I never expected to meet the love of my life on an airplane. During that fateful 2016 flight from Sicily to Milan, I’d planned on leaning my seat back, pulling my headphones on, and forgetting all about the world of digital design I worked in.
Instead, I struck up a conversation with the person sitting next to me, seeing a better way to pass the time. Those six hours in the air turned into some of the most impactful of my entire life.
Two years later we were married – but not before we started our own independent business.
As it turns out, there are some overt similarities between having a great romantic relationship and creating your own successful enterprise. These overlaps become very obvious when you start both journeys at virtually the same time.
When it comes to the parallels between business and pleasure, here are what the past few years of entrepreneurial and romantic success have taught me.
Jump In – But Start Slowly
I knew I wanted to see more of Tea barely an hour into our flight. While our relationship blossomed quickly, our idea for an online interior design provider came a bit more slowly.
We had the initial concept almost immediately. My knowledge of tech and Tea’s passion for design meshed very well, and led to a fruitful discussion of where we could fill a previously-ignored niche. That conversation continued across dinners and dates in our native Italy. Soon, I was as in love with the idea of Restylit as I was with her.
Yet we knew when to move cautiously. For one thing, we were surprised to find we had competitors in our space. Taking the time to think and discuss our key selling points made us much stronger as founders and business partners. Really, the essential detail was communication – just as important in business as it is in relationships.
I never would have met the love of my life if I hadn’t struck up that conversation in the air. Moving without overthinking has its advantages – however, it’s equally important to think through your decisions once you’re on the right track.
When it comes to interior design, creativity is key. Separating your idea from those of your competitors while staying current with trends is a difficult balance to master. We have the advantage of being able to rely on each other, bouncing ideas and concepts around without fear of judgment or rejection.
It’s this kind of approach to creativity that’s kept us ahead of our peers – and kept our relationship thriving. We may go to Paris more often for business trips than for romantic getaways, but we make avoiding complacency a priority, in the office and at home.
Commit to Building
You may know your industry backwards and forwards before you start an independent business. Relationships work a bit differently: We start out knowing so little about the other person, then grow to know our partner.
The milestones along your path to success may seem clear as day. Other times, you’re not sure if they’re passing you by, or if you’re passing them. Either way, keeping track of where you’ve been – whether an anniversary, memorable first, or even just a well-earned vacation – helps you see where you’ll go next. It might not be what you planned, however, that’s part of the joy.