After getting let go from her job, she grew her side business. What she wasn’t ready for was how it would affect her relationship.
When I first started dating my boyfriend Jeff, I was almost a year into my business. When we first met, I had a full-time job while growing a side hustle that I wanted to turn into a full-time job.
On top of managing a 40 hour work week, I was attending networking events, joining organizations, working with clients and doing work for my clients. In the middle of it all, we still found time to go on a few dates.
A little over a year into our dating and almost two years into my business, I had hatched a plan of escape. The idea was to wait until after the holidays, build up my client and project list, and then give my two weeks notice. The idea was to build up the side hustle from extra cash to full-time income.
Sadly, after I got back from the Thanksgiving holiday, I was laid off from my job. Without my golden parachute of clients already lined up like I had planned, I freaked out and Jeff had no idea what to do. Now, we’re coming up on my year anniversary of my epic freakout and taking my business full time. I want to offer some advice for those husbands and boyfriends out there who have a partner wanting to pull the ripcord on their day jobs and work for themselves.
1. Manage your expectations.
If your partner has just lost their job, let them have a minute to mourn. I didn’t take this seriously enough when I got laid off. At the time, I was in a very demanding job where I was able to interact with people constantly. If I wasn’t on the phone, I was emailing people. It took some time for me to adjust to being a “solopreneur” where I could easily go an entire day without talking to someone.
This was hard for me to adjust to. I also missed my friends at my job and hearing about their lives during my work day. This will happen regardless of if you’re laid off or quit. For me, I had spent five years at that job, so I had relationships I knew I wouldn’t be able to maintain when I left.
Also don’t expect them to be the breadwinner right away. Building a business from the ground up takes time and building it from a part-time income to a full-time income takes more work. This transition period could take an entire year. Just be supportive and honest with your feelings.
2. Always be a cheerleader.
This was very hard for Jeff and something I to get past when I first moved into the full-time realm. I had a dump truck full of doubt ready to fall on me at a moments notice that I was able to keep at bay. But when I had to report back to Jeff that I didn’t land a client I had wanted or a sales call didn’t turn out the way I would have liked, he would over analyze what I had done wrong. Now, on the surface, this seems like the right thing to do and that he was helping. Instead, it felt overwhelming and like someone had pulled the lever on two dump trucks of self-doubt instead of one.
What we have learned is when your partner is having a crappy day, you really just need to be that cheerleader who helps them dust themselves off and get back out there. I can tell you they are doing enough analyzing of the situation in their head for the both of you.
3. Check your jealousy at the door.
Since I work from home, it was hard in the beginning for Jeff to want to leave to go off to work for his 9 to 5 job. He would get jealous thinking I was sitting at home playing video games, watching movies, or reading a book. Instead, I was booking calls with clients, editing books, writing blogs, and connecting on social media. Nowhere in my list of to do’s was there “eating bonbons on the couch like Peggy from Married with Children.”
What I later found out, even though he loved his job and was very good at it, he wanted to stay home with me and be with me. He wasn’t able to see that from the moment he left for work till he got home I was working, too. Jealousy rose its ugly head because we weren’t transparent about how we felt and what we thought the other one was doing all day.
4. Don’t expect to be read in on everything.
When I first started going full time, Jeff wanted to know every detail of my day and where all of my money was coming from. At first, I thought this was a great idea. I thought he wanted to be a part of the business and was interested in every facet. So I shared away.
What ended up occurring was us fighting over decisions I had made in my business that felt right to me and were in the direction I was going in. What I had to learn was to put my foot down and decide what information was OK for him to know to be supportive and what I need to keep under wraps until the deal was closed, or the project was finished. Encourage your partner to do the same regardless if you disagree with their decision in the short term.
I hope these four pieces of advice help you and your loved one overcome the hurdles we have been through this past year.
Photo: Flickr/ Mao Carrera