.

Scientifically Speaking, of course…