Krithika Nelson of Shopo sheds some light on what it really is like to be a startup entrepreneur’s partnerSo you have a boyfriend/girlfriend/fiancée/spouse in a startup. Either they run the startup or they work in a startup, no real difference! I know what you are going through! I know the number of times you have controlled the urge to burn his/her laptop down or throw his/her phone into the latrine! No, I really do! My husband runs his startup too!
There is something I want to clarify to you! If you think your boyfriend/girlfriend/fiancée/spouse who is working in or has a startup has totally no respect for you or that they don’t love you anymore, you can’t be farther than the truth! When you are at war, all you can see are the bullets racing towards you, the bombs being thrown at you and all the bloodshed that’s happening around you. All you care about is survival and then may be winning. But then, we survive so we can get back home! Home to our loved ones!
Being in a startup is like being at war. Instead of bullets and bombs, here there are targets you set for yourself and questions from all those who expect to see you perform!
Being a startupper’s life partner is as difficult as being a soldier’s. But there are a few things I think you should understand that could make this journey so much more easier on you!
1. Your startup boyfriend/girlfriend/fiancée/spouse DOES LOVE YOU!
Trust me! Startuppers simply don’t have the time or bandwidth to be lying to people about things they don’t mean. If they are even trying to keep the relationship going, it is ONLY because they actually do love you.
They don’t call like before probably because they are fighting server outages, sleep, fatigue and some huge list of bugs and tasks. If you are going to measure their love by the amount of time they spend with you, honey, you are going down the wrong road!
2. The startup job is not a 10-6 one!
Tell me something! Would you skip work to spend time with your lover? No right? The same goes with your startup boyfriend/girlfriend. The only difference is that, in a startup, people work far longer and at haphazard hours. Also, if it is the founder you are dating, realise that they are building a business and there are people counting on them for their salaries. Missing a dinner doesn't cost them hundreds or thousands of rupees but missing a major push might!
When they come home late or call you late, understand they have had a bad and stressful day, and don’t start fighting about how they don’t spend time with you! You are ending up wasting some precious minutes that you could spend with them, doing that!
3. There is no such thing as a weekend!
This is probably an extension to point no.2 but guys, Sundays and Mondays are no different once someone is in a startup. In fact, Sundays sometimes get more hectic than working days! It is perfectly normal for a startupper to get up early on a Sunday, open his/her laptop and start coding in his/her boxers! It does not mean they take you for granted! It just means something important came up!
4. They are broke! But believe that it is not for long!
Most startup entrepreneurs take home a bare minimum salary that can help them survive. And this is ONLY if they are funded. If they are not, they are living on their last bit of savings. There is absolutely no budget for gifts or treats. Be nice and understand that this is a phase. Believe in your partner and understand how much passion he/she should be having, giving up their high paying jobs to do this! It won’t be long before things turn around. But hold on tight till then!
5. They don’t discuss their startup with you because they want a break!
It is not because they think you wouldn’t understand or because they are hiding things from you. Entrepreneurs try to keep business and pleasure as away from each other as much as possible, purely because once they let it mix, their whole life becomes a blur!
6. Get used to going to bed alone!
I am sure you have figured this out by now! Waiting for your entrepreneur husband/wife to come to bed with you will only decrease your sleeping hours and get you late to work tomorrow! In all likeliness they will be done with work and crawl into bed at 2-3 AM! So get used to it and don’t waste time waiting.
7. Be proud of your partner!
Entrepreneurs are a different clan! The good ones are very few and hard to find! It takes a lot of guts for someone to give up every comfort in life to start something of their own! The least you can do is to be proud of what they are doing, even if you don’t really understand everything about it.
Last bit from me, Stay with your partner through the ups and downs! Understand that they are in pressure cooker situations for most of the days and that the only way you could help is by being supportive. I am not going to say this will be easy! It will be extremely challenging and pretty difficult. It will be a hard roller coaster ride. But I am only going to say this will be worth it!
PS: All you startuppers out there, In most likeliness you might have to pass this link to your boyfriend/girlfriend/fiancée/spouse. I do hope it helps even if in a little way!