by Jenna Kutcher
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It’s been over a year since the man of my dreams, my baby daddy, my husband Drew Kutcher stepped up to the mic for an episode of The Goal Digger Podcast. Time is flying!
If you’ve been missing Drew, you’re in luck. I invited him back on the show for a deep dive discussion about navigating business as it intertwines with our marriage. After almost a decade of being Mr. and Mrs. we’ve navigated through many different seasons of professional and personal life together, so we are going back in time to the earliest days of entrepreneurship to reflect on what we’ve learned.
This episode is for you if you’re curious about how to talk to your partner about your big business dreams, or if you’re considering going into business with your significant other. Drew reveals how he actually felt when I told him I was leaving my stable corporate job, plus
Leaving My Job
Just days before our wedding, Drew unexpectedly lost his job. He’d navigated different career opportunities since college, selling insurance to wine to billboards, but when the employment rug was pulled from under him, the timing couldn’t have been more challenging.
That job loss was also timed with my decision to work towards full-time entrepreneurship. Drew came clean, “I was nervous!” Telling him I wanted to quit the job that was almost entirely supporting both of us with a salary and benefits wasn’t something I took lightly. But honestly, Drew losing his job was even more motivation for me to make my business dreams come true.
We also had a conversation about growing our family around the time of my first pregnancy. We were worried about this big dream of growing our family around these jobs, whether we built them or not. It’s a massive privilege to have choices around this now, to think first about our family and second about whether our jobs align with those family decisions, but we didn’t have those choices early on. That was another source of motivation for me.
Did you know that I’m not the only one in this relationship with the entrepreneurial bug? Drew and I got a taste of what it would be like to go into business together when he started his business, The Kutcher Method, a health and fitness accountability program.
“It was like babysitting myself until Coco came,” Drew joked. But really, Drew’s dream was to be a stay-at-home dad, and in our season of waiting for our daughter, Drew needed something to keep him busy. The Kutcher Method was that side hustle project.
But let’s be honest, neither one of us has ever wanted to run a business together. It wasn’t part of our plan, I don’t think it would work for our relationship, and so it was funny when Drew was launching his business because I had tons of experience and had made a bunch of mistakes in my business already. I didn’t want him to make those same mistakes.
Sometimes he would take my advice, sometimes he wouldn’t, but we’ve established that for us it’s better to keep things more separate and allow us to learn on our own curve. “It told us what not to do,” Drew laughed.
Being the Entrepreneur’s Partner
For so many entrepreneurs starting their businesses as a side hustle, the time you have to work on your business often overlaps with the time you’d otherwise be spending with your partner. Sometimes as the partner to an entrepreneur, you’ll see them working all hours or up in the middle of the night churning out a new creative idea. This can be the challenging side of being in a relationship and running a business.
Drew and I got into what that’s like and talked about how we’ve learned to communicate what we need either on the business side of things or the relationship side. At the beginning, I was constantly asking Drew if I could step away for a few minutes or turning to work in any spare minute I had, versus giving that time to actually living my life with him.
I think that’s part of the early days in many situations, but I’ve also learned that I want to be present for life moments just like I’m present for work. Creating a separate space for work has helped me leave business-Jenna at the door and step into family life without feeling pulled back to my laptop.
That said, it’s still hard for the partner of an entrepreneur to understand what it feels like to not want to stop working because you’ve hit a creative energy boost or your flow state. I think it takes a special person to be a partner to an entrepreneur because they know when it’s appropriate to push back and when their partner really needs to keep going with their work.
The ability to future pace and communicate what hard work in the present could turn into is a key component of striking an understanding with your partner.
More from This Episode
Drew and I share our advice for starting a business that doesn’t involve your partner and how to keep work and relationships separate. Drew dishes on what it was like in the early days of both of our side hustles, his thoughts on the stay-at-home dad title, and how he’s shifted from believing he needed to be 100% involved in my business to preferring the “need-to-know” basis we operate on right now.