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Single vs. Married: Which Is Better for Business?
Entrepreneurs are known for working around the clock to build their business. So is it better to be married and have the support of a family to cheer you on? Or, does staying single offer the best competitive advantage? Here, entrepreneurs -- and then the experts -- weigh in on the effects that marriage and family — or lack thereof — has on a small business.

Single Entrepreneur

Margalit Grunberger, Gotcha Covered, Burbank, Calif.
Status
: Single
Benefit: I'm not limited at all by any schedule or time constraint. I also have the ability to be involved in other organizations because I have the time. I have a lot of flexibility and the ability to expand my world more because there's extra time to do it.
Challenge: I socialize and spend time with friends, but a romantic relationship is the one big part of my life that I don't have. It feels like something's missing. When you're in a happy relationship, there's someone to come home to and talk about the day. It would be a good support.
Looking for love? Yes. 
My life is good but [a romantic relationship] would make my life a little more delightful. I feel like when that part of my life is good, I approach my work with even more focus.
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Single Entrepreneur

Joe Sale, The iTie, Tampa, Fla.
Status:
Single
Benefit: I almost see a relationship as a distraction to my immediate success and my company. When I'm in a relationship, part of my thoughts and daily effort goes to my girlfriend and making her happy, like planning out our evenings. As a single entrepreneur, it's almost a pure advantage not to have to worry about that.
Challenge: I don't really see any negatives to being single, although it's nice to be in a relationship and have the companionship.
Looking for love? No.
I still date but when it comes to getting into a relationship, I'm in no hurry to do so; maybe three to four years from now when I have built up my business and can afford to have some distractions in my professional life. Between now and then, I enjoy being single and doing what I want, when I want and not having to report to anyone.
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Single Entrepreneur

Johnny Earle, Johnny Cupcakes, Boston, Mass.
Status: Single
Benefit: My business does benefit from me being single. I usually don't go to bed until 3 a.m. or 4 a.m. because a lot of my ideas come to me at night. It's nice to be able to work as late as I can and leave town a lot to travel [on business]. I don't think I'd be able to do half the things I'm doing if I was in a relationship and had to split my time.
Challenge: I actually tried to have a relationship and it was tough. I need to put 110% into my company to build a strong foundation until I can delegate [to others in my business].
Looking for love? Torn. 
What is all this cool stuff I'm doing if I don't have someone to share it with? I'd love more than anything to have a family and be in love, but it's tricky. I do understand when you're in a relationship you need to give time, and I don't have a lot of it. I want to open a store in London and I plan on traveling a lot. I guess, I'm still figuring it all out.
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Married Entrepreneur

Pat Cooley, RelianceNet, Annapolis, Md.
Status:
Married with children
Benefit: My family charges me up. Sometimes business can get me too drilled into details, and my kids help pull me up. I drive three of my nine kids to school, so in the car we ask each other, 'What's your positive focus for today?' It's always interesting to hear their perspective, and it gets me back to that positive perspective. By the time I get to my [business] team, I'm not quite as intense, I've opened up and stepped back a bit.
Challenge: It about the choices you have to make. The illusion of balance is something I gave up on a while ago. It's more about blend. There are times when I'm going to be more work-focused and times I'm more family-focused.
How I meet the challenge: At the start of the new year, I bring all the kids [into my office] for a two-hour family meeting. Each kid has a different color marker and they take 15 minutes to write on the white board the top things they enjoyed during the year. Then, we go back and talk about what we appreciate most about that family member throughout the year. It helps us get a vibe for what the kids really liked or recognized about somebody else that might have went unnoticed by me or my wife.
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Married Entrepreneur

