Written by: Megan te Boekhorst, Communications & Public Relations Specialist, Futurpreneur Canada

Dating and building your business is not always easy. Your time is precious and a lot of responsibility falls on your shoulders. It’s up to you to pay the bills, pay your staff and keep the business growing. This often leaves room for little else. But it’s important to find balance as an entrepreneur, and that includes nurturing the personal relationships in your life.

If you’re a driven, ambitious, work-around-the-clock entrepreneur, there are certain realities you need to keep in mind, whether you’re starting a new relationship or with a long-term partner:

  1. Your significant other can help when you need it, but respect when they say no. The free labour is appealing, but they aren’t your employee. Most of the time your significant other will be more than happy to support your business because they love to see you succeed. Just keep in mind, there will be times where they don’t want to feel like they are there to work. It doesn’t mean they are unhappy, but it does mean they need some time for their passions too.
  2. ‘Weekend’ is a foreign concept to you. So remember to make time for them when possible. Dating will require flexibility. Where most people consider Friday night ‘date night’, it might be Monday night for you one week and Wednesday night the next. Your relationship probably won’t look like a Jennifer Aniston film, but make a conscious effort to spend quality time with them outside of your business.
  3. Diversify the conversation. Your business is your dream, so it’s natural to want to talk about it all the time. However, as much as your significant other will have to accept the fact they will hear about your work often, you have to put in an effort to engage in other topics as well. There are only so many conversations about cash flow a non-entrepreneur can handle.
  4. Be open and honest when it comes to what you want. From long-term goals to current desires, it’s essential to lie out your thoughts and feelings sooner rather than later. You want to respect your limited time, as well as theirs, and putting your cards out on the table early will help you make the most of it. It’s important to put time into your relationships as an entrepreneur, but it’s also important to put time into the right relationships.
  5. Look for someone who compliments your drive. According to David McClelland, entrepreneurs are driven by an overwhelming need for achievement. That strong motivation can be intimidating for others to be around. Find a partner who is inspired by your ambitions rather than alarmed by them.
  6. Don’t approach relationships and romance like a business transaction. It’s a sure way to end up single again. Both need attention to grow, but in very different ways. Ensure you treat your significant other like a person, not a strategy.

Entrepreneurs face unique challenges to dating, but keep a positive attitude about it. A strong relationship can be a secret weapon in building a strong business. Your significant other can act as a sounding board for big decisions, help you vent your frustrations or be your break from the busy world of entrepreneurship. Just don’t forget to respect their needs as much as the needs of your business.