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Harp's data showed that entrepreneurs who set shared long-term business and family goals with their spouses scored higher in every area of satisfaction than those who didn’t. On her surveys, entrepreneurs who set shared business goals were 17 percent happier than those who didn’t; and 27 percent who set shared family goals reported higher levels of satisfaction. Of those who set shared family goals, 98 percent reported being still in love with their spouse. Contrary to what one might believe, Harp's data showed that when entrepreneurs shared both positive and negative aspects of the business on a regular basis, the other spouse's trust and confidence in the entrepreneur actually increased. Sharing on a regular basis increases the spouse's belief in their entrepreneur’s ability to succeed, Harp says. When the entrepreneur chooses not to share, the spouse usually knows when something is wrong, simply by observing his/her partner’s demeanor. The not knowing leads to frustration, anxiety and impatience, Harp says. However, when the entrepreneur shares on a regular basis, the spouse is privy to the solutions the entrepreneur is considering, she adds. And discussions make the non-entrepreneur spouse feel as if he or she is contributing. This helps increase a spouse's ‘buy-in’ and makes them feel like it is ‘our’ company instead of just ‘your company,’.
When a couple feels like they are in this together, it supports both members of the team. It’s 'us versus them,' Harp says. For example, my husband calls us 'Team D T.' When spouses on Harp's surveys were asked how they handled stressful financial challenges, their number one answer was, We supported each other fully, she says. Now, of course it's up to both the entrepreneur and the spouse to determine how that support plays out, but, Asking pointed questions like, ‘When you’re stressed out because of the business, what can I do to make you feel supported?’ is always a good idea.
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