In 2010 I married my gorgeous wife Tammy. At the time, I was corporately employed, enjoying a great paying job and had no worries in the world. We began to build a family and while the money was great I began to feel very unfulfilled at my job. I began dreading it more and more and those long hours became less fun to work and my attitude began to shift. I knew that I was being called to begin my entrepreneurial journey as it had been something I had envisioned since I was in 5th grade when I sold baseball cards for ice cream money.
My wife also noticed a shift in my attitude, enthusiasm and even my daily motivation. I eventually left that corporate job and embarked on another one as, at the time, I felt a stable paycheck was something I needed to have to support my brand new family. It wasn’t long before I found myself disliking the new position… and the vicious cycle started over again.
Last year I decided it was time to go all in and embark on my entrepreneurial journey. In order to do so, I had to ensure that my responsibilities at home as a father and a husband were not only understood in full but that my wife was on board with my decision. It was hard enough for us when I changed jobs previously but what was going to make things even tougher was knowing that I was about to work harder than I ever had before.
It’s what I did next that truly set me up for the success that I am beginning to experience today.
While there are many facets to having a successful relationship and/or marriage, there are certain practices and habits that really stand out to me.
These are the three practices that helped my wife and I have a successful relationship during my entrepreneurial journey.
I believe they will help you do the same.
Create family goals.
Not only should this be the first thing you do, but it should be a consistent behavior that you and your spouse or significant other do constantly. What has helped my wife and I the most has been sitting down and creating family goals. Knowing that each month we will sit down together and not only plan out the month but also set team goals to achieve, helps us better communicate and understand what priorities the other has in mind for the month.
As a husband, it truly allows me to be in total support of her goals and know how I can help her, while as a wife it allows her to better understand my goals and how she can assist me in achieving those. For example, this month my wife had a goal to leave her job and support me and my consulting and podcast business full time. We were able to sit down and put pen to paper on the financials of that decision, roles and responsibilities and set a date for her to achieve that goal.
Knowing that from her, I was able to convey what my goals were for the month and where I needed to close out more opportunities and create more revenue generating events so that we could hit our financial target. This would enable her to ultimately step down from her position and join me full time as VP of Operations. Ultimately this aligned our vision and eliminated unnecessary fighting and feelings of doubt because we not only agreed to those monthly goals and completion times, but it also allowed us to work as a team.
Involve your spouse/significant other in the decision making process.
Being an entrepreneur is tough and, at times, can be lonely but I will tell you that there is no better feeling than when you are supported on the journey by your spouse or significant other. One of the things that I have incorporated into my business is involving my wife in the decision making process – everything. Everything I earn and do in my business along with everything I don’t earn or do not do in my business affects my family and my wife.
With that being said I value her opinion and advice above so many others and while she may not always understand the business, by including her in the decision-making process, it gives me the opportunity to educate her and show her what I am currently involved in. Once again, this aligns us both even more and further strengthens our overall communication. What I have been able to take away from this is that there are moments where she sees a blind spot that maybe I didn’t see in a potential business deal. At the same time, she also raises questions that I might not have thought of or even asked.
While she trusts me 100% to make the best decision possible, having her input and keeping her up to speed on what it is I am making a decision on makes the pressure a lot lighter and it helps her feel like she is a part of the team.
Guys and even gals, this is HUGE for your business, for your personal life, and the overall health of them both.
Schedule family time ONLY events.
Once again, being an entrepreneur, working for yourself, or owning your business is most definitely a full time job. However, many entrepreneurs bring that home with them and, at times, can let that take precedence over their family duties at home. What my wife and I do now is schedule Family ONLY time that can consist of dinner, homework time with the boys, group personal development time, church, BBQs with friends and family, movie nights, date nights, etc.
This time is not only blocked off on the schedule, but includes no social media, cell phones being cut off, and no talking about business. What I’ve seen happen from this immediately is that the family structure takes center stage and, as a result, we are building the business around our family not our family around our business. Most importantly, my family knows that I am making the effort and decision to keep them first which helps me better explain those times when I may not be as attentive as they would like or when I travel for business.
As a millennial father with a young family, I chose to answer my entrepreneurial call at a time when I had married and just started a family. For those of you that are doing the very same, I’d encourage you to implement these practices immediately and watch how they not only enhance your relationship, but how they also help to skyrocket your business as well.