When Fatty came home after a long day at work, and we’d spent dinner and half the night dissecting his day, he asked me this.
So that actually got me thinking. A lot of people have a certain impression of entrepreneurship which may or may not be true…
Like this wtf.
Hahahaha. I’m not sure how much of the above picture is accurate la but while there is some accuracy, there are also misconceptions.
So although I only have limited experience (being married to only ONE entrepreneur wtf), I thought it’d be an interesting topic to write about. Keep in mind that due to my limited experience wtf that this is not “what it’s like being married to all entrepreneurs” but more “what it’s like being married to this entrepreneur”.
1. It’s not all glamness
I remember writing a post about “rich kids” and getting a lot of shit from haters spitting that I’m just sitting around on my flat ass leeching off my husband’s wealth lolol. And even people who mean well and some friends think that I got the life – being a ‘tai tai’ who doesn’t need to work and wonder why I choose to.
And then on Fatty’s end he gets put on ‘Top 10 Young Malaysian Internet Millionaires’ lists and nonsense like that. Wah I type all this also feel very geli cos it sounds like bragging. -_-
And the truth is, yes we do live a very comfortable life. We don’t struggle financially and we can afford whatever we need, plus some extra luxuries like overseas trips… or a Stokke high chair for Fighter wtf.
We also get invites to the happening parties (but turn down most to stay at home and party with Fighter wtf). Fatty regularly appears in the media and I also sometimes make it too (yay wtf) so wah everyone thinks our lives look so nice and glam and perfect.
But here’s the other side of the coin (no pun intended).
2. Entrepreneurs never stop working
I don’t remember a single holiday we’ve been on… that Fatty didn’t at least once pick up his phone or laptop and do some work. Whether it’s short trips back to Penang or month long trips to the US, he consistently gets in touch with the office and… just works.
It’s not even that people are asking him to jump in, but he just automatically checks his email and cannot resist getting in to make sure everything is all right at least. No reason other than… I don’t think he wants to be a workaholic… but his work is his baby (besides Fighter wtf).
As a paid employee I definitely have much less trouble letting go of work while on vacation.
3. A bigger burden on shoulders
Someone working in a company may have to look after his or her team, but when it comes down to it, you really only have yourself to watch out for. (I don’t mean managing directors or CEOs who are technically responsible for the whole company even if they aren’t business owners.) You only have to answer to your boss and if you make a mistake, worst case scenario is you get fired. You’ll be down for a while but eventually you get up and move to a new job.
As an entrepreneur, if you make a serious enough mistake, not only you, but all your employees may well lose their jobs too. Because of that, they can experience a lot of self doubt. It’s true that if entrepreneurs make it big, they can make it huge, but failure can be crippling. Your responsibility is not only toward your boss and company, but to all your employees and their families. And instead of losing a job, you lose everything you’ve invested and built over the years in one stroke.
And it may not even be your fault! The world, especially the digital industry changes so fast. A kickass competitor comes in, or products and businesses become irrelevant overnight… then how?
Fatty definitely feels the burden. So many sleepless nights turning over work problems in his head. When he was a few years younger he’d break out in horrible acne whenever he was stressed and at one point he was even prematurely graying. D:
4. Work flexibility
Fatty doesn’t have a fixed daily job scope so he doesn’t have a true 9-5 job. Based on what he tells me he does different things and fights different fires every day so I’m guessing it’s an interesting (if harried) life. Based on that, and also cos he’s his own boss, he gets to take off days whenever he wants and goes on long holidays sometimes. Although this is all negated cos he’ll work on holiday anyway wtf and he also takes calls and emails on most weekends. :X
5. Ethics come into play more than ever
I never thought about ethics as much as I have these past few years, being married to him. Being his own boss means he gets to make all the rules and decisions. What’s there to stop him from screwing everyone else over? Nothing but his ethics and integrity. (Again, not talking about criminal breaches here la cos obviously the law would be the impediment).
We’ve heard of Internet companies (even local ones and in the region) running scams and cheating people (maybe cos the Internet is still a newish ungoverned frontier…?) don’t wanna say names la wtf but like… delaying payments… charging clients but not paying the influencers… concealing or faking info and results…. But I’m very proud of my Fatty for always trying to do the right thing. Not just about doing the ethical, lawful thing, but even going out of his way to be honorable; to be as fair as he can and to keep to his word even though the other party doesn’t deserve it.
6. Business is personal
In our early dating days, Fatty’s temper used to be much worse. o_O. He’s actually mellowed down a lot, but in the early days every problem or obstacle to his business was a personal affront to him. He told me, “business is personal” but I did not see why he had to get so angry at an unscrupulous competitor or a vengeful ex-staff.
But over time as he mellowed I also started to understand his heart ache. And all these things really do affect him emotionally!
The thing with Fatty is he always goes out of his way to help, if he can. Even if he doesn’t know the person well. Which is something that baffled me cos I think I’m a pretty nice person wtf but I don’t always think of extending help. So when people return kindness with meanness, it hits him hard although I think he’s slowly getting numb to it wtf.
Try as you might to do the right thing, the fair thing, there will always be someone who doesn’t see it and tries to create trouble. Or someone who tramples over you to get their own way although you’ve given them the best you can. I know he has sincerely tried to do his best, not just ethically but morally so I get super furious, sometimes angrier than him when someone takes advantage of that or betrays him.
I haven’t seen as much of human nature as I have through his work and it’s disillusioned me a fair bit. Why do we try to do the right thing when everyone else isn’t? But as long as our consciences are clear that has to be enough.
So I guess this article is an insight into what happens behind the scenes with an entrepreneur (written from a wife’s POV of course). If you make it, the perks are fabulous, sure. You not only make money, you build a legacy. But people rarely see the price that has to be paid sometimes for achievements. Managing and growing a business can really take a toll on your peace of mind, stress levels and even your principles.
How it affects me personally?
Oooh I forgot about that wtf. Obviously Fatty bears the brunt of it, not me. How it affects me is that… I do worry about his health la every day so stressful.
Younger, I used to think that it doesn’t have to be the husband working and the wife managing the household. Wives also work what, why must she be the one cooking and taking care of the kids? Why husband cannot cook and wash clothes? Now I still believe in that, but I also believe in the importance of equality in a relationship. Equality doesn’t necessarily mean both must do whatever the other is doing, but it’s doing your share in a marriage.
I’ve resigned myself that I’ll never make as much money as Fatty wtf (as long as he’s in business and doing well la) and he’s bearing the financial burden of our family. So since I cannot compete with that, I try to manage everything household related, Fighter related, even playing responsible landlord to our tenant. At least Fatty has the peace of mind that everything else is taken care of.
So that’s how it’s affected me – it’s changed my mindset. Is that un-feminist of me? I dunno, maybe. But I haven’t had to sacrifice my own (blogging) career or ambitions or time with my child, so.. no? What seems more un-feminist to me is being a princess and going along for the free ride.