Whether you’re in business with your spouse* is your business partner (whether married or not) your spouse can be one of your biggest supporters, not just of you, but also your business: your very own super fan!
Your business starts out as an “idea” of how you are going to start, create a product or service and and then monetize your fantastic idea and blammo success. As we know, it’s never *that* easy. Starting your own business takes up time…all your time. ALL of your time. Those first few years building your business, creating credibility and business acumen come at a sacrifice.
In my house when something has to give, it’s a clean house. As a stay at home mom of three in my life before entrepreneurship, I was (and still am) Martha Stewarts worst nightmare. Adding a business on top of my “laissez faire” housekeeping exasperated the situation. In those fleeting moments when the kids are well behaved for 5 minutes, I respond to emails instead of a quick tidy up. Yes some would say that there is a balance here that could be juggled better, but raising kids and a startup isn’t always “balanced”, we have to prioritize, and frankly I’d rather email back a client than pick up lego pieces off the floor for the one millionth time.
So where do our spouses fit in this? Well just like any change the relationship whether it’s starting a business or going back to work, dynamics and familial responsibilities change. One week I’m picking up those lego pieces, the next week I’m writing blog pieces. The semi-organized house is now, well… “lived in.” We changed our version of what is important for our family. For me, I needed entrepreneurship, it wasn’t an option. Like many mom entrepreneurs, I wanted the flexibility to be with my kids, but also earn an income and create something that I could be proud of (other than my kids…). In response to this my (sweet sweet) husband had to change his expectations of what he was coming home to after a day of work.
It’s not just the regular day to day activities of cleaning, dinner, grocery shopping and bathing kids that our spouses now (and rightly so) have a bigger hand in. There’s the financial strain, the time away from the family strain and “mommy is really stressed out” strain that becomes part of the grain of a family with an entrepreneurial mom. There are also many benefits: mom reaching a sales goal, mom being proud of herself, mom going on field trips because she picks her schedule, are just a few. A supportive spouse celebrates the highs and feels sad for the lows.
A spouse is there for you to brainstorm to reassure and to let you vent. They are, even if they’re not actively involved in the business, your best supporter. They may have concerns and questions, they may not really understand what on earth you are doing (and why you’re making yourself sick with worry about it), but they’ll be there to support you. Even if it’s just in the little things, like grabbing printer toner on their way home from work, or cooking dinner because you’re in meetings all day.
My business biggest super fan is my husband, and I know I’m not alone. Although they often don’t understand (“you could just go get a job”) or they’re right there in the trenches with you, having your partner at the finish line cheering you on is sometimes all we need after a long day of getting the job done!
*Not everyone has a “spouse” but they do have that one person that is their best friends and their rock. As Carrie said in Sex and City “…but in the end they’re the people you always come home to. Sometimes it’s the family you’re born into and sometimes it’s the one you make for yourself.”
If you have any questions about involving your spouse in your business check out these great resources: