It can be tricky to find a work and (love) life balance. As an entrepreneur, it’s sometimes hard enough to take care of yourself, let alone nurture a romantic relationship. Yet, it is possible, as proven by these partnered founders. Here’s how they do it:
Combine your passions
The most famous plus-one of the start-up scenes, Priscilla Chan has known Mark Zuckerberg since he was a college student. Despite working in an entirely different industry, the paediatrician has been involved in Facebook’s evolution. She was the one who inspired Mark to promote organ donation on Facebook after talking about her work at the dinner table. They’re now co-founders of The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, a research foundation that aims to eradicate childhood diseases.
Take it outside
As both business and life partners, Lorna Jane Clarkson and her husband Bill manage to juggle work and love. But, that doesn’t mean they agree on everything. “I think we are the yin and yang of the business,” says Lorna, “I am the creative but Bill is an amazing entrepreneur and big thinker.” Unsurprisingly, the active wear founders even combine arguments with exercise. As Lorna admits, “I do apologise to the neighbours because when we walk the dogs, we do have some screaming matches.”
Respect their pace
Sara Blakely, the founder of Spanx and her partner, Jesse Itzler, who owns private jet company Marquis Jet, say their relationship works because they respect that both move at a a very fast pace. This means that, sometimes, the other partner has to sit back and let things happen. Over dinner with friends one night Sara, turned to Jesse and announced, “Oh, I forgot to tell you, I decided to sell the house.” A year earlier, he pulled into their driveway to discover she’d bought a sports car. “I trust her to do whatever she wants,” he says.
How dress down dates
At the end of a busy work day, the last thing you often feel like doing is getting dressed up, even in the name of romance. Take a tip from actor turned venture capitalist Ashton Kutcher. He and wife Mila Kunis have a ritual called ‘white T-shirt night’. “It’s when you wear jeans and a white t-shirt and go on a date,” says Mila, “Nothing fancy… Whether that’s bowling or dinner or going to a cheese shop. I think that’s just the best thing to do.”
Share the load
“The most important career choice you’ll make is who you marry,” says Sheryl Sandberg, “I have an awesome husband, and we’re 50/50.” Sheryl – who is now dating businessman Robert Kotick – revealed what she looks for in a life partner. “When it comes time to settle down, find someone who wants an equal partner. Someone who values fairness and expects or, even better, wants to do his share in the home. These men exist and, trust me, over time, nothing is sexier.
The founder of Netflix, Reed Hastings, says his marriage counsellor has also become his CEO coach and business mentor. “I was a bad husband and an absent Dad,” he reveals, “My marriage counsellor forced me to admit that I cared more about the success of the business than the marriage. My wife could forgive me because I wasn’t a lying son of a bitch; I just had warped values. I learnt that total commitment to the truth, even when it is uncomfortable, is the right way to build a company.”