In this month’s cover story, women entrepreneurs talk about the challenges of building and running their own businesses. But behind great entrepreneurs—both male and female—chances are you’ll find a supportive partner. However, being that supportive partner isn’t always an easy feat. For one thing, it’s often difficult for the couples to even find the time to see each other.
Thomas Edwards, founder of The Professional Wingman, a dating strategy and lifestyle development company, is engaged to Laurie Davis, founder of eFlirt Expert, a digital dating consultancy. The couple, who met on Twitter and plan to get married in the summer of 2013, live together in New York City, but because they work different hours, often keep in touch via daily texts, emails, phone calls, and tweets. As their companies are similar in nature, they often find themselves talking business—so much so that they schedule weekly meetings.
“When you get so involved in your company, as an entrepreneur, you want to make sure that there’s a balance between your personal life and your business life. You don’t want to go out on date night and all you’re talking about is business—that can get really tiresome,” says Edwards. “So we actually have meetings where we talk about things that are going on in our companies.”
Brian Stern, manager and producer at talent management company Brillstein Entertainment Partners, has been married to his wife, Lyss, founder of Divalysscious Moms, a social networking and event planning company for moms and kids, since 2001. The couple has two sons, ages eight and five, and it’s often Brian’s responsibility to manage the family calendar. “It’s all about the kids first, but it’s really about time management and making sure that we have time for ourselves as husband and wife—knowing when to deal with work and when to put the BlackBerry down,” he says.
Stern estimates that he and his wife text or email each other between 20 and 30 times a day, although they often don’t have time to have a phone conversation. “It’s a challenge, but it’s a fun challenge because we both love what we do for a living,” he says. “It’s all about the time management, and we have to walk that fine line.”
When they do spend time together, the couples often find it best to put business on the back burner. “We try to separate the two. There are some nights when she doesn’t want to talk about it, and it’s all about us and the kids,” says Stern. “But it’s tough because Lyss has so many great ideas and things going on with her business that it’s very exciting.”
“Even though you’re an entrepreneur and your life’s pretty much a 24/7 business, when you add a relationship on top of that, it becomes that much more important to separate those things. That way, you can actually appreciate being in a relationship and having a life outside of being the founder of a company,” says Edwards.
But despite the challenges, both Stern and Edwards wouldn’t have it any other way. “We always have to remind each other that although times might be really busy and things might be tough in terms of seeing each other, it’s for a greater good in our future lives,” says Edwards. “Laurie is so smart, intelligent, and savvy when it comes to a lot of different things. She’s so supportive and she understands a lot of things that I’m going through. She understands exactly where I’m coming from.”
“You have to be wired as an entrepreneur. I don’t know how you learn to become an entrepreneur. I think it’s in your spirit, and it’s in the mechanics of who you are as a person,” says Stern. And with his wife, he says, “There’s never a dull moment.”
Michelle Court is the managing editor at The New York Enterprise Report. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.