For Better or Worse: Ways to Support your partner as They Find Their Feet in Business
By now many of you will have read how this blog came to be, in short we launched Bespoke Bride back in 2011 out of a love of weddings, photography & DIY. It is no secret that we never intended for our blog to make money, I was in the final year of a Animal Biology degree and Jess was getting her own photography business off the ground, however we quickly got sucked into the world of blogging and before we knew it we had both become obsessed with making our blog successful. Fast forward one year and I had started to date Mr T. He was aware that I had a blog, we had been Facebook friends for years so he had regularly seen his feed bombarded with all sorts of wedding paraphernalia, however he did not know that one day I intended this blog to be my full time job.
As is most peoples first query he wanted to know how the blog made money and where I saw myself in 5 years time, but pretty much from there on in he has always been very supportive of my career choice. I can’t imagine this has been easy for him, Mr T is pretty old school and will admit that he is happy knowing where his money is coming from and when, however this has not once stopped him from encouraging me to follow my dream.
Making the decision to go self employed was not an easy one, I was unhappy in my job and was wanting to spend more time on the blog however we had bills to pay therefore it was important that I consulted Mr T in my decision, after all if things went tits up he would be the one to pick up the slack. One night I sat with him and sobbed my heart out as I told him how unhappy I was and to my surprise, it was him that spurred me to quit, that was the final push I needed to take the plunge and I have never looked back.
I would be lying if I said that it hasn’t been tough, the amount of money me and Jess can pay ourselves varies month to month and the number of hours we work has doubled compared to what we were doing when were employed. On the odd occasion I have had serious doubts about my decision especially when I was offered a very well paid job as a medical sales rep. The thought of being in a ‘safe’ job with a regular wage really tempted me as I thought about how much easier it would be financially, we could get a mortgage, I could buy a nice car and we could go on regular holidays. However all that would come at a price and that price would be my happiness as I was never going to be happy working a 9-5pm job, especially employed by someone else.
As I hurtle towards the end of my first year of self employment I have had time to take stock and look at what has been achieved in that time and I think it is fair to say that if it weren’t for the love and support I have received from Mr T I might not be here writing this for you today. First I wanted to say that in my opinion it takes a brave person to make the decision to start their own business however it takes an even braver person to stand by and watch as a loved one finds their feet, rejoicing with them as they experiences the highest highs and consoling them when they have the lowest lows.
So what w0uld I say to someone who like Mr T is finding themselves in the position of supporting their other half through their first throes of self employment? Well first I would say it is important to make your partner feels safe. Safe is a weird word to use I know, but for me, all I wanted to know is that if things went wrong that Mr T would be there to help me through, whatever the universe would chuck at me. Next I would say be supportive, this doesn’t have to be financially as I fully accept that not everyone is in a position to do that, yet for me it was mostly for the mental support, when I have down days or doubts Mr T is always there to pick me up. Sometimes he says things I don’t want to hear but he is almost always right with his advice and I know that with his encouragement I am on the right track.
When you are self employed it can be hard to stay focused especially if you work from home, so it is important to make sure any distractions are kept to a minimum. In ‘work time’ I try my hardest to not get sidetracked by the washing, dishes or any other household chores and to help with this, me and Mr T generally try to split the jobs around the house 50/50, although I will admit it doesn’t always work that way. He is also a man of routine, which although at times can be extremely frustrating, when applied to a working environment I have found it to be a hugely successful. Now like him I have scheduled work time, gym time, spare time and date nights and I really find this helps me to concentrate on the task at hand.
Whilst keeping focused is extremely important it is as equally important to know when to take break, Mr T is great at supplying me with endless supplies of tea and biscuits when I start to flag as well arranging date days and nights to make sure I get some time away from technology to recoup, this works wonders for creativity as well as my sanity.
Finally I would say show your support by accepting the job. I have spoke about it here before, how for a long time people around me thought I was just working on a hobby and so I often felt embarrassed to tell people about my choice of career, yet Mr T had no qualms about introducing me as a blogger and is always updating his pals at work about the latest news and events. It is his pride in me that finally spurred me to accept my job as a blogger and once I did everyone else around me accepted it too.
So if you are a struggling entrepreneur looking for a bit of encouragement from your other half maybe you should read this. If you are looking for ways to support your other half, then well done you and I hope you find our experience helpful.
Much Bespoke Love
N.B. (All photography by Jessica Turley of Bespoke Bride.)