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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One Simple Thing Husbands can do for their Working Wives

I wanted to share a simple strategy from the couples retreat I ran this weekend. As you likely know, my first book and breakout program was called The Power of Play, Praise, and Purpose. It was good content based on my relationship with another alpha.

Entrepreneurial couples retreat take-away: what one simple thing husbands can do for their working wives.

But the more and more I began to work with entrepreneurial women, I recognized they needed more than just Play, Praise, and Purpose.

They needed Provision, Protection, and Pursuit.

When I talked about this with my couples (there were about 30 in the room), there was one strategy that was considered a total BALLER move.

And it’s so basic. So easy. And makes a massive difference.

What was it?

To take care of her car.

That’s it! Make sure there’s always gas in it. That her tires are safe. That it’s up to speed with all its maintenance. It was the one thing that the women raved about!

So fellas, if this has fallen off your list, make it happen, Cap’n 😉

And ladies, remember, what we appreciate, appreciated. Want more of the good stuff? Keep speaking into it!

Alright, that’s all for now. Off to learn and play and grow and connect- Because women succeed in community and I’ve found mine! Join me!

xo

Kelly

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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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Entrepreneur Spouses: Accepting Help

Women’s History Month: Honoring Women Who Accept Help

Accepting Help

Many times I hear entrepreneur spouses talk about the invisible workload of women. I received an email this morning that sounded so familiar.

With permission, I’m sharing her story for validation that it’s okay to accept help. More help. All the help you need to live the life you’re capable of.

***
Kelly, it was so wonderful to meet you in Laguna Beach. I truly meant it when I said, I could leave after your session and feel completed.

I have felt for a while that God was calling me to share more on our marriage and how we have made it work for almost 25 years now.

It takes a lot of hands to lead a big life, and accepting more help is the first step to truly stepping into your power:

One quick story of our marriage that changed my life and the way “I” viewed myself and our marriage.

My husband and I met through the industry (I was his sales gal) and after marriage I immediately started working in his business and we became partners on many levels.

At the time of this story, we had 3 little ones at the time – ages 7, 5, 2.

It was a Friday night and I had worked so many hours that week on a huge annual project. I picked up the two older kids at Montessori and the youngest was at home with our part time Nanny. After I relieved her, I made dinner and went to the laundry room and started sorting the huge piles of laundry. I felt overwhelmed and did not have enough hours in my day to do it all – and I was superwoman and MUST DO IT ALL.

No time to just sit around anymore!

My husband entered the laundry room as I sat there in the middle of piles of dirty clothes and he asked if I was going to come up and watch a movie with him and the kids as he missed the times of us just sitting together. I snapped and said I miss those times too…. But we got married, had kids, work countless hours at growing our business …. There is no time to just sit around anymore and this laundry is certainly not going to do itself so you head on up and relax and I will stay down here and do the laundry.

He stood there and looked at me with such sadness and said… I am so sorry you are this unhappy with our life. I snapped again and said what do you mean unhappy we have everything (healthy kids, nice home, growing business). His response was you certainly do not sound happy or look happy.

“It’s your choice…”

He proceeded to say in a stern but loving voice. I have asked you many times to get more help at the house but you refuse and want to do everything yourself. It is YOUR choice to stay down here tonight by yourself and do the laundry. I am opening up a nice bottle of wine and pouring two glasses. It is my hope that you take a moment to think about this and you will leave this laundry and come upstairs and have a glass of wine with me, cuddle with the kids and be together as a family. When today ends, we will never get it back and I hope you will remember this day as a day that ended happy and not angry in the laundry room.

He left and I felt like I had been hit right in the heart. The problem was ME and he called me out. As he walked away, I knew I had to change. Thankfully I went up and had that wine, snuggled with the kids and will always remember that day as a life changing day in realizing that it is ok to ask for help and that it was not a sign of weakness.

Marriage is not always easy

Marriage is not always easy, it is not always fun, it is not always what you thought or hoped it would be. But for us…. We WORK at it, and sometimes the work is fun and sometimes the work is hard. I think it was you that mentioned the three-legged race…. It was so ironic as years ago in a Bible Study I refereed to our marriage as a three-legged race…. Me one leg, my husband the other leg and God as the middle leg that keeps the others in sync. I give God all the glory for our marriage….

***

Ladies, you DON’T have to be, do, and have it all. The last thing we need is more exhausted, depleted, overworked women.

Accept the help!

Women’s History Month Day 6: Michelle Obama

Feminine Phenom #6 goes to Michelle Obama

First Lady.

It’s the term most people automatically associate with Michelle, so you may assume this is about her support, encouragement, or grace.

But that would degrade her real super power.

See, First Lady was an identity bestowed upon her by her husband’s dreams, her husband’s pursuits, her husband’s success.

As a result, she found herself smack in the middle of the most powerful office on earth. All eyes were on her through the lens of her marriage.

Yikes.

Can you imagine how easy it would be to lose yourself to THAT gravitational pull? Being the wife of the most powerful man on earth?

As a driven, ambitious, successful woman herself, this had to come with some degree of marital competition or jealousy.

And this is where her super power that sets her apart comes in: SELF CARE.

