What’s it like to be a startup CEO and a father at the same time?

As a part of our productboard video series, I sat down with my colleague Winston to talk about the personal side of entrepreneurship. He asked me what it was like to be a parent and a startup CEO at the same time. You can watch my answer in the video below, but you won’t see that we had to stop the shooting before we covered all the key points, because I had to attend to the needs of my 15-month baby boy, who just wouldn’t sit. 😀

The truth is that being a father and a startup CEO is really hard. It is hard because you are forced to prioritize between two things you love — your family, and your work. And it takes some really hard choices.

It is stressful even more so, because your baby is a baby only once, the first steps are never coming back. At the same time, your company needs you, because really, it’s kind of a baby as well.

Being a father and a startup CEO is like having two babies, or two startups...

The only way how to handle both roles is to prioritize even better, and focus on only the most important things. It unfortunately means often saying no to events with friends, it means saying no to hobbies, no to leisure activities.

No matter how hard you try though, you can’t do it alone. You have to partner with the right people in both your personal and professional lives.

On the professional side, you need to surround yourself with amazing co-founders, team, and mentors. People who will believe in your vision, who will step in when you need it.

On the personal side you need a life partner that will be understanding and supporting in your endeavors. Who will be there for you when you need it. When you go through the hard moments, when you lose hope, when competition pulls a dirty trick, when things go wrong, when people screw up. In those moments, you’ll need all the support you can get. I am lucky, my wife Jenna is amazing, I owe her a great debt of gratitude.

Remember, it isn’t just about you though. It is you who signed up for the hard startup life, it is you who brought the extra pressure onto your family, and it is you who must strive to protect your family from that stress and be there for them. They deserve it.

I find this to be one of the hardest parts of being an entrepreneur.

The hardest part of entrepreneurship is being present and protecting your family from the extreme startup stress.

The effort is well worth it. After all, in the hardest moments of running your startup, it’s your baby — the tiny, fragile human being, whose cries keep you up all night — who provides all the support you need. Because when your baby looks and smiles at you, when it multiplies your love, there is nothing in the world you can’t do.

So back to the original question — what is it like to be a parent and a startup CEO?

It is hard, but it is great.

Here is to all you, parent entrepreneurs out there, and here’s to all your partners. I can’t wait to meet your babies! 👶 😉

Check out the original post on our productboard blog.