Empathy and Entrepreneurship

If you’ve ever been married, you know that everyday requires empathy.

If you’ve ever been an entrepreneur with your spouse, you know that everyday requires empathy.

I was still working full time at my office job. Zad was working Sundays, sometimes Saturdays and some evenings. Financially, things were mostly fine. Emotionally, things were stressful.

I pitched the idea to Zad about starting a business. I knew next to nothing about starting a business. I didn’t even know where to start. I did know that Zad had some background in forging from being a farrier, and we loved making knives in Tennessee. I also knew that Zad’s brain was wired to make. He loves to make. He loves to problem solve. And I loved book work – paperwork, bookkeeping, marketing…all the things he didn’t love.

We talked it over and thought – what the hell. We’ll try it. I talked to my Dad, and he gave us the basics on getting started. We started with some small jewelry items, and it was enough to give us the fire to keep going.

So we were 3 1/2 months into our new marriage and navigating starting a business, which neither of us had a clue about. Also, people look at you like you have 6 heads until they learn that you’re serious. This goes on for a few years, in our experience, but building public trust takes time.

Now I was working full time, I was working part time running our business, Zad was working part time as a Constable and he was working part time building our business.

Why did we think this was going to solve our problems? We kept plugging away. A couple months in, we went to our first show. Looking at pictures from then, we were clueless. We did not know what we were doing. Our booth was one little 6ft table with a few things on it. We tried.

Our social media presence was gaining traction, so that was something. Our problem of not having any time together, though, that was just getting worse.

We did more shows, worked every day of the week – day and night. That October, we also moved. So from February 29th to October 15th – we got married, started a business and bought our first house.

I stuck it out at my office job for another 9 months. I was ready to scoot. I had so many things I wanted to do with our business, and there just weren’t enough hours in the day to homeschool my then 7 year old, work 35 hours a week with a 1.5 hour commute round trip and run a business.

It was a huge leap of faith. We now had a mortgage, we were still paying on my car, we had house things we needed to pay for, and – just normal bills.

We made it, though. I mean, so far. It’s been a ride learning to run a business from home while homeschooling (and now a baby) and learning to be with Zad literally every minute of every day. I love that part, though. I love being home, and I love my family. Now that we’ve got 3 years under our belt, it’s still a process every day. We have to choose to be kind, choose to show empathy, choose to understand how the other thinks and choose to have patience.

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