We often turn entrepreneurs into heroes -- toiling day and night through seemingly insurmountable barriers in order to take a passion, an idea, and a dream to market. And that’s OK, though truth be told I have always believed that in a thriving entrepreneurial economy, entrepreneurs should be seen as commonplace capitalists like everyone else. I mean, I don’t want them to be treated as rare heroes, because that means we don’t have enough of them. I want them to be regular Joes and Joannes who wanna make a ton of money.
But that’s not actually what I’m here to blog about. I’m here to blog about the husbands, wives, and partners of entrepreneurs. Because they…well, they are the heroes, if you ask me. They often are the ones who adjust their and their family’s lives to the fact that Mommy or Daddy Entrepreneur doesn’t yet have a market salary and so everyone’s eating hotdogs again for dinner tonight.
“Hey kids, it’s hotdogs every night for the next three months,
while Mommy/Daddy Entrepreneur pursues
her/his to-date unlucrative dream.”
“Hey kids, no vacation this year because Mommy/Daddy Entrepreneur
had to cut her/his salary in order to make payroll.”
“Hey kids, Mommy/Daddy Entrepreneur is not home
for (hotdog casserole) dinner again because
the new widget Mommy/Daddy bet her/his career on isn’t working
(and by the way we don’t know if it’ll ever work).”
In addition, these unsung heroes (spouses) might work nights and weekends, or work two jobs, in order to pay for the entrepreneur’s desire to pursue their dream and passion. They often defer their own personal dreams so that their spouse can pursue her/his dream. They adapt over time, simply weaving their spouse’s entrepreneurial dream into their own future; they learn to treat the dream as their own despite the fact that they have little control over the outcome. They often do all of this with joy, grace, humor and beauty, and sometimes, to be sure, with frustration and even a sense of despair. While I think many spouses make sacrifices for their husband’s or wife’s career, I think with entrepreneurs it’s even greater: the dream all encompassing, the uncertainty overwhelming, the pay less, and the risk higher.
So, consider this blog my homage to these spouses of entrepreneurs. They are not only the most common and unsung angel investors out there, but -- at the risk of being simplistically melodramatic -- oftentimes they are a type of hero.
I think a journalist or writer ought to do a series that celebrates the spouses (or partners) of Northeast Ohio entrepreneurs.
What do you think?
Becca Braun is a past president of JumpStart Ventures. She founded and led a number of early-stage companies and organizations, as well as worked as a private equity investor and management consultant. She received her MBA from Harvard Business School and her BA in Linguistics from Harvard University. She is keenly interested in the intersection of wealth creation and broad-based regional economic growth.