09 September 2013

Married to an Entrepreneur: If the Shoe Doesn't Fit.



Ever feel like you are being asked to fulfill a demand that you just might not be qualified for? Like the shoe just doesn't fit?

Working with (or for) your Entrepreneur can present some unique challenges. Similar to our Entrepreneur themselves the "spousal role" tends to sprout from the needs of the company and not necessarily our direct skill set. This means that as spouses we may may need to mold our abilities, preferences, desires and expertise to fit holes that need filling.  Which is why adaptability becomes vital for success.

This process usually involves a lot of trial and error. And sometimes it works out better than others, just fyi.

I've tried on thousands of shoes in this Entrepreneurial world. The shoes that fit me best are administrative in nature: editing and writing content, paying bills, managing schedules, ordering supplies, printing materials and making sure my entrepreneur is fed (do not underestimate the that last one). I'm also pretty good at answering phones, online research, customer care, taking notes, presenting data and I'm not afraid to speak in front of people, interestingly enough. I've learned that taking care of the details of running the business help my Entrepreneur focus on the big picture. It's worked for us.

I've screen printed t-shirts, washed cars, attended company meetings, negotiated contracts, interviewed potential employees, organized launch parties and headed a few company group therapy sessions. I have brought my babies board meetings and toted toddlers to events. For one business I had to mop the showroom floor on a daily basis. And one time I waited outside one of our investors' offices for two and a half hours to be able to discuss a pressing issue with him (probably one of my boldest moves).

Our shoes (and the shoes of our Entrepreneur) have different purposes for different reasons.

Some we will feel comfortable in.
Some we will need to grow in to.

Some might feel awkward and clunky.
Others will look really really good on us.

There will also be some painful shoes
And occasionally some really expensive ones.

Whether we sport them for just a season or end up wearing them for years, my advice: Get used to changing your shoes.

I don't promise it'll be glamorous. I don't promise it'll be comfortable. And I also don't promise you will be able to take them off at 5 PM. But I will promise that each shoe will teach you something worth learning if you take the time to try them on.