Lynn M. Parker, Parker LePla, Seattle, Wash.
Status: Married with children
Benefit: Ever since my twins were born 24 years ago, my husband has stayed home with our children. I can run my business, and I don't know how I'd do it without him being accountable for the home front. The life of bringing up our children is just perfect for him. He takes really good care of me. I feel incredibly nurtured every time I come home. It's kind of an amazing experience. I'm a very lucky woman!
Challenge: I would like to have a closer relationship with my kids. I'm often home late and don't spend nearly as much time with them. And for a while, I realized I was interacting in a negative way, especially my older children, telling them to clean or do something or change their behavior. I thought I had to pack all my parental knowledge into a small period of time.
How I meet the challenge: I'm not there for the day-to-day little concerns, so I always look for opportunities to build in fun things on the weekends. I now also put in a conscious thought to have at least two positive interactions for every time I tell [my kids] to go do something or complain about something they've done. That's been great. I've seen a difference in my relationship with my children.
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Married Entrepreneur

Carl Gould, The Gould Organization, Riverdale, N.J.
Status: Married with children
Benefit: As a business advisor, I often talk about making hard choices and when I say I'm also married and have three children, clients take what I say a bit more seriously. They know I live through a lot of the challenges that they live through. When I was single, people assumed the moment they paid me I was going to go on a tropical vacation! They often didn't take me quite as seriously.
Challenge: You have a more expensive lifestyle, almost all your expenses rise. But more so than that it's balancing my time between growing an effective business and having the time for myself and my family.
How I meet the challenge: I've chosen work that I love to do, so I've oftentimes mixed business with pleasure. For example, I'll take my family on a business trip so we'll have time to spend with each other. I'll also delegate a lot of routine activities, like sending out my laundry, dry cleaning and ironing [to a service]. My executive assistant manages my calendar, so I do my best to take the day-to-day logistics of my life off my plate and that has freed up a tremendous amount of time.
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Single Advantage

Flexibility: Who has the edge? Single

"A single entrepreneur has the benefit of not stressing out about getting home to take care of building a relationship," said Melinda Carlisle Brackett, a San Jose, Calif-based therapist and business coach who works with entrepreneurs. "They may date, but it doesn't really take the same sort of energy."

For example, having the flexibility to attend networking events in the evenings, while married entrepreneurs may not be able to, can certainly offer an advantage when it comes to growing a business. If your industry also requires constant travel, the flexibility of being able to hop on a plane at a moment's notice can also offer an edge to the single entrepreneur.

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Marriage Advantage

(Photo to left: Pat Cooley's 9 children)

Work-Life Balance: Who has the edge? Married

Finding ways to balance work and family is often top of mind for married entrepreneurs because they grapple with it on a daily basis, while single entrepreneurs can — albeit unwittingly — shift their personal needs to the back burner.

"When you're married, you're always revisiting the priorities, asking yourself: 'What am I doing this for? What's the long-term goal?'" said Melinda Carlisle Brackett, a San Jose, Calif-based therapist and business coach who works with entrepreneurs. "That's a benefit because it forces you to make choices you're probably going to be happy with in the long run."

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Single Advantage

Time & Energy: Who has the edge? Single

"A single entrepreneur has more available time and energy to throw toward their business, and I think that unquestionably contributes to the success and thriving of a venture," said Meredith Haberfeld, a New York-based business coach, who works with many single and married entrepreneurs.

Whether you have a lot or a little time, experts say what's most important to being a successful entrepreneur is knowing how to manage it.

"While it's quite obvious how the needs of a family can cut into time, I see that issue get in the way of almost all the entrepreneurs I work with," Haberfeld said. "Navigating one's way through that is a big leveler of the field to making a successful entrepreneur."

Related:
Single vs. Married Entrepreneurs: Who Has the Edge?

Young Guns: An Entrepreneur Selling Exclusivi-tee

Single vs. Married: Which Is Better for Business?

Entrepreneurs are known for working around the clock to build their business. So is it better to be married and have the support of a family to cheer you on? Or, does staying single offer the best competitive advantage? Here, entrepreneurs -- and then the experts -- weigh in on the effects that marriage and family — or lack thereof — has on a small business.

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