Change seems to be one of the few things we can be sure of in today’s fast-paced world. If you chose to be an entrepreneur, the only thing you can predict in your business is change. Therefore, it is imperative that you ask yourself the following question: “Do you and your partner have similar enough financial, emotional and spiritual wants and needs to withstand the unpredictable nature your entrepreneurial business will bring into your lives?”
Being an entrepreneur is not just about being your own boss – it also represents your personality. Entrepreneurs, by definition are risk-takers who desire to create their own path in life rather than follow the path someone else has paved. Sure, entrepreneurship represents a business model; however, make no mistake about it, your entrepreneurial success and/or struggles impact not only your business but your marriage and family life as well. Unlike a traditional job where you work for someone else, an entrepreneur cannot always separate their business relationships from their other relationships – especially their marriage. Why? Because entrepreneurs take their business “personally” since their work represents something they have created and constantly nourish.
Money – let’s look at the financial reality of being an entrepreneur. Your financial situation might take a roller coaster ride – with a lot of money coming in at times and no money coming in at other times – often being unable to predict the cycle of financial feast or famine. In the start-up phase, you might need to take on some initial debt before your business ever turns a profit. Are you comfortable with this financial arrangement? And just as importantly, is your spouse comfortable with this arrangement? You need to look at and discuss the financial ramifications of entrepreneurship with your spouse to make sure you can endure financial uncertainty together, especially during the start-up or expansion phase of your business. Do NOT assume your spouse knows about this financial roller coaster ride. The last thing most spouses want are financial surprises.
Time – speak to any successful entrepreneur and they will tell you entrepreneurship requires more sweat equity than they initially thought. Many spouses of entrepreneurs will tell you they sometimes feel their like their spouses’ business is a mistress – due to all the hours, energy and emotional commitment the business requires – leaving little, if any, time and energy for their relationship. Are you prepared for the long hours and emotional commitment it takes to make your business successful? Have you communicated to your spouse the amount of time, emotional energy and commitment your business will require to be successful? Is your spouse on board with this? Can your marriage withstand the long work hours and emotional commitment many businesses require – at least in the start-up phase (and often beyond)?
Spirituality/Religion – are you a spiritual or religious person? Is your spouse? Will your spiritual practices be impacted by your entrepreneurial work? Are you willing to close up shop during religious holidays if that is important to you – knowing as an entrepreneur you do not get paid for personal days, vacation days, religious observances, etc. It is imperative you and your spouse understand and discuss how your entrepreneurial business will impact the spiritual aspect of your lives and relationship.
There are no correct answers to the questions posed above but these questions must not be ignored. The answer will be different for each marriage and they will give you a pretty good indicator as to whether your marriage will be able to survive whatever challenges your entrepreneurial lifestyle will present.
For more information on how to survive the constant changes entrepreneurship brings to your marriage and family life, read Chap. 8 titled: “Bending without Breaking-Meeting Hard Times with Strength, Courage, and Commitment” in my best selling book: “Not Tonight Dear, I’ve Got a Business to Run!”
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