For years, he stood in his wife’s way. When he opened his eyes, he was blown away by what he was resisting.
Sometimes fear, uncertainty, and what others think of us hold us back from our dreams in life. But, what if those same issues that hold you back from you dreams are holding you back from supporting your spouse from achieving their dream, too? It took me almost seven years of marriage to finally get out of my wife’s way so she could chase her dream. This process was difficult in the beginning, but over the years, my heart, thoughts, and willingness to help have changed.
My wife’s first business was called the Cupcake Boutique. This was right before the cupcake boom. One day I came home from work, walked into our first little apartment and thought I was in a cupcake factory. The aroma of freshly baked cupcakes filled our apartment and about 100 cupcakes filled the kitchen counters. She had been baking all day, testing different flavor combinations, and perfecting my grandma’s icing recipe.
She had me try everything, but once the taste-testing was done and it was time for us to discuss the business, all the warm and fuzziness left the room. I told her the creations were great, and there was a chance the Cupcake Boutique would be successful, but I wanted nothing to do with her business. She was going to have to do it on her own. I know, “husband of the year award winner” I was not.
Fear kept me from helping her. Fear that the business might not work. Fear that it would cost me money. Fear, coupled with the fact that I had just started a new job and I was already overwhelmed, left me unwilling to support my wife’s entrepreneurial pursuits. The worst part is I spent many summers working at my aunt’s cake and candy shop when I was growing up. I knew how to make cupcakes.
A couple of years later, we had our first child and decided my wife would stay home with him. She started a mommy blog and then began selling Partylite products. This is where my thoughts toward her as an entrepreneur began to change. Starting the mommy blog wasn’t a hard sell. We already had a computer, an internet connection, and her blogger account was free, but joining the multi-level marketing company, Partylite took a little more selling.
When Abbie decided she wanted to sell Partylite, we sat down together and I really listened to why she wanted to do this. It was a great conversation and taking the time to listen to her business plan put my mind at ease. I was still a little skeptical about her having her own business, but at least I understood her.
Even though I was understanding and somewhat helpful the second time around, I wasn’t fully committed to the idea of my wife becoming an entrepreneur. I was OK with her getting a website, a new laptop, and even hiring a virtual assistant to help with some the technical parts of her website. But, the tipping point for me was when she asked about getting a business coach.
When my wife approached me with the facts, prices, and reasons for a business coach, my first thought was it was just too much money. I told her that she was smart, her business was making money, and I didn’t see any clear reason to hire a coach. She listened to my concerns and gave me some time before bringing it up again. The first time she was talked to about a business coach, I didn’t want to listen because my mind was already made up. But, when she brought it up again, she asked me not say anything until the end.
She asked me to just listen and explained it to me in a way that made sense. To put it into perspective for me, she pointed out that even though professional athletes are full of talent, they all have a coach, and if they think a coach is important, then it’s not unreasonable for her to have a coach, too.
I agreed with her about everyone needs a coach but my next question to her was, “Do you think you will get enough value, and earn more money after working with the coach?” We talked about it for a while and I listened to the pros. By the end of that conversation, I agreed that hiring a business coach was a good idea. At that moment, I got completely out of her way of her dream.
It was a long, and difficult journey for both of us. Being married to a dreamer and entrepreneur is scary for me. Even now I get scared from time to time. If you are married to a dreamer or entrepreneur, you probably find it scary, too, but with open communication and an open mind, you can begin to understand, and support your spouse.
Photo: Flickr/ Spenser