Let’s be honest, your business (present or future) is your baby. Your business started from something inside you that you “birthed” and now you’re “raising.” A business you run often demands your constant attention, it occupies your every thought, can push you to the brink of exhaustion and can give you pure joy. If you let it, your business can become all consuming.
But what about your relationship? Where does that fit in? Today we’re talking about creating balance in the dynamic between your love life and your business. How do you get both to flourish?
First, though, a note to all the single ladies: Though there are benefits to building a business with a supportive partner beside you, you have some unique advantages that you should make the most of – two, in particular, stand out:
- Financial independence: You call the money shots and have no one you need to dialogue with about your financial decisions. Total autonomy.
- Flexibility with your time: When you pull an all-nighter honing your newest product to perfection and eating popcorn, you don’t have to feel bad for keeping anyone up, or for rolling right through dinner time because the ideas are flowing and you don’t want them to stop.When Elon Musk (owner of the Tesla car company and SpaceX) was launching one of his earlier ventures, PayPal, he and his business partners literally lived in their office space and worked 100 hours a week. Musk has said in interviews that the pace and intensity required to launch PayPal simply wouldn’t have been possible if he had not been single at the time. PayPal was later acquired by EBay for $1.5 billion. Yes, billion with a B.
And even me, if I had had a other half in my life when I first started out in 07′ there’s no way I would have been able to do the things I did the way I didn it, it would have cause problems in my relationship for sure.
Now, for those of you in relationships, here are a few tips to build your relationship while building your business:
Show Your Partner They’re Your Priority
Unless your office space is burning down or you’ll miss out on a million dollar deal, make it a point to not answer the phone while you guys are at dinner or watching a movie (at least once in a while – I know it’s hard). Be present. Set hours when you’ll be “work (and phone!) free.” Leave work at work. If you’re not careful, your business can become the only thing you talk about. And that is very unattractive.
If you desperately need to hash out a decision you’re trying to make, ask your partner if they’re game to brainstorm with you (that’s if your partner is supportive and can ad value) before unleashing a torrent of business talk on them. They may not want to dive back into business at the end of a long day.
Respect their opinion – and that maybe there’s a better time when they’d be excited to help you figure things out. Every day, spend time in your partner’s world, hearing about what they care about, what they’re thinking about and what they’re working on.
Leverage Their Expertise
One of the sweetest things about being in a relationship is what we’re sometimes very different from our partner. So take advantage of those differences. Your partner can help cover your shortcomings. If your people skills aren’t excellent but your man is unbelievably social, get his tips on how to improve your customer service. If you tend to prioritize aesthetics over content, and your partner is a to-the-point kind of guy, have him look at your website to make sure you’re communicating what you want to say, clearly.
Tell Them How They Can Support You
Sometimes your partner wants to throw his support behind what you’re doing but just doesn’t know how. Let him know that you need his opinion on your new logo. Or that if he meets someone interested in the service you provide, he can give them your card. Or that you’d love to hear his perspective on your marketing strategy if that’s his thing. Or maybe he can help set up your table at the event where you’ll be selling your stuff.
Talk About Money
Money is one of the top two potential relationship runners. It doesn’t have to be, though. If you and your partner share finances, talk to them about what you’re earning and what your earning goals are. Discuss where the funding from your business will come from and where earnings will go – i.e. back into the business? into your joint savings? both? somewhere else?
When it comes to money, there’s no such thing as over-communication. Guard your relationship from resentment, frustration, and mismatched expectations.
Share the Vision
Don’t assume that your partner knows why you’re inspired to run this particular business. Don’t assume they understand the end goal that’s making all these sacrifices worth it for you. Or even why you’re passionate about serving your particular customer base … tell them! Tell them how your business factors into the life you see you guys building together. Hear their thoughts about it too. When your boo knows why you’re working so hard, they can get excited about the vision too and cheer you on. And if they don’t share the enthusiasm for the kind of work you’re doing, at some point he’ll either get on board or be ok with letting you do your thing. Even if he’s not excited about your business most partners will be about your success.
Hope these tips are helpful! How do you find balance between your relationship and entrepreneurship? Leave a comment. Let’s talk.