Aaron Ross is a hustler, although he might not like me to use such a loaded term to describe him. He is a father of 11 children, he is an author, he is a business man and speaker. He HAS to hustle to do all this. He gives a very honest commentary on what it takes to manage all of this simultaneously. It is not easy but it is worth it. Listen up, guys like Aaron don’t come along everyday.
So you have 11 children…
– Yes, ten of which are still at home. Newborn to 18.
– 3 biologically mine, a couple from my wife’s prior marriage, and 6 adopted kids.
So how are you able to be an entrepreneur in all that?
It’s been zero to 11 kids in six years for me. In that time I wrote two books, and had to grow revenue to support a big family.
How do you balance that period of growing the revenue?
-It’s learning to deal with a certain amount of stress as acceptable.
-If you have kids you can’t avoid stress. Same goes for business.
-A business is the best way to invest for financial wealth and a family is the best way to invest in emotional health.
We live mostly paycheck to paycheck because we keep investing the money—we spend a lot on adoptions.
-Every day is a new adventure. If there is something that feels important to me, it may not make sense, but I go for it and trust that things will work themselves out as they go.
You’re an anomaly in the startup community having a large family, how do you get support in that? Do you share the philosophy with people in your business circles?
-I’m not sure. I’ve started working 25 to 30 hours a week. When I work more than 30 hours a week I get more stuff done, but I feel like I’m not creative. While growing the family, I probably work 20 hours a week right now. To make more money while adding kids at a fast pace requires focus on the easiest way for me to make money. I put aside my side projects. I’ve given up exercise.
-A big thing for me when limiting my work was focusing on only the important things that I should do. So having a limited amount of time causes me to focus on the things that are important, and being ok with having a to do list that doesn’t get done.
– Sometimes I’m not sure what I do.
You said that having a good family is valuable for your emotional health, so you’re not stewing on the things that you could do for business and take away your emotional energy.
– So on a scale of 1-10 of money stress I’m always about a 5. We make a lot of money, but we spend a lot.
In a start up you always re invest. Same thing for the family.
– I don’t save anything in retirement 401k. I’d rather spend it on the family. I’ve got the business, and I expect it to grow. I’m the tortoise in the race against the hare.
Taking the tortoise approach, but you’re reinvesting in your family like you would a business. how did you arrive at that place?
– It’s not in me to work 80 hours a week anymore. Maybe if I saw a real payoff to it, then I could.
– Because I’m not sure exactly what’s going to work, then I’m not willing to work more than 30 hours a week because I’m not willing to sacrifice it for a maybe payoff.
– I’ve become more feeling based in what decisions I make, rather than logical.
Some people call it heart centered.
– A few months ago we had like $500 in the bank. We saw a homeless person on the street, and something about it prompted us to go and get him a hotel room for the night. When we got home there were 10 different unexpected checks. The more I’ve learned to trust in doing the right thing, the more things work out.
– I’m still methodical in many ways about how we approach the business.
– I think someone would have to watch me work and tell me what I do.
Advice for someone who is caught in the cycle?
– One of the things that I do is make sure you have clear boundaries of your time. When you work you work, when you’re with family you’re with family.
– I blend things a bit, like I take some of the bigger kids with me on work trips. but for the most part keep things separate. You don’t want to not be focused on one or the other.
– It’s not so much the hours, it’s what you do with the hours.
– One hour of really playing with them is worth at least 10 hours of being there but not playing with them.
If I’m tired, once I get going I start having fun.
– My son and I self published a book on amazon.
– When my daughter helps make the food then she’s more likely to eat it.
– Sometimes it’s a pain in the ass. Having a big family is more fun and more anxiety producing.
– I never had true joy until I got married and had kids.