12 August 2019 | 27 Comments
I’ve run Stonemaier Games for the last 7+ years (full time since December 2013). During that time, I’ve never had a girlfriend.
Until this summer.
I’ve talked about my relationship priorities a bit on my personal blog and Facebook Live, but here’s the rough idea: When I started focusing on my company, I was still trying to date. I met some nice women, but I never felt like I could give the proper time to both my company and any of them. I love my company, so I prioritized it over dating. Pretty quickly I just stopped dating altogether.
Without other commitments, I was able to focus solely on Stonemaier Games. I still had time for meaningful friendships and hobbies, but I woke up every morning to Stonemaier Games, and I went to bed every night with Stonemaier Games. That’s how I envisioned my life continuing for years, and I was happy with that choice.
Then I met Megan.
More specifically, then I started dating Megan. That was 2 months ago (we had met well before that and were friends first). It’s been a completely new experience for me to learn how to commit to both my company and my girlfriend, so today I thought I’d share a few of the things I’ve learned.
- I don’t need to constantly be at the computer to offer good customer service and communication. Everything about Stonemaier Games is designed to steer people towards asking those questions in public where an amazing volunteer or fan can probably answer faster than me even if I’m at the computer. If I spend a delightful afternoon with Megan, I often return to a few dozen e-mails and some online queries, but it’s very rare that I’ve missed something super urgent.
- It’s not just about me–we’re both committed to our jobs. I may have been looking at this whole job/relationship in a self-centered way. The truth is, my commitment to Stonemaier is only half the equation. Megan is just as committed to her job, and I highly respect that. There’s a mutual understanding that we both want to do the best for our respective companies, and through that understanding we give each other the time and space necessary to fulfill those commitments.
- I’m becoming more efficient. My typical work day is 12 hours. But it doesn’t need to be 12 hours–I could probably do all of that work in 10 hours. Maybe 9. Maybe 8. The relaxed pace prevents burnout, but there’s plenty of room for efficiency. I’ve had some of my most productive, efficient days ever while dating Megan, especially when I know there’s a specific time I’m going to see her after work.
- It’s amazing how much you can do from your phone in 3 minutes (and how often I find myself with no people around and 3 minutes to spare). This is the case whether I’m hanging out with Megan or with friends (or both). Other than to take photos, I ignore my phone when I’m with people, but there are still plenty of little lulls or breaks when I can check in on social media if I feel like I need to. Yes, sometimes this is when I’m going to the bathroom. But I’m fine with that. I’d rather do that than be focused on my phone instead of Megan when we’re together.
- There’s some overlap, and there are also some boundaries. It’s just a matter of asking. Mine is a job that can often involve other people if I want it to, whether it’s a business dinner with localization partners, events, playtests, brainstorming, etc. Megan is very supportive, and she’s an avid gamer, but I’ve tried not to assume that she wants to be involved. Instead, I’ve asked her both specifically and generally about the types of things she wants to be involved with.
I still have a LOT to learn, and I look forward to the journey. Perhaps most important, I’ve learned that adding something great to my life doesn’t mean I need to sacrifice the other great things I already have.
I’m sure many other entrepreneurs out there have considerably more experience balancing their company and their significant other. I’d love to hear your insights in the comments!
Also read: Running a Business from the Road
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