I know that feeling when you get an idea. It is all-consuming… it is your last thought of the day and the first thing that pops into your head when you wake up. You imagine how it is gong to play out, all your success, all the variables – it is kind of a runaway train. Sometimes you get ahead of yourself and imagine how your business will scale up or make you millions or how you will style your hair for your interview with Oprah. Dream big, baby! And I would like to tell you that there are a few key items that have to happen before you start that will help your success. First big one? Talking to your partner about your business! This will be really helpful if you are planning to start a new aspect to your existing venture, OR if you did not do this when you started your business, go back to basics, have ‘the conversation’ and get you both up to speed with the plan for your family and careers.
Getting your partner on board
This is one of the most important things that you can do when planning your entrepreneurial venture. If you do not have a significant other, this conversation would be with the person that you lean on most in your life, like a parent or sibling or best friend. Breathing life into your dreams is amazing and you will need as many people you can find on your team to pull this off.
You may be going into this with kids or an out-of-the-house job or both, so you will need support to ensure that your butt is in Ms. Winfrey’s interviewing chair, if that is your big-ass goal you are going for. Make your big-ass goal whatever speaks to your core. You currently have a load of responsibilities and you will need to delegate them to your community, especially if you have babies and young children at home. This will require some real talk to get this started.
Why do I think this is so important? I have seen so many women start their entrepreneurial ventures and it puts pressure on their home life, too much pressure, leading to them dropping their dream and getting a ‘real job’ (their words, not mine!). Being self-employed is glorious and it is a different type of work setup. It is all-the-time-work versus 9-5 work. It does come with the benefit of your kids being at home with you versus daycare, you can take days off whenever you want since you are the boss, and you get to call the shots on how much or how little you work. It also means that your work day slides in whenever possible since you are juggling your home and children and care of you and anything else that you choose to have on your plate. So that may mean that you are emailing from your mobile phone while the pasta is boiling or that Sunday morning in bed is spent getting your orders for clients done. It is a more unique set up than a traditional work scene – and that is what appeals to us mompreneurs, isn’t it?!
What do you cover in ‘the talk’?
Before you begin your talk, get some details on paper. Do your homework to see what will be involved in starting your business:
- how much time it will take per week (hours)?
- what materials/equipment/supplies do you need?
- how much money will you need?
- when do you think you will start to make money?
- outline a BASIC marketing plan
- will you need to give up anything to make this happen?
- what will you need from your spouse and community?
Now, I appreciate that some of this will be guess-work, however, you should be able to fill in a lot of these blanks before you have your talk. As a safe rule of thumb, whatever amount of time you think it will take you, double that. Whatever profits you think you will make initially, cut that in half. I am not saying this to be a wet blanket on your dream. The reality is you will need longer than you think to get the business machine chugging along, so be conservative in your plan. Bonus: if you do make more money than predicted and it takes you less time to do so then everyone can celebrate that with you!
When you take on a new business, especially when it is added to your already busy life, you will have to put some things down (temporarily?). This winter I was doing a massive push in my business so I did not have those 12 hours per week that I used to have to train with my roller derby team. Yes, I got a bit soft around the middle and I did miss my workouts and teammates, however, I set a huge goal with my business partner and we had to do a major push to make that happen. I also needed to lean on my spouse more, so I needed to discuss with her that she took on more of the jobs that I do around the house and with our daughter. It was a conscious discussion.
What if I don’t want to have the talk? Let’s paint that picture.
What happens otherwise? Well, you jump in with your plans, and quickly you seem like you are ‘never available’ or ‘always working’ to your family and resentment starts to build. Once that creeps in, it spreads and it will choke out creativity, it puts a wedge between you and your partner, and it makes your business a problem for you rather than something exciting and joyful. When you and your partner get on the same page and you commit to a plan, everyone knows what the expectations are. Both of you know and can commit! What do I mean by this? Well, if you agree that there will be no phones at the table or Thursday nights are family games night or Saturday morning is partner/family snuggle time and it is electronic-free then you need to stick to that! We will talk about boundaries in a blog coming soon.
Maybe you and your partner agree that evenings look like dinner time, then they do the clean up and bath/bed time routine with the little one(s) while you get hands-free work time for your business. Then maybe weekends you get an established work slot that is yours plus whatever works for your schedules through the week. As always, the sky is the limit and when you make the plan together you maximize your resources to ensure that you will soar.
Straight ahead money talk.
Your planning talk is not just about the time you will need to operate and grow your business. You will also need to have a serious financial talk. This talk should cover:
- if you are keeping your current job – if you have one.
- how much your start-up will cost?
- how you will deal with a household pay cut if you are leaving your current paid work
- will you need extra support with child care and how much will this cost?
- What will you have to cut from the budget? i.e. your unused gym membership, annual family vacation that year
Don’t just set it and forget it!
Setting up a regular review schedule is really important, ideally at least bi- monthly or quarterly. You can discuss topics such as:
- How is everyone coping with the new household routine?
- How does everyone feel about the budget?
- How is the business doing?
This gives you both a chance to say what you are grateful for, what changes might be necessary, and where you are kicking ass as a family. This is a great chance to thank the people that are helping you get to your goals, like the neighbour that walks your child home with their children from the school, or your niece that is helping you with your graphic design. Check in with them too and see if the arrangements still work on their end.
I have created a free download to help you through starting your business (or getting your established business talk back on track) and keeping your relationship healthy.
Did you find this helpful? Any sticking points or successes with your partner and your business? Comment below!
PS – I have a share-all post around my own struggles with this back in the day here.