Week in Review: Our suffering spouses
By Karamjit Singh July 11, 2014
- Wives/husbands of entrepreneurs receive little credit
- Compromises in quality of life the family is used to must be expected
OVER these past two weeks, I have met two people who wanted to hear first hand about my experiences as an entrepreneur. While I am reluctant to, as what I am experiencing is probably no different than the next entrepreneur, I won’t turn down a request to share.
Anyway, one of them is in my 40’s age bracket and felt my experiences, the mental and emotional part, would be relevant to him. The other is a Digital News Asia (DNA) reader in his mid-30s I interact with occasionally, who somehow felt my experiences would be useful to him, specifically in finding co-founders and in giving up equity for funding.
In fact, this gentleman suggested I create a Karamjit app so that others could share (virtually of course) in my experiences.
Don’t worry; I am not going there! (Editor’s Note: Well, that’s good to know!)
One of the key points I highlighted to them is the need to have the full and unquestioning support of their spouses because wives and husbands of entrepreneurs suffer a lot in this journey. This is almost never highlighted and they don’t get the recognition they should and deserve.
It is almost a one-way street. They listen to your frustrations over customers, partners, bureaucrats, staff, investors, friends who let you down and even co-founders.
But when it comes to their turn to share some of their work-related or family-related issues over the children or mother-in-law/father-in-law, how likely is it that they will get: “Please don’t bother me with these petty issues. You need to deal with them, darling, while I focus on building a better future for us all!”
Yes. Guilty as charged! But I am getting better. Promise!
I wasn't about to offer advice here but I did highlight this issue to them, so that they are aware and can better deal with it.
In fact, this was the first piece of advice that I got: Make sure you have the “full” (key word here), support of your spouse. And I may add this; tell them it is going to be at least a rough first two years with compromises in the quality of life the family is used to.
Some have thought you could go out and start building a company without compromising on the quality of life the family enjoyed previously. That’s dreamland thinking.
The two executives I spoke to both earn north of RM20,000 a month in their current jobs. Think they can even pay themselves half of that once committed to the rocky, turbulent path of an entrepreneur?
Just a peek into what some of this entails in life. I finally got a new air-conditioner for the bedroom and last night I overheard my children remarking on how this unit was so much better than the previous one that was not cool. The previous one was a 14-year old unit!
And speaking of spending, I also advise those about to become entrepreneurs to ensure you have a lot of untapped credit available through your credit card limits. This would allow you to close the monthly gaps in your budget.
This should be a last resort, however. The interest rates are high, and you don’t want to get trapped in the credit card debt spiral.
Now of course I also shared with them all the great things that happen too on this “Path of the Entrepreneur.” But this reality check is critical as entrepreneurs, specifically those married with children, are typically pumped up when they embark on their journey and may not be sensitised to these aspects.
So good luck to all of you thinking of embarking on this path, especially those with families. May you move from thought to action.
And speaking of action, it looks like the Board of the Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC), is moving fast to get a replacement for Badlisham Ghazali. Do read A. Asohan’s article on who they have settled on as their choice.
Not surprisingly, that is this week’s most read article!
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