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An experiential perspective for examining family business creation is introduced. As a “lived experience,” the family firm generates a cumulative series of interdependent events that takes on properties rooted in affect. The family business is a context that enables unscripted temporal performances by founders. Characteristics of the venture creation experience are examined, and underlying dimensions are proposed and empirically investigated. Building on social capital theory, differences in experiences between founders of family businesses, nonfamily managers, and founders of nonfamily ventures are explored. These differences are argued to have important implications for decision making and ongoing dynamics within the family firm.