As entrepreneurs, we put our spouses and partners through a lot. We are constantly coming up with new ideas, our future is almost always uncertain, and there are a lot of sacrifices that need to be made when we are first starting out.
In the last year alone, I have quite my job to buy into a business, started another business on the side, came up with countless ideas that never came to fruition and most recently decided to sell our house and move into a much smaller town-home so we could put more money into our business. And if that isn’t enough to push a wife over the edge in normal conditions, we are also currently expecting twins.
Though I’m sure there have been times during these crazy changes my wife has wanted to strangle me, she continues to support me. Where most wives would have told me to go get a “real job” by now, mine encourages me to grow my business even further. She understands that while a nice, high paying job might bring short term relief, making this business work will give us a long term lifestyle that blows a great job out of the water.
Find Support and Balance
As we talked about last week with the “wow vs. how” article, every entrepreneur needs someone to balance their constant “wow” of new ideas with “how” questions that turn the ideas into action. In my experience, almost all successful entrepreneurs have this in their partner or spouse.
If you put two “wow” people together, it will be pure chaos with never ending ideas and almost no action. On the flip side, if your spouse is too far on the “how” side of the equation, she will never be comfortable with the uncertainty that comes with being an entrepreneur. I believe you need to find someone who is both willing to support your adventures while also balancing out your “wow” with a little bit of “how”.
Bucking the Norms
Being an entrepreneur goes against everything we are taught growing up. We are told to go to college, get a nice, secure job, work there for 45 years or so and then retire. Striking out on your own to start a business is seen as incredibly risky and dangerous.
Because of these entrepreneurial stereotypes, you are likely to walk a very lonely journey when you first start out. You will probably hear plenty of objections from well meaning friends and family. They will tell you that if you just stick your incredibly boring job out a little while longer you might get promoted and make more money. You will probably still be bored to tears, but at least you will be able to afford expensive toys.
Getting past the objections of friends and family isn’t easy, but it is definitely possible. Getting past the objections of your spouse is close to impossible. Finding a spouse who supports your career choice of being an entrepreneur could very well mean the difference between success and failure.
In my case, my wife has every right to tell me to quit while I’m ahead and go get a job. Twins are expensive and owning your own business comes with some uncertainty. Luckily I have a wife who supports me even when she doesn’t necessarily see the same opportunities in a situation I do. I’m not sure how I got so lucky, but I do know my business wouldn’t stand a chance without the support and balance she gives me.
If you want to dramatically increase your odds of succeeding as an entrepreneur, marry someone who will do the same for you.