BRPC-012 -DanJoanneMiller

Better Relationship Podcast Episode #012

Creating Success in Business & Marriage!

w/ Dan and Joanne Miller

Personal Note:

I have had the privilege of getting to know Dan & Joanne Miller both personally and professionally.  They are one of the most authentic and loving couples I’ve met.  Their respect, admiration, and enjoyment of each other shines through in all they do, as they clearly enjoy and value one another.  Dan and Joanne are a unique blend of business brilliance and down home warmth.  They live out the wisdom and advice shared in our interview.  Enjoy!

Show Notes: (by R. Pumphrey)

Dan and Joanne Miller, of 48 Days, talk about why creating a strong marriage is essential to your business success. The entrepreneurial lifestyle can be full of many roller-coaster ups and downs. Having a supportive spouse who balances you, can make all the difference in your happiness and success! Dan and Joanne made a commitment, from the beginning of their marriage, almost 48 years ago, to writing a new family legacy. In a candid conversation, the Miller’s share how they created success in business and marriage embracing their differences and intentionally investing in their marriage.      

Dan and Joanne’s Bio

They met on Joanne’s first day of college at Ohio State. Joanne and Dan have been married for 48 years, have 3 grown children, 14 grandchildren and live on 9 acres in beautiful, rural Franklin, TN.

They’ve lived the life of an entrepreneurial family and are both authors, speakers, and motivators.

Their Story

Just one short year after meeting in 1966, they were married while attending Ohio State University.   There was no way they could have anticipated the life that was going to unfold before them and it’s been an interesting roller coaster of experiencing a life of entrepreneurship.

  • Because of Joanne’s personality, she would have been very content to for Dan to have a standard 30-year career and then retire.
  • It’s been a life filled with a lot of different adventures, and Joanne is convinced that she is a completely different person than she would have been, had she not married Dan.
  • In the up-and-down world of the entrepreneur, Joanne has learned to deal with change in a way that she never would have if she had married someone else. She’s learned along the way to enjoy it and look forward to “what’s around the corner”.

One of the things they agreed to early in their marriage was to having a 2-week timeline to make important decisions.   .

  • They consider this adequate time to get the advice and opinion of other significant people, look at their best options, do additional research, and then act.
  • This system works for them on anything from buying a house, to deciding where the kids went to school, or starting new business ventures.
  • The timeline decision has been so helpful because Dan’s tendency is to make a decision instantly, while Joanne’s is to gather information for a long time and slowly come to a decision. They compromised and agreed on a timeline of 2 weeks, which has worked wonderfully time and again so many times.

Balancing Personality Styles

They have very different personality styles.

  • Dan’s mantra is “ready, fire, aim
  • Joanne’s approach brings more perspective and balance

There have been times when this was a challenge, and other times when the difference in their personalities has really worked well.

  • Dan tends to be big on personal responsibility. In reality,  that means,  if someone is struggling, it’s easy for him to say, “You made your own bed, now sleep in it.”
  • Joanne brings a great deal more compassion to the situation, which has taught Dan more compassion and the art of really “giving” in situations many times over the years.

They were on the air together on a local Nashville station for 4 years. During that time, Dan was known as the head and Joanne was known as the heart.Together, they make one amazing person.

They decided really early on, not to become clones of each other. They embrace their differences.

  • Dan thinks this choice speaks so strongly to the kind of marriage they have. He wants Joanne to be uniquely who she is: considerate, passionate, and thoughtful in making decisions because he really needs that.
  • This brings a richness to their marriage that supersedes them being the “same”.

Challenges in the Early Years

They were fortunate in some ways. Dan was studying to get his degree in psychology when they met and right out of college, he got a position as a therapist at a wonderful hospital.

  • He was immersed in a whole world of understanding personalities and the struggles couples had because of differences. This led them to embrace their differences as part of their marriage. They talked at length, read books together, saw counselors together. They were on a major search to understand how they could embrace each other and create a strong and lasting marriage.
  • They spent hours talking. They sought out mentors, people who seemed to have really ideal marriages. They really took advantage of resources.

They have had ups and downs in their businesses. but they have not had “difficult years” in their relationship.

Entrepreneurship and Marriage/Family

Dan has had a variety of different business ventures, and he’s always loved his work. .

  • There’s always been a blend of work, play, family. These things don’t have hard and fast lines.
  • Joanne was never resentful of Dan’s businesses. As they had children, they included them in the businesses. There was always an integration.

Because of entrepreneurship, Dan was available for their family.

  • He was able to be there more than someone with a “regular job”.   Being an entrepreneur gave them the freedom to do things together as a family, in a way that most never experience.

Juggling Start-up or Financial Difficulties

The key is recognizing what’s most important, and identifying your priorities. Right from the beginning their priority was their home.

