With the chaos of the holidays and CES (Consumer Electronics Show) now behind us, I took some time to reflect on what a crazy year it has been. As the co-founder of a growing startup, 2013 proved to be an incredible year, filled with joy, success, love, failure, luck and most of all, hard work. Like many startups, we hustled to bring our business into the spotlight, including an unveiling at SXSW, releasing our private beta at TechCrunch Disrupt and launching our open beta right before the holidays. All this while raising two kids, trying to lead a balanced life and enjoying the holidays with friends and family. I'm not going to lie, balancing these priorities has been difficult and overwhelming at times, but I survived. I even learned how to turn stressful situations into positive learning experiences.
Most people seem to think it's a choice, either business or family, as both can't thrive simultaneously. I disagree. I am the proud step-mom of two beautiful children and a busy co-founder of a growing startup. When my partner and I decided we wanted to start a business together, everyone thought we were crazy. How could we quit our successful and stable jobs to start a business with no safety net? And how will this affect the kids? People looked at us like we were aliens. This was a huge decision, and we (the kids included) have made many sacrifices along the way, but two years later, we are continuing to make it work.
This holiday season, we decided to launch our open beta. We knew that it would be a challenge to prepare for a launch and the holidays simultaneously, but we felt confident that we could manage it all. Though the timing made our launch even more hectic, the reality was that this made good business sense as the holidays are a peak time for app downloads. We were enjoying Christmas brunch with the kids when we realized that our server had crashed. We had to excuse ourselves from the Christmas celebrations to troubleshoot and get our server back up. This could have been a disaster, but fortunately we all adapted. The kids, ages eight and 10, continued to enjoy time with their cousins, while we worked out the issues with the rest of our team who stepped in remotely and solved some of the tech challenges. We also relied on a few family members to log in and test PPLCONNECT from their phones. In the end, we missed about two hours of Christmas.
The reality is that when you are an entrepreneur, the lines between family, life and work are much more blurred. We try as best we can to keep a healthy balance by carving out time for family and time for work. This tactic is usually effective, but every once and a while things happen and force us to stay on our toes, adapt and compromise in order to overcome the challenge at hand. The beauty of being an entrepreneur is that we are in control of our destiny and can make the calls that make sense to us. As demonstrated by the Christmas fiasco, we worked through a potential disastrous situation -- to our company and also to our family celebration -- and bounced back, making the most of unfortunate events and minimizing the negative results of each. These are the moments that define your ability as an entrepreneur to take ownership and lead your team through a challenge in an efficient and intelligent fashion, realizing that everyone is making the same sacrifices to their personal time.