(For anyone who caught the XTC reference in the title of this article, yes I am secretly an XTC fan, and yes it is referencing their song “Love on a Farm Boy’s Wages”.)
Entrepreneurs can be tough to live with. They can be tough to date and tough to love. Their moods can swing based on the success of a new product launch or the awful online review left by some jackass who never even bought the product or service in the first place. Sometimes entrepreneurs are glued to their computers and phones from first thing in the morning until the phone drops out of their sleeping hand onto the bedspread late, late at night. Sometimes the people who love entrepreneurs can feel like the business might as well be the other woman.
Entrepreneur and Facebooks Ads expert Dan Henry learned the hard way how this kind of behavior can wreak havoc in relationships. Prior to meeting his lovely wife Halil while she was earning her law degree and studying for the bar exam, Dan went through a series of frustrating and unfulfilling relationships while he worked to build his business. His financial fortunes went up and down from starting as a pizza delivery boy, to building up an affiliate business by mastering Google’s SEO algorithms, to losing it all again when those algorithms changed. Then he bought and renovated a night club. Then he sold it and started a T-shirt business. Over and over again throughout all of this he found himself holding the door while the most recent love-of-his-life moved the last of her stuff out of his place and out of his life forever. He even admitted that sometimes the move-out was a relief after the tension and fighting. At least now he could get back to focusing on his latest business. But still, as exciting as his businesses were, Dan felt the need for deeper connection and true partnership in his life.
A lot of couples who are under financial stress feel that if only there were more money, they wouldn’t fight and everything would be alright. However, we have a great example in our 45th president, Donald Trump, that having more money does not necessarily make for marital happiness. Trump has had 5 children across three marriages and some of the most public, expensive and contentious of celebrity divorces. Having more money obviously didn’t solve all problems in his case.
Now I’m no relationship expert, but Dr. Jenev Cadell is, and here’s what she has to say about entrepreneurs and relationships: Even though finances are usually cited as one of the top reasons people get divorced, it’s never really just about the money. The money sometimes becomes front and center when what should be front and center is the relationship. Dr. John Gotman says that 69% of conflicts that happy couples have are perpetual and unresolvable. They can never be resolved. And these are the happy couples he’s talking about. Disagreeing about things doesn’t mean you have to be an unhappy couple. Making sure that each partner knows the other one is #1, and that they show each other this, that is the most important thing.
So how do we do this? Keeping personal and business finances separate is an important step for any business as it grows and becomes its own entity. It is also important for the couple to have their personal finances separate from the business as well. This can be difficult in the early days of any new business or freelance venture because there isn’t always enough to pay yourself a straight up salary from the business for awhile. But the sooner you can do it the better, and the less those finances will impact your relationship. If you spouse or partner feels like you are jeopardizing your family’s future in favor of a business that might go under in the end, that can make for some difficult conversations. At the same time, if you are ready to invest your life’s savings into your dream and your spouse or partner is not supportive, that can feel like not only do they not believe in your dream, it can feel like they don’t believe in and support you. This is why it is so important to talk through these issues openly so everyone can honestly express both their support and their fears.
These days Dan and his wife enjoy a much happier and more stable relationship than Dan ever experienced in the past. The success of his Facebook Ads business and his course Facebook Ads for Entrepreneurs has allowed him the financial freedom to be able to give his wife the big family wedding she always wanted (2 years after their original courthouse wedding) and to take care of her in the way that he only dreamed of being able to do when they first met and married. His marriage to his wife has also supported his business growth and success. It was actually Halil who first suggested to him that since he was so good at Facebook Ads for himself, why didn’t he try doing them for other people and other businesses. Thanks to her suggestion and a lot of hard work on his part, they are now enjoying the kind of life Dan could only have dreamed of back when he was a broke pizza delivery boy.
If you want to hear my entire conversation with Dr. Jenev Cadell, you can find that right here, and if you want to learn more about Dan Henry and the business he built that financially supports him, his wife and his new stable life, you can find his website here.