power couple dynamics
How to maintain love, and your sanity, as an entrepreneur’s wife
Even with your mom’s savings on the line
by Julia McKinnell, March 1, 2012 for Macleans
Meg Hirshberg realizes that the wildly improbable success of her husband’s organic yogourt business, Stonyfield Farm—now the world’s largest producer of organic yogourt—is like a fairy tale to other entrepreneurs. The business started with 18 cows. Meg and Gary shared living quarters in a dilapidated rural New Hampshire home with Gary’s business partner Samuel Kaymen, his wife and five of the Kaymen children. It’s a rags-to-riches story that started in a cold farmhouse with leaky windows, and caused Meg’s hair to ruffle in the winter wind, indoors.
“Entrepreneurs are easy to fall in love with,” she explains in an indispensable new guidebook for entrepreneurs and their spouses called For Better or For Work. “They are charismatic, interesting, creative and energetic.” But, she warns, “you cannot imagine the emotional whiplash [they] can induce.”
Meg shovelled manure and drove around to New Hampshire supermarkets where she repeatedly saw their yogourt cups damaged, out of stock, or past their sell-by dates. As dispiriting as this was, nothing tied her stomach in knots more than their precarious financial situation. “Would we ever be able to buy a house and put our children through college? Such concerns,” she says, “chew at the mind of an entrepreneur’s spouse like termites in a wall.”
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