Our personal relationships are likely (I hope) THE most important aspect of our lives. I know that my family gives me purpose and are my biggest fans no matter what I’m doing, even if I look like a fool doing it. Whether you’re looking to elevate your career or pursue that entrepreneurial endeavor, I’m sure you’ve wondered if and how your personal relationships will thrive throughout this process.
In a previous post I discussed the importance of aligning with the right partner, which in life is my wife. She was actually one of the smartest “business” moves I’ve ever made and likely will still be the smartest move no matter what future business decisions I make. Of course I don’t want you to think that I solely think of my wife as a business decision. She is my partner in life, but what I’m trying to convey here is that I’ve got mad respect and appreciation for what she’s allowed me to do.
Yeah, I know my place. Doesn’t the Queen of the home trump the King?
Being married to an entrepreneur is just nuts, but through it all she’s “allowed” me to be this hustling entrepreneur and has been my most supportive advocate to date. So what are some tips I can share with you in today’s podcast that can help you during a climb up the corporate ladder or starting your own business?
The list isn’t comprehensive and I’m in no way a licensed counselor, but I can share with you what’s worked for me.
This is just an obvious. Without communication, you’re likely to have very little if any assets on the venture you’re about to embark on. Emotional and in some cases financial support = Your Assets.
In many of these scenarios there’s no telling what this venture is going to take. However, I do recommend researching your tail off to glean as much information as you can to find out what it might take to run a business or be in a more demanding and higher position at work. Find a MeetUp group in your area, connect with a mentor, just find someone doing what it is that you want to do and absorb as much as you can.
For the entrepreneurs out there, I can flat out tell you that if you’re leaving your job to start your own business then you’re most likely trading a 40ish hour work week for 80. Communication from the outset is critical, but continuing to set aside some uninterrupted time with your life partner for check-ins is also important. Don’t get so inundated with work that you’re neglecting to take a walk or sit down for a (non-business) discussion on a regular basis.
Get control of your time (as best you can)
It goes without saying but starting a business is going to take a lot of time. All of those small moments where you might have laid on the the couch watching a show, reading a book, or having frequent date nights are going to quickly be filled with your new endeavor. Running a business is going to seriously soak up every minute of every day if you let it.
Remember what I said in Time Management Tips For Entrepreneurs? That’s a must-have skill for anyone, and this definitely applies to fitting your partner into that schedule. If that time investment starts slipping with your partner, then your relationship is likely to slip as well. Keep that communication going as mentioned in the first step, and carve out that time for a little “you” time, and a little “you and your partner” time. Date nights are a must.
Financial discussions in every partnership are typically top of mind, so those money questions should also be discussed first, and there should also be (as frequent as needed) check-ins on where things are financially. Are you saving for retirement, what about college funds for the kiddos, and what about the day-to-day expenses?
- Reduce as much debt as possible before embarking on a startup.
If you have consumer debt that needs your attention, then start paying that down as soon as possible. When you’re in startup mode if you need to tap into savings, it would be best to not have to do this to address any of these outstanding debts you have.
However if you’ve determined that your financial growth is pretty locked in, then you may be able to be less risk averse here. Paying off a high interest loan or credit card debt can be viewed as getting a higher return on a financial investment.
- Will insurance coverage be an issue?
With the Affordable Care Act we should all have some knowledge about the health insurance requirements here in the U.S. If you’re the one leaving your job and you carry the insurance for the family, then are you able to replace this with comparable or reasonable coverage? This is also the time if you haven’t already to think about both long-term disability and life insurance.
For entrepreneurs, in the short term you may be deferring an income for your household, but that certainly isn’t sustainable for the long haul. If your family is relying on you to provide an income at some point and something happens to you where this isn’t possible to work, then it is a good idea to protect against these circumstances.
- You may have to make some cuts, some deeper than others.
If you’re stepping down to one income (or limited income) for awhile, then take this opportunity to assess your lifestyle and look at what you can streamline. There are the obvious bills like the mortgage/rent, groceries, utilities, etc. However, what are some of the other incidentals that you can actually do without? This could ultimately be a deciding factor in whether you pursue entrepreneurship.
- Stash some cash.
If you can build up a financial runway…Actually, you need to build a financial runway if you’re going to want to take off in this business. The standard statement of 3-6 months of living expenses is minimum, but ask yourself if putting a year’s worth away is possible. A cash burn can happen right before your eyes.
Look around you
Yes, you do need to pause and look up every now and again. I’m sure your partner would appreciate if you’d do that a little more often, but when you do, make it count. Walk away from the computer, put down the phone, zip it on the business speak and take time to appreciate what you do have.
If your partner and your friends have been there to support you through all of this whether a demanding career or a startup endeavor, be sure to remind them what it means to you to have their support. If they need a few reminders then check back in with them to let them know that not only is this endeavor for you, but the hope is that this is for the both of you. If you’re happy with what you’re doing then you’ll likely be happier overall, but again, don’t just make this about your career or business. Share these moments with your biggest fans of YOU. Even when things might not be going well and you feel like your emotional tank is empty, you’d be surprised out how this can rejuvenate your drive if you take a moment to reflect on what and who you have in your life.
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