Dating or being married in “regular world” is hard enough, but at least you know that after a long day's work you can meet up for dinner or happy hour because "quittin' time!" is (for most) around 5 or 6 pm, and weekends are fair game. But what about when one love bird runs their own business? Working hours are usually set by how long a project takes, their free time may not begin after their real or virtual store closes and the concept vacation is entirely different than the norm. But it can be done! Co-founders of Tin Shingle Katie and Sabina are both married, one with children (Katie) and one still reveling in newlywed bliss. That said they both have run a business while also growing relationships and families. In honor of summer wedding season, and packed with their own, honest, experienced-based tips we give you our "How to Date or be Married to an Entrepreneur Survival Guide". Print it out and hand it to your partner, or read carefully if you are said (patient) partner!
Feel free to add your own tips in the comments below!
DATING AN ENTREPRENEUR…
- In the dating phase, your courtship may include courting your mate's company, endeavor, or passion. Show your genuine interest in their business. Buy their product for yourself and/or for friends. Get to know what their expertise is in, the more you get to know it the more you'll feel engaged in what they do!
- Recommend their products or services to others in an brand-educated way, and let your mate know you did that. This makes them feel good, supported and like someone believes in them!
- Don't be offended if your match chooses his/her work over a date with you on a Friday night. To offset this, pick “date nights” weekly when you both agree to put away the phones and distractions for a few hours and spend quality time together.
- Understand that said “date nights” may need to be flexible.
- Give your match plenty of notice for trips. The element of surprise isn’t always a romantic guesture when dating an entrepreneur. These folks often plan ahead in their weeks, and to suddenly fly to Paris for a quick trip (or to pop the question!) may not work for your potential spouse, so don't take offense if your dropping in for a romantic lunch is met with.
- Vacations may be hard to take. When your lover doesn't work, he/she isn't getting paid. If they are a shop owner, they need to have someone mind the store. If they run an agency, they might not have a full backup system in place for when they go off the grid. If they go on vacation, so is the network, AKA emails and some phone calls. Plan a vacation that is flexible and works for both of you (which may mean including time for them to do a little bit of work each day).
HOW TO BE (& STAY) MARRIED TO AN ENTREPRENEUR…
- Lend an ear. And then lend it again. You'll be hearing highs and lows from your spouse for a long time, and you don't want to ever say (about an unsolved problem) "this is getting old, can't you move on?" Finesse that response, if you ever need to make it. Often we don't need you to give us a solution, just a sympathetic shoulder to lean on or sounding board.
- Don't refer to your partner as a workaholic. Your spouse will work a lot. More than the average 9-5er. The job of an entrepreneur never ends. Often they wear 20 hats, and that's a lot of responsibility. Coupled with the fact that they have a passion to make their business succeed, well, they're going to be busy. Giving them guilt about this will never change that. Learn to go with it and realize it gives you time to follow your own passions or pursue hobbies during their extra work time!
- Your spouse is the boss in terms of timing (ahh...but not of your house, right?). He/she makes the rules of vacation time, long lunches, phone calls during the day, etc. This is a compromise many small biz couples have to face.
- Don't continually ask your spouse to do domestic chores during the day if they work from home, take off early, take long vacations, or talk to you for a long time on the phone. Entrepreneurs need to be disciplined in their schedules. They have to be their own "man" when cracking the whip to grow their business and live a comfortable life. Don't make them say no to you constantly. Your beloved entrepreneur can't take long lunch breaks and visit friends whenever they want, or they'd never get anything done.