Tightrope: Better take a break, or you'll break down

ByABC News
October 24, 2007, 8:30 AM

— -- Dear Gladys,

I have a successful online business that is five years old. This is the second time I have owned an online company. The first I built and sold during the original dot-com craze. I got married nine months ago to what I thought was an understanding woman. It takes a lot of time and energy to build a successful company, but I am having a hard time explaining that to her. She complains a lot about the lack of time I devote to her. When I have a little extra time, which is seldom, I am dog-tired and want to rest. What can I say or do to get her to understand that the life of an entrepreneur takes a lot of time and energy?

Dot.com guy

I can't think of a thing that you could say that would make sense, but pay attention to a couple of stories to see if one or both might shed any light on a possible answer.

During this past summer a Chick-fil-A restaurant opened in a shopping center near my home. A few weeks before opening they mailed coupons to local residents offering a free chicken sandwich.

While out running errands one Sunday afternoon with my daughter Sharon, we decided to stop by for lunch. As we approached I could see that there were no cars in the parking lot. That should have been a hint. Nonetheless we parked the car and proceeded to the door only to be met by a sign: "CLOSED ON SUNDAY."

Sharon was quite surprised by this. I used the opportunity to take a stroll down memory lane and tell her about the time when almost all retail establishments recognized Sunday as a day of Sabbath and rest from work. They honored and respected that day by closing.

I called the restaurant several days later to ask why they were closed and a manager told me that they always close on Sunday to give their employees an opportunity to spend time with family and to have a rest. Are entrepreneurs and businesses beginning to recognize the importance of a time of rest from work? Sounds pretty good to me!

Then there is my friend, whom I will call Willis, who had received many awards for business success. He represented the ideal model of what a successful entrepreneur looked like.