BusinessMarriage

The Uncut Truth About Being the Wife of an Entrepreneur

I likely grew up with some of the most risk adverse parents possible. 

 

My dad has been successful as a Chief Risk Officer, so he literally gets paid to avoid risk. And yet here I am, the wife of an entrepreneur with a side hustle of my own. Why are we entrepreneurs? I’m not sure; I suppose God chose this for our family. I don’t know everything about what it means to start new things, but what I have learned I’m sharing below. You’ll either find this helpful and encouraging or think I’ve drank entirely too much start-up Kool-Aid. 

Let’s find out! 
 

Prepare to be undone.

Don’t let this one scare you, I promise you’ll only pee your pants a few times.
 
Being undone can be a beautiful refining process. When you are stripped of your husband’s regular paycheck with the cushion of an established company, a sweet little 401k, and a 5-star platinum level healthcare plan, you’ll find out who you really are. (Code words: anxious, uptight, rigid, terrified). When you choose to step out of your comfort zone, an angel gets its wings.
In all seriousness though, it’s imperative you find ways to cope with this new lifestyle or you will drive yourself and everyone around you absolutely b-a-n-a-n-a-s. I went through my own personal battle with this over the summer. I landed myself on a wise woman’s comfy therapy couch and gently told her peaceful things like
I AM A TRAIN WRECK RIGHT NOW”. She quickