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How to keep relationships healthy while launching a new business

(Photo Credit: iStock.com)

Launching a business is an incredibly stressful process, not only for the entrepreneur behind this new venture, but also for their loved ones. But how can you keep your business afloat without neglecting your relationships?

There are ways to reduce the amount of stress and conflict that come with this process — here’s how:

Be realistic and make decisions as a team

Know this: there is no work/life balance when you’re starting a business. "Startups take a Herculean effort and anyone who talks work-life balance either hasn't been through it or is delusional,” says Ryan Spong, co-owner of Tacofino, the a successful food truck turned into four restaurants (and now three trucks) in Vancouver and on Vancouver Island, and co-founder and CEO of Foodee meal delivery service.

The key, says Spong, is to be completely honest with your partner at the outset. “You say,  ‘This is going to take most of my time and energy but it isn't forever. If I'm going to do it, I want to do it right and put my full effort in. Are you up for that?’ If they say yes, then your expectations are set. If they say no, you might have to pass. Either way, you make the decision together and you're a team.”

Prioritize certain times to spend with them, and be present

For serial entrepreneur Patti Dibski, owner of Gibson Fine Art and co-owner of Interior Living home store in Calgary, having breakfast as a family and getting her two sons off to school every morning is really important, which is why her businesses opens at ten in the morning.

Spong says that when he does have time off, he makes sure that he is fully there for his wife and two sons, and gives them his full attention.

Keep communicating

If you’re having a hard time, you need to talk to your partner or wife about that to ensure that they feel a part of this whole process, and that way can better understand what you’re going through. Plus, you need to be sure that they are doing okay, too, as it is easy to get wrapped up in the business at the expense of your relationship. “Even when you've started out on the same page, it's important to check in and make sure you still are," says Spong.

Dibski talks to her sons, age 12 and 14, so that they understand that some nights she will be working until midnight, or that there are times when she just can’t turn her phone off. “Getting the whole family to buy into this lifestyle is so important,” she says, “they all support me, and never make me feel guilty about it.”

Letting your kids know why you’re doing this (to the best of their understanding, depending on age) will help them see that your ultimate goal is to make life better for your family, and know that life won’t always be this busy.