What do you do when your spouse or family don’t support your business dreams?
A young lady at the university was telling me that her family doesn’t support her business ambitions. They feel she should just concentrate on her studies and she asked what I think. The conversation took me back to the days when I was side-hustling as a student. I used to order earrings and necklaces from COMESA market for resale to fellow students at the university.
I think college can give you a good foundational experience for business.
She got me thinking about how sometimes family or spouses may not always give the support we wish they did. In this article, I suggest 8 things you should do about that.
1. Understand that they are not you
Belonging to the same family or even being married doesn’t mean and doesn’t have to mean that you share everything in common. It might sound sexy and romantic in Telemundo but it’s just not like that in real life. They have their own insecurity, fear, and aspirations. They don’t see what you see which means you must not expect them to be as enthusiastic as you are about your idea.
2. People have different risk tolerance
While you might comfortably sell everything you have in order to raise capital for your dream business, some people will only be comfortable to invest their surplus. This can become a problem especially for married couples with shared assets. If your spouse is opposed to such a risk, you need to understand your risk appetite tolerance levels are very different. That’s a good thing too. Couples need this kind of balance to thrive.
3. Sometimes you need a stabilizing factor
If you have what is known as the type-A personality, welcome to my world. Everything is fast paced, every deadline was yesterday even if it’s two weeks away, the to-do list must be done at all costs. This kind of thing might make you a high performance but when you have a partner who is also like that, you can easily burn each other out. What you need is somebody more laid back and stable and capable of helping you slow down
4. Listen to the criticism
As tempting as it is to call out unsupportive family members, it can be wise to hear them out. One lady said her husband was losing patience with her business endeavors because they were not working. I feel like I have been in that situation. If this is the case for you, rather than rushing to be defensive and calling them unsupportive, just really look at what they are criticising.
My mentor says ‘if you have not yet achieved the success you want, it simply means there is something you don’t know’
That can actually be painful to hear especially when you know you are working so hard. But yes, working hard with limited knowledge will bring you limited results.
If you keep failing and your partner is losing confidence, it might be time to seek out mentors and other experienced people and be ready to put your ego down as they tell you what you need to improve on.
I have found that ego, arrogancy, and pride sometimes stand in an entrepreneur’s way of learning from their mistakes.
Put your ego down for a moment and examine the critisicm objectively
5. Make it worth their while
Seek fast wins so they see the benfits of what you are doing. Another lady approached me to say her husband wants to make decisions over her business money. I asked her if he regularly helps her financially, she said yes. Well then, he is an investor in your business and deserves a voice.
On the other hand, what he might really need is small wins. Give him some money when things go well. This should be planned for. I have found this works very well and it’s the same with project management. In order to keep the moral the team, small wins come in handy. Don’t wait till you make a lot of money before sharing with your family or spouse. You are the project manager of your business dream. It’s your job to maintain team morale.
6. It’s your job to communicate
One time, I was doing a relatively well-paying project but my husband couldn’t understand why financially, I wasn’t contributing more. One day I showed him why and explained my monthly business budget. He was surprised and asked ‘why didn’t you tell me this is the amount of pressure you have?’
Sometimes we assume they won’t understand but they do care about you and if you help them to understand, you might be surprised how much more supportive they become.
7. For Pete’s sake, get your act together
Saving the tough love for last. Don’t test the patience of your family or spouse. If all you are doing is trying to raise funds, waiting for money or something. You must do your best to provide financially or play your assigned
Don’t test the patience of your family or spouse. If all you are doing is trying to raise funds, waiting for money or something, your actions could be unfair. You must do your best to provide financially or play your assigned role to ease the burden. When my first business failed. I was jobless and also business-less if there is such a thing. I had to start hustling and whenever I made some money, I made sure I contributed. Don’t just sit there expecting perpetual support and understanding.
8. Let family be family
A family can provide a safe place we can all go to for peace and rest. But when they are as hyped up about our business as we are, we might find dinner conversations and date nights being dominated by business talk. Sometimes, even the bedroom, yeah good luck with that.
When we let your family be just family, we can as Lisa Nichols puts it, “put our gladiator hats down and rest.” Its good to have some people in your life around whom you are not expected to perform or be special or be on-point all the time. As fun as that is, it can wear you down and you need to be able to rest from it when possible. Even if your family doesn’t get your dream, they can provide this space for you.
As for the young lady, in the beginning, do your part, perform well in school, manage your time well and show your family that they need to have a little more confidence in your personal and business management skills. They are genuinely concerned and you should n’t ignore that.
I wish you all the best.