Kevin Bell

How A Side Hustle Entrepreneur Can Be A Better Dad

LinkedIn Article

Medium Article


I asked my kids a tough question and didn’t get the response I wanted, but I got what I deserved.

It was one of those days the other day. You know the days I’m talking about…

A mix of being overwhelmed with work and also not being on your best parenting game. Everything was a little messy.

It started out by having to go in for a “Volun-told” overtime shift in the morning. That day in particular is normally an off day for me. I get time with my girls, and I get to work on my businesses in the morning and during naps.

All that went out the window.

I went into work in the morning and then as soon as I could, I shot home to pick the girls up from school.

“Sweet!” I thought “I’ll put them down for naps and then get a bunch done”

Negative ghost rider.

That might have been MY plan, but it was not the plan for my oldest.

She was NOT interested in a nap.

“Ok this will work, I’ll have her chill with me while I finish some stuff and then we can play”

Yeahhh, that didn’t work that well either. A 5 year olds patience for dad being on the computer has a pretty small window.

And of course at the time, I’m determined to get to a good stopping point. So I plug away. Let’s just put a movie on….🙄

Finally! Done.

By then my youngest is up, and whatever was left of peace and quiet nap time is now gone.

At this point the dust settles and I’m sitting there realizing that instead of hanging out with my daughter, which is all she wanted to do. I chose to do work…

I know that these are tough decisions that have to be made and it’s just the downside of being a side hustle entrepreneur right now, but it doesn’t make it any easier.

This is not a message about having a solution and to give you the magic answer to handle this. Sorry, still working on it.

This IS a message about working towards being better. To be AWARE of situations like this and how you can bit by bit handle them better.

So here’s what I did:

  1. I put my phone on do not disturb.

  2. I sat my girls down and thanked them for their patience while I worked

  3. I told them a little bit of what I was doing and why I am doing it

  4. I asked them a question: Does dad love his girls more or does he love work more?

Now I’m not sure if they TOTALLY got my question, but I figured that it’d be a good time to establish this understanding.

They responded with mixed messages. First saying “work”, then saying “I don’t know”.

So I MADE SURE to explain “nooo wayyy! Dad loves his GIRLS more”.

I repeated that a couple times and asked them again to make sure they had it memorized.

  1. Finally, I asked them how I can be better. They’re young and the idea of a performance eval doesn’t quite compute yet, but no better time than now to start.

I want them to know that I am ALWAYS trying to be better for them and if there are things that they think I can do better, I’d love to know. I’m their dad so not every suggestion will be put to use, BUT it’s hopefully the start of some open conversations.

Lesson learned: Parenting is hard. Parenting and working is hard. Parenting, working and building up side hustles is HARD. You’re not always going to get done what you want to get done. Set some clear boundaries for your work and remember WHY you’re doing all of this in the first place.

Here are some recent boundaries I set