After running a local business for six years, I transitioned into business consulting online. I naturally sought out teachers who could help me make the leap into this new world. What stood out to me is every example I found of women doing what I wanted to do was that they were all divorced. My husband and I, on the other hand, started a business together when we were newlyweds and we actually enjoyed working together. We have now been married ten years and in business together for nine.
Here are the 7 ways our marriage has helped us grow professionally.
When we started our business the real estate market had just crashed and everyone around us was white-knuckling their jobs. I told my husband to quit his position with the largest landscape design firm in Tucson so we could start a business together. Everyone thought we were crazy, but we had a clear vision and we were on the same page on the goals we were reaching for. Probably most importantly, we knew why we were making this choice.
When you’re in a happy relationship it means you have at least one person you can trust your big goals with. With so many ups and downs in business, this is invaluable.
One of the biggest challenges entrepreneurs face is that the freedom to work on their own is actually too much for them. They waste time, resources, and they don’t stay focused on short-term goals that lead to long-term success.
Derek and I have never micro-managed each other, but since the beginning we started our day with a quick check-in. We know what each other is working on and how it fits in the plan. One of us not completing a task means the whole project suffers and neither of us wants that.
You may find it difficult to make yourself accountable to anyone, much less your spouse, but what I’ve learned is no one cares more about my success than Derek does. He also knows what my natural abilities are and he knows what I’m capable of.
Accountability is the secret to longevity in business and with most businesses going under within 18 months of conception, longevity is what you want.
A couple months ago while having our morning tea, Derek mentioned that what we’ve had for our entire marriage is essentially a mastermind. We have benefited from our combined skill sets and strengths.
We have worked together on the various aspects of our own business as well as with every client. This has given our clients a far richer experience as a result. It has also allowed us to work through challenges in our growth much faster. The difference between having one mind versus two is really pretty amazing.
Find ways to celebrate the gifts of your partner by incorporating them in your business sooner, rather than later.
Most entrepreneurs can’t wait to quit their 9-5 (or their 7-7) and start their own business, but what they aren’t ready for is how lonely the journey can be. This is especially true when the majority of friends and family work traditional jobs and all the online gurus are skipping through life perfectly.
When Derek and I had hard days, and in the beginning it felt like those were every other day, we learned not to call people too close to us. They were worried for us, they wanted us to succeed, but they also wanted us to quit and do something easier. They were not the support we really needed.
I am so grateful that we had each other on the dark days because we weren’t going to let each other get discouraged, but we also allowed time to vent frustrations. At the end of the day we knew we had each other to lean on and that was everything.
If you’re wondering how you keep your entire life and marriage from being about business, I can tell you that you’re not alone! While a happy marriage has definitely propelled my husband forward in business, the key is to create a healthy marriage.
For us, we found the key was to continue what cultivated love while we were dating. We have kept a regular date night and we don’t just opt for the typical dinner and a movie routine. We have been deliberate about planning fun dates by acting like tourists wherever we live. We have also infused our relationship with adventure. Sometimes this was right around the corner from home and other times it was rafting down the Tara River in Montenegro.
The ability to have fun with your partner is key. Time away from phones, laptops, and notifications to connect and communicate is a must.
When we first started out, it was my job to network daily in order to grow our business. I was always the youngest at the meetings and I felt very much on the outside. It was months before anyone hired us, but what kept me going without losing enthusiasm was knowing Derek had my back.
I would practice my 60-second commercial with him. I reviewed the service I was going to feature. He always pumped me up before I walked out the door and of course he was the first person I called when I left the meeting.
My confidence was bolstered by Derek’s belief in me. He would tell me, “You’re great at sales”, even when I had attended nearly one hundred mixers without a single client. I believed him and within six months I had landed a handful of big corporate clients. Having one person in your corner is often all it takes to achieve everything you are capable of!
Stable is not how most would describe their business, especially in the early years. Entrepreneurship is full of twists and turns, and it can feel like you are on the ride of your life.
What a good marriage can do for a new business owner in those rocky times is give a sense of security. I was able to handle the risk, the unknown, and the often negative bank account because I knew my marriage was rock-solid.
That same sense of security inspired me to create stability in my business as quickly as possible. To this day I find this theme is my true north when working with clients.
As you look at the relationships that mean the most to you, ask yourself how you can stabilize them. I found that the best way to do this is by making regular small deposits in the people I care about. Small actions of kindness, being thoughtful, saying thank you, picking up lunch, and giving genuine compliments are just a few ways you can solidify your bonds.
I truly believe that when our home and relationships are in order, business has the ability to flourish. If you desire to be successful and you know you have a big mission in the world, succeed first at home and let it flow from there.
Monique Alvarez has been using her 20+ years experience of entrepreneurship and leadership to help women as an international business consultant. She lives life to the fullest, as a digital nomad and travels full time with family. To learn more about creating stable income, sign up for her free income stability bootcamp here
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