Trying to grow a business while being in a relationship is the part of entrepreneurship that no one talks about.
When you’re an entrepreneur in a relationship, it’s easy to feel like you’re in triage mode with business and bae both demanding your attention. How do you make your partner a priority without feeling like you’re leaving money or opportunities on the table? How do you put in the hours you know it takes to make your business grow and succeed, without neglecting your partner?
Being a business owner while being in a relationship is truly a balancing act, with both worlds needing lots of energy to flourish. And it’s easy to get so focused on one area that you start to neglect the other.
But when the scale tips too much for too long on one side, it leads to one of two things: crippling burnout or seething resentment. And when that happens, no one is happy…trust me.
Here are some tips you can use to make sure your business and your relationship get the time and attention they both need to thrive:
Communicate your needs and boundaries…often.
Part of being in a relationship is being clear about what keeps you happy and sane, and finding creative ways you both can win. That means that forgoing important work that you know will grow your business simply to please your partner isn’t healthy. Treating your partner as an afterthought once you’ve checked off all the other things on your to-do list isn’t the way to go either.
The key to striking a balance between business and bae is communicating your needs and boundaries often. For example, I’m a Social Media Manager so my boyfriend knows that I need uninterrupted focus time when I’m writing social content which means I’ll take longer to respond to his texts than normal. He also knows that being the introvert that I am, I need an hour of quiet alone time to recharge after putting in a lot of mental power during a demanding workday.
Similarly, I know that he values having multiple touchpoints throughout the week instead of saving all our quality time for the weekends when we’re both off and usually tired from the workweek. And each of us knows those things about one another because we’re open and honest about our needs and boundaries.
Create a schedule that works for both of you.
If you’re self-employed with flexible hours like me, you probably know how easy it is for your work life to start to bleed into your personal life. On top of that, if you also live with your partner, you sometimes end up spending a lot of time in each other’s company without actually being together. You might even fall into a routine and find yourself just going through the motions because you figure you see each other everyday, right?
But that’s why creating a schedule that works for both you and your partner is so important. For me, I decided to batch my work so that Mondays and Wednesdays are heavier days where I work longer than usual and then have some alone time while Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays are lighter days where I finish up earlier so that my partner and I can catch up and connect. This way, I can hit my business goals while also giving my partner those meaningful touchpoints throughout the week without burning myself out.
And that scheduling applies for activities with your partner too. Got dinner plans? Mark that down in your calendar. Yep, I’m serious. My boyfriend and I have a shared calendar where we list future dates or events we plan to go to together. And I don’t see this as some unromantic thing that takes the spontaneity out of the relationship. Instead, it’s a way for us to show each other that no matter how busy life gets, we’re still putting each other as a priority and being intentional with making time for us.
We even schedule monthly check-ins called “Couple Bubbles” to check in with each other on how the relationship is going and give each other a chance to talk about what’s going well and what can be improved. It might sound corny at first, but it’s honestly one of the best ways for us to keep things fresh and address any issues before they turn into major problems.
Creating a schedule that works for you and your partner not only helps you stay organized enough to do the things that move your business forward but also helps you keep track of how much quality time you spend together versus just being in each others’ presence.
Remember that everything won’t always go as planned…and that’s ok.
Let’s be real: dedicating perfectly equal amounts of time and energy to your business and partner each and every week isn’t realistic. But perfection isn’t the goal here. You only have so many hours in the day so know that there will be compromise and days where one might get more attention than the other. And that’s ok.
Use your schedule as a helpful guide to maximize your time with your business and your partner, not as a rigid plan to stick to at all costs. So if something falls through the cracks, don’t feel guilty or disappointed. Be fluid and give yourself some grace and space for things to change.
Hopefully these tips are as helpful for you as they were for me and allow you to more easily grow your business while growing with someone else. You got this!