Through blogging, I’ve met so many friends, including today’s guest, James Oliver. James recently wrote a book about his experiences starting his own company while also being the at-home dad of two young children. His compelling personal story also contains great advice and encouragement for others who may want to become a parentpreneur.
Here’s a transcript of my Q&A with parentpreneur and author James Oliver about his book, his company WeMontage, and juggling entrepreneurship and parenthood.
- I love the title of your book: “The More You Hustle, The Luckier You Get: You CAN Be a Successful Parentpreneur.” Can you explain how this title inspires you and can help motivate us, too?
Hustle equals hard work. And the harder one works in business, the more likely one is to have good things happen to them and their business.
- What is a parentpreneur? What are some of the challenges and rewards of being one?
A parentpreneur is someone who is both a parent and an entrepreneur. Being a parentpreneur is hard-I ain’t gonna lie. It magnifies the inherent challenges of being a parent and of being an entrepreneur. It’s difficult to be sufficiently present for family with a young business that needs so much of your attention to keep it going.
The rewards I hope will be that my kids see they can do whatever they want in life and don’t have to be a lawyer or a doctor because someone told them that’s a safe thing to do. Also, naturally I’m expecting the business to succeed beyond what might be possible from a traditional corporate job. So, significant financial security would be a reward.
Lastly, my life’s work is to be an entrepreneur, but my purpose is to inspire parentpreneurs. So, I’m living on purpose now, and that is immensely rewarding.
- The birth of your business coincided with the birth of your significantly premature twins, who were in the NICU for weeks. Could you briefly describe this time in your life and how you were able to make it through what must have been an incredibly challenging time.
I am not sure how I made it through that experience. I cried every day for two months and woke up at 2am every day from the stress of it all. It was sheer grit (persistence and resilience) that allowed me to complete the startup accelerator and raise capital while the kids were in the NICU.
- Your wife comes through as the unsung hero of your story. Can you describe how you were able to build such a good partnership?
Like I said in the book, I got lucky.
- How big of an adjustment was it to be the at-home dad while also building a business from home?
It was a big emotional adjustment to not feel like a failure. But I decided to focus on the fact that my kids would only be that age once and it would be a unique opportunity for me to bond with them.
- You end the book on an optimistic, almost wistful note that the busy, nerve-wracking work of raising young kids are “the good old days.” What advice do you have for working dads of young kids.
Remember that these are the good old days, and choose to cherish them now. Take lots of photos and videos and share them with the people who matter in your life. Smell the roses.
Also, take care of your mental health because good mental health is the most important thing-especially for parentpreneurs.
- Finally, can you give us an update on your business, WeMontage?
I’m still grinding away on WeMontage. Despite creating a briliant, innovative product that’s gotten amazing exposure from places like the TODAY Show (three times), Good Morning America, Martha Stewart’s blog, Money Magazine, and other places, the business still isn’t meeting my basic expectations from a revenue standpoint. We recently moved to Atlanta, which has a whole community of people who support tech startups-this is different from where I previously lived. So I’m optimistic that now that I’m in a place with lots of opportunity, my hustle will cause things to improve dramatically.
Like I said in the last chapter of the book, you need faith, hope, and love. I’ve always had faith in God and myself. And I’ve always had the love and support of my family and friends. But now, for the first time in a long time, I have hope-lots of it.
James Oliver Jr. is co-founder of the world’s cutest twins, founder of WeMontage.com, which turns your photos into removable wallpaper, and author of the book “The More You Hustle, The Luckier You Get: You CAN Be a Successful Parentpreneur”. Reach James on Twitter via @jamesoliverjr and on Instagram @WeMontage.
What do you think about parentpreneurship? Any experiences to share? Let’s discuss in the comments.
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