Being a parent is hard; as is being an entrepreneur. They’re arguably two of the most difficult, and satisfying things someone can do. If they’re both challenging on their own, imagine trying to be an entrepreneur while juggling parenthood.
Billy Gene Shaw of Billy Gene is Marketing knows exactly what that’s like. Billy Gene is a content creator, runs a successful marketing agency, and is also a dad. But for Billy Gene, being an entrepreneur and a parent can be easily integrated.
We asked Billy Gene some questions related to business and parenthood. He touches on topics like work/life integration, the importance of teamwork, and how fatherhood affected him professionally.
As you’ll see, Billy Gene has a great outlook and truly believes running a business and being a parent are not mutually exclusive. Great parents can be successful entrepreneurs!
In his answers below, Billy Gene discusses the concept of work/life integration and how it differs from work-life balance. Work-life balance creates two opposing demands that need to be balanced, while integration is about finding ways to incorporate work with life and vice versa.
Instead of viewing parenthood and entrepreneurship as two distinct demands competing for your time, integration looks to create a harmonious relationship between them. It blurs the line between work and life.
For many people, who work from home especially, this may be a more sustainable approach for navigating life’s demands. It certainly is for Billy Gene. He always finds ways to take care of business while spending time with his daughter and involves his daughter in his business.
By integrating work and life, he says, you never have to sacrifice one for the other. You don’t need to give up time with your kids to provide for them, nor give up on your professional goals to spend time with your kids.
View this post on Instagram
Now, without further ado, let’s get into our interview with Billy Gene!
1. How do you manage your time to be the best father you can be while also being a successful entrepreneur?
I think it’s the destruction of work/life balance, and focusing on specifically work/life integration. Adopting that philosophy has been the biggest game changer for me.
For example, I’ll be chilling with my daughter on a call, playing games with her while doing a conference call at the same time. Or, a better example is on my morning huddle ups, I will involve my daughter like she is on the team, and have her jam.
We will have those meaningful connections and simultaneously integrate them into her own world. There’ll also be time for Barbies, just not all of our time.
VIDEO: Digital entrepreneurship: what is it and how to get started | 7 tips to start an online business
2. Have you ever gotten any business insights from your daughter? Does she inspire you in business?
Yes, my daughter inspires me heavily in business because she’s expensive, so I need to make a lot of money. But secondly, she’s taught me probably the most important business lesson, which is the importance of specific communication.
So for example, if I ask my daughter, “Hey sweetheart, can you go bring me a glass of water”, she’ll say “yea, ok.”
Then time will go by and I will say, “Sweetheart, you said you’d get daddy a glass of water”. And then she goes “Yeah, I know I said yeah, but I didn’t say when.”
And that’s exactly how business is, and the importance of adding in deadlines and being as specific as possible, so there’s less room for error.
View this post on Instagram
3. In your opinion, what are the most common mistakes people make when working on their work/life integration?
I think the most common mistake people make when trying to balance entrepreneurship and parenthood, is thinking that you have to choose one or the other, when the truth is you can do both. You can integrate your work and life.
The second that you have to choose, or you make up in your head that you have to choose, you will give up on one or the other.
“Yeah, I work all the time, but it’s really for my kids.”
But then you’re giving up time, and you only get 18 summers with them before they move out. Or the other way, you go all in with your kids but then you give up and sacrifice your goals, as opposed to integrating them together and making it happen.
4. What tips would you give someone who’s starting an online business and struggling with their work/life integration?
The first thing that I would do is budget out how much it costs to give them everything that you’d want to give them. The dream house, the dream car, the dream education, the vacations.
I want you to look at how fast that number adds up, and how expensive it is. I want you to raise your financial goals. Most people set their financial goals based on what they think they can achieve.
The truth is, this version of you may be able to achieve that, but as you level up and become a better version of yourself, your financial potential rises too. So make sure your goal includes not just your dream life but your children’s dream life also.
View this post on Instagram
5. How has fatherhood affected you as an entrepreneur?
It was the first non-negotiable I’ve ever had in my business.
So for example, when I was building my business, my business came first and I can move everything around. Right? If you have a date, you can cancel it, your friends want to hang out, you can cancel it. You have plans for yourself, you can change them.
But with children, they only understand one form of currency, and that currency is time. For me, that’s non-negotiable with my daughter. I had to figure out how to make more in less time.
What’s the way to do that? One word, TEAM. The way to scale your money, but still protect your time, is to not try and do it by yourself. A solopreneur isn’t a real thing, it’s just a business that hasn’t matured yet.
6. What are some things that you’ve learned to compromise while integrating your life and work? What are some non-negotiables for you?
What I’ve learned to compromise are excuses. Ironically, I haven’t compromised my dreams or my time with my daughter, I’m at all of her games, her sports, etc. I rarely miss any of those.
So what I’ve learned to compromise are excuses. What goes in those situations are my sleep, my video games, my dumb habits, my procrastination.
I have to be more efficient, I have to do things in advance. But that’s the trick: to not compromise, make both a priority, and still make it happen anyway.
The rise of the creator economy has made it possible for millions of people to make a living doing what they love. It’s opened the doors for people to be digital entrepreneurs and the owners of their own online businesses, just like Billy Gene.
Selling a digital product, like an online course or a subscription service, is a great way to supplement your income. For many creators, it starts as a part-time commitment, but eventually becomes their full-time occupation as their business grows.
Besides being a great way to live your passions, being a digital entrepreneur in the creator economy can provide you with a lot of flexibility. Creators can essentially work from anywhere in the world, and have the freedom to make their own hours.
Greater flexibility is, of course, great for parents. Being able to work from home makes it easy to integrate work and personal responsibilities. With more flexibility and freedom to dictate when and how they work, creators can dedicate themselves to their business without making sacrifices.
If you’re considering entering the creator economy yourself, make sure to download our free report to help you on your journey.
And sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date with everything related to the creator economy and digital products market!