In her book, Becoming, and her book tour that followed, Michelle has been open about her season of marital hatred toward her husband.

As a new mom, she had left a career she loved and was now “stuck at home” with her young kids. She watched her husband’s career escalate while she stayed home, alone, because her partner was gone more than half the time. She grew to resent him.

So much so that she hauled him into therapy- CERTAIN their counselor would back her up and help convince him to get himself together.

Except that didn’t happen.

Instead, their counselor helped her realize that she had given up control over her own happiness.

As women we do that sometimes, don’t we? Assign our partners complete responsibility over our happiness?

And this breakthrough changed the game for her. She explains:

“I was looking to my husband to make me happy. And I realized I’m responsible for my happiness. I’m responsible for how I prioritize my life. And I can’t be mad at him because he prioritizes his life differently and better.”

So when the Obamas took office, she said the FIRST thing she did was schedule out their priorities. She blocked their calendar for important family trips, events with the girls, her workout routines, time with her girlfriends, and all the other activities that made her feel alive.

Having all this in place safe guarded her personal identity as MICHELLE. As a result, she depended less on her husband to fulfill all her needs. She stood as her own ray of light.

And this is what helped them shine as the united Power Couple that captured the hearts of so many.

Two extraordinary people, one extraordinary relationship. 🙌

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

Warriors Unite!

Of course Wake Up Warrior are the first faces I see this morning on the way to my presentation. Of course they are.

As I walked to my playground, where I get to speak to wives of entrepreneurs on the power of their role and how crucial it is for them to understand the power of feminine and sinking into that through play, praise, and purpose I see the men in black.

They were preparing for their own battle. Armed with their Core Four principals designed to weaponize men to be better husbands.

We had a moment of awe and connection that we get to do this yin and yang work together. On separate yet parallel paths- both leading men and women to be better to themselves and one another.

Thank you. More please 🙏

XO

The Entrepreneur Spouse: When You’re Stuck Between Your Marriage and Your Purpose

Serving a purpose while developing a marriage can sometimes feel like competing agendas. Both purpose and a marriage require intense devotion, support, and a long-term vision.

But when one person is purpose driven, and the marital partner isn’t- trouble can strike. The purpose-driven partner can start to feel isolated in his or her quest for changing the world. They can start to feel guilty for pouring so much time into their purpose, while the spouse or family waits at home. They can even start to feel disconnected from their spouse because they lack a connection on something that is so crucial to them, yet their spouse doesn’t necessarily relate.

It’s no picnic for the spouse either. Waking up every day, watching your partner walk out the door with a vision to change the world can shine a light on their lack of purpose. It can often feel like the business gets the best of their partner, while they get the rest of them. And, it can feel like so much of life orbits around the business/purpose, there isn’t time or space for them to add their own passion to the mix.

Enter The Entreprenewer. The Entreprenewer is a program for the women of entrepreneurial households. It is designed to level the playing field between business and marriage. Our time together will restore the crucial sense of Play, Praise, and Purpose women need to grow in business and marriage.

Contact me for details to see if this is right for you and your spouse.

She had TOO MUCH time on her hands and it landed her in Hollywood

After years of striving professionally, she left a high-powered career she excelled at to take a break and focus on being a wife. “I wanted to drop into really taking care of my husband and my marriage. We were both working so much and I was hardly ever home to enjoy this stunning home he built for us. I took a break to focus on us and figure out my next chapter.”

She focused all her creative energy on making them a fantastic home and upgrading life on every level. And for the first year or so, it was invigorating. They both reveled in the ease her singular focus created in their life together. 

It was magic…until it wasn’t. 

Eventually she had their excellence on auto-pilot and her strategic thinking wasn’t needed anymore. For most of my clients, this is where life starts to go off the rails. It shows up as various symptoms:

🛍 shopping (over-spending)

📱 social media (comparing & illusions of insufficiency)

💔 sex (infidelity)

❌ stagnation (the downward spiral of inaction, second guessing and self-doubt)

In the months and years of her “freedom” she created a prison of overthinking every life choice she had ever made. She entertained herself with indecision and concocting scenarios that would threaten her marriage. She got good at focusing on all the things her husband WASN’T and convinced herself she had become the orbit of their marriage. If she began working again it would all fall apart, she concluded. Every time she got a job offer, she backed off as a gesture not to upset the apple cart. 

When I spoke to her husband about this, he said “Kelly, look. I don’t need a wife. If she’s at yoga when I wake up in the morning, you know how long it takes me to get out the door every morning? Twenty five minutes instead of 15. Ten extra minutes. That’s it! What good is having a wife if she’s dead inside? So, no, I don’t need her here to be a wife. I need HER- lit up again.”

He had been telling her that for YEARS, but when she heard it on our call together, she truly heard it for the first time. 

And now, our girl is finally off on a six month adventure that will put her smack in the center of Hollywood on a hit series surrounded by the movers and shakers. Most importantly, she’ll be fully immersed in her talents and juicing up her brain again. 

And when she gets back, with an amplified soul and a pulsing network, her possibilities only multiply. Go get ‘em, girl! 

We’re behind you all the way!!