What It Really Means To Support Your Entrepreneurial Partner
An entrepreneurial spirit can certainly be very attractive. Entrepreneurs think outside of the box, they don’t believe in limitations, they tend to be creative, they believe in themselves, and they have plans for an interesting life. When an entrepreneur is successful, it can mean complete freedom from a prison-like life stuck to a desk and trapped by small, incremental pay raises. For entrepreneurs, the sky is the limit! But, the path to the sky can be very challenging. Saying goodbye to the monotony and limitations of being a lifetime employee rather than being an employer also means saying goodbye to the routine, stability, reliability, and relative calmness of letting someone else take the lead. If you’re a man getting involved with an entrepreneur, know she’ll need a very particular type of support and understanding. So, here is what it really means to support your entrepreneurial partner.
Know she may work on vacations
Don’t become angry when she has to spend an hour on her laptop during vacation. Entrepreneurs are always working. But, it’s exactly her lifestyle that also allows her to travel on a weekday or work from home (and have lunch with you). So accept the ups and downs.
Allow for her home office space
Allow part of your home—if you share one—to be dedicated to her home office. Don’t become aggravated that her documents are on surfaces. Don’t try to also make that your gym or crafts room. Treat it with the respect that you’d treat an office in a commercial space.
Understand her unpaid work is important
Understand that, sometimes, your partner will have to say no to fun things in order to do work that she isn’t paid for. That could mean working on her website, offering free consulting/services to build her reputation or more. But you should respect that as if it’s real work.
Accommodate her weird eating schedule
Try not to become annoyed that your partner can’t have dinner at 6pm sharp with you, or can’t make the double date at 7pm on a Thursday. She may have to scarf down food at 10pm, at her desk.
Respect when she’s on work calls
If your partner is on a work call at home/while you’re together (which will happen a lot) respect that. Don’t turn on the TV or music to entertain yourself until she’s done. Give her some space and some silence.
Know she may network everywhere
Get ready to have her network everywhere you go. She never knows when or where the opportunity to network may arise. It could be at the grocery store, or a friend’s child’s baptism. Anywhere other than a funeral is fair game.
Treat her social media pages with respect
If she uses her social media pages for her professional image, treat those with respect. Don’t tag her in photos that may not show her in the most professional light. Don’t post inappropriate videos on her wall.
Accept her business may take up some money
Understand that she may need to dedicate her extra income to her business. Don’t become upset when she won’t go to a concert with you because she needs to spend that $300 on a graphic designer for her new website.
Never suggest she settle for something else
Know that she will suffer ups and downs but you have to stay positive, even when she doesn’t. Never suggest that she give up and settle for something “more stable” or “more traditional.” That, to her, just means you don’t believe in her.
Really listen to her ideas
When she has a surge of ideas and inspiration, hear her out. It’s important she can bounce things off of you. Don’t keep watching your television show and only sort of invest in the conversation.
Be there for her meltdowns
For those nights when she wonders if she’ll ever succeed, when she bangs her head against the wall, and when she says she should give up. Don’t panic when these nights happen. Know that they are part of the process, and stay calm for her.
Don’t make her play hooky
Do not try to tempt her to abandon work she needs to be doing so she can go on a spontaneous trip or go wine tasting for the day. You might think you’re just being fun and cute, but she feels like you aren’t taking her work seriously.
Praise her discipline
Do you know how hard it is to make yourself do work when nobody else is making you do it? She gives herself tasks and plans her own agenda every week. Only her own fire is driving her to do these things. Tell her how amazing that is—she needs to hear it.
Respect her self-imposed schedule
No, she won’t have a boss yell at her if she gets up at 10 am tomorrow. But she will yell at herself and have her own guilt to contend with. So don’t try to convince her to stay up late with you.
Keep private information private
Some of her ideas or impending deals might be confidential, so keep them confidential. Don’t even whisper one word of them to someone you think you can trust.