The emotional roller coaster that is entrepreneurship is hard -- no question about it. Do you know what's harder? Doing it alone and feeling like you have no one to talk to.
The reality is many of us have that very person living right alongside us, but fail to communicate effectively about the details of the struggle -- leaving them in the dark and you all alone, which isn’t good for anyone.
I’ve written before about the importance of having a co-founder, but this is different. This person is not typically your co-founder but instead the one that you go home to at night, after you’ve parted ways with your office and team. The home environment should be from where you’re getting your stability, which is highly unlikely if you’re not having conversations that blend work and life.
Let's look at a few aspects of your business that you absolutely must share with your significant other.
1. The downs, not just the ups.
It’s easy to come home and talk about everything that’s going well. It’s much more difficult to talk about the struggles and the hard decisions that are being made. Maybe this is because you’re doing your best to keep your head above water or you’re just in a flat-out attempt to convince yourself that everything’s great -- commonly referred to as "entrepreneur’s delusion."
Regardless of whichever applies to you, you must divulge the difficulties to your significant other so he or she is able to provide emotional support and understanding. In other words, if you come home bent out of shape but aren’t willing to discuss why, what type of response do you really expect?
2. The details about the details.
Now that you’ve taken the plunge and are talking about the tough stuff, you must get into some of the details -- you can’t expect someone to be able to discuss the issues and difficulties you’re having without some in-depth understanding of what’s going on.
Does this mean you need to dig into the minutia, including all types of financial details? Yep, it sure does. In-depth communication is key to allowing your spouse to understand what you’re going through and these details, including financials, are of paramount importance to the decisions that you’re making and the troubles that you’re experiencing.
Did you know that one of the top reasons for divorce in America is money issues? It may not be fun to talk about these things, at least when they’re not going well, but it’s extremely important that you’re open and honest about the financial state of your business so you and your spouse don’t become a statistic.
3. Brainstorm about the tough decisions.
Now that you’ve created and continued an open dialogue, use your significant other’s expertise to your advantage and brainstorm through your problems. The fact that they’re an “outsider” and aren’t looking at the details that you are, all day long, means that they’ll have a unique and fresh perspective to add to your plate of potential solutions. I can all but guarantee that you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the insightful thoughts or suggestions that develop.
Just remember; if you’re not being open and honest or providing enough detail, the likelihood of an effective brainstorming session -- with someone that knows you well and offers a fresh perspective -- will be considerably more difficult and also put a serious strain on your relationship. You may also find that your spouse is likely to be much more patient when they know what’s going on, which is something that you and your new business are certainly going to need.