Academic journal article Journal of Business and Entrepreneurship

"The Love of My Life" or "The Life I Love"-Investigating Impacts of New Venture Creation on Marriage

Academic journal article Journal of Business and Entrepreneurship

"The Love of My Life" or "The Life I Love"-Investigating Impacts of New Venture Creation on Marriage

Article excerpt


New venture creation is an important dynamic of the American economy. However, new venture creation has both positive and negative consequences for entrepreneurs and their marriages. The purpose of this study was to explore, by gender, the impact of new venture creation on entrepreneur's happiness and financial well-being and to assess the impact of new venture creation on their marriages. The results show that the majority of entrepreneurs, male and female, were happier and financially better off and that their marriages were either not affected or improved as a result of starting their new venture. Some however had negative experiences from the point of view of happiness, finances, and in their marriages. Most single entrepreneurs had positive experiences related to happiness and finances. Suggestions for further research are discussed.

"The difficulty with marriage is that we fall in love with a personality, but must live with a character. "

- Peter de Vries


Recently, there has been a growing interest in discussing the relationships between entrepreneurs and their spouses/partners. Many comments from and the Berkeley Parents Network website describe challenges, risks, and some rewards for entrepreneurial couples. In a bleak economy, many people decide to embark on their own business ventures due to low satisfaction in current jobs, uncertain prospects of employers, or limited options in job search. Being a spouse or a partner for an entrepreneur is not an easy live style. Many entrepreneurial couples share positive aspects of falling in love and working together in their own businesses: "It can be great fun to be married to someone who loves his or her work and is taking creative risks. Sharing ideas, hopes, and dreams for a new business can make for great conversations and future plans." (Shellenbarger, 2009). Unfortunately entrepreneurs can also be the worst spouses, "... even in prosperous times, because they want to invest almost all their time and energy in the business." ( Researchers have studied family relationships, couple's coping and support, divorce and remarriage, and counseling in various fields such as sociology, economics, business, and psychology. However the relationships of entrepreneurial couples and impacts of new venture creation on marriage have not been thoroughly studied. Several questions remain to be explored in entrepreneurship literature including - does new venture formation lead to constructive or destructive impacts on marriage? And, is it possible to differentiate levels of the impacts of new venture formation on marriage? Scholars and practitioners have speculated a variety of theories about entrepreneurs starting their own business and the potential impacts on their spouses/partners. For example, more people would attempt or consider to start their own businesses when the economy takes a down turn; spouses/partners at first would be likely to support the idea either for the love of each other or for the lifestyle they want to establish; passion and commitment for the new business sometimes surpass personal feeling as the couples move forward and deeper in planning and managing the new venture; and finally entrepreneurial couples might choose to split and to further pursue individual goals on different paths. Many of these speculations are shared by individuals through anecdote statements. Based on Google Trends Search for the most popular interests worldwide, there were no significant correlations between economic crisis and business startup since 2004 (Figure 1 and Figure 2). There was certainly not much interest in entrepreneurial marriage until 2013 (Figure 3). It is clear that we recognize the importance of new venture creation and couples' satisfaction of their choices for work. However, very little science-based evidence exists to investigate impacts of new venture creation on marriage, and the levels of positive or negative impacts that starting a business could have on couples' feelings to each other. …

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