Entrepreneurship and Marriage: How it Can Make or Break your Business

The following excerpt is from Kelly Clements’ book The Power of Play, Praise and Purpose. Get the FREE eBook below.

entrepreneurship and marriage
The Power of Play, Praise and Purpose

Entrepreneurship is a wild ride and it takes the right person to pull it off successfully. With over 90 percent of entrepreneurs failing once or more in business, it’s no wonder the divorce rate for entrepreneurs is so high. The journey of entrepreneurship is wrought with extreme highs and lows. Add a spouse to the mix and you either have a
secret weapon—or a recipe for disaster!

For a spouse, marrying into an entrepreneurial relationship can prove to be a tremendous blessing or a blasted curse. I used to say that a spouse can make or break a business. While that’s still true, there’s a more important truth: a business can make or break a spouse.

While the growth of a business owner may serve the business well, it can also threaten a marriage. When couples are not growing together, the gap of shared goals and dreams can swallow the relationship. Because a spouse plays such a crucial support role to the business owner, it is imperative to invest in the individual growth of the spouse as well as the entrepreneur.

Where Spouses Might Struggle

Most spouses struggle to find the line between support and self-care. Discovering how to effectively manage the impact of the business on the spouse and the relationship has proven to be a game changer. The impact of a supportive spouse on a business in undeniable. The impact of a fulfilled spouse in a relationship is even greater. That’s why the spouses must be championed, acknowledged, and encouraged to grow and care for themselves.

To be healthy in all areas of personal life requires a journey of self-discovery to reconnect with one’s highest and best self. I’ve lived in the uncertain environment of the entrepreneurial households on both sides of the equation—as the entrepreneur and as the partner of one. I’ve learned from my mistakes and love lost. I’ve also coached many entrepreneurial couples through Strategic Coach, Lifebook, and my own business, The Entreprenewer, where I recognized they were all experiencing similar issues, not only in the business, but in the situation at home.

Due to the constant demands of the business and family, couples are often left feeling deflated, overwhelmed, and underserved. They’re in chronic reaction mode. The entrepreneur is hyper-focused on maximizing their potentialin the business. The spouse is caught up in the inertia of everyone else’s goals and dreams. They aren’t pursuing their own passion and growth anymore. In essence, both parties are being squeezed out of the relationship. They have forgotten the three most enjoyable parts of life and relationships: the power of play, the power of praise, and the power of purpose.

My Intention for this Book

My intention for this is a book is to empower entrepreneurial couples to grow TOGETHER through the powers of play, praise, and purpose. Harnessing these powers will reveal that it takes TWO extraordinary people to create ONE extraordinary relationship. In discussing the concepts, I will often refer to entrepreneurial relationships in a generalized way, referring to the entrepreneur as “he” and the spouse as “she”—but the challenges can be just as hard, if not harder, when the woman is the entrepreneur in the relationship. The same is true for same-sex couples of either gender. These principles are boiled down to “entrepreneurshipthe human experience,” and transcend stereotypes and gender roles.

To create a healthy, vibrant relationship, the three most crucial strategies involve infusing your relationship with prolific amounts of play, praise, and purpose. In the next section, we’ll address why entrepreneurs and their spouses need to match the quality of their free time to that of their work time. We’ll explore how they can bring greater awareness to their opportunities to affirm versus accuse, and identify the need to align their long-term visions so there’s purpose in both their lives, as well purpose for their relationship. In short, entrepreneurial households require plentiful play, potent praise, and powerful purpose.

Part One

The Storms of Entrepreneurial Relationships

Before we explore the solution, we must fully recognize the problem If we don’t understand what’s hurting us, we can’t maximize what helps us Entrepreneurship offers a unique dynamic to a love relationship Somehow, the business becomes a third party in the relationship It can become the source of our identity and the catalyst for the health (or lack thereof) of our relationship It becomes the governing body of how well we “show up” for our spouse It is crucial for us to reclaim our love relationship from the grip of our business if we are to truly step into our power as a couple

Chapter 1: Roles vs. Identity

Identity Loss: It doesn’t take a crisis

We give business owners a lot of flack for tying their identity so tightly to their business. Their self-worth becomes inextricably linked to their net worth. What has so far gone unnoticed is how strongly the spouse ties her identity to the business owner.

The business now becomes the foundation of the relationship. But we overlook the crucial piece in which we acknowledge that the love relationship is actually the bedrock of a fulfilling life and the health of the business.

Remember, in order to create one extraordinary love relationship, we need two extraordinary people—not one extraordinary business We need two people who are actively paying attention to their needs and desires. We need two people who are committed to shared growth and mutual support.

