As wedding bells ring this summer, couples everywhere are saying more than just “I do” to each other. For entrepreneurs tying the knot, it can be a huge adjustment to marry the love of your life while remaining in a committed relationship with your passion project. How can you ensure that both your business and marriage soar instead of crumbling to pieces? Before you head down the aisle, check out these tips for ensuring you’re able to get the best of both worlds.
Put your marriage first.
The unfortunate reality of marriage and startups is that half of these relationships fail. But why do so many entrepreneurs get divorced? Inc. revealed that the most common causes are financial strain, neglect, divergent goals, and a lack of communication. Any of these causes would be detrimental enough for couples in traditional 9 to 5 jobs, but it’s especially tough for entrepreneurs who invest long hours and energy working on their business.
Much as you may love your startup, do not let it take the place of your marriage as your top priority. Instead, find the balance between being married and running a business. Determine the best methods for devoting time and hard work into both areas so you feel fulfilled on a personal and professional level. If you work from home, know when to unplug and spend quality time with your spouse. Incorporate them into your everyday routine by going on walks, having lunch together, or going on a long weekend getaway.
Incorporate your business (if you haven’t already)
While a business that has not been incorporated does have a more simplified tax process and allows you to exercise more control, your personal assets are also highly at risk. Unincorporated businesses do not keep personal and professional assets separate. Without liability assistance, if your business declares bankruptcy or falls behind on your loan payments, your personal belongings like houses and cars could be at risk — and that’s the last thing any newlywed wants repossessed.
Take the time to incorporate or form an LLC for your business so that you are able to keep professional and personal assets separate. Additionally, if your business is particularly successful you may find it’s a good plan to hire legal help to put together a prenuptial agreement. This written agreement will work to provide an extra cushion of protection for your business.
Communicate, communicate, communicate!
As mentioned earlier, a lack of communication in a marriage can truly destroy the relationship and the business. Before you get married, sit down with your partner and have an open discussion about your startup and where you are at in it. Discuss long and short term goals for the business, a plan B (should you need one), and what your current financial situation looks like (whether you’re using your own personal bank account or joint assets and if you have any existing loans or bills) so that there are no surprises later on. Communicate daily with your spouse to check in personally and professionally and keep the dialogue going by being open to feedback from their end.
In a recent study from Wells Fargo, it was revealed that 80% of millennial entrepreneurs plan to grow their business over the years and pass it down to their children. While being an entrepreneur, or being married to one, is certainly not easy, the beauty of starting a business is that there’s a great infrastructure therein to ensure a secure legacy for future generations in your family. And in the end, that’s the best kind of happily ever after an entrepreneur can create for anyone.
Deborah Sweeney is the CEO of MyCorporation.com which provides online legal filing services for entrepreneurs and businesses, startup bundles that include corporation and LLC formation, registered agent services, DBAs, and trademark and copyright filing services. You can find MyCorporation on Twitter at @MyCorporation.