If you have or are thinking of starting a business (with or without family), you gotta watch this episode.
Starting a business is hard. It’s really hard. And, starting a business with family can sometimes make it even harder. This week we’re joined by several small business owners that have beaten the odds—reached success.
Our guests include: Bob Fried from Minute Man Cleaners (https://minutemancleaners.com/), Ryan and his brother Ross Steckelberg from VIP Mortgage (https://www.vipmtginc.com/), Kristin & Richard Morris from Cruise Planners (https://www.arizonacruiseandtravel.com/) and of course Steve & Felecia Rozansky (https://www.friendlyautocenters.com/) and (https://feleciarozansky.com/) respectively.
How to Listen/Watch Live
- In the Phoenix area? Tune in from 1-2pm every Friday on KNFX – AM 1100.
- Or, watch us live on Facebook (same time) https://www.facebook.com/drivefriendlyaz/
- Treat police officers with respect, and they treat you the same — maybe just give you a warning.
- Running a family-owned business can be hard on a marriage. Make time for the family part.
- There’s a partnership at home, too. The spouse is running everything at home while the entrepreneur runs the business. Partner up!
- Set boundaries and expectation with your family.
What To Do When You Get Pulled Over by a Trooper
Starting a business hard. It can be hard on a family. This week, Steve and Felecia talk with guests who have done that successfully. But first, cars…how to get out of a ticket with the Arizona State troopers. The key? Don’t come up with some BS excuse when you get pulled over. Steve got pulled over on his way to Pilates Tempe, blaring the Led Zeppelin, having a great time. He passed a state trooper going about 80 mpg. Steve was pulled over. He stopped the car, rolled down the windows, turned off the ignition and put the keys on the dashboard. The officer greatly appreciated that. Then, the officer asked, “Do you know why I pulled you over?” Steve graciously admitted, “I was probably speeding.” The cop agreed and asked why. Steve told the truth: he’d had a great morning, great breakfast, was on his way to work out and was jamming to Led Zeppelin. The office laughed and asked if that’s what Steve was doing on his steering wheel — some John Bonham. Yes, Steve was drumming away. The officer took his license and let him go with a warning. Honesty, folks! And respect. Respect law enforcement.
Henry in Gilbert called in again. He makes a copy of his license and insurance and hands it over — after witnessing an office failing to wash his hands at a public restroom.
Running a Small Business with the Family
Felecia took over this segment and talked about raising a family while running a family business. Ryan works with his baby brother, Ross. The biggest concern for the brothers was introducing stress into their relationship. But they found out that they work great together, use each other as sounding boards, and have really enjoyed doing the family business thing. Even after work, they enjoy hanging out.
Bob Fried owns Minute Man Cleaners, a dry cleaning delivery service with full dry cleaning services. His wife is his partner. He grew up in New York in the family business doing odd jobs as a kid. He was thrust into the business when his dad had a heart attack, just before Bob graduated from high school. Bob had to take over. He worked closely with his mom, running the business while his dad recovered. Bob moved to Arizona and his father passed away. So, Bob moved back to NY and ran the business with his brothers. Then, he came back to Arizona and ended up with his own business here. They sold the family business back in NY. Bob and his wife both own the business, but they decided not to work together, as it wore on the marriage. They went their own ways, and it’s worked out wonderfully.
Richard and Kristin have been married for over thirty years. She raised their kids, but Richard knew they’d end up running a business together. He could see her sales and business savvy. She had no interest in doing insurance (she’s a nurse by trade), so they jumped at the chance to buy a Cruise Planners franchise. So, what is it like to be the wife of a business owner?
Being the Spouse in an Entrepreneurial Family
Before she started working with Richard, what was life like for Kristin, being the spouse of an entrepreneur? She raised three kids, all while Richard built the business. The spouse is left doing all of the home work. It can be trying. The key for Kristin was finding a network of moms, those who are the mother, wife, sports manager, doctor, home manager, etc. It is exhausting.
It’s harder for the family business moms, because the business owners aren’t doing 9-5 jobs. They’re working 60-80 hours and are never “off” work. It is just as exhausting for the spouse. It needs to be a partnership.
Something else that can be tough, is that others aren’t necessarily happy with your success. So, it can feel like your network thins out, the support gone. The resentment hurts. It can be lonely for the entrepreneur, too. They have nobody to talk to. Employees are not buddies, so they come home wanting to talk. They dump that all on the spouse — car repair, budgets, cash flows, HR…all of it. And the spouse listens.
Of course, there’s always time for cosmopolitans by the pool with the landscaper, right Felecia? One time, it happened one time.
Richard pointed out that even with the high-stress and long hours, he had to make time to be the dad and the husband. But even in those times, there’s a piece of him that is still at the business. Always on the mind are the payroll, cash flows, sales, marketing, etc. He said it’s important to compartmentalize it.
One Piece of Advice for the Family Business Owners
Starting next week, they’re on Fridays at 1pm! Great way to kick-off the weekend!
What’s one piece of advice each of these entrepreneurs would give others? Bob said balance. Balance the business with the family. Be there for the kids and the spouse. Don’t miss those special moments.
Ryan mentioned that they never explicitly discussed separating brother-versus-employee. Sometimes, he’d get a little aggressive, which would cause tension. So, it’s important to discuss those boundaries. Be clear about it. You can’t talk to your boss the way you talk to your brother.
Richard’s advice was to treat your spouse (or family member) as well as you’d treat your employee. Kristin would push back on him when he started to treat her differently, like a typical marriage fight. Can’t do that. Be professional in professional settings. Kristin followed up on that by sharing that the spouse-employee can also learn from the expertise of the business owner, which can be humbling. In a marriage, it’s equal partners. In business, one may have the experience and expertise and authority. Knowing that is important.
Felecia always thought she understood what Steve did, until she spent a day at the shop. Wow, then she saw all the business stuff that he had to deal with. She really understood how lucky she is.
PK Jordan called in to share her self-employed story. She agreed with respecting your spouse, it can cause problems. She sees that every day with the couple she works with in her divorce mediation practice. She pointed out that kids will remember the parents being there for them — or not. She also emphasized that balance. Make time for your spouse and family.
Until next week — FRIDAY — Drive Friendly Arizona!