Daddy’s Home!

Fathers stay home to watch the kids and build businesses to suit their values

in the early morning or late night hours when his family is asleep.

“We [the kids and I] saw the house as our territory,” says Genene, a part-time real estate agent for Prudential Georgia Realty. “And the boys are cowboys. They’re loud and rambunctious. They had to adjust to Daddy being home, so anytime the phone rang they had to be quiet or go outside. He really interrupted our routine.”

Zbar suggests setting clear boundaries with your family. “And you must have a door that closes,” he insists. “I like boundaries, but at the same time I like the fact that my sons can come ask me whatever, whenever,” says Applewhite, “because I don’t have that anymore. I can’t pick up the phone and call my dad. So anytime I have to spend a moment with them is more precious than setting a boundary; they may be asking me the most important question of their lives.”

Sharing work space with his wife and kids initially put a strain on family relationships. Asked whether or not she sometimes wishes John would go back to corporate America, Genene says, “Yes, yes, yes, but I understand him better now.” The Applewhites also assert that learning how to clear the hurdles has strengthened the family.

This year, in addition to his consulting services, Applewhite has ventured with a partner into financing and developing commercial real estate and recently closed on a multimillion-dollar investment. But even “big deals” present no guarantees. “You really just have to have the stomach for working for yourself and the perseverance and faith to stand and endure,” he says.

In spite of the entrepreneurial grind, Applewhite feels that spending time with his children is worth the sweat, and he has no plans to work for anyone else anytime soon. In August, he launched a new company, Winning Inventing (www.winninginventing.com) , to help other inventors get their products to market. “So many people really want to know the truth about inventing and how to do it for themselves so they can be financially independent and home with their kids. I’ve been blessed with a gift and the experience to help them.”

And he has even introduced his boys to the entrepreneurial game. “They have their own business called Three J’s Neighborhood Services; they cut lawns and wash cars for people in the neighborhood,” says Applewhite. “I’m teaching them to work and build something together as a family. That was instilled in me as a child. And that’s what other cultures do. This is my passion.”

PRODUCTIVITY TIPS FOR THOSE WORKING FROM HOME

  • Keep to the same schedule — Get up early, change your clothes, maintain a normal morning routine.
  • Location, location, location — Choose a quiet, structured location where you can complete your projects.
  • Plan out your day — List specific goals for the day and cross them off as you complete them.
  • Take a lunch hour — Designate time for personal calls, errands, housework, exercise, and other activities.
  • Take short breaks — Play with your children, eat a snack, or walk the dog. Such interruptions will not
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