The Spouse of an Entrepreneur
It’s hard to start and run your own business. The daily ups and downs challenge every entrepreneur's passion and dedication. This is what we all sign up for when we take the leap to run a company.
However, leading your own company isn't just difficult for you. It affects your entire family. Your business not only sleeps in your bed, but it hogs most of the covers. During the course of 15 years, I ran three different businesses. In each one of them, I would come home from work and my wife, Sara, would kindly ask: "How was your day, honey?" I never could tell her. I didn't want to relive all the ups and downs of that particular day. I learned later on to share the burden of the bad times and celebrate the victories with her. In fact, I dedicated my first book to my wife, who stuck with me during my most difficult times, “sometimes against her better judgment.”
We can cause our spouses a lot of mental anguish. These days, the line between our business and personal lives is not just blurred, it’s obliterated. The entrepreneur's spouse is hidden in the shadows, toiling away and keeping things together while never quite getting the credit he or she deserves. Running a business is like driving a car on a winding, mountainous road that’s banging into the guardrails. While it may be tough for you, it is worse for your spouse. They are in the back seat of the same car, sitting backward and blindfolded. While you may be able to see what's coming shortly before it happens, your spouse is just along for the ride and never knows what hit them.
One of my past clients, Jeff Richmond, was an engineer before he started PumpBiz www.pumpbiz.com . Mary Beth, a local physician and his spouse, says she always envisioned a successful businessman talking about his wife at their 25th wedding anniversary, proudly boasting: ". . . and how can I ever thank my wife, who has been at my side every step of the way and has never for one minute doubted me or lost faith in me or failed to support me during all the ups and downs.”
She hits the "fast-forward" button to her future 25th wedding anniversary and confesses: “Jeff can never say that about me . . . because I have had my doubts, I have lost my faith at times (not in him but in his endeavor) and I have failed to show unfailing support many times. There have been oh too many times when I've showed him all my doubts, insecurities and, yes, even gotten plenty upset with him for taking this road.”
How can we make it a bit easier on our spouses? Realize if running your own business is tough on you, it’s hell for them. Make building your business a family affair. Strive to share the ups and downs with them. Celebrate the victories and let them in on the failures. It will make the journey more meaningful.