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I met my wife at my very first “real” job at the age of seventeen. We both worked at Burger King. We hated each other the first time we met. She was a manager, and I wasn’t, so she did everything she could to show me who was boss.
You know how it goes. Right? What started off as hate, slowly turned into love as we got to know each other, and worked with each other everyday. Six months after I met Tanya, we got married.
After getting married, we got our own place and had grown up bills to pay, this meant me getting a higher paying job. I got a job as a delivery driver for Pepsi. The job paid well, but over the next few years I upgraded to many different jobs that made even more money.
At the height of my career, I was making $60,000 a year. My wife was happy, our bills were paid, and we had good benefits. It was during this time that I told her I wanted to start my own business.
That conversation, and many conversations after that, didn’t involve a whole lot of talking; yelling would be the better word. She didn’t understand why I wanted to leave a perfectly good job for the uncertainty of entrepreneurship, and I didn’t understand why she couldn’t “see” how good this would be for our family.
It took some hard lessons to wake me up to some truths that ultimately got her on board with my vision. These days, it’s gone beyond supportive to her being an invaluable part of the business.
If you’re thinking about starting a business, think about these truths before you turn your business dreams into a marriage-ending nightmare.
Realize that starting a business isn’t for everyone and she might be right
Look, we want to soar free, and starting our own business is a good way to do that. I love being a business owner and the time freedom it provides. I recommend starting a business to those whom it is right for.
I hate to say it, but that person might not be you. If want to get your significant other on board, be honest with yourself first, and see if starting a business is right for you.
Ask yourself a few basic questions:
- Do you have a good idea what kind of business you want to start?
- Have you researched what it will take to start this business?
- Does your potential business have a profitable customer base?
- Is there ample opportunity to grow the business?
- Is this something you could see yourself doing for at least the next few years?
If you can answer these questions honestly, then it could be time to start sharing your vision and your why behind starting it. If you’re having trouble answering them, it might be time to take a good hard look at what’s right for you.
Communicate with her
This isn’t just a good lesson for starting a business; it’s a good lesson if you want to have a long, and successful relationship. You have talk to her, not at her! You may have a dream, and an opportunity let her see that dream through your eyes.
The day my wife got on was board was the day that I sat her down, and showed her why I wanted to do this. I showed her the potential, I showed her the plan, and she understood.
From that moment on, this was something we dreamed together, and having her support is what made the business successful. Talk to her, help her see, and more importantly, listen to her concerns. This advice applies to men or women.
Show her that you’re prepared for the rough times
One of the biggest makes I made when I started my business was not having an emergency fund. My wife warned me, but I was a young hot-head!
We hope everything works out, but sometimes it doesn’t, and the smartest thing you can do is be prepared. When you talk about your plans for your business show her that you have something set aside for emergencies.
That number varies depending on who you ask, but have something set-aside just in case. When you do, she’ll feel secure knowing you can handle anything that comes up.
Include her in the business
I know we like to be lone rangers at times, but there’s real value in going down this road with someone else, especially your wife. As much as possible, include her in the business, make her see that this isn’t just your thing, it’s your family’s.
When I told my wife the plan, she was OK. When I started including her in the business, she went beyond OK to feeling invested, and special. There’s a great weight that can be lifted off your shoulders if you can delegate in your business, and your wife is a great person to help out.
Having her help will free your hands up to do activates that will grow your business. If your business is going to grow, you can’t just be IN the business.
It was a rough few years starting my business. There were many lessons I learned that seemed marriage-ending at the time, but ultimately helped us learn how to communicate.
The first years of marriage are hard enough without having the stress of starting a business. Learn the lessons I wish I knew, and your business and marriage will be just fine.
How were your first few years of marriage? How were your first few years of business?
This article originally appeared on The Good Men Project.