18 Things to Know Before You Date an Entrepreneur
Entrepreneurs never get tired talking about the empires they are building and seek someone who never gets bored listening.
So, you want to date an entrepreneur. (This could be the name of the next big game show.) It’s a wild ride, and if you aren’t an entrepreneur yourself, you may be caught offguard by their odd habits and quirks. Don’t fret. Dating an entrepreneur is a great experience, but there are a few things you should know.
1. They read a lot about business and self-development.
Entrepreneurs rarely reach a point where they’re satisfied with their personal or professional progress. As a result, their shelves are full of innovators’ memoirs, and their online bookmarks are all links to self-development articles.
2. They sometimes have a hard time “turning off.”
There’s no “leaving your work at work” when you own a business. Instead, there are always things waiting to be done, and it’s hard not to fill bits of free time by checking off items on the to-do list. It may be a little tricky to convince your entrepreneur to spend their free time actually relaxing.
3. You’ll always wonder if this is a tax write-off.
Entrepreneurs probably enjoy more tax-deductible expenses than anyone from another profession. You’ll learn to wonder if that coffee (or a stop by a vendor during a trip) was another tax write-off for your entrepreneur.
4. They analyze almost everything to see if it’s worth their time.
Because their to-do list is never empty, the last thing an entrepreneur wants to do is waste their time on something unenjoyable or unproductive. Every item on their agenda is carefully analyzed to ensure it’s worth their time -- but if they’re spending time with you, you know they truly love it.
5. They definitely don’t work a 9-to-5 schedule.
Business owners are required to fulfill a variety of roles: marketer, content creator, salesperson, leader, customer service rep. . . the list goes on and on. Their jam-packed work days rarely fit into the 9-to-5 schedules you find with other jobs, meaning your entrepreneur may stay up late with their laptop, wake at the crack of dawn to work on a business plan, or take a break in the middle of the day so the evening will be that much more productive.
6. They ask a lot of questions.
Entrepreneurs are never finished learning. Even when the topic has nothing to do with their business, they’re naturally curious, asking a million questions to gain as much knowledge as possible. By dating an entrepreneur, you’re dating both a treasure trove of information and someone who will challenge you to always keep learning.
7. They don’t particularly enjoy spending time with lazy people.
To preserve their own motivation, entrepreneurs like to surround themselves with equally inspired and capable individuals. They love to bounce ideas off of other business owners, innovators, and creatives, and they especially enjoy spending time with those who push them to work smarter. Lazy people do the very opposite.
8. They can be a “jack-of-all-trades” type.
Remember when I mentioned entrepreneurs’ constant desire to learn? The result is a partner who’s willing to take a jab at just about anything. One highly-motivated person can boast the capabilities of several people with different skillsets, so you get the whole package.
9. They live to achieve.
Entrepreneurs are constantly working toward some type of goal—often several at a time. Each accomplishment gives them the motivational high they need to reach the next one. Your support during every stride is priceless.
10. Spontaneity is part of the package.
A lack of a 9-to-5 schedule, a huge variety of ever-changing responsibilities, and a “shoot for the moon” mindset ensures there’s never a dull moment with your entrepreneur. When an idea comes, they go for it, and you get to come along for the ride.
11. You’ll learn a lot about entrepreneurship.
The stories, triumphs and troubles your partner shares will teach you more about their industry than you may have set out to learn. Maybe you’re not planning on opening a startup anytime soon, but your second-hand experience in the realm of small business will make you an honorary entrepreneur.
12. They’re great at surprises.
It all comes back to spontaneity. Entrepreneurs naturally pay attention to what’s going to end up the “next big thing,” so their surprises go beyond flowers and chocolates -- and they have impeccable timing.
13. It’s difficult to explain what they do.
Sure, you could simply tell people your partner is an entrepreneur, but whomever you’re speaking with will probably want you to elaborate. As a result, you’ll have to follow up with the name of your partner’s business, what the business does, why your partner started it. . . and before you know it, you’ve been talking for ten minutes.
14. You'll watch movies like 'The Social Network' and shows like 'Silicon Valley.'
Entrepreneurs can’t get enough of their crazy lifestyle off-screen, so they seek it out on-screen, too. Whether they’re biographical movies like “Jobs” or dramas like “The Pursuit of Happyness,” the characters inspire them to work harder and aim higher.
15. Their emotions fluctuate often.
Entrepreneurs are encouraged by success and disappointed by any slow in progress. While this is typical of most people, business owners tend to experience crazier rollercoasters than others—they may be excited one moment and irritated the next.
16. You may need to remind them not to spread themselves too thin.
In order to maintain their “jack-of-all-trades” status and achieve as much as possible, entrepreneurs take on nearly every project they’re invited to join. This is a great way to become well-rounded and accomplished, but it can also result in burnout, so you may have to act as a bit of a safety net.
17. They need a spouse who is good at nurturing, giving space, forgiving and having fun.
Their erratic schedules and dreams make them a little more complicated than others. An entrepreneur’s ideal spouse is one that supports their goals, gives them space, forgives them for working late, and loves to have fun during spots of free time. In return, they’ll give you the world.
18. They think and care about you more than you may know.
Not everyone is willing or able to date an entrepreneur for the reasons above, which means if you can, you’re all the more special. Your love and dedication means more to your partner than you may know.
An entrepreneur’s lifestyle is a rollercoaster of experiences and emotions. What have you learned along the ride?
Matthew Toren is a serial entrepreneur, mentor, investor and co-founder of YoungEntrepreneur.com. He is co-author, with his brother Adam, of Kidpreneurs and Small Business, BIG Vision: Lessons on How to Dominate Your Market from Self-Made Entrepreneurs Who Did it Right (Wiley). He's based in Vancouver, B.C.