If you’ve read anything that I’ve written about my husband before, you know that I hit the proverbial jackpot with him. Through thick and thin, he has been my rock for over 15 years. He’s never given up on me. From multiple career starts and stops to postpartum depression and crippling anxiety to coming to terms with and raising two children with special needs, we have formed a solid partnership that we intend to go the distance.
However, that unfaltering support hasn’t always included my desire to be an entrepreneur. Not to say that I can blame him. There have been a lot of starts and stops in this category, and it has been hard to get him past the ‘here we go again’ feelings. But putting that aside, I still believe it would have been hard for him to jump on board with my fempire building world.
Not only has it never occurred to him to start a business, but it’s not something he was ever exposed to. An expert in his field, my husband’s industry is not one where he would have experienced what it means to run your own business. The work comes to him and he does it. His job is secure. His retirement has a big safety string attached.
It’s about more than being supportive
His world is so different than mine that it’s been hard for him to jump completely on board. In his eyes, I live an ‘unsecure lifestyle’ that puts a lot of pressure on him as the sole, steady income earner. I’m at home all day, and, yet, when he comes home, the house is a mess and dinner isn’t started. “What was I doing all day?” he used to ask. When I would tell him that I am not a stay-at-home mom, it was hard to swallow because there haven’t always been the funds to back up my assertion that I am working from home.
It’s about understanding and feeling comfortable
After many fights, I realized that his issue wasn’t a question of support. It was about his uncomfortable feelings around the ‘unknown.’ That’s what my business, and the world of entrepreneurship, was to him. It led to feelings of resentment and episodes of friction in our marriage.
Not wanting to continue with the constant battling, I had to do some deep searching and put myself in his shoes. How I could I make him feel included? What would it take to make him more comfortable with me running a business?Recognizing that he held a huge stake in business when it came down to it, I knew that it wasn’t fair to him to keep him on the outside. I need to start treating him like a true shareholder and meet with him regularly so he knew what was coming and going. That’s when I implemented our Spouse Shareholder Meetings.
How you conduct your meeting will depend on your situation, but for us it’s nothing fancy. We sit down (while the kids play) and I walk him through:
- Refresher of the goals for the year that I am working on and where they stand
- What I am working on closing this month
- Any seeds that I am planting for future growth
- What it means to him (i.e. the dollar value, when I won’t be home and why, etc.)
Within the span of 30-45 mins (if the kids play nicely for that long), I gave him the overview he needed. Over time, not only did the tension subside and he stepped up with the house and the kids in a big way. You see, once he had the understanding, he became comfortable, and then could give the support I needed.