Family Challenges as a KimboCare Entrepreneur
Today is my wedding anniversary, and I am the happiest man in the world as a social impact entrepreneur.
As a social impact entrepreneur, my mission is to create tangible, lasting social impact in communities most in need of change. Over the years, I have worked with numerous startups. Most recently, I launched KimboCare, where we enable philanthropists to fund access to quality care for financially underserved populations. It’s been a highly rewarding experience, especially because I get to share it with my loved ones, most notably my wife.
When I first told my wife that I was embarking on my entrepreneur journey, and shared my ambition to build something revolutionary, she was very encouraging but a bit skeptical. She brought up stories of couples whose stories we all know—they had amazed us by their ability to transform the lives of others, but had not managed to keep their own marriages from ending in divorce: Jeff Bezos, Michael Jordan, Elon Musk, and the list goes on.
Marriage expert Larry Bilotta suggests that entrepreneurs typically marry people who are more cautious and uncomfortable with risk. Opposites may attract, but such dynamics can establish the very foundation for divorce. Risk-taking entrepreneurs often struggle to understand the emotional differences with their spouse, and the cautious spouse typically endures a variety of disruptive changes, including the added strain on intimate time and social activities.
Conflicted at Heart
I am one of those people who is unstoppable when I have decided to do something, but that conversation with my wife got in my head. I was damn convinced that we had a problem in need of attention—too many people around the world have no access to basic healthcare, and many others are willing to make financial contributions to enable such access. I felt driven to create a solution that would connect those two groups with unprecedented levels of transparency, thanks to so many new technologies (e.g., blockchain, IoT, AI) that are disrupting today’s world.
Yet, I had to admit that I was wrestling with fear. I worried that succeeding in this mission could mean losing my connection with the people I love the most, and maybe even hurting them. Was it worth just going for it despite that risk? What was success worth if I could not enjoy it with my dear wife and four kids?
Bridging the Gap
In that moment, I realized I needed to find ways to get my family involved without imposing KimboCare on them. I started sharing my vision and passion, both the potential big wins and the likely challenges, with my wife. I invited her to join me at events where I talked about KimboCare and asked for her opinions on ways we engaged with our customers. I wanted her to understand how important this initiative was to me, but also help her develop her own intrinsic connection with it.
I was really proud of her when, a few weeks down the road, she decided to enter KimboCare in the Swiss “Prix de la Diaspora” contest. She pitched on behalf of KimboCare and educated other participants and the general audience on the power of technology in democratizing access to quality healthcare in Africa and beyond, and the central role of women in growing healthier communities.
If my life as an entrepreneur has taught me one thing, it is to never take anything for granted. From getting your operations off the ground, to validating your business model, to acquiring your first clients, to securing your first investors, you have to work hard and consistently. I apply that same kind of discipline to keeping my wife engaged as KimboCare grows and becomes mainstream.
I truly believe this adventure gives us the privilege to impact many people’s lives, and also the opportunity to grow as people and as a couple. Thus, I make it a point to find new ways every day to keep her engaged and to stay attentive to her thoughts and feelings about it all.
Entrepreneurs out there, what do you think? What has your experience been and what tactics have you used to keep your spouse and family connected with your startup?
A KimboCare Enthusiast
By Franck TIAMBO, Co-founder KimboCare