Building a business from the ground up is an incredible task. To succeed you must blend focus, time management, professional relationship building, marketing, public relations, content creation, and financial acumen skills. That’s not an easy feat even for the most talented among us. Potholes fill your road to success. Some of them are covert pit stops while others are large craters. Today we are going to discuss a crater that is often disguised as a pit stop.
I’ve been involved with 4 women since I started my business. I’ve never been married so none of them have fit the legal definition of “spouse” (more like girlfriend to the third power). Each relationship brought the same level of emotional involvement and commitment. Having said that I’ve seen the impacts a spouse/significant other can have on a business.
Ideally your spouse is a supportive and enthusiastic entity who helps propel your business to the next level. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen much of that in my personal experience or the experience of others in the infant stages (first 4 years) of their businesses. Sure, most spouses are enthused when they hear that you have a big business idea. Who wouldn’t be? Dreams of big cars, high status, mansions and money raining from the sky can do that to a person. When the harsh realities of building a masterpiece set in things can get out of control quickly…for your relationship and your business.
Now I know what you’re thinking. NO WAY could my honey bunny hurt my business! He/she loves me! Why would this ever happen? The answer is simple. It is not always on purpose. As a matter of fact many of the items on this list are actions that indirectly have a major impact on your output.
1. Clingy/Needy Spouse
Some people are extremely independent (my current girlfriend). To an independent spouse the world is your oyster. They will sit back, watch, and enjoy the ride. They understand that it takes time and effort to mastermind your business and they give it to you. Those are the good ones.
On the other end of the spectrum you have your dependent, glued to your back, clingy, needy,won’t ever let you focus spouse. This type of spouse can and will bring your business progress to a grinding halt. Their thirst for attention is that insatiable.
When you need to write an article they’ll pester you until you stop. When you’re trying to create a product they’ll hover over your shoulder. Just try to write a business plan. That needy spouse will come around, surgically attach herself to your leg, and tickle your kneecap until you stop.
A clingy spouse is never good for an entrepreneur in the building stages. It just wont work. This type of person will never give you the time and freedom you need to really mold a business.
Pessimistic people are an annoying bunch. Their negative energy and comments never add value. A pessimistic spouse presents an unnecessary hurdle for you to jump.
Any of this sound familiar?
- Why aren’t you making the big money yet?
- That’s a stupid idea.
- This is going much slower than you said it would.
- You should stick to your current job.
- You spend way too much time on this.
I’ll stop there because I’m getting annoyed with each negative phrase I type. Now imagine yourself hearing crap like this every single day as you try to build your business. Over time the quality of your output will diminish, you will begin to doubt yourself, and your business will go down in a magnificent blaze of glory.
3. Time Deficient
In the world of business time is money. That applies to hourly, salaried, and creative work. Wasted time leads to thin pockets.
If you’re like most small business owners you have already have a full time job. That job dominates the majority of your productive time. The typical day of an employed professional looks like this:
- Midnight – 6:30 A.M. -> Sleep
- 6:30 A.M. – 8:00 A.M. -> Prepare and go to full time job
- 8:00 A.M. – 5:00 P.M. -> Work
- 5:00 P.M – 6:00 P.M. -> Commute Home
- 6:30 P.M. – 10:00 P.M. -> Discretionary Time (eat, watch tv, spend time with family, work on business, etc)
- 10:00 P.M. – Next Morning – > Sleep
That doesn’t leave much time for personal business productivity. 17.5 hours a week to be exact. You can reach 17.5 hours of productivity during the week if you don’t eat, watch tv, or spend time with your family. We all know that doesn’t happen.
So we’ll be realistic and say you allocate 10 precious hours during the week to your business pursuits. You meticulously set aside time to brainstorm, complete tasks, and take your business to the next level.
Now think about this. What happens to your productivity if your spouse is time deficient? That 10 hours of productivity shrivels down to 9. If they happen to have 2 time mishaps you are now down to 8 hours of productivity. 3 mishaps and you’re down to 7. 4 mishaps = 6 hours. You can see how a spouse who handles their time poorly can quickly cripple your output.
Time deficiency as it relates to your business can occur in hundreds of ways. In the most general sense, time deficiency in a spouse means the person can’t adhere to basic time lines. If you need to leave dinner at 7:30 P.M. then you need to walking out the door at 7:29. If you need to pick up the dry cleaning by 6:30 P.M. then the clothes should be in your car at 6:29.
These strict deadlines are absolutely necessary. Think about this way. What happens if you allow your spouse to drag dinner out to 8:30? You get home around 9:15 P.M. You shuffle around the house for 20 minutes tending to odds and ends. At 9:35 P.M. you realize that you need to be in bed by 10:00 P.M. You’ve just surrendered a full day of productivity.
- Planned on refining your marketing strategy? I hope not.
- Needed to write that article? Forget about it.
- Were you going to follow up on that hot lead? Not today.
See what I mean? It may seem like your spouse only wasted one hour of your time. In actuality, they have sabotaged a full day of productivity for your small business.
Remember, time = output = money.
A critical element to success in business is leveraging the creative juices of others. The spouse/significant other of a person in business should be more than willing to assist. A spouse who is not willing to offer their talents to the business is essentially stealing productivity. It doesn’t have to be anything major like a financial forecast. It can be something as simple as collating papers, reviewing the website, or finding efficiencies in time management.
A spouse who doesn’t want to assist with your business should be replaced. Everybody needs help and you should be able to start at home.
5. Separate Visions
Vision is often misunderstood. Most people think a vision statement is just something you print on a poster. Not true.
I equate vision with a person’s philosophy on life. My vision on life is simple. I refuse to float through life working on things that I don’t enjoy to accumulate “wealth” that diminishes the second after I’m dead. I like nice cars, homes, and trips but I refuse to live a life I despise in order to have them.
At the beginning of this article I said that I’ve been involved with 4 women since I started my business. 3 of them had visions that clashed directly with mine. They were all driven by the material items. I am not driven by such trivial pursuits. My visions is (and always will be) rooted in altruism. This concept was foreign to them.
The basic philosophical differences between yourself and your partner will impede your progress. You will constantly feel annoyed and frustrated. Those feelings will soon poison your creativity and stifle your output.
Don’t let the shortsightedness of another person ruin your dreams.
Having someone to share your life with can be a great thing. A good spouse will support you through the best and worst of times. Unfortunately, most of us have to experience a bad egg or two before we find the right one.
Having the wrong spouse can literally bring your business (especially a young one) to its knees. Do yourself a favor and face the facts. If your spouse is clingy, pessimistic, time deficient, unwilling to help, or has a different vision on life then drop them off at the next bus stop.
Don’t allow love to flush your dreams down the toilet.