Entrepreneurs are not shy about telling Inc. editors what makes a good story. Every time we host a luncheon, chat with a group at the Inc. 500, or just pick up the phone, we hear ideas. Sometimes entrepreneurs like us to help find a solution to a business problem; sometimes they pitch their own company narratives (full of heroics and starring...guess who?). There's one story suggestion, however, that crops up over and over, though it neither solves a problem nor bathes the company owner in a glowing light. It's roughly titled: "The Effects of Entrepreneurship on Marriage."
People who are building companies are mostly unable to confine their efforts to a regular schedule--8 to 8, say (never mind 9 to 5). They may intend to come home for dinner or they may really want to watch Survivor with the rest of the family, but then they start thinking about the new guy in marketing who's driving them crazy or about a great new way to sell their product or about cash flow, and home life is pushed aside. It's a common situation, but it's rarely addressed in business publications, for the simple reason that few people are willing to talk on the record about how business affects their most important relationships. It's too private and too hard.
Phaedra Hise, the writer of this month's cover story, "Confessions of an Entrepreneur's Wife," is the only person I know who could have told this story. She was an Inc. staffer from 1991 to 1996, and has written for Forbes and Salon. She's the author of three business books and a fourth book inspired by her passion for flying airplanes. In other words, she's a professional business journalist. She became the wife of an entrepreneur when her husband, Bill Hargis, left a salaried job to launch a beverage company. Her article for Inc. is really two stories beautifully intertwined: the chronicle of Bill's struggles with his company and the narrative of her relationship with him.
I think when you're finished reading Bill and Phaedra's story, you'll feel much the way I do: full of admiration for the two of them. This story is personal, candid, artfully rendered. You'll thank them for sharing it with you, too.