As an entrepreneur, you have to be inventive to keep everything afloat; but as an entrepreneur with a loving wife and six children, that's not always the easiest task. At some point, you are forced to make a choice: do you separate business from the rest of your life or do you make it part of your life?
For my wife Leah and I, the choice was easy. We are partners in life; who better to partner with in business?
Marriage can be a job in and of itself, with trials and challenges like those in business. Add six kids to the mix, and the challenges are that much greater. Although working or running a business together may not be for everyone, we've outlined tips that have worked for us.
Conquer issues together
What makes our story interesting and, in a sense, unconventional is that we're members of the Haredi (ultra-orthodox) Jewish community. Our religion and culture comes with restrictions that we had to acknowledge to successfully run our business. For instance, we are unable to shake hands with the opposite gender, we adhere to a strict kosher diet and we refrain from all work on Shabbos.
Because Leah and I both share the same values and religious observances, we can see what we need to do in the business world. It also makes the people in our community more comfortable when pitching BizTank and allows them to see that just because you are faced with adversity or obstacles doesn't mean that you can't make it.
Agree to disagree
Although we are a joined force, we are two different people often with two different opinions. Being openminded allows our opposing perspectives to strengthen business, which in turn encourages new ideas. Carrying on with disagreements or working to prove your significant other wrong can be exhausting and toxic.
Business in general is already competitive, and competing with each other would only set us back. Instead, we choose to agree to disagree, which helps us move on from conflict with respect and no hard feelings.
Find a work-life balance that works for both of you
Since we are raising six kids, we can't both be "on" all the time. We take turns sharing family responsibilities and make time for one another as well. We make it a point to have family moments that are spared of business talk and are careful to recognize when business is enough for the day.
Although BizTank feels like our baby, we do have six real children to care for. We need to be fair to them and make as much time for them as possible.
While respecting each other is key to any lasting relationship, it's also important to maintain that respect in business. At times, especially when starting and running your own business, things can get messy and complicated. Rather than taking it out on one another, be respectful and calm as you sort through conflict.
We know that while we did build this amazing business in a community that holds its own challenges and obstacles, it's not our whole lives. We married each other for each other, not for the business we would create in the future. Our family comes first, and as long as the business is supporting us and giving us a better life, we will value it.
About the author: Joel Klein, CPBC, is the founder and producer of BizTank and the B-Tank platform, and has more than 10 years of experience as a business coach and marketing pioneer. Joel has coached and established countless start-offs, has successfully moved well-established businesses forward and is the author of several best-seller books on business and marketing. His client base includes, but is not limited to, businesses across the U.S., Canada, London, Antwerp and Israel.
Edited for brevity and clarity by Sammi Caramela.