During a particularly difficult time in their business, they lost their home, their cars, their status in the community, all because of a business that went bad.   This is not uncommon in entrepreneurship.

  • It was devastating at the time. But Joanne never put the blame on Dan. Joanne believes, “We do ourselves a great disservice if we draw a line in the sand and say “you don’t go over this and if you do, I’m going to be extremely unhappy” (i.e. threatening to leave, etc.). What good does that do?”
  • Taking this stance would have put Dan in the position of having to settle for a “real” job or splitting up their marriage. Joanne knew he would be miserable, that it’s just not in his DNA, so she was supportive as he began his next entrepreneurial venture.
  • They tried to maintain a sense of – calm through the downtime as any other time, which required them to work together.

Joanne has always felt strongly that if something is important to Dan, it is important to her and vice versa. They stay in tune with this all the time. “Why would you do otherwise?” Joanne asks.

  • What purpose does it serve to intentionally go out of your way to prove a point and be the winner?
  • Susie encourages couples to ask, “Is being right more important than your relationship?”

Dan and Joanne on Mutual Support and Respect

Dan says there are so many things Joanne has down over the years to demonstrate her support of his ventures. Just a few of them are:

  • Offering continuous respect. She always honors him even when she knows he hasn’t made the best decisions
  • Being a sounding board on any decision that needs to be made.
  • Offering affirmation and approval. Joanne is the one he looks to for affirmation and approval. No one’s approval matters more..

Joanne, viewed her role as being the mom and supportive wife.

  • She believes this is a very critical and important career. It’s the best career she could have imagined for herself.
  • She chose to get married, she chose to have children, so she must choose now to do the very best that she can in that career. Just as if she were carrying a briefcase and going to an office every day, she’s going to do her best.

Dan affirmed, respected and honored her role as a home-maker.

  • It goes back to respect. Dan made her feel appreciated and affirmed in her roles as a wife and mother. .
  • They were there for each other.. Joanne believes that serving each other is never a burden when it’s done out of love.
  • Joanne thinks that serving Dan made him all the more desirous of serving her.   So often a marriage gets stuck, where one person is serving the other and the other is taking.

Some Real-Life Examples of Showing Appreciation for One Another

Years ago, they decided that Dan would put 2 deposits per month into Joanne’s household /personal account, no matter how tough things were in the business. This worked well with her personality style and desire for security and predictability.

  • This eliminated the need for her to feel like a child and have to “beg” for money.
  • This gave freedom and security, because it removed the tension of Joanne having to ask if a certain payment came in, how the store is going this week, etc.   She gets that money to spend as needed with no connection to how well his business is doing.
  • This has made a huge difference in how they relate to each other. And it gave her the freedom to say to him “No, it’s okay, I know things are tight this month. We’ll catch up later”.

Joanne firmly believes a good exercise for any couple, no matter what stage of marriage, is to write a very long list of all the ways that your partner SHOWS you love and respect, instead of just saying the words. There are many hidden ways we communicate love and respect other than words, and it is important to recognize and appreciate this.

They Cultivate their Friendship

Dan & Joanne really enjoy each other’s company. They enjoy playing games and cards, taking trips together, etc.

Every year Dan takes Joanne to Chicago to celebrate her birthday which is around Christmas. They went even during the lean times..   This is THEIR time. It is a MAJOR “deposit” in their marriage.

In 1968, they made a choice and a commitment to live together forever, and they take this very seriously

A lot of people are attracted to them, in their business – not just because of the business- but because of they want the type of relationship Dan and Joanne enjoy.

  • They are now the mentors, they sought after in the early days of their marriage.

Prioritizing Your Marriage Partnership

Dan puts such a high priority on their marriage.

  • To him, it’s as precious as having gold bullion in the bank. He looks at other people and wonders why they’d jeopardize the investment of the years they put in.

They have so many peers who split up after the children were gone because they never got to know and appreciate each other. Their children knew that the kids were not the center of their home.

  • A lot of people try to run their home as a democracy.
  • If the kids are ruling the house and are the center of the relationship, then what is left when the kids leave home? ,

Thoughts to Consider:

“You can’t consider yourself a success in business if you’re home-life is in shambles.”  Zig Ziglar

“It’s never too late to have a new beginning.”  Dan Miller

“The future of our society lies not in what happens in the White House, but on what happens in your house.” Barbara Bush

“If you don’t have a haven of peace, a sanctuary at home, you don’t have the foundation for what’s necessary in the rest of your life.” Joanne Miller

Where to Find Dan and Joanne

48 Days Business Website

48 Days Community

Joanne’s Blog: Part of the 48 Days Community

Joanne is currently working on her newest book, Creating a Haven of Peace. Keep checking the 48 Days website for a release date!

Susie’s website:

Susie’s book:   


*Show Notes by R. Pumphrey