The Truth About Being an Entrepreneur Couple

Updated on 2 September 2019

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By: Michelle Lima-Madwantsi, founder of Lavish Creations Décor & Events

Entrepreneurship is a journey that has no formula, yet [has] multiple difficulties. Relationships are a journey without a formula either. My husband and I, as an entrepreneur couple, have found ourselves having to nurture both in our lives.

My house is an entrepreneur home with the greatest balance, which I appreciate. I’m married to a “numbers guy” who sees no grey areas and [for him] it is all about the stats and facts. My life partner is married to a “creative” who happens to see more than one shade of grey and knows them, [each] by name. Striking this balance has been rather interesting.

I was an entrepreneur before I got married. However, for most of my marriage, until now, I was running my business part-time.

He wasn’t an entrepreneur before we got married, but everything he was working on resulted in him eventually running his own business.

[My husband] runs an accounting firm called T&T Consultants. He’s a numbers guy so he helps me a lot with the numbers, financial budgeting, strategy and the bookkeeping as well. We like to keep the money in the house. I help him with any artwork, creative ideas, events, workshops, sales and lashing creations the business might need.

The aim is to make sure OUR HOME WINS, not the business, not people, not egos, but our home

I own an events planning and floral design company, Lavish Creations Décor & Events,  that’s been in business for almost four years now. My journey in business has never been easy. I have learnt and continue to learn so much about the correlation between personal development and business development.

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Michelle Lima-Madwantsi,  founder of Lavish Creations Décor & Events.

Making a business and personal partnership work

When my partner launched his accounting firm, I realised that entrepreneur couples have to work a bit harder to make their relationships work.

He has always been my support system when I ran my business, always grounded me and helped a lot until I had to reciprocate.

It messed with the balance because I had always relied on him to take care of the other things, but we now had to both strike a balance in everything we do.

[We time] out business conversations to certain hours [in order] to spend quality time together without any business, client or staff talk.

I realised that entrepreneur couples have to work a bit harder to make their relationships work

My husband and I are involved in each other’s businesses. We are basically each other’s silent business partners.

We actually realised that we make an amazing team when in our zones and we allow each other to excel in our lanes for both our benefits.

Lima-Madwantsi shares common challenges faced by entrepreneur couples and offers possible solutions.

Challenge 1: Not being able to switch off

One of the biggest challenges I have seen, unique to entrepreneur couples, is that work arrives home with you, enters your door, eats with you, goes to bed with you and eats breakfast with you. We have called it our first child because of its unannounced interruptions that can cause moments of inspiration or spark up arguments.

Solution: Find ways to be present with your partner

A few months ago, I decided to place a rule in our home that whenever we park our cars and enter our home, our business day is over until 7am the next morning. I would like to tell you that this worked out perfectly, but to this day, it’s a balance we are trying to work on. It is important to set some time off and be present with your partner.

Challenge 2: The unpredictable happens

You miss out so much on your relationship with your significant other because you are caught up with closing deals, signing new clients, arguing about staff, hiring people, proposals, and so on.

Solution: Acknowledge the challenges and your differences

You must realise that the relationship is what made you the great entrepreneurs you are becoming and if you let that fall behind, it will start showing in business. This also is a great conflict resolution technique.

I don’t know about you and your partner, but like I described us earlier, we are two extremes who work hard on balance, this means that our lenses are sometimes very different, and emotions can easily get in the way.

It is important to set some time off and be present with your partner

Challenge 3: Trying to do it all

After reading a lot of books and trying to be disciplined in distributing my time, I have come to realise that balance is a myth. There are days when the marriage will fall behind because things are hectic with the business, and then there are days where business will fall behind because you are trying to make up for the lost time.

Your health will fall behind sometimes while your relationship and business are thriving, this is but a few examples of how much balance is what I believe to be an illusion. This however does not mean that we mustn’t try – we try always – but we shouldn’t be hard on ourselves because to achieve the greatness, something must give.

Solution: Be mindful, practice self-awareness

A lot of great people had to make sacrifices to achieve their goals – something had to give. For former President Nelson Mandela, his family life had [suffered] for him to reach his goal of a free country. He spent 27 years in prison, leaving his wife and children to do what he had to do.

Now I am not saying leave your partner and children behind to go achieve your goals, I am saying that something has got to give, and it won’t always be the same thing all the time.

There are days when the marriage will fall behind because things are hectic with the business

Challenge 4: Not communicating

Making it work with your most important partner is key to the success you want. For former US President Barack Obama to run a country, something had to give. His wife, Michelle Obama in her book Becoming talks about how tough it was not having her husband home for dinner with their family for several nights.

Something had to give, but the lesson from this is communication. Michelle knew how big of a dream her husband had and was willing to enjoy the fruits of that sacrifice years later.

Solution: Be transparent 

Communicate what those dreams mean to you and why they mean so much to you, make your partner understand. It is also helpful when both of you are in business because the other party understands when things get crazy at times.

However, transparency, communication and tenacity have been major traits we have dedicated to build in our home to ensure that our relationship still stands above all the success because it is the pillar and the reason we are working on building legacies.

Whatever we do, the aim is to make sure OUR HOME WINS, not the business, not people, not egos, but our home and if this means giving the business a bit of extra time to achieve that, then so be it. No matter what, our home must win!

About the Author: Michelle Lima-Madwantsi is a Marketing Graduate who fell in love with wedding planning and styling. She started her company, Lavish Creations Décor & Events, an events planning and floral designing company in 2015. Lima-Madwantsi is also a YouTuber known as Michelle Expert. On her channel she regularly talks about topics relating to personal- and business development.

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