One Year Already
Well. It’s safe to say I like the guy.
Maddox and I have been together a year today. If you’ve read my book, One Honest Woman, then you know that I have a messy history of not being supported on this journey of entrepreneurship by my partners. In fact, more than once in my life, I have been in love with someone who saw my business and the fire in my heart for entrepreneurship as something that hindered my ability to be human. Talk about gut wrenching. Those experiences taught me a few things, because here’s the thing - people can and will surprise you. The ones you expect the most of will disappoint you, and the ones you expect the least of will become treasured connections. Manage your expectations.
I say all of this to share that even after all of that, I managed to bounce back (after taking some time to heal) and finally found someone who knows that entrepreneurship doesn’t preclude humanity. In fact, even though he doesn’t understand it, he supports it and helps me nurture it every day. Find that someone. (If that someone for you isn’t necessarily a romantic partner, that’s okay too. Find some friends (entrepreneurs or otherwise) that get what you do. My forever ride-or-dies are babes like Jana Bishop + Rosemary Watson and fellas like Joey Vitale.)
Thanks, Maddox - you’ve put up with me for a year. How’s a few more sound?
Scroll down for goofy photos of us from the past year (shot by Rebekah Albaugh, Jake Campbell, and Mo Speer) AND a Q&A about dating an entrepreneur from the perspective of a non-entrepreneur! A must read!
Q&A - Thoughts on dating an entrepreneur
Dannie: What was your perspective on entrepreneurship before and after meeting me?
Maddox: Before I met you, it was pretty ambivalent I guess. It was a thing, I just really didn't pay that much attention to it. I thought entrepreneurs were either people who had million dollar ideas and took it to market and patented it and just mass distributed it, or they were like small business owners. I didn't realize it was also a creative community where people are hanging out doing their thing and supporting each other in doing their thing, if that makes sense.
I knew it was a thing, it was out there, it was business. Now, it's out there, it's still business. I kind of care, but I don't understand what's happening. Before I had a really black and white, “I want to go to Wall Street,” or “I want to run my own business,” like cookie cutter perception of it, but now it's this fluid, weird thing that's just everybody doing whatever they want to do, making money, and calling it a business.
DF: What do you think the biggest challenge that a non-entrepreneur faces dating an entrepreneur?
MR: I wouldn't say that there's one monumental challenge. Like, “eh this is make or break.” I think there's a bunch of little nuances that you have to learn to navigate. I think that you have to start to learn the lingo a little bit in order to understand your partner.
It's also not just a straight, "Hey. How was your nine to five," conversation because it's not a nine to five. It's a 25/7 if your partner will allow it to be. You have to learn to kind of be okay with that. There's going to be times where your relationship is going to have to take a backseat to work. That's got to be okay. I think you and I do a really good job in navigating that because you understand that you take a backseat to my work from 3-6 when I've got a training room full of athletes. In the same vein, If you've got to call somebody, you've got to call somebody. We each do our thing.
Sometimes if your partner is a successful entrepreneur, there can be an impact that you might not have expected. I think adjusting to what you do, especially your visibility and your online presence as an influencer, was kind of culture shock. Your life becomes so much more complex. Our life becomes so much more complex.
DF: What has been the impact of my Internet visibility on your life?
MR: Well, everybody in the world has seen my butt (hah, kidding but not really), but really though other than that, it's been fairly minimal. You talk about me, but I don't have people (other than your actual close friends) delving into my life. I do get the occasional random follower that also follows you, but it’s not as crazy as I initially anticipated. (Editor’s Note: Maddox’s Instagram and Facebook are private due to workplace restrictions. I think this answer would be different if they weren’t private.)
DF: What's your reaction to all of these Internet friends that I have? Like these people that I was friends with for years online that I've recently met in person or haven't met in person yet. Like Joey or Sam.
MR: It kind of boggles my mind a little bit just because I'm not a big internet person, but it's part of who you are too. I feel like it's an integral part of your business success. You have to make those connections. There's so many different communities and groups that are located on the Internet, but have members wherever.
It's a little bit different for me in some of the pockets of the Internet that I interact with just because the people are very different. People ask stupid questions, or it's a "community" but it's not a “let's do something” community or “let's talk.” It's a space where people just complain or ask easily Googleable questions or ask for others to donate to their GoFundMe. It's also people's space to vent or beg for money or bitch and moan about not being able to get in shape instantaneously, overnight. Your communities are more, "Hey, what do you guys think about this? Let's talk about it." I think it's just a very different vibe.
The difference is that you guys have a purpose. You are looking for a reason to make something happen or a way to make something happen. If it happens with somebody else's brain power behind it, why not. You know? Even in your Google job, you have to connect with people around the country in order to do your job. It's all on the Internet. That's just the way that business is going, and in order to be sustainable, you have to adapt to that global availability, for lack of a better term to explain it. Whereas, with what I do in my life, I don't have to. I have my department that I can zoom around in my golf cart, and that's all I have to worry about. I don't have to worry about what George in Shanghai needs me to get done for him by 3 o'clock in the afternoon. I deal with what's in front of me and what walks into my office doors, and that's the end of it. I can see how it's a necessity, and if you've got a good thing going business-wise, why wouldn't you want to keep those good people around you? It doesn't bother me.
