Becoming a solopreneur is tough, but it’s easier when you’re single. You don’t have to schedule your life around your spouse’s calendar. There are no kids to pick up from school or cook meals for. When life gets busy, it’s because you—and only you—have a lot going on.
But what happens when you fall in love with another independent person, someone who’s just as driven as you? Can a pair of entrepreneurs merge their lifestyles to start a family, achieve their goals and maintain a peaceful household?
In this episode of Brilliant Thoughts, SUCCESS People Editor Tristan Ahumada talks to Elena Cardone about how to succeed as a family of entrepreneurs. Her husband, Grant Cardone, owns seven companies and manages a $2 billion real estate portfolio. Elena is a Hollywood actress and model-turned-businesswomen. She’s the author of Build an Empire: How to Have it All and produces the annual 10X Ladies and Build an Empire Mastermind events. Their kids contribute to the family business by speaking at growth conferences and seminars.
Maintaining a family of entrepreneurs isn’t easy, but it can be done. Here are three ways to achieve your biggest goals alongside your loved ones.
1. Learn to serve one another.
Some people crave an independent life where they make all the decisions. But that doesn’t work in an entrepreneurial relationship. Whether married or just dating, mixing love and business requires an insane amount of collaboration. Couples can achieve that by shedding some of their independence to serve one another.
Your ability to serve has to come before petty squabbles, especially those regarding gender roles. That’s what Elena discovered when she started dating Grant. At the beginning of their relationship, she rebelled against the idea of becoming the traditional wife. Cooking meals and serving a husband seemed archaic. But eventually she realized being the “woman behind the man” wasn’t a bad thing. Gender aside, Elena was good at offering support. It was also something their relationship needed.
“My vision of ‘woman behind the man’ is a woman who is powerful enough, who is strong enough,” Elena says. “The definition of support means to bear the weight. So I envision myself behind this powerful man who is standing there. If that man is ever to falter or fall, I can be there to push him up and say, ‘No. Hell no. That’s not happening on my watch.’”
Society will always try to dictate what’s acceptable for men, women and other genders on the spectrum. Be brave enough to build a relationship that works for you.
2. Make sure everyone knows the mission.
Having a family business is like training a sports team. Each member learns to play a role so the team can defend its position and score big opportunities. There are star players, sure, but one person can’t win the game. It takes everyone working together to achieve that one, big goal.
This works only when the entire team is on the same page. For family businesses, that means communicating the mission to each household member. Even toddlers, as young as they are, should know the family’s trajectory. You might have to explain it to them using characters like superheroes and castle guards, but it’s worth the effort. Kids will pick up their toys or have quiet time when they understand how important those things are to you, the busy entrepreneur.
“I’ve indoctrinated them since they were very young that this is Team Cardone—since they were 1, 2 years old,” Elena says. “Team Cardone, we make a difference for the people on this planet…. We want people to know who we are, and we want to win from our products and services. They understand the mission.”
3. Attack your problems, not each other.
Every business fails in some way. A company can lose money, struggle to retain employees or navigate a series of scandals. Those are common problems in the business world, even if family isn’t on your payroll.
When things go wrong, take accountability as a group. Find a solution to the problem instead of blaming one or two family members for a collective mistake.
“We take the hits and they hurt, and I feel them hurt every single time,” Elena says. “And then I decide, ‘How can I win? How can I flourish and prosper, and how can I fortify with my husband even stronger than before?’”