One challenge entrepreneurs deal with in work-life balance is how to own a business and keep a healthy relationship.
Discovering something you are passionate about— a dream you are so close to achieving— is an indescribable feeling. Being in love or finding the right companion in this cold world is an equally fascinating feeling.
So why is it so frustrating when those two worlds collide?
There’s only so much time in the day and so much energy to go around. You may find yourself in the middle of a tug of war between your business and the love of your life.
To be the boss, you have to pay the cost.
Many have made the tough decision of choosing either their dream business or dream mate.
I’ve been on both sides of this scenario.
My list of experiences includes starting a new business or project while in a relationship. I have also been the girlfriend of a business owner or aspiring business owner.
I’ve been let go, and I’ve been the one to cut a dream killer off.
I know what it feels like to go from spending my free time with my main squeeze to feeling like I’m last on the to-do list.
Being questioned and misunderstood about business goals and desires is also a familiar feeling.
Neither situation is an easy one.
It’s even more complicated working full time while pursuing your dreams WITH a significant other.
Sometimes you have to make a choice. There’s no way around it because that season of your life will not allow both.
Who really wants it to come to that, though? The only way to avoid such a harsh dilemma is through compromise.
Support means everything in a situation where both parties are experiencing changes and sacrifices.
Any hustle takes a combination of drive and focus for a positive outcome
Even though New York Life was not my company, I took on a lot of responsibility being a Financial Professional there. The role required each of us to do most of the leg work ourselves to solicit and sell insurance and investments. It was flexible and also challenging, time-consuming and brain consuming.
Even when we didn’t take work home with us, it stayed heavily on our minds.
When I moved into the online world as a blogger, not much about business responsibilities changed. The title and type of work changed, but not the work ethic necessary to be successful.
As you see, it doesn’t matter what type of entrepreneur you or your partner want to be. Success takes sacrifice. That still doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your spouse or long-term companion to own a business and keep a healthy relationship.
You do have to work equally as hard in both areas of your life. There are some strategies you can use to make it easier to balance business with your relationship.
How to own a business and keep a healthy relationship
As my podcast guests so adamantly stated; communication, Communication, COMMUNICATION, COMMUNICATION.
Like with any other collaboration, you have to talk about things often. Having a good relationship and thriving business takes daily conversation.
The phone calls or good morning messages should not stop, but you take it a step further.
If the business is something new to the relationship, explain how changes may affect your normal routine.
Let your mate know what this means for the relationship and how these new responsibilities can benefit you as a couple.
If you plan to work on your business in the evenings after work, that could cut into quality time. Date nights may be less frequent.
Your new business may require you to work a later or earlier schedule, or more hours.
These changes may be temporary or for the life of the business.
Whatever adjustments it will take, make it clear.
Ask your partner how they feel. Be open, be honest and allow them to do the same.
Speaking of open and honest…
Don’t use business as an excuse to escape the relationship or do what you want. Blaming things on your business will only lead to distrust and resentment in the future.
You never want to create negative feelings from your companion about the empire you are building.
It’s easy for an entrepreneur to create meetings, workloads and late hours for their own agendas. The hard part will be rebuilding the years of love and trust you tore down in one day.
Consider a business partnership
Consider partnering with your companion to start a business, especially if it’s your spouse.
Partnering in business with your husband, wife or long-term companion has a few advantages for you both:
- It can relieve the pressure you would feel as a solopreneur.
- It can help the business grow at a faster pace.
- It’s an opportunity for you both to make more money.
- The two of you can combine resources to reduce spending and avoid debt.
- It gives you more time to spend together.
Beware of the cons along with the advantages, like what may happen if the business outlasts the relationship. You could also have problems if you do not agree from a business standpoint. There’s also the issue of spending too much time together and not having enough personal space.
If you want to proceed, think about how to set up the business entity and percentage of ownership.
Plan your exit strategy. If the relationship doesn’t work, do you see yourself still running a business with this person? Would you be willing to sell your ownership or buy theirs?
Not quite ready for that type of commitment? No problem! Start by picking your mate’s brain.
Make your love interest a stakeholder in the business
This doesn’t require any paperwork or a legal team. It’s as simple as asking their opinion. Bringing them a little deeper into what’s going on in business helps them feel included.
It could be something small, like which color schemes or logo design to choose. You can also give them more responsibility like making recommendations on who you should hire.
Make them feel involved in company decisions and partially accountable for the outcome. That will help them better understand when you have to work on your business to get things accomplished.
Live in the moment. Be in the present.
My former employer used to call it “BE HERE NOW”.
As hard as it is (trust me, I know) to turn business off at home, it’s not fair to your loved ones when you don’t.
Leave work at work, even if you work from home.
Social media and digital business responsibilities should not consume your whole day either. Use an automation schedule tool like Buffer or lighten your workload with outsourcing.
Work on setting a cutoff time to finish up your tasks for that day. Whatever’s left on your to-do list can go to the next day.
Controlling your thoughts and focus is a huge part of being in the present.
When you are spending time with your loved one, focus on them. Enjoy the activities you are doing together. Make memories you can reflect on for years to come.
Take advantage of your free and flexible time
You can make the relationship work without sacrificing your business. To own a business and keep a healthy relationship, master your time management skills.
It’s more than scheduling a weekly date night. Meet for breakfast or cook when you have a free morning.
Make a getaway of that business trip. Add a ticket for your spouse to tag along.
Put the same thought into keeping your relationship as you put into succeeding in business.
Use the same creativity it took to get you this far.
Don’t stop being creative because now is the most critical time for it.
NEVER stop being creative.