Making Modern Love Work- Balancing Marriage and Entrepreneurship
Entrepreneurial couple Jody and Frank Rotman have been juggling their work and married life together extremely well for years.
Frank Rotman is a founding partner of QED Investors. His investments are focused on financial services and financial technology companies that are credit-oriented or have data analytics foundations at their core.
Jody Rotman is Founder and CEO of Nestiny. As the leader of a real estate tech startup, she’s focused on solving some major pain points, unnecessary friction and information gaps for consumers and real estate agents.
Jody shares some excellent advice of managing entrepreneurship and personal life by answering the questions below.
1. Tell us how your paths crossed and how that ultimately led to love?
It’s an unusual story. Frank and I were friends in the same social circle. I had an idea for a business that I believed could revolutionize real estate and solve a lot of major problems in that industry. I knew Frank was an investor and had built companies of his own and guided other startups so I pitched it to him. Anyone that knows Frank knows that he’s very ‘serious’ in his work realm. His advice for me was simply to write a business plan. (Haha) He helped coach me through writing the business plan and we started spending more time together talking through all the finer points of the business. These long business talks eventually led to us realizing we had a lot in common. We had similar ambitions, the same sense of humor and personalities that balanced each other out really well. Nestiny, my business, was the catalyst for us falling in love.
2. What are some of the greatest challenges when two highly motivated individuals become a couple?
The greatest challenge for us is always quality time. We pour so much of our heart and soul into our careers and aside from that, we have so much we want to personally achieve. It’s always a delicate balancing act when you have work travel to factor in too. Making the most of your time together becomes paramount. A unique challenge for us is also switching gears in our conversations from work topics to other things. It’s hard to not let work dominate the majority of our talks. Another challenge is laundry! It seems we can never catch up because it always gets bumped down the list of priorities! Thanks, Netflix!
3. As successful entrepreneurs, how do you make time for each other and include romance in your busy schedules?
Honestly, we fit it in, however, we can. I’d like to say it’s more glamorous than this, but I think because we both understand where we are in our careers right now we cut each other slack. Empathy is a huge part of how we remain close. We’re both pulling long days so we weave in snuggle time whenever we can. We try to go on little dinner dates as time allows so we can unwind as we live in a fabulous town for foodies in Richmond, Virginia! We like cooking together and trying new recipes or cocktails but lately, we’ve been too exhausted to even do that. We do try to take at least one vacation together a year to explore a new city or country or unwind on a sandy beach. We’d love to explore our own city more because it’s getting cooler every day!
We did stuff a lot of fun into our wedding day. We held our wedding at our home and it was over the top! We had a live band, an illuminated dance floor over our pool, food to represent our hometowns and favorite travel destinations, signature cocktails, a popcorn bar, a cotton candy stand, an espresso truck, live Lyra and acrobat performers and a very special surprise guest. It even got major press coverage!
Another fun piece to their wedding involved, of course, another business idea. Throughout their courtship, Frank wrote stories for holidays, special occasions, etc. using themes and ideas provided by Jody. His main characters, Panda and Owl, are based on the couple’s actual nicknames for each other (Jody is Panda; Frank is Owl). Frank’s romantic gesture was kicked up a notch by Jody, when she worked with Brown Books Kids, publishing the stories in an illustrated book, The Festive Frolics of Panda and Owl that she gave to Frank as a surprise wedding gift (the code name was “Project XO”).
4. What would you say are the essential components of your marriage?
The Simple Things. We both are wired similarly so we can appreciate them. We’re always doing thoughtful things for each other. He makes me coffee every morning when he’s in town. I leave him love notes in unexpected places. He takes our puppies out in middle of the night so I can sleep. I’m our CHO – Chief Home Officer – and handle any service people to our house because I’m the daughter of an architect and contractor and it’s not his thing. Our relationship is easy because we help each other out and never keep score.
Humor. We are the biggest goofballs. We are literally kids trapped in adult bodies. We spend a lot of time in our kitchen listening to Spotify while making dinner and he entertains me by dancing around in a conga line with our two Shorkies or laughing at funny animal videos online. We don’t take ourselves too seriously and are very comfortable being ourselves around each other.
Conversation. We talk for hours on end…mostly about work things these days since we have so much going on but we are great sounding boards for each other and we trust the other’s advice. We learn a lot from each other because I’m more artistically inclined and he’s more analytical. We can traverse diverse topics like science, archeology, music, and culture. I can wax poetic on things like the lyrics to one of my favorite Prince songs, genealogy research or how to make jewelry and he will explain to me how nebulas are created or why Captain America is his favorite comic book hero. It makes for very interesting repartee!
Shared Curiosity. We’re both avid learners and intellectually curious so we share common interests. This fuels our interest in traveling more one day. It’s a big, beautiful world out there!
Unicorns: Yep, we have a unicorn problem. As a startup founder and an investor in high growth startups, unicorns are sort of our inside joke. We even surprised our wedding guests with a live unicorn appearance at our wedding. His name was Rudy and it was so cool- he stole the show!
5. In today’s digital world, how important is it to your marriage to completely unplug?
It’s very important and we could always be doing a better job of it. It’s the most difficult thing to do when so many other people need you and are relying on you.
If you could share one piece of advice to newlyweds in this modern age, what would it be?
Put your phone down and focus on the person you chose to spend your life with. It’s hard to do these days but try. Spend time getting to know all the good nooks and crannies of your partner’s mind and heart. It’s fun to have someone to share life with and you should take advantage of the opportunity to build memories and seek adventure together.
Want to have a happier, healthier marriage?
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.