In the world of entrepreneurship, if you asked one hundred different people why they wanted to open a business, you’d most likely get one hundred different answers.
I have my own personal reasons for becoming a “serial entrepreneur” but I am also happy to join in this unpredictable journey alongside my partner. Starting a business is no easy feat. By launching multiple businesses with my wife, I’m often met with questions on how we fulfill a balance in our relationship and what other entrepreneurs should take into account if they’re thinking about doing so too.
First, I’d like to start off with the many benefits of running a business with my significant other:
- We get to do life together every day
- We implicitly trust each other
- We have each other’s back
- We get to share the struggles and celebrate the wins together every day
- We are best friends — and who wouldn’t want to work with your best friend?!
So if you’re ready to take on starting a business and keep your relationship intact, here are some tips to ensure you can have a harmonious relationship in business and in love.
Make Them a Priority
You’ve heard the quote about how rarely on someone’s death bed do they regret not spending more time at the office. Same is true for business owners — I doubt any will wish they spent more time cleaning the floors.
So, what do you do? How do you create space for those who mean the most to you?
Make sure that your significant other is always a priority and getting their needs met first and foremost. We get up, have coffee, exercise, always eat dinner together, and we take gratitude walks (or rides on our golf cart with a cocktail) each night after dinner where we both say three things we are thankful for that day.
Little moments like this make all the difference to establish each other as a priority and have some down time together.
Play on Each Other’s Strengths
I tend to be very detailed, whereas Stacey is not as detailed-oriented — except when she’s catering (a 20+ year business/hobby), planning an event, or planning a trip. We both know this about each other, so we set our expectations accordingly.
We both have our fair share of weaknesses and strengths, so we know how to distribute the workload and cater to where we excel. By working together on various projects, we’ve learned how to work alongside one another without getting in each other’s way.
Taking the time to sit down and write out a list of strengths and weaknesses will do wonders. As long as it is communicated in a healthy way, there should be no problem with determining which areas of the business will be handled effectively by who.
If you let yourself, you can always keep saying, “Just one more email,” “just one more class,” “just one more process to build…” Which means your partner just gets the leftover crumbs from your time. The work will always be never-ending. You’re a business owner, for crying out loud… that’s part of what being an entrepreneur IS. So push away from the computer. Walk away from the business. Put the To Do list down. And schedule in time for those who really matter. You schedule time for business, right? So schedule “date nights” for your person.
Be in the Moment
Now that you’ve scheduled in your date night and are committed to making your partner your priority, make sure to be present in those moments. It is easy for your brain to whizz through what else needs to get done, but this isn’t the time for that.
Put your phone down. Look in their eyes. Ask questions. Get to know them. Even after 50+ years of marriage, my mom and dad are still learning things about each other — and they will tell you they are more in love today than they ever have been, because they were serious when they committed to each other way back when.
Deeply embrace and invest in your chosen one while you have the time, and do whatever it takes to love them like they deserve. Your business will thrive with your significant other cohesively working by your side. Even if it doesn’t, isn’t it better to have your person to do life with — no matter what life throws at you?
We certainly think so.
Julie Weldon is not new to balancing multiple business endeavors. As both personal and professional partners with her wife Stacey Pierce, they co-host their own podcast GSD Entrepreneur, manage a business and consulting company A Salty Rim, and launched a Kickstarter campaign in September for O.M.E. Gear.