A few weeks ago, I received a reader question that was pretty different from any of the ones I've received before. Usually, people ask me about different things that I've done to grow the site or advice about any number of things personal finance or entrepreneurship related.
This time though – they asked what role my wife played in my business.
I've talked about Coral a ton on the site, but I've never really done a full post about how she has helped me over the past three years. It's way past due for that, because honestly without her I probably would have given up on this a long time ago.
Just FYI – this isn't some kind of “Here's the woman behind the man” type of thing. She's been right next to me every step of the way (and sometimes way in front of me haha).
Here's a quick story of how the whole “I'm going to quit my job to run a website” thing went down:
So believe it or not, I actually put in my resignation at the high school I taught at just a few weeks before we got married! That's one of the many things I look back on and laugh about now because it's just ridiculous.
We were on the back end of the wedding planning process when I decided to walk in and talk to my boss about leaving to run M$M.
You would think that it was something I had been planning on for months and had talked it over several times with the person who was about to become legally/financially tied up with me.
But…nope. I came home the evening before and basically just told Coral everything that I wanted to do. Originally, I was going to wait another full year before leaving my teaching job, but my good friend and mentor Mike talked me into quitting.
I came home and asked her what she thought about it and if she would be OK with me quitting. At the time I hadn't really made any money from this site…but I believed in what I was trying to do.
So to recap:
- There was no real plan
- I had not made any money from M$M
- We were a few weeks away from getting married
- All of this sounds like a horrific idea haha
“OK, let's do it.”
I mean, there wasn't even any hesitation from her. Maybe she just saw how passionate I was about personal finance, or could tell how unhappy I was at my teaching job.
That's one of the things about being an entrepreneur at heart – you feel like you're suffocating in a normal job. I'm sure she could see that.
That confidence that she had in me (which I have no idea where it came from based on the situation) was the final thing I needed before I could get the guts to go in and tell my boss what was up.
A few weeks later at our wedding, there were 3 or 4 times where I caught myself thinking: “Man, I hope you didn't just do something really dumb.”
The cool thing is that I'm really driven to show her that she made a good choice in trusting me with this whole process. I'm not sure every spouse would go along with something like what I did.
So now it's one of my many missions to make sure she has the coolest life possible.
Putting up with an online entrepreneur probably sucks
Now let's get to the actual nuts and bolts of how she has helped me through this process. Being married to an entrepreneur seems like it would be really hard, so I'm not quite sure how she does it.
One of the hallmarks of full-time entrepreneurship in the very beginning is that you're scared.
At first, I was worried every day that I didn't make money.
Then, it turned into: “Did I do well this week?”
For the past year, I've freaked out a little bit every time the calendar turned to a new month. “What if I don't make it this month?”
Now that my business is going really well, it's a little easier to breathe.
But for the first two years…Coral had to listen to me freak out constantly and basically be my psychologist every night.
The amazing thing? She never complained about it. It's pretty crazy because I'm not sure I could do the same for someone else.
That's why I credit her every bit as much as myself for building this business. Maybe she hasn't been doing all of the technical things or writing the content (although she does run my Pinterest account which has now shot up to 18% of my traffic because she's killing it), but she has kept me sane through this process.
It's not just business – we've always been on the same page financially
Even years ago when I told her I wanted to stay at her parents' house and rent to pay off my loans faster, she was down. Can you imagine living at your parents' house into your twenties? Our situation wasn't bad at all, but I'm sure there were plenty of days that she just wanted to move on to the next phase of life together.
She supported it though, and eventually I paid off my student loans. That success story fueled this entire project, and ultimately laid the foundation for us to have a stress-free financial life together.
The cool thing is that she is just as nerdy about all of this as I am, and she is naturally very frugal.
It just works. It's awesome.
Now that my business is solid, I'm trying to refocus on the things that matter the most
Straight-up, my work-life balance has been terrible the last few months. With all of the course launches and new businesses (yes plural) that I'm starting, I've just ignored things like taking time to hang out with my wife more or taking breaks from the computer.
I LOVE building my business.
However, it's not exactly healthy to do it all the time.
So now my goal is rebalance everything and spend more time doing fun stuff with my wife moving forward. We're going to travel, go out on more dates, and I'll do my best to close the computer at a reasonable time every night. 🙂
Everyone just assumes that entrepreneurship is fun all the time and that you can take off whenever you want because you're the boss.
It's really not that way though (at least in the beginning) – and anyone who tells you differently isn't being intellectually honest. Entrepreneurship is hard. It tests your will, your relationships, and your patience.
Fortunately, having an awesome person to help you through the process makes it all easier.