Most entrepreneurs will tell you, running a business is hard work. Succeeding in small business often means grueling hours during the day, followed by more of the same in the evening. So, it’s no surprise that one of the most common casualties of startup schedules is personal relationships. Marriages and relationships fizzling and burning out is a tale as old as time in the small business world, and the struggle to keep intimacy alive at home can have a tremendously negative impact back at work. Studies have shown that a lack of focus on intimacy at home and in business can lead to a decrease in emotional intelligence, leadership, product design, customer service, and self-care. It’s a vicious cycle, but one entrepreneur is looking to help end it by thinking inside the box, the subscription box, that is.
In 2017, Dani Spikes founded the BeLoved Box, a subscription box designed to help busy couples inject some intimacy back into their lives. According to Spikes, the BeLoved Box was born out of necessity and started when Spikes used a couple of $50 Amazon gift cards to purchase her first small batch of all-natural ingredients to treat her husband’s eczema. The massage oils she created with them were a hit with her husband, leading Spikes to start working on a host of other products via a subscription box model.
With a zero-dollar marketing budget, the couple relied on some unique guerrilla marketing tactics, like strategically leaving BeLoved Box products around hotels. A week later, she received a call asking her to pitch the product to the CEO of Roam Resorts, leading to her first international distribution deal.
COUPLE-PRENEURS AND INTIMACY
The National Federation of Independent Business says that between 800,000 to 1,000,000 businesses are run by husband-and-wife teams—meaning both partners are likely too swamped to remember to carve out time for intimacy at home.
Spikes, an avid user of her own products, understands the strain that a hectic work life can impose at home as well as anyone, she runs the company with her husband Stephen Spikes.
“It’s not easy for us,” she said. “Our biggest obstacle is learning how to manage the balance between our marriage and business and remembering that our marriage is the reason why we started the business in the first place.
“Much like having a healthy relationship with self [can] prevent entrepreneurs from getting lost in the perils of starting a new business, having a healthy intimate relationship as a ‘couple-preneur,’ [or copreneur] is essential to open lines of communication, building trust, and consistency,” Spikes said. “There is definitely a need for ensuring that those couples are not only meeting customers’ needs, but their own personal needs as well.”
MASSIVE GROWTH IN THE SUBSCRIPTION BOX INDUSTRY
Finding that balance is easier than ever thanks to Spikes’ subscription boxes. According to Inc, the e-commerce subscription industry has exploded recently, with 3000% growth in web traffic over the last three years with leading subscription box startups like BirchBox and Curl Box. It’s a brilliant delivery system for Spikes’ unique brand of intimacy injection. Couples who sign up for BeLoved Box get all the necessary supplies for their sexy stay-at-home dates sent to their door regardless of whether they remember it’s scheduled or not, leaving no room for excuses.
EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE AND INTIMACY IN BUSINESS
But lack of intimacy isn’t just a problem with consequences at home. According to Spikes, it can have a profound impact on business as well.
“In our business, intimacy improves our leadership with communication and familiarity. It improves our customer service and product design by preemptively facilitating our customers’ needs before they’re even articulated to us. It strengthens our staff by reinforcing a culture and an awareness that every contribution matters to the goal and growth of the company, and it enhances emotional intelligence, all of which leads to more profitability.”
She’s right. Close, intimate relationships have a significant effect on emotional intelligence—or EQ—and there are a ton of business benefits associated with higher EQs, especially for entrepreneurs. For instance, leaders with high emotional intelligence are more popular and effective with their subordinates. High-EQ also aids in coping with stressful situations—something entrepreneurs encounter on a daily basis.
Prioritizing a renewed focus on intimacy should be an easy choice considering the benefits it can bring—both in the bedroom and at work. Luckily, while the pitfalls that running a small business present for maintaining healthy relationships are very real, they’re also very avoidable with a little attentiveness, according to Spikes. She firmly believes that the right attitude can help reframe the challenges as positives that actually help to strengthen relationships.
“Building a business, either by yourself or with your partner, can bring you closer and can be one of the most fulfilling experiences you’ll ever have. Know that while you’re building your business, you are also learning about your partner and yourself in a whole new way, and that’s a very good thing.”
Professional relationship coach, serial entrepreneur, and founder of BeLoved Box Dani Spikes offers the following five tips to entrepreneurs and small business owners struggling to maintain the spark in their relationships:
- “Get out more often! It’s OK once in a while to play hooky and have an impromptu lunch date.”
- “Speak to each other in each other’s ‘love language.’ For example, my love language is acts of service, so during stressful times, my partner takes tasks that don’t require my direct attention off of my hands. My partner’s love language is words of affirmation, so I pencil regular reminders into my schedule to affirm his contribution to the company’s growth.”
- “Be proactive, not reactive. Even when you are ‘OK,’ continue to have practices and people in place to support your emotional health. For example, regular date nights, therapy sessions, coaching, etc.”
- “Give yourself some time and space to miss each other. This goes for both your business and your spouse!”
- “Sex is just as important as sales. Without one or the other, you are setting your business up for hard times. (Literally and figuratively!)”