The road less traveled as an entrepreneur can be an intimidating and sometimes isolating experience. One of the key successes of traveling these roads is an aligned partnership. These partnerships can really have a huge impact on the outcomes of your enterprise. Before starting a business or considering a much larger leap forward with your venture, I always recommend discussing this with the partners that mean the most to you.
The partners that I speak of are those individuals that you’ve probably chosen well before you started out on your entrepreneurial path. Of course you may have also established these relationships along the way. Whatever the case, remaining aligned for both your personal and professional growth is vital.
Now you may have already figured out that I’m not talking about strategic (commercial) partnerships at the moment. I’ll save that for another post. I want to discuss the relationships that are of a more intimate nature. You may refer to them as your spouse, girlfriend, boyfriend, life partner, or whatever association you may use. These are the partnerships that should mean the most and will likely have a big influence on your own success.
My inspiration for this post comes right after my wife and I just celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary. Our union IS the most important alliance, and it certainly has the most influence on my decisions as an entrepreneur.
I honestly cannot recall how many budding and experienced entrepreneurs I’ve consulted with over the years. I can however say that I’ve inserted the questions about the available supports a person most likely needs when pursuing these pioneering adventures.
I owe a lot of the success of my business ventures to my wife Katie. Hands down she has been the one to support me through all of this. When the passion was in full force, she was the one to make sure that my “fires” didn’t get out of control. And, during times when the embers were just smoldering, she stoked the coals to help reignite the spark so that I could continue blazing these trails.
She is definitely the largest shareholder and I’ll spend the rest of my days making sure that her return on investment is tenfold. This isn’t just a return on dollars and cents, this is a lifelong adoration that I have for her and my desire to make sure she knows her support means the most. Opportunities can be fleeting and I don’t ever want one to go by without showing my appreciation for her investment in me.
Now before this post gets a little too sentimental and you all start yelling out “Get a Room!” I just want to be clear that your endeavor as an entrepreneur will challenge you like no other career path that you’ve taken thus far. Open communication is a great first step toward your success when first starting out, and an ongoing dialogue is key to maintaining this status as you experience the ebb and flow in your business.
In the picture above we had no idea what direction we were headed. No matter what course we set out on the “winds” were sure to challenge our voyage together. At times our journey has presented obstacles that indeed would challenge even the most prepared explorer, and I may have a little more to do with the added turbulence we’ve encountered. By maintaining the focus of being in this together and considering the outcomes whether good or bad, I’m still traversing these ascents. More importantly, Katie is here with me.
Congratulations to both of you! I'm thankful as well to my wife for supporting me. It's invaluable to have someone who you can turn to with your doubts, and someone to cheer on your successes. In 9 or so years, I will hopefully be writing an honorary blog post for my wife as well!
Great post, Kevin. And it's ok to get mushy once in awhile. Because you are right- the partnerships we have in "life" far outweigh any business relationships that come and go. I know that my own husband is my biggest supporter. He is there for me when I am bawling my eyes out in frustration. He is cheering for me when I get a new client. He is asking me questions about what I am doing- always curious, but also challenging... helping me to grow and become more clear. He believes in me even when I am in doubt. And what I love the most- he let me leave my high-paying, "safe" hospital job when I was miserably unhealthy to go out and find what it is I want to do. You are so right, these partnerships are the most valuable ones.