What I didn’t know when I married an entrepreneur.
My husband and I have been married for just over a year, and they all told us the first year would be the hardest. It turns out it actually was an especially challenging year for him, but not because of me!! This last year my husband paused school to start a software company and the ups and downs of entrepreneurship have both fascinated and shocked me.
See, I had no clue what being an entrepreneur really even meant. My mom always encouraged me to marry a doctor, or a lawyer. When my (then) boyfriend Wesley Eames, told me he was starting a company I was very excited for him and naively thought it would be a great experience — unknowing what that was going to entail. We were married in May and in June his company ran out of funding.
Harvard Business Review did an article entitled “Entrepreneurship as Disease”. This quote describes my husband exactly.
Entrepreneurs are all in, all the time. Entrepreneurs love what they do and obsess over it. It is a predisposition; a path that has already been laid for you. It is a character trait, a labor of love, a zeal that cannot be trained, a condition that cannot be treated, an illness that cannot be caught. You’ve either got it or you don’t.
It’s almost as if entrepreneurship chose him — he didn’t choose it. It would be entirely easier if he was a full-time student, or a recent grad working for one of the Big 4. He didn’t want to do what was easy though, and frankly I feel he would be settling if he did. His potential is infinitely more than what is easy. His creativity, resourcefulness, and scrappy-nature would be put to an abismal waste in any environment but entrepreneurship. So here are some of the things I’m learning, please note that I’m an amateur and continually seeking to understand his type.
Money doesn’t matter
So many people think that entrepreneurs are motivated by money and once they’ve built a successful business all they want is the check at the end of their exit. Wrong. In fact, I feel kind of uncomfortable when people ask if my husband is planning on selling his company, and how much it will be acquired for…Money is important and it’s tantalizing but that’s not why we’re in this. It really doesn’t matter and I’ve been amazed to see how happy we’ve been this past year living off of Ramen. I’ve also been amazed to see how much fun we’ve been able to make out of the small savings we have.
A college degree doesn’t matter either. And believe me when I tell you I NEVER thought I would say that. A year ago, nay 4 months ago, I would not have been able to say that. After fully understanding my husband’s thoughts on education and his passion for creativity, which you can read about here, I get why he has paused school and dedicated himself entirely to his startup. It’s also hilarious to me that our friends with MBA’s come to Wes for business advice.
Wesley recently finished a startup accelerator located in Boulder, Co. called Techstars. We were apart for three months and it just so happened to align perfectly with the length of my second trimester of pregnancy. Now that the program has ended he is traveling back and forth to Boulder, and various cities to meet with investors. I’ve been lonely at times and missed having him with me but what I never knew was what a lonely journey he would go through. His loneliness isn’t just the physical absence that I’ve experienced, but a deep emotional solitude.
He has expressed to me before that no one else can really relate to him and know what he’s going through. Originally I was frustrated and offended when he made those comments. I felt like because we were a team I should carry the same burden he carries. What has been hardest on me through this whole process is when he is going through a hard time and I can’t fix it. I don’t know how to help and I honestly don’t know what it feels like to have a team and employees depend on you for a monthly check, or I don’t know what it’s like when a committed investor says no at the last minute.
But at the end of the day the pros heavily outweigh the cons. So here are a few of the things that have made it all worth it, and why I would choose him over and over and over again.
What DOES matter
What does matter is that he is changing the way people discover their family and is making possible family connections that are long-lasting. This is what he does for a living. AncestorCloud is a genealogy marketplace where researchers connect to further their family history. He has enabled thousands of expert genealogists to the point where they rely on providing their services for an income. I really think that’s incredible. His reach is worldwide and he’s making an incredible impact.
His happiness is transparent. His love for startups and business has perpetuated such happiness in the workplace as well as in the home. He comes home 6/7 days completely exhausted but enthusiastic to tell me about the meetings he had and he still manages to have energy to work until 10pm. I don’t get it, but I’m fine with it!
I love that he is so passionate about what he does. I feel like it makes life so much more meaningful when each day he has a purpose. It’s no secret that dissatisfaction in the workplace spreads like wildfire into all the other facets of life, destroying homes and relationships. I find myself very lucky to feel so loved and cherished and I have found that it is a direct result of the fact that my husband loves what he does. He comes home happy, usually exhausted, but very happy.
Some people are destined for entrepreneurship, some are destined for corporate, and we need both types of people in this world. Although our life is a little less predictable, or secure I have loved every step of the journey and we enjoy living without regrets. Wesley never ceases to amaze me, and I have no doubt he will do nothing but amazing things to come.