Becoming an entrepreneur is difficult. Someone who chooses this path is one who is not happy coasting through life. You have dreams and the traditional "9-5" just won't cut it. You have to make things happen for yourself, instead of waiting for someone else to do it. In embarking upon your adventures in self-employment many will provide advice; some good, some bad. Sure, you can find a wealth of information about how to start and maintain a successful business. One thing that is rarely discussed: the effect all of this has on your marriage.
Many of my client couples are creating successful business only to find their marriage is in shambles. With the long hours, late nights, travel, and all of the things needed to grow it can become all encompassing. Starting and maintaining a successful business is hard; here are some ways you can salvage your relationship in the process.
Get Buy In
As a business owner you understand that you are your brand. You have to create value in your products or services to continually grow. Your business will never grow if you are not invested in it. The same is true of your spouse. It will be very difficult to grow your business if your spouse is against it. Try to get your spouse bought in to the process. Can you involve them in your triumphs and failures? Can you leave room for them to support you emotionally? Even if you are in business by yourself, you are not alone. The two of you are a team and will continue to be. Allowing your partner into your world may give them a sense of ownership and motivation to support you. Let them.
Realize Its Your Passion
Many who are self-employed felt compelled to do so and the status-quo was not an option. Realizing that your spouse may not have the same resolve is key. Although you are a team and having them bought-in is wonderful; they may not share your enthusiasm. Check your expectations. You can delight in their excitement and participation but they may never understand your drive. Respect who they are and where they are in their own professional journey and adjust your expectations accordingly. This is an opportunity for you to grow together as you both work toward your goals and an opportunity to dive into your passion. At the same time, share their passions with them too. Support should always be reciprocal.
Share Your Effort
Building a business can be an all-encompassing effort. Wearing so many hats everyday is exhausting. Particularly if you are performing this Herculean tasks alone, each day can be more exhausting than the one before. In all of this you still need to pour into your relationship. What you feed will thrive, but unfortunately, what you starve will die. If you wait until "tomorrow" to work on your marriage there is a good chance there may not be a marriage to work on. Make sure you set aside time to feed your marriage. It would be a shame to build this awesome future and spend it alone.
When I took the awesome leap out on my own and started Reconnecting Columbus I had no idea how hard it would be to juggle home and a growing practice/business. Over time I noticed that most entrepreneurs were struggling with the same balance. Many clients were coming to me for the same issues I used to struggle with. Being aware of the threat of growing apart is necessary for your relationship's survival. Take time and work on your relationship with the same vigor that you have for your business so that both can thrive. You deserve an incredible future personally AND professionally.