Entrepreneurs in Love
Updated: Apr 12
So, you want to date, live with, or marry an entrepreneur? Or perhaps you're a freelancer or small business owner hoping your romantic partner will understand your passion and dream?
How are you going to make this work?
Years ago, I wrote a workbook called, Sex is Good for Business. No, not that kind of book. The book was a series of communication exercises for couples who run a small business. All relationships need good communication, but if one (or both) of you are pursing self-employment in some way, this need is even more intense. Everything from work/life balance to deciding who washes the dishes can take on increased complexity when one or both partners are trying to run a business. It's a big topic--so big in fact I did whole workshops on it--but here are some starting tips.
You can have different money styles, but you cannot have money secrets. Romantic partnerships between spenders and savers happen all the time. With open and honest discussions, these relationships can work, and the natural money inclinations of one partner can offer some healthy balance to the other. Adding a small business to the mix will be challenging even when things are going great, but if one partner has money secrets the potential for heartache is huge. For example, if the entrepreneur partner secretly takes out a loan, or the supporting partner has credit cards they've been hiding, these types of secrets could sink a growing business and destroy trust in a relationship.
There will be some scheduling madness. Entrepreneurs find out early they need to be flexible and responsive to compete. This means that even carefully-laid plans can be scrapped if you discover you need to talk to a supplier three time zones away, or your website just crashed. Many natural entrepreneurs are just fine with adapting on the fly and having a fluid calendar. However, if these people are married to, living with, or even dating someone who's a planner things could get tough. There's no substitute for occasional family meetings to compare and coordinate calendars.
The lines between work and home can get very blurry for entrepreneurs. This was true in the past, but now with freelancers and solopreneurs using their personal smart phones for everything, and the world stuck working from home in the spring of 2020, it feels like you're at work all the time. To avoid burnout, set expectations for when clients can contact you and how long it will take before you reply. Once you set these guidelines, stick to them. If you train your customers to assume they can call/text/email you 24 hours a day and get an immediate response, then you will never have time to think or relax, and it's hard to break this pattern once it's established.
Not all love is healthy. Sometimes an entrepreneur falls so much in love with their business idea that they fail to see disaster coming. One of the toughest things to do as a business coach is to tell a business owner they might have to discard a product, service, or business model that's no longer working. Certainly if your romantic partner asks for your opinion, you should be honest. However, tread lightly when it comes to giving advice. You might be too close to the situation to truly be objective, and when sales are down an objective and clear-eyed opinion is crucial.
Having an entrepreneur in your life can be wonderful. Yet, it can also present some challenges, and honest, open, communication is the best remedy.