Entrepreneurs Need Love Too
Romance seems like such a good idea – you know, later. You’ve given some thought to it, and you’re going to start, as soon as…
- You have time, because that’s going to magically appear… or…
- You finally have the right staff-to-revenue ratio (oh, the dream)… or…
- You decide to stop expanding or launching that next venture – because you’re going to suddenly change who you are and what you do.
Romance will suddenly appear (just like in the movies!), complete with the right person who will “get” you and will require very, very little from you.
Uh, no. That’s just not how it works.
Like a single parent managing a bustling family with screaming toddlers, you are certain that when you get that one last (fill in the blank) done, you’ll be able to put all those concerns away and start paying attention to your love life. If only you knew where it was kept… (I’m sure I put it down right here).
Then you wake up, face down on a pile of paperwork, exhausted, and picking up the phone for the next round of social media, emails, text messages, and calls. Six months and several handfuls of hair later, you recall that you once wanted to meet someone for friendship, love, and maybe even sex. Or maybe you did meet someone, then you forgot about them, and they moved on.
The hard truth is…
Your “baby” is not going to grow up. A single parent may arrive at university graduation with a bouquet of secret hopes for a personal life, but your business isn’t moving out of your basement anytime soon. It certainly isn’t going to start doing the dishes. Your business won’t go out partying with other businesses and forget to come home, leaving you pacing the floor all night. Your business won’t go out and get a career of its own. Your business is never, ever, leaving home.
Time to change your approach.
Business owners – and single parents – can actually lead relatively successful romantic lives. No, they’re not easy, but since you chose this path (or this path chose you), you weren’t made for “easy”. Besides, easy is boring.
You may be surprised to learn that relationships that don’t improve your business are worth the effort. Truly. Humans can be a good time.
Recognize that spending relationship time in a non-business atmosphere is actually better for you and your business. Even if you’re not a raving lunatic desperately in need of companionship – don’t fool yourself: you require companionship – carving out time for a personal life will make you more effective. Your staff may even stop hating you.
Everything in your business will work better if you are fulfilled emotionally. You do have emotions which are entirely separate from revenue and expenses. Promise.
You can and should carve out a few hours of every single day to not-work. Some of that not-work can be alone time, reading time, art time – whatever floats your boat. Some of that not-work can be friend time, family time, and some of it can be romance time.
No, eating and sleeping does not count as not-work, or “personal” time. Neither does exercise. Eating, sleeping, and exercising are the things you do so you don’t die. Personal, emotional, not-work activities are the things you do so that you can live.
Educate yourself, and get expert help. People are hard work – but the right ones are worth it. Learn how to be a better person, how to relate to other people. Face the fact that you’re not a relationship expert and get some outside help. Top performers shell out hard-earned cash for coaches, trainers, and more. Why wouldn’t you do the same for romance? Read a book, see a counsellor, get to know all the things you do wrong – and you’re probably doing lots of things wrong, because really, we all suck at this.
Make people in your personal life important. Family, friends, romantic partners – these people are a pretty big deal. They are more important than your business, and they honestly require much less time than your business, even if it feels like more.
Finally – and this may be the hardest part of entrepreneurial romance – release the reins. You don’t have to lead every venture you’re involved in, and you’re bound to piss off every single potential romantic partner if you insist on running the show all the time. Give a little. You’ll get a lot.
By Julia Chung
Julia Chung is an entrepreneur and a single parent who has messed up enough romance to know what she’s writing about.