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How Starting a Business is Similar to Starting a Marriage

ByMalini Bhatia,
business.com writer
|
Jul 25, 2018
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> Business Basics
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Building a business is a lot like building a relationship.

Starting your own business is an exciting challenge. Like your marriage, it’s something you decided to devote your life to in terms of your mind, body and soul.

Thinking back to the early days of your marriage, you will likely notice many similarities between building a business and building a new life with your spouse. At the beginning of both journeys, you started out full of hope, expectations and passion for this new path in life. But slowly, things became more complicated.

After some time had passed, you started to wonder if your time and energy were worth maintaining your passion project. The answer? It always is. Here are six ways in which building a startup business is similar to building a marriage.

Your attraction builds

Like many married couples, you were likely first attracted to your spouse's physical appearance. You couldn't help but stare into their eyes and appreciate every little feature of their face and body. This attraction grew over time until you finally got up the nerve to ask your partner out.

Similarly, starting your own business starts out with a small attraction that grows and grows the longer you think about it. Perhaps you are attracted to the subject matter in your career. Maybe you just enjoy the idea of being your own boss. Whatever the case, soon your attraction grows until you make your dream a reality.

It takes time to propose

Unless you were especially brave, you probably dated your significant other for several years before you realized they were the one. When you knew you couldn't live without them, you popped the question.

Just like marrying your sweetheart, it takes time to work up the nerve to start your own business and make it your real job.

You spend months, maybe even years, developing a business plan. And like planning a wedding, you give your startup special thought and go over the pros and cons. You convince yourself that yes, this is something you can commit to for a lifetime.

And then the real fun begins.

It's expensive to get started

Falling in love is free. The wedding? Not so much. Reports now show that the average cost of a wedding in the United States as of 2017 ranks in at a whopping $33,391.

The costs continue to rise as you start your new life with that special someone, as statistics indicate that the average American spends $19,000 annually on housing. This does not include paying insurance, medical, buying groceries and so on.

Similarly, the average cost of starting a business is somewhere around $30,000. Of course, your business startup can just as easily be a couple thousand dollars. This initial startup fee is a shock to the system and only continues to grow as your business does. 

The first year is the hardest

People often cite the first year of marriage as being the hardest one to get through.

Even though many 21st century couples live with their partner before tying the knot, there is something strange that happens once you make your marriage official.

As newlywed bliss begins to fade, reality sets in. The stress of bills and living with your spouse's strange foibles has transformed from being "cute" and "adoring" to just plain irritating. Combining finances, sharing living arrangements and learning each other's marital expectations can also contribute to anxiety in the first year of marriage.

Like marriage, entrepreneurs may find that the reality of becoming a new business owner doesn't pan out the way they thought. Instead of feeling like a new-age boss, they feel stress-riddled and constantly worried about finances. This can become common, since many new companies aren't profitble for the first few years.

When you first got married, you thought you knew everything there was to know about your spouse. Once you moved in together you were pleasantly – or unpleasantly – surprised.

The same is true for your business. You may have thought you had researched and planned for every possible scenario, but the first year of business still had some tricks up its sleeve.

The first year in business is a time to do things the hard way and learn from your mistakes.

You need to communicate to make it work

A marriage won't survive unless both partners know how to communicate with one another. Communication is how you convey your thoughts, feelings and needs.

Just like a romantic relationship, you need to communicate in business to survive. Speaking with investors, making social connection, and having a business presence is essential in order to grow your company.

You learn to grow together

When you first got engaged you had a certain idea of what marriage would be like. Fancy dinners at night, early runs in the morning and endless fun on a daily basis. Then, reality hit! Things were a little shaky at first, but now that you've settled into your new life together, you wouldn't change your marriage for the world.

Marriage isn't easy, but it's no longer difficult. You and your spouse have returned to being best friends and lovers. You're comfortable, stable and happy. Life is good.

Healthy couples know that in order for their marriage to work, they must continue to grow together. Starting a business is very similar to your marriage. It can start out frustrating, scary and be a bit of a headache at times. But once you settle in and learn your new routine, you come to enjoy your work and take pride in the company you've built.

Married life and entrepreneurship have a surprising amount in common. From long hours to emotional exhaustion, both can take a lot out of you. But they do have positive qualities in common as well. Like marriage, starting a business is alluring, it promotes communication and is intensely rewarding when done right.

Malini Bhatia
Malini Bhatia
See Malini Bhatia's Profile
Malini Bhatia is the founder of Marriage.com, a website dedicated to providing value in every marriage. Marriage.com provides resources, information and a community that supports healthy, happy marriages. Malini has global experience in international management and communications, and lives in Los Angeles with her husband of 11 years and two daughters.
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