When people start a business, they usually research the product, the compensation plan, the competition, and other market data. But they generally don't give much thought to how their new business will affect their spouses and children.
While our bookshelves may bulge with advice on starting and running a business, surprisingly little has been written about the impact of business on intimate relationships and families. Inc. magazine columnist and wife of the cofounder of Stonyfield Farm, Meg Cadoux Hirshberg fills this void with her new book, For Better or For Work, offering insight, hope, and practical strategies to all those coping with the complicated issues that arise at the intersection of business and family life.
Hirshberg spent years alongside her husband as he grew his enterprise from a fledgling organic yogurt company to a nationwide success with $370 million in annual sales. In her book she shares the deeply moving story of their journey together, examining the practical and financial matters of the venture as well as the emotional fallout.
Drawing on her experience and interviews with more than 200 entrepreneurs and their spouses, Hirshberg provides a candid and rare perspective on what life in a startup looks like from the inside. Here are some compelling chapter headings:
This vital, practical guide offers simple tips and tools for navigating the emotional and logistical terrain of business-building while simultaneously enjoying a fulfilling family life. From the trials of cohabiting with a home-based business, to the queasy necessity of borrowing money from family and friends, to the complexities of intergenerational succession, no topic is taboo.
Whether you are the leading entrepreneur or the support partner in your venture, this engaging and thought-provoking book will show you how to balance a successful business with healthy family relationships. Conveniently, each chapter ends with a list of "Things to Talk About" and "Things to Do."
"When launching a business," says Hirschberg, "the entrepreneur and her spouse know it will require a lot of work, but they reassure themselves that at least they will be able to work on their own schedule. The reality is that businesses are like babies: they need you when they need you. And they always need you—your time, your attention, and your energy."
For Better or For Work shows how families can best prepare for the inevitable ups and downs of growing a business. It will also remind you that the long hours and late nights spent on the business or with the family are worth the effort, while giving you tools for making both endeavors successful and satisfying.
Hardcover, 254 pages, $23.95;
An Inc. Original, 2012.