Some days I am gung ho about entrepreneurship and I’m spending the day with my kids while money comes in from my blog and my coaching and I think “I’m great, I’m living the 4-hour workweek,” and for one minute I forget that I hate Tim Ferriss.
I hate him for making people think that it is possible for anyone to make money without working hard. Because the next minute, I am telling my husband that I promise I’ll pay him back and I’m paying my developer for my startup with money earmarked for corn, and I’m in therapy from the stress of knowing that probably my last marriage fell apart because I used family finances to support my startup.
And now it looks like I’m doing it again.
I see familiar signs: My husband in bed at night, unable to sleep because all he can think about is my startup’s insatiable need for cash.
For all you financial snobs I want you to know it is very common for startup founders to ruin their lives funding their company. It’s why I said I’ll never do another startup. I have online businesses that are stable and profitable. Why can’t I just leave well enough alone? I don’t know. But I know that’s why people say being a startup founder is tantamount to having a brain disorder.
My husband overhears me doing a coaching call where I say, “You can’t have an amazing career and be home at 3pm when your kids come back from school. There are no careers where everyone else puts in their full effort and they also want to work with someone who works part time.
“And besides that,” I say, in a speech I give at least once a week, “If you start a new career when you have a four-year-old kid, you are competing against 23 year olds who also are starting new careers but have no kids. That’s tough competition.”
Then the conversation goes like this: “Penelope, you’re doing it. You’re home with your kids and you have a great career.”
How can I explain to them that IT’S FUCKING TERRIBLE TO HAVE MY CAREER. No one would ever want it. I take insane risks that no one would want to take.
Today I got an email from Kiva. They do micro-financing for people in countries where you can buy a cow for three dollars.
I decided to put a little fund together and then my husband would help the kids go through the site to decide who to lend the money to; I’d rather the kids learn how to be investors than entrepreneurs.
So the kids sit down with my husband and read the descriptions of the businesses people want to launch.
My husband is partial to agriculture.
But the kids choose who to fund based on what they look like, which is probably closer to how real investors work.
My husband tells me, “This week three people from Kiva paid us back.”
I say, “I know. You’ve told me twice.”
“It’s bugging me.”
“Do you want to marry one of them?”
He is pissed. He doesn’t like that I make jokes about owing him money. He bounced a check and it’s the first check he’s ever bounced in his whole life.
It’s hard for me to get upset about bouncing a check because I bounced so many checks that I stopped writing them; if you have a hard time keeping track of checks, it’s really hard to keep track of bounced checks. You have this feeling like it’s raining bank statements.
I see, though, that I’m ruining his life. His life is about financial stability. He owns land. He is not liquid. And my financial life is so liquid it practically evaporates.
I kiss him.
Did you know the purpose of kisses is that women can tell how men feel by their kiss?
Men don’t need this because woman actually say how they feel.
Don’t tell me I’m sexist. When you are low on cash you have decision overload. There’s research. Click the link. It’s why people spend their food stamps on Ho-Hos. The blogger equivalent is irresponsible sexism.
So I kiss him and his kiss says fuck you I’m going to burn the house down if you don’t pay me back.
We both know that good marriages require two people who are able to be kind to each other even if things are crumbling around us. I dry dishes and he eats chocolate from the hiding place where I make him keep the chocolate so that I don’t eat it.
“Can I have some?” I say.
He says, “No. It’s mine.”
I say, “Thank you. Thank you for caring so much about me.” And I kiss him a good soft kiss with a little chocolate chaser.
And I think that maybe at the end of our financial trouble I’ll have a stronger marriage and a thinner waist and a company that has made it to another round of funding.