For more than a decade (since 2006) I’ve worked with hundreds of women who own their own services businesses and face one very common challenge that I also experience. That challenge is talking with one’s spouse about your business. Sure it can be fun and easy to share with our husbands when we feel confident, are making money, our clients are successful. But what about those times when we feel like nothing we do is right, our clients aren't satisfied with our service, we lose a client to someone else? During times like that, we aren’t likely to reach out to other business owners. Who would want to look like they don’t know what they’re doing when they’re talking to their peers? We don’t typically reach out to our best friends to talk about business either. Have you experienced moments when you’ve done that and the discussion has left you more frustrated than before, because they just don’t seem to understand where you’re coming from?
For married women, the solution most often tends to be relying on husbands to act as sounding boards. After all, they’ve been there from the start, or through the fabulous times, as well as the tough ones, right? We meet them at the front door with tears in our eyes and mumble throat ears explaining today's challenges. They hug us, they listen, they offer suggestions and ideas, and that’s where things get sticky. We get pissed off because we don't want solutions, we don’t want them to fix
things. No, we want to vent, and talk through the story from start to finish, laying out each and every detail.
There he sits. He's doing what he's built to do and what he understands: he sees the challenge or problem, and creates a solution. He makes multiple attempts to do this, to give options, perk up his wife’s mood. Likely it doesn't work. He's now confused. All he wants is his beautiful wife to be happy. “Happy wife happy life,” he says. So in the last desperate attempt to solve the problem he offers a suggestion. “Why don't you look for a job, then you won't have to ____ (whatever today's challenge our situation is.)”
This is where your brain screams, and your mood likely gets worse. The first reaction is this:
NO! Did he just say get a job? Why doesn't he understand? Why doesn't he support me and being my own boss and building my own business? We're no longer focused on our original challenge. Nope, we’re focused on the man who we believe is “an unsupportive husband.” But, maybe in a way he was actually helpful. I mean we're not focused on our original problem, right? The problem is that now there’s tension in the marriage (but at least we can talk to our best friends now she's sure to understand husband issues, right?).
It doesn’t have to be that way! What if it could be different? What if your husband knew what you really needed from him?
What if you created business communication boundaries and rules with your husband? Well, I can only guess your husband will feel tons of relief (at least that's what my husband experienced) And I’ll bet that you'll feel more supported (because that's how I feel now.)
5 Tips to Talk to Your Husband About Your Business
To help you out I put a few tips together. I want to help your spouse (and you) to relieve stress, avoid resentment, and be able to share your business with him.
1. Make sure you share your successes with your husband, not just your best friend and business associates.
While your friends and business associates are great to celebrate with, it’s important to share the good moments with your husband too. That helps him to feel like less of a sounding board or punching bag, and more of a part of your success and your team.
2. Before you start telling “the story” let your husband know what you want and
need from him.
- Do you just need him to listen as you tell the story?
- Are you looking for ideas and suggestions?
- Do you need his skills knowledge or talents (his help?)
3. Tell him what you don't need
- You don’t need someone to tell you what you did wrong or what what would have worked better.
- You don’t need feedback on your ideas or plan -- but you want him to help you think of things you may have forgot about. You want help in identifying the missing pieces or steps.
4. Grab a pen and paper.
Write out the whole story. All of the details, all of the insights that come up as you write. If you get emotional, let yourself cry as you write. Let it all out on the paper. Often, as human beings, and women, we just need to process things a few times over. It's how our brains work. Each time we process an issue, emotions lessen, and things become clearer. This helps because when we see our husbands, we are less emotional, clearer, and quite possibly more open to ideas and feedback.
5. Hire a coach.
I know, this sounds pretty self-promotional, but that's not the point of this tip. I promise. Over the years, I’ve seen that having someone play a neutral role in your business means it doesn't all land on your husband. It eliminates stress from your marriage and your husband no longer has to take on the roles of business coach, consultant, and complaint department. He can simply be your husband and support you in his own way.
Over 11 years of coaching wives I've heard time and time again my husband loves you. It's a benefit of coaching I didn't expect but now see over and over. When you have a coach, your husband becomes your business best friend, the one you can't wait to share your excitement, ideas and progress with. And he can 100% do that roll with success. If you find it difficult to talk to your spouse about business, maybe it’s time that you and I sit down and do some coaching. Maybe it’s time to let your husband off the hook -just a little?
Let’s meet. Let’s figure out if coaching might save your marriage and create more success in your business.