03 December 2010

Want to know the Truth about Entrepreneurs? Ask their spouse.

There is something fascinating about connecting with other people. It adds so much value. And I'm talking about more than just "networking"...I feel like that word takes the human experience out of it.

About half of the interviews that I have completed are with people I don't actually know. They are spouses of people I know, or spouses of people my entrepreneur knows. At first I was worried that it would take some time to get warmed up enough to the point that these "strangers" would want to talk openly to me about being married to an entrepreneur, but it's actually the opposite. They are more than excited to share their knowledge and experiences, the good, the bad & the ugly.

I am so grateful that they are willing to take this first step with me.

Interview Format.
First off there are a few fundamentals I would like to address regarding the format:

1. I will keep the interviewee anonymous. I'm not sure that I will always do this because in the future I hope to be able to disclose the names of those I interview and their spouses' companies to help market their businesses. I'm all about that. I will not disclose personal information (names, kids names, companies they've worked with or for or started, etc.) because I want to get a solid format (and some trust) before I started name dropping.

2. I am only going to share parts of the interview. My interviews last anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours. We talk about much more than what is being disclosed. My objective is to shed some light on the experience of being married to an entrepreneur.

3. I will identify each entrepreneur's phase of development for their current business endeavor as the following:
Startup, Recovery, Growth or Seasoned.
This will give you an idea of where the Entrepreneur's current ventures' status is. Keep in mind that entrepreneurs can go through any one of these phases at different times in their life and in different orders.

4. This next category will indicate the style/type of entrepreneur we are dealing with:
Idea, Professional or Franchising.
(Soapbox: I strongly dislike the word Serial Entrepreneur, it portrays the idea that the entrepreneur can't settle down to one idea or that they keep going from one project to the next because nothing is succeeding for them. Perpetual, yes, but serial...no thanks.)

The Idea Entrepreneur is the type that develops a process or idea that may be random or sporadic. (ex: the Snuggie)

A Professional Entrepreneur is the type of entrepreneur that works within an industry that they have been skilled, trained or educated in. (ex: Accountant who starts their own company.)

And finally a Franchising Entrepreneur is exactly what the title implies: an owner/investor/partner in a franchised company. (ex: McDonalds.)

So here we go. Let the connecting begin.