This is the 2nd in a month-long series with the theme Love & Entrepreneurship.  Last week I talked about working WITH your significant other.  Today, I’ll share some thoughts about when you’re the entrepreneur but your significant other is NOT involved in your business.  The next two weeks I’ll be expanding this definition of love and have posts that singles can love too.

This is something I’ve never experienced personally so I did some research.

As I mentioned last week, being an entrepreneur is hard work.  It takes lots of effort and dedication.  Especially when you’re first starting there are often late nights, early mornings, and overloads of stress.  Plus, if you’re a mission-driven entrepreneur, you have this all-important mission behind you that’s really, really important not just to you but to all the people who will benefit from your endeavor, including future generations.

When the entrepreneur goes through the process of starting and growing a business, so does their significant other (SO) – even when the SO is NOT involved in the business.  The SO has to deal with disrupted sleeping schedules and stress too.  It can be really frustrating for the SO who wants to comfort and make everything okay but doesn’t know how and probably can’t change the circumstances anyway.  At the same time as wanting to be comforting, the SO also wants some attention and can feel like the business takes 1st place rather than the relationship.  For the mission-driven entrepreneur’s SO, there’s the added “competition” for attention with the mission.  It can feel really conflicting to want quality time with the entrepreneur when you’re taking him or her away from the impact he or she is trying to achieve.

The SO often gives up a lot to help the entrepreneurial one succeed – vacations, time spent together, etc.  When the entrepreneur goes through failure, it’s the SO who has to pick up extra income or figure out how to feed the family with less money.  Being an entrepreneur’s SO isn’t for the faint of heart.

As the entrepreneur reading this, you get the be who you are in part because of your SO.  Maybe your SO is missing out on activities. Maybe your SO is doing a dead-end job to make money while you pursue your venture.  Everybody’s focus is usually on the entrepreneur.  We’re in the spotlight.  But your SO is behind-the-scenes living through this with you.  The behind-the scenes people still need some attention.  To continue with the theatre analogy, you’ll definitely get to enjoy the after party together.  But that doesn’t mean that your behind-the-scenes SO can’t get some benefits and some extra love right now.   

So for all your entrepreneurs out there listening right now, I have some homework for you. Find a way to give your SO some extra love this week (and ongoing) as a way to thank them for being who they are and giving you the freedom to be who you are as an entrepreneur.  I have some ideas for you.

Here are 8 ideas for giving your SO some extra love:

  1. When you’re with your SO, turn off your cell phone.  No judgment if this is where you need to start.  I totally get it.  Business can be demanding.  Put yourself if your SO’s shoes.  How meaningful would it be if your SO had your complete and undivided attention?  You cell phone is the #1 cause of interruption.  Turn it off and see if your SO notices.
  2. Take 10 minutes together and walk to the end of the block and back.  Again, no judgment if this is where you need to start.  I totally get it.  Going to walks gets your brains in a totally different space and some great conversation can happen while you’re walking together.  This is something you can do right now.  I won’t be offended if you turn off this video and go for a walk with your SO immediately.  If that’s what you want to do, go for it.
  3. Really listen to your SO’s dreams.  You most likely talk about your dreams all the time because you’re living out your dream as an entrepreneur!  Take the time to really listen to your SO’s dreams as they currently stand.  Maybe they’ve changed since the last time you heard them.  Maybe they are the same.  The important thing here is to connect with your SO’s higher-meaning dreams.
  4. Let your SO know how much his or her support means to you.  Especially if you’ve received high praise recently from others, let your SO know his or her support means the most!  This could look like simply saying the words, “Of all the praise I receive, yours means the most to me because…” Then, you could add on praise for your SO.  What’s something your SO has done lately that you think is awesome?  Tell him or her.
  5. Set hours to NOT work.  Schedule a date night.  Decide to cuddle and watch 1 show.  Have a family day.  Do something just for fun.  Try to set this into a routine.  Whatever you can do to not be a workaholic and live life.  Have fun together regularly. This will be good for your SO AND for you.  Use this as an opportunity to fall in love with life again.
  6. If things have gotten really bad, sign up for counseling.  There’s nothing wrong and everything right with saying, “I’m willing to do whatever it takes to make this work and we need an expert to help.”  By saying this, you’re showing your SO lots of extra love and how important he or she is to you.
  7. Develop a common goal.  A shared mission can bring unity.  It can be something like get out of debt or save for a vacation.  It doesn’t need to be business-related.  In fact, I wouldn’t recommend making it business related.  Make it as fun as possible.
  8. Take advice from your SO.  Sometimes they know what you need more than you do.  As an entrepreneur you probably don’t like being told what to do.  You want to be your own boss.  For once, let your SO be the boss and do whatever you’re told.  You’ll show them you love and value them and you might just learn something too.

None of this matters unless you take action.  Stand up from your computer or put your phone down.  Do something to give your SO some extra love right now.  Maybe you want to do something you can’t do right now.  If that’s the case, grab your SO and put one of these things on the calendar together.  If they aren’t around right now, pick up the phone or text to say, “I love you and want to do something special.  Can we reserve tonight at 7pm for that special thing?” or whatever.  This is your homework if you choose to take me up on the offer.  If you do I’d love to hear your story in the comments.  Be as detailed or vague as you’d like in telling your story but keep it PG.  😉