DF: How has getting involved in my business changed or shaped your perception of what I do?
MR: I still have no fucking clue what you do most of the time. Even though I'm "involved” the rest is a mystery. I know you do marketing, and you help people promote and grow themselves or their businesses, but the “how” you do that is still way over my head. I don't know your lingo. I don't know your processes. My head just still spins, so I smile and nod my head and am just supportive.
DF: What advice would you give to someone else thinking about dating an entrepreneur?
MR: It shouldn't matter what the person's profession is if you truly care about them. If you're in it for the money, find yourself a doctor or a lawyer. If that's what you want, that's what you want, but other than that, it shouldn't matter. Each person is pursuing a profession that suits them and suits who they are. For the most part, there will be some level of passion involved with what they do. If you can't handle that passion, and you don't connect with that passion, then you're not meant to be with that person.
DF: Is there anything you would change about our life from the perspective of my entrepreneurship?
MR: No, I think that you do a really good job of compartmentalizing, I guess. Your work is work, and your play is play. There's not a lot of overlap there. You don't bring it home. When you come to visit, you and I do “us” time. You do work when I'm not around, when I'm working or lifting or whatever I'm doing, but when I come home from work or from the gym, your computer goes away, and it's us time. I think I've done a little bit of helping you break that habit, but I didn't have to overtly be like, "Dannie, put your shit away." I think you do a really good job of keeping the things separate and making time for what's important. I'm really grateful for that.
DF: Anything else you would like to add that you don't think these questions touched on, but you see in my business or impact on us or et cetera?
MR: Instagram sponsored content, for one. It blew my mind because I thought sponsored content was all these products, like underwear or vitamins or whatever. Someone I follow on Instagram was pushing content like that and it used to drive me so nuts that I unfollowed him. I unfollowed him for a couple of reasons, but that was one of them. My exposure to sponsored content was like that, people trying to shove shit down your throat. Whereas, I feel like your branding of it is more of a, "Hey. I got this thing. I used it. I really like it. It's cool." It's less aggressive, and it's more authentic. It's not as much of a paid advertisement where it's apparent that people are getting kickbacks for pushing it on their social media. I thought it was crazy that these companies were actually reaching out to you. I also was just kind of flabbergasted that it was actually a thing for somebody who, on a surface level is a regular person and not somebody on Instagram with north of a million followers. That's the only places that I had seen it. To me, when I met you, you were just a regular person. You were just this girl that I started talking to, and then I realized "holy shit. People really care about her life!? This is a foreign concept."
There’s also the income disparity between us. That isn’t necessarily just a product of your entrepreneurial nature but it’s part of it. It's not the fact that your sponsored content gets us a free hotel room, for example. What weirds me out is the cost, because I know now what those retail for. It's not always 100% comped. I know there's been times where they'll comp it partially, or comp one night or two nights and we add on more for some extra personal days. I feel less awkward about it when I know for a fact that it's 100% covered, but it's just that remainder that gets me wigged out. Before I met you, my standard for a “really nice” hotel was a nice Holiday Inn, hah. Now it’s a Kimpton.
Objectively speaking, at the beginning of our relationship, if we blindly were to choose a restaurant to eat at or a place to stay, the gap between us would be a chasm, and we had to figure out what that meant, and how to navigate it. We had to get used to you being okay with a restaurant that had a $40 average price point, and that being obscene to me. I think we both nudged towards the middle on that. The money thing for me is a pride thing. In that regard, I kind of had to just swallow it because you wouldn't let me not. If that makes sense. I wasn't going to get you to come all the way down to my level.
There’s no point in arguing about it and putting strain on our relationship when it's part of the fruits of you working hard. I'm not going to fault you for that, and I'm not going to take that away from you. I just had to adjust to the notion that that is where you're at. Part of it was pride. Part of it was jealousy. We're equally educated. We're basically the same age, but the wage gap is astronomical. I'm a little bit salty sometimes. Where did I go wrong? What did I do wrong? Why am I not at that level? But it's not something that I can fault myself for. It's something that I can fault my profession for because we are so far behind industry standard, what's appropriate for a healthcare professional, vs. what's appropriate for Silicon Valley. You know?
I think you and I, we compromised really well. There's no if, ands, or buts about it. I think it was just the repeated conversations that we'd had, like what makes me uncomfortable, why it makes me uncomfortable, what you can do to be more conscious about that. It’s not as bad as it used to be, but I don't know if it will ever go away. We're both just more conscious of it, and we'll just communicate on where we're at and what we're feeling.
DF: So there you have it! A non-entrepreneur (and non-creative, non-business professional) perspective on what it’s like dating an entrepreneur! Let me know what you think in the comments or come hang out and discuss on Instagram.
Happy anniversary, Maddox. <3