Today, I present you with a guest post from my loving and supporting wife, Kristy. She has been right by my side ever since starting my entrepreneurial journey with Bearded Brothers. It has been amazing to have such a supportive wife by my side over the past three years. We have both learned a lot during that time, and today Kristy shares her advice for other wives of entrepreneurs.
I’m no marriage or business expert, but I have had the privileged of being married to a visionary man and learning from his entrepreneurial spirit. Our journey has not always been easy and most of what I’ve learned so far has been trial and error (mostly error). Every now and then, women will ask me how I do it. I imagine what they mean is how do I stay (somewhat) flexible and (mostly) sane under the pressure of starting a family business. Well, here are just a few lessons I’ve learned along my path of loving my entrepreneur
1- I am his biggest fan, not his critic. This is especially important in the early, formative stages of the business planning. When Caleb first entertained the idea of starting Bearded Brothers, there was a fair amount of uncertainty in both of us. I could have easily pointed out every reason why this was a risky move, but I chose to cheer him on. Thankfully, I had already learned from wiser women that encouraging my husband to follow his dreams does not mean passively saying, “Whatever you want, Dear.” What it does mean is giving him the space and support to figure things out on his own, knowing that I’ve got his back, even if his idea fails completely.
2- I am his sounding board. This one is probably the most difficult for me to master. Caleb and I have always enjoyed recapping our days over dinner. We share our highlights, problems and triumphs. This was all great, until we started a family business. Now, when he comes home with worries and set-backs, it is personal. I mean, if he comes home worried about making payroll or paying rent on the commercial kitchen, I naturally want to freak out. Because not making payroll means we don’t eat. I’ve had to learn the hard way that what he needs in those moments is for me to listen and let him mentally unload. My job is to let his worries be his worries and not take them on and try to solve them myself. Do I occasionally give him my advice? Yes. But I try to choose those moments wisely.
3- I help him separate work from home. It is so easy for entrepreneurs to be workaholics and I understand why. There is never an end to Caleb’s to-do list and, these days, business is happening 24/7. Making sure your family and marriage get quality time is tough, but so worth it. I suggest communicating early on about expectations. Does the phone turn off at 6pm? Are there appropriate/inappropriate times for checking email? Are tweets and status updates considered date night activities? Having these conversations will hopefully keep you from resenting his work and keep him from being consumed by it.
I hope you enjoyed this little peek into our marriage and that you will find some benefit from it. Loving an entrepreneur isn’t always easy, but knowing you are following the man you love on the journey toward his dream job is an amazing experience. I’d love to hear your thoughts and insights from your journey!