By nature, and by trade, entrepreneurs are hardwired for growth. They seek peak experiences and are always looking for an edge. Many times, the result of this quest for hyper-growth leaves thrashing chaos in its wake. The spouse is left to hold the rest of the couple’s lives together. Keeping life on the rails becomes a full-time job, and it’s in this abyss that we completely lose sight of ourselves.

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An Open Letter to Alpha Females

Coach Kelly Clements

I know you want success.  And I know the more success you create, the more you want your partner to keep up.  You dream of being that ‘Power Couple’ that shares big goals and dreams and creates a huge life together.  I know because I’ve been there and I’m sharing this story with you today because inside this desire, I found the key.  If you’ve heard me speak from stage, this may be a refresher for you.  If you’re new here, settle in and enjoy! 

The first time I was asked to speak at an all women’s business conference, I declined.  I was scared.  

thought I was scared because my message of “play more” and “praise more” would likely get a huge eye-roll from powerful women.  It DEFINITELY didn’t fit the women’s lib movement that was rapidly unfolding.  It might even be considered anti-feminist by some.  I know there was a point in my own life that my message would have made me gag a little. 

I shared my concerns with the meeting organizer and she said, “No Kelly, women need this. I’m responsible for advancing women through the ranks of the financial industry, and one of the rungs on their ladder to success seems to be divorce. It’s like the more successful they get, the more their marriages unravel. We need help figuring this out.”

It felt like a gut-punch.  

That’s when I realized the reason I was scared to speak to alpha females wasn’t because I thought they would reject my message. I KNEW they needed it.  

I was scared because for the first time in my speaking career, I wouldn’t be talking about how I overcame being the “victim”.

In this case, I would have to talk about being the VILLAIN.

I would have to talk about my divorce and how it took losing half my nights, weekends, and holidays with my kids to understand my role in the divorce.

I would have to talk about how I criticized my husband a hundred times more than I complimented him- and how the more I “coached” him, the weaker he got.

I would have to talk about all the times I compared him to “more successful” men.

I would have to confess about all the respect I lost for him when he wasn’t meeting my unrealistic expectations. 

Ugh. I would have to face the demise that my words alone created.  On stage. In front of my peers.

My mind raced the entire time I was up there.  “Are they getting this?” I wondered. “Are they judging me? Can they relate?”

As I wrapped up, not one person clapped.  In fact, no one even moved.  I wanted to die.

Eventually, one woman said, “Wow, I’m feeling pretty guilty right now.  I do everything you just described and I never connected the dots that it’s my constant criticism that has shut my man down.”

Then, another woman volunteered, “While you were talking, I texted my husband to say thank you for all he does, and he wrote back, ‘What’s wrong?  Are you having an affair? Why the sudden kindness?’”

One by one, the audience shared breakthroughs of how they hold their success over their husband’s head. How they compete within the marriage, but every time they win the competition, they lose respect for their partner.

And it’s a conversation I’ve been having with women ever since.  

Our success matters. Our excellence, contribution and acceptance MATTERS.  And watching women rightfully (and finally) assume their place at the top inspires me every single day.  (Keep going!!)

But I think what we’re missing is that, at times, we’re perpetuating the very same problem we are trying to overcome. We are degrading our men, not with our sexist remarks about them “looking hot that day”, but by constantly showing them how they’re falling short.  How they’re not measuring up.  How they’re not good enough for us.

There is a funny thing about men; they have this way of proving us right!!  When we tell them they aren’t good enough, they shut down, put in less effort, and prove us right.  But when we affirm them and recognize their strengths- they become King Kong and put in this gallant effort to try and impress us even more.

Could they REALLY be this simple?  Could they REALLY only require, food, water, sex, and a little praise?

You tell me. 

Try this experiment for the next week and see if you get to go to bed every night with a better husband:

1) Give him two compliments for every complaint.  

That’s it.  Find ways to speak into what’s working. 

Try this for one week and see what happens. 

I’ll be back next week with some tips for the guys on ways to REALLY earn and keep her RESPECT.  Cause when she respects you, brother, you’ve got the keys to the kingdom!

I love you and I love love.  Be good to one another!

xo,

Kelly

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Women’s History Month: Jada Pinkett Smith

Feminine Phenom: Jada Pinkett Smith

Jada’s Facebook Series, Red Table Talks, have become the go-to destination for some of the most crucial conversations taking place today.

Her topics have covered everything from family and marriage to race and religion. Red Table Talks’ guests have included former friendships gone wrong, self-proclaimed bigots, and victims of high-profile legal battles.

With her mom and daughter as her co-hosts, she covers a wide spectrum of values and a deep multi- generational perspective. 

Jada’s knack for exploring divisive topics is a gorgeous example of the feminine gift of bringing CONSENSUS. 

Her way of facilitating difficult conversations shows the importance of seeking to understand. 

