Chris Lema wrote a great article about choosing his wife over startups. There is a man who has learned what matters in life and it shows. I think it’s just a bit unfortunate he didn’t stop working crazy hours until after he met her, but we were all young and not so wise once.


If you’re starting a freelance business you may need to work a bit crazy for the first 6 months or year but you need to be clear on why you are doing it. You also need to have your end game priorities established.

My starting contract

When I really wanted to dive in to freelance I was already married and had a house. My wife had a stable job of a few years and I had a stable job, but I wasn’t happy. I also had a degree to finish, just a few credits but it’s dumb not to finish once you’ve started.

Cynthia (my wonderful wife) and I sat down and decided our moving forward plan. She knew I didn’t like my place of work and believed I could run a business. We decided that I needed 3 months of income saved and that we were willing to give up my nights and weekends (except Friday night) so I could work and save.

The deal as I remember it was that it stopped 3 months after I was fully freelance. Then it was time to be back with her more and live my life.

That left my wife making dinner every night, doing laundry, cleaning the house and walking the dog on her own. She is as much responsible for my business running today as I am.

I don’t remember if we exactly stopped on the 3 months but I do know we were both (and continue to be) happier because I work at home for myself.


It’s not always easy to stop myself from working really late on evenings and weekends. To run a business it takes someone that has a lot of drive. If I’m not working the business doesn’t make much money.

Now to my wife I add an awesome kid (with another on the way). The hardest part of it all is not stopping the work at 5 or 6, it’s not thinking about it in the evening.

Just because I’m not at my desk doesn’t mean I’m not distracted by things that are going on. Spending 3 of every 10 minutes on my phone just checking up on things is robbing my family of me just as much as sitting at my desk all hours would be.

I want you to be driven and have a successful business. I want that for myself as well.

What I don’t want is for either of us to do it at the expense of the best parts of ourselves. Those parts should be given to those we love.

Establish Priorities

In my upcoming book I talk about establishing the WHY of your business.

Why do I run a freelance business instead of working for one of the great WordPress agencies out there?

Why do I write weekly tutorials on WP Theme Tutorial and why did I give up Sunday afternoons for months to write a book about WordPress?

Why am I writing a book on running a viable freelance business?

I run a freelance business so I can take off at 4:30 and spend time at the park with my kid. I run it so I didn’t miss the first steps or first words.

I write weekly tutorials and the WordPress book because I was tired of seeing bad code that really just came down to a lack of knowledge. I had knowledge and could share it with people so they could learn to do their job better.

I am writing a book on Freelance Business because the more I talk with small business owners and freelancers the more I realize that they are barely running a viable business. It’s lack of knowledge about how to run one, not because they aren’t hard working.

2 responses to “Who do you Choose?”

  1. Slobodan Manic Avatar

    I found it very easy to connect with several points you made in the post.

    Wouldn’t say freelancing while married, or just living with someone is harder, but I do feel the guilt if I spend too much time working and ignoring my wife (not the best way to put it, I know). Comparing that to a few years ago when I would just crank 12+ hour days and not care how anyone feels about it, it is VERY different.

    One thing that helps is defragmenting my time as much as I possibly can. If I’m working, sorry, but I’m working. If I’m not, nowadays that usually means no email, no computers, phone, anything. It actually helps me be more productive AND have more spare time.

    As long as you know your WHYs, both personal and professional ones and care about them enough, anything is doable.

    1. Curtis McHale Avatar
      Curtis McHale

      I just can’t do 12 hour days for more than 3 or 4 days. My productivity and overall drive suffers for days to weeks after pulling stuff like that. Maybe I’m just getting ‘old’ at 33 or maybe I just know myself and need to pace all the time.