As a serial entrepreneur, I have had my share of ups and downs as it pertains to financial success. That was more so true in the early goings of my entrepreneurial journey after I left corporate America. It’s amazing how people are built so differently when it comes to risk and uncertainty. My wife was used to the calm seas of a career in education where you can pretty much have a job for life; unless you are found guilty of some heinous crime. Me, on the other hand, I’m a risk taker. I like to max the limits of my inner creative being and see just how far I can take a concept and transform it into a successful business. Sometime I need my better half to reign me in as I get excited about new opportunities and the adventure that comes with it. On several occasions I wish I heeded her pleas to slow down and reassess the situation as some of the ventures led to abject failure in the sense of not being profitable. I never call a failed business attempt a failure because I know that that is part of the learning process as an entrepreneur. That same process is what makes entrepreneurs successful by teaching them what the market wants, and how the market wants it to be delivered. You see the failures are just as important as the successes when it comes to gaining that real world entrepreneurial experience.
In marriage, finances are one of the biggest causes of divorce. Just imagine the uncertainty of the entrepreneurs’ financial future. My goodness, couples with two steady paying jobs are struggling just to get by, can you imagine the struggles of a start-up entrepreneur and his or her spouse? Been there, done that; that’s what I do. I know it can be stressful on spouses and I know that love is the bond that holds marriages together through thick and thin. Now I’m not saying that it’s always smooth sailing, but we manage to work things out because we take our marriage and family seriously. I know my wife wanted to have me committed to an institution on several occasions as I told her about another venture I was investigating. She finally understood that I was built differently; I’m a creative person who enjoys trying to build and grow businesses. She is the polar opposite.
It’s funny how smart people think you are when you have a successful business, and how dumb they think you are when a business fails. I always told people that “I wasn’t a genius today and an idiot yesterday (or vice-versa if the business is failing)”. It’s all about the process; the learning process for the entrepreneur. The only way to become successful is to try it. There is no theory or classroom work that will guarantee success, as experience is the best teacher. Experience is what gives you that “know-how”; meaning you know-how to do something. Theory gives you knowledge, where experience gives you “know-how”. The example I use when I teach my entrepreneur classes is that of driving a car. You can read a book about learning how to drive a car that will give you all the knowledge of driving, but until you actually drive a car you will be void of the “know-how.
So I say that, to say this. To all the spouses of us entrepreneurs, please be patient as we have to learn how to drive that car and acquire the “know-how” to drive it at maximum speed. So what does love have to do with it? Everything!
If you are an entrepreneur or the spouse of an entrepreneur, let me know what you think about this blog post.