She’s not out to prove right v. wrong.

She listens without judgement and allows her guests to share their truths. 

More importantly, she doesn’t shy away from her own truth, and allows both to peacefully co-exist – if only at the table.

Women’s History Month Day 5: Jaiya

Feminine Phenom #5 : Jaiya

In celebration of Mardi Gras and all the indulgence that goes with it- today I bring you Ms. Jaiya

Jaiya has dialed in the feminine expression of PLEASURE 🥰

She has done for couples and intimacy what The Five Love Languages has done for couples and relationships.

That’s right, she has created a blueprint to identify the five expressions of intimacy to help couples keep the pleasure in their relationship.

Because the content is potentially NSFW, I’ll share the link below.

Continue if you please 😉 www.missjaiya.com

Women’s History Month Day 4: Drs. Katie Rodan & Kathy Fields

Feminine Phenoms #4 are Drs Katie Rodan and Kathy Fields

It’d be easy to tout them for their back-to-back billion dollar successes with Proactiv and Rodan + Fields.

It’d be even easier to celebrate how their life’s work reduced acne and reversed the signs of aging.

But what’s really worth recognizing is the 300,000+ women they have amped up by putting them on the path to entrepreneurship.

They did this with their ability to maximize the basic feminine element for success: CONNECTION.

Women succeeded in circles. Always have. Always will.

We have a natural multiplier effect that compounds when we collaborate with others.

So when Drs. Rodan and Fields sold their first blockbuster company (Proactiv), they returned to the market with a whole new business model.

They skipped the department store distribution and put their anti-aging products- and profits- straight into the hands of their market.

This empowered women to create income by sharing a product that helped them look and feel younger.

It also created a deep sense of community and purpose; something so many women are craving. I love seeing so many women lit up with their passion. Keep it up, ladies! Here’s my perspective on the impact of building a connection-based business:

💰Financial Independence: some do it for extra spending money, others have cranked it into a booming six-figure company, and some have created legit wealth for their families. When it comes to passive income, these women have set their families up for some impressive long-term residuals, even after they’re gone. Get it, girls!

🗝 Entrepreneurship: with a proven product and a turn-key approach, this allows women to grow a business by focusing on connection. No need to spend valuable ramp-up time and money on product development, inventory, branding, marketing, and everything else that goes with starting a business. It’s a really great option for business ownership if you’re feeling the entrepreneurial itch, but unsure where to start.

🤓 Business Savvy: I’m just gonna day it. Soooo many industries depend on getting initial business/ referrals from friends and family. Financial advisors, insurance sales, real estate agents, travel advisors… These women have found recurring/passive earning potential in a booming industry with an established company. I call that smart business sense. Way to be strategic, sisters!

🎉 Community: Have you seen them celebrate one another? I don’t know about you and your business, but no one is rolling up with a brand new Lexus for me when I hit a big goal. Their annual conferences look like a total blast and their group incentives create personal growth by encouraging one another to expand beyond their comfort zones.

🙌 Purpose: I can’t tell you how many of my friends credit Rodan + Fields for rediscovering themselves. For understanding what they are truly capable of. For giving them something tangible to strive for. For expanding into a version of themselves they never thought possible.

A company that can reverse the signs of aging?

Great.

A company that can do that AND ignite women to their fullest, best selves?

All👏 Day 👏 Long

Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one. -Jane Howard

Women’s History Month Day 3: Lady Gaga

Feminine Phenom #3 goes to my newest celebrity crush: Lady Gaga

I wasn’t always a fan. I kinda liked her, but it was hard for me to find Her under all the makeup, wigs, and costumes. 

She revealed in her Netflix documentary Gaga: Five Foot Two that her outrageous costumes and red carpet looks were her way of trying to maintain control in an industry notorious for controlling every aspect of the artist’s lives. 

She resisted being turned into a bubble-gum pop star by putting up shields made literally of meat dresses and egg chariots. 

And, let’s be honest. That worked. She clawed her way to stardom with all that bold, creative resistance. So yes, her resistance worked. 

Until it didn’t. 

Completely exhausted and burnt out, it started to impact her passion for creating her real art- music. 

The feminine trait she models today is my favorite: SURRENDER. 

The Gaga we experience today is a Gaga of surrender. 

Surrender is often thought to be weak, passive, unprotected, or cowardly. It’s actually quite the opposite. 

True surrender requires tremendous trust, courage, and acceptance. It’s allowing everything and everyone to be what it is. And surrendering to being You anyway. Being You. Any. Way. 

By surrendering, she allowed the the industry to remain its controlling, fabricated self. She didn’t try to change it anymore.

She didn’t give in and become bubble-gum pop, either. That’s selling out, not surrendering. 

She just doesn’t have to work so hard to to resist it anymore. She doesn’t have to hide her music and her talent behind the cos play. 

She put down the shield and just showed up and sang. 

Thank you, Gaga! More of YOU please!

Women’s History Month Day 2: JK Rowling

JK Rowling became the first billionaire author ever in the wake of her success with Harry Potter. 

Often celebrated for her perseverance in getting her first novel published after being rejected 12 times, it was actually what happened long BEFORE that first rejection that paved the way to her success. 

I’m honoring JK Rowling as the next noteworthy feminine phenom for using this feminine super power: RECEIVING. 

She describes the experience of coming up with Harry Potter as “the characters dropping into my head, fully formed”. 

I don’t know about you, but I’d be quick to dismiss an idea about wizards, owls, and quidditch. 

Not JK. 

She received that idea and ran with it; all the way to the billionaire’s bank while igniting the hearts and imaginations of the planet. 

Soooo often women are quick to qualify their dreams with phrases like “I know this sounds kinda ridiculous, and I have no idea how to actually do this or if this is even a thing, but I’ve always wanted to…”

Girl, that’s the calling!! RECEIVE IT! Once you put the SLIGHTEST bit of action to it, the path will reveal itself. 

((Sneak Peek- she’ll be back 2 more times this month for maximizing other feminine qualities on her road to success))

Women’s History Month Day 1: Marie Kondo

It’s Women’s History Month! Follow me this month as I feature 31 of my favorite women who are succeeding because of their FEMININE super powers. 

First up : Marie Kondo for Sparking Joy 

Joy is a feminine super power and at its core is a life giving force. Marie’s empire has been built on this one simple concept. Only be surrounded by things that bring you joy. 

What a novel, simple, empowering Feminine approach!

Have you “Marie Kondo’d” your home yet? It’s so rejuvenating isn’t it?

And, in the spirit of Spring Cleaning, consider Marie Kondoing your LIFE. 

What if you only participated in activities, conversations and pursuits that sparked joy? 

I’m teaching you how in my women’s coaching sprint kicking off via web conference on Wednesday March 6. For 12 weeks we’re going to “Marie Kondo” your Finance, Fitness, Family, and Faith. 

Out with the 👎. In with the 😍

“I just want to do arts and crafts all day!”

Those were the words of my friend, Chelsea, in the midst of her self-proclaimed career crisis. She had left a “dream job” in Hollywood that just wasn’t fulfilling to her. She had been searching and searching for what was next.

Her husband, doing his best to remain supportive asked her one day what she WANTED to do. “I just wanna do arts and crafts all day!!”

Fast forward through a darling story about buying an old letter-press and tinkering around with making party invitations, to opening a little store in LA, to Reese Witherspoon featuring them in a lifestyle magazine, to landing ANOTHER line in Target!

If you happen upon a Sugar Paper display in Target this season, be sure to support this sister who listened to her heart. Because supporting brave women who trust their dreams and follow their hearts are showing us every day how women succeed in business.

And Merry Christmas ya gorgeous beauties! 🎄

xo

Sugar Paper display at Target!

Is it OK to Charge for That?

There’s an interesting question women advisors ask that their male counterparts don’t ask. 

In the last two weeks I’ve spoken at a women’s Financial Advisor conference and mostly women’s Travel Advisor conference. 

A common question among them is always: 

“Is it okay to charge a planning fee?” 

The question most men ask is:

“How much can I charge for my planning fee?”

Perhaps it’s because the men I work with are more established in their careers and have reached their pinnacle BECAUSE they charge for their wisdom. 

But there’s a different ramp-up conversation with women to generate the buy-in that their wisdom is valuable and more than worthy of charging a fee. 

The Wisdom Economy is alive and well. Leadership and guidance are SO VALUABLE in a world where options beget more options and we all have decision fatigue. 

What’s it worth for your clients to understand that you are advising based on THEIR best interests, not YOUR commissions.

The ability to cut through the noise, provide viable options, and offer objective perspective is invaluable. 

Consider how much time and energy you are saving your clients to help make empowered choices. What’s that worth?

And then there’s this secret weapon that we have. Our intuition! We have the ability to hit the sweet spot of head + heart in our leadership. What’s THAT worth?!?!!! 

Consider how many hours, resources, and relationships have contributed to ALL your wisdom. What’s it worth for you to condense all of that into one concise conversation? 

One of my favorite strategies for determining your fee is to pick a number in your head. 

Now double it. 

Women are notorious for doubting our worth. But getting that first check is a great reminder that we’re worth so much more than the products we sell. 

Having someone write you a check just to have your brain on a part of their life? 

More of THAT please!!!

Do what you love  Charge what you’re worth  Be nice at home!