Embarking the adventure of entrepreneurship, together.

 
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Lauren + Dave are the ultimate dreamer and doer couple. They dream big and pursue them whole heartily, together. We truly enjoyed getting to know them through this interview and all the beautiful lovespiration they had to offer. They hustle hard but never forget to have fun together all the same. Dave has a market research company called Monocle, and Lauren is the co-founder of Wild Hearts Co., which specializes in conferences and weekend getaways for dreamers and entrepreneurs.

For a limited time, you can get $100 off your ticket to the Wild Hearts Conference if you use the promo code LOVEINTENTLYWILDHEARTS! If you're a female looking to start pursuing your calling and dream, this conference will change your life! (p.s. this would make a phenomenal gift!). The women speaking at this conference will knock your socks off! Not only are they the ultimate boss ladies, but they are remarkable humans with pure and genuine hearts. Be sure to tell em, Love Intently sent ya ;)  

What’s the best advice you have for couples looking to start a business either together or apart?

Lauren: For the most part we try to be understanding when the other has to work late or on the weekend, but try to also put days or hours in place that are blocked out just for us. If Dave has had an incredibly busy couple of weeks we’ll look for pockets of time to hang out like taking our dog Atlas for a walk around the neighborhood or grabbing a quick lunch together. Every now and then we’ll even put our phones away so we know we can get some uninterrupted time together. In the busy times, we both just have to keep in mind that’s it’s more about the quality than the quantity of the time together, and that when things normal out again we’ll have our weekends and nights.

Dave: Get your foundation right by communicating with your SO and creating plans to deal with all the new things you will be encountering. Starting and building anything will add all kinds of new elements to your life above and beyond what you experience in “normal” jobs. Emotional highs and lows, late nights and early mornings, even the ability to define your own schedule all can either work for or against your relationship. These additional elements are like blocks in a tower, stacked thoughtfully and intentionally they allow the structure to be taller and stronger, conversely should they be assembled carelessly or with out foresight you may end up with something looking more like the tower of Pizza than you’d like.

When starting a company it’s near impossible to work “normal” hours. What’s your rule of thumb for bringing work home?

Lauren: For the most part we try to be understanding when the other has to work late or on the weekend, but try to also put days or hours in place that are blocked out just for us. If Dave has had an incredibly busy couple of weeks we’ll look for pockets of time to hang out like taking our dog Atlas for a walk around the neighborhood or grabbing a quick lunch together. Every now and then we’ll even put our phones away so we know we can get some uninterrupted time together. In the busy times, we both just have to keep in mind that’s it’s more about the quality than the quantity of the time together, and that when things normal out again we’ll have our weekends and nights.

Dave: Know the difference between important and imperative. When an entrepreneur tells me they are having trouble finding “balance” I find that it’s usually due to a lack of planning and prioritization. Being a pioneer means breaking new ground all the time and a seemingly unending list of things that need to happen. But just like actual pioneers who needed to fell trees, plow earth, and build shelter just to survive remember that everything cannot be done in one day. Find a way that works for you to structure your tasks and identify which things in a given day must happen vs. those that can be done in following work sessions. This allows you to be able to do a better job knowing you can close it up for the day and properly keep you productive not just busy. Working many odd hours is unavoidable for creators and often unforeseen fires pop up and have to be dealt with. These can be great rallying times for your relationship as you support each other through intense moments, however if it becomes the norm it can feel a lot more like the relationship is on fire rather than working together to put them out.

How involved are you in each other’s businesses?

Lauren: We joke that we are each other’s unofficial consultants to our businesses. Because we both work at home most days and our offices aren’t too far apart sometimes we’ll even interject into meetings with ideas. Some of those ideas from Dave have helped shape big decisions for Wild Hearts. I’m so thankful that my husband understands entrepreneurship and starting a company, and can usually offer great advice and a good outside perspective.

Dave: We are constantly strategizing, brainstorming, and creating together. Even though neither of us have titled roles in each other’s ventures we are “consultants” for each other on most things. Sometimes consulting looks like just listening other times it is planning and brainstorming. 

How did your relationship change when you started your own businesses? What would you have done differently?

Lauren: If I’m being honest I would say that I am more glued to my phone now that I’ve started my own business, and probably the same for Dave. Because of this we have to (and are still working at) having those moments where it is truly just the two of us without our devices so that we can focus on each other.

We now have a shared calendar on our iCal that we are constantly updating so we know what each other has going on, which has been a game changer! It’s so nice to easily be able to see if Dave has a business meeting, and then I can schedule something on the same night instead of planning something on a different night and then we end up missing each other all throughout the week. If I were going to do anything differently, I would try to sync up our schedules from the beginning so that we could best maximize on our time together.

Dave: It has required lots of support and understanding from each other. Bad days and hectic schedules can play havoc on a relationship and remembering to intentionally invest quality time and fun together has been vital to having relational margin to deal with those difficult times. I think I can be a bit too fast to try and solve whatever problem I’m hearing when really Lauren isn’t always looking for a solution just someone to vent to. I’m always improving in the area of listening but if I got to do things over again I would like to be better in this area. 

What are some boundaries or tactics you have implemented in your relationship or business that strengthened your relationship?

Lauren: As much as possible, we try to make weekends about us. Every now and then work will spill over into one, but by trying to keep this tradition it allows for us both to know that we have two days together each week that we can step away from work. My love language is without a doubt quality time, so it’s important to me that we make time for each other, even when life is crazy.

Dave: One of the most important things for us is being stress relief valves for each other but not stress relief targets. It can be easy to get frustrated with something happening in your venture and due to its proximity to your personal life allow this stress to bleed over into your relationship. I’ve learned that there’s nothing that helps me deal with stress better than talking through tough things and being encouraged by Lauren. Conversely there is nothing more damaging to our relationship than directing my stress at her through hurtful words or actions. Our relationship is the thing we draw strength and rest from, however, we often lash out at those closest to us and inadvertently destroy the very thing we need to deal with difficult times. When you’re helping your spouse through a stressful day be a good listener and don't jump to be a problem solver. When you’re the one stressed out be cognizant of the fact that you have a shorter than usually fuse and think carefully through your words and actions, it’s easy to act on your frustration but very difficult to repair hurts caused by your anger and stress. 

How do you talk about the less fun topics, like money?

Lauren: I think the key to those less fun topics are that you have to keep a level head and as much as possible and try to keep the conversation practical instead of emotional. Money for instance, is something that we all deal with and no matter how much we dislike talking about it it’s a necessity. When I was making the move from my full-time job to my own company Dave and I had many talks about what that would look like financially for us. Would I rather be dreaming together or talking about something more fun? Totally! But it’s just keeping in mind that to make the fun stuff a reality—like following your passion—there has to be real talks and sometimes sacrifices in areas like finances. By keeping the big picture in mind we are able to navigate those topics more peacefully and still do what we love.

Dave: Be realistic and always always always be in agreement about what risks you are willing to take and how you plan to use your resources. Relationships are built on trust not money, but how you plan and use your finances says a lot to your SO about how much they can trust you. I know many couples who while lacking material possessions maintain a strong and loving relationship, I also know many that have exactly the opposite. Finances, wether great or small, will never solve your problems as a couple, but transparent communication and planning in which both people feel considered, safe, and empowered will create a real unity that good or bad times can’t shake. 

Can't get enough on Lauren and Dave?! Check out their first blog feature where they share other parts of their relationship. 

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