I just read an interesting article about how Entrepreneurs’ Organization, a networking group, now offers a support group for spouses of entrepreneurs.
Clearly, as the article points out, being married to an entrepreneur is different than being married to someone with a regular 9 to 5 job.
Being married to an entrepreneur has many challenges. For instance, many times we’ll work early in the morning and late at night. And when we take vacations, we’ll often still conduct business on our cell phones. And many times, right after we have a great idea, we’ll have a hard time focusing on our spouse and/or kids since we just can’t stop thinking about it.
I think it’s really cool that the Entrepreneurs’ Organization set up this program so entrepreneurs’ spouses can network, meet and talk. It’s always helpful to know others who face similar challenges, and from meetings you can learn best practices, and tips and tricks to use to solve them.
This got me thinking about some of the tips and tactics I’ve picked up over the years to be able to be a good husband and father while achieving success as an entrepreneur. Here are three of my tactics:
1. Be Biased in the Information I Share With My Wife
I could see people not liking this one. But let me explain. Clearly I can’t tell my wife every detail about my business. It would take an hour or two every night to do this. So, I give her the big picture. What it is we’re doing and generally what’s going on.
Importantly, overall, I bias my information toward the positive. That is, even if I’m encountering challenges, I’ll mention at least two good things about the business for every bad thing or challenge. Being upbeat helps my wife stay upbeat about the business. But showing the challenges allows her to understand that I still need to be highly committed to the business (and that everything is not rosy all of the time, which it never is).
2. Bring My Wife and Kids Into the Office on Occasion
My wife and kids don’t come into the office all that often, but I’d say there here at least once every month or two. Their visits may only be for 5 or 10 minutes, but when they come, they can say hi to everyone in the office and/or meet new employees.
Sometimes when my kids come, they’ll draw pictures and put them on my wall….I keep them there, and they’re always excited when they see them when the return.
I think by having my wife and kids come to the office, they feel as though they’re part of the business. They feel special because everyone greets them so nicely, and they get to be a part of my business life.
3. Take Real Vacations
I go on at least 3 family vacations each year that last 7 to 10 days each. And we do a lot of ski weekends.
When I go away, I don’t leave my business behind. I still do check my email once/day. I do this for two reasons. To begin, I want to make sure that all of my employees can reach me as needed, and if I can answer any of their questions that can help them out, I want to do it. Secondly, I really hate coming back from vacations and having to go through thousands of emails. I’ve done this a couple times before, and just dreaded it.
So, typically, while on vacation, I wake up 30 minutes before my wife and kids, check my email, and then I’m offline business-wise the rest of the day. As a result, we can really enjoy our time together and not get interrupted by business stuff.
Success in life is about enjoying yourself, and specifically enjoying the time you spend with the people you love the most, which, if you have them, are generally your spouse and kids. It’s really important to cherish the time you have with them, and use your role as an entrepreneur to improve your relationship with them, rather than being a wedge between you and them.
Do you agree with my 3 tactics? Do you have any strategies you use that could help other entrepreneurs in our community? Please post them below.