How have you balanced family and business? What have you learned and what advice would you give?
It’s been incredibly challenging because [my wife and I] have had the biggest events in our professional career, and we’ve made more money in the last year than we’ve ever made in one year in our lives. That changes the dynamic in a relationship – it’s a substantial difference. Then you have the fact that we’ve had the largest personal change in our lives with our son – who is almost 2. We work from home and he’s with us.
How we balance it is knowing what our values are individually and as a couple. We share the same values. It’s very important that your significant other shares your top values because your values act as this rule book for life and it helps to guide you. We play by the same rules so it definitely helps us to prioritize. What’s paramount for us is family. My book is coming out October 11 and yesterday and today were the craziest days – I have tons of edits that have to go back to the publisher, I’m doing voiceovers for LoveTown. My wife walks in and says “today is Kingston’s orientation today [for preschool]”. I completely forgot. But all this other work gets put on hold and everybody has to wait because going to this [orientation for Kingston] is what is most important.
So it makes decisions easier when you know what values are.
Also, communication is the achilles heel of a romantic or business relationship. And what I’ve noticed during couples counseling, large issues stem from communication.
[My wife and I] work in the same office. When I’m in town, we eat lunch and dinner together as a family. We’ve got this weird schedule – we talk throughout the day.
Another thing, we really understand what is really and what’s smoke and mirrors. What’s real and what’s fun. What I’ve noticed when we started getting entertainment opportunities we took it real serious but you can’t do that because you can’t control it. With entertainment you can’t because the customer is the audience and the whims of the audience changes.
Now when we look at entertainment we see that as fun, we’re having a good time with it. The business side of it – we’re serious about that. Our coaching, our matchmaking, our social application. So to sum up, what helps keep it in balance is our perspective on the business, our communication and our shared values.
What has the experience of getting on a TV show like this taught you?
I would say overwhelmingly that this has taught me that you only get one shot. My very first national TV appearance was on Dr. Drew’s Lifechangers. It was a one shot deal but I didn’t understand it at the time. They wanted to do a show on “black love” and I was working with the producers for 2 months on ideas. The bottom line is I believe my story is unique. I sold them on the idea of focusing it around what I do and me.
On the day I appeared for LifeChangers, before I walked on stage I was straight nervous. What I didn’t know was the President of Telepictures -largest syndicator of daytime talk shows like Ellen, Dr. Drew, Anderson Cooper, Tyra – was there and watching. After the appearance, [the producers] basically said that it was a test, and because I did well I could possibly carry my own talk show, maybe in a couple of years.
Same with my upcoming book: one shot. If it does well, there will be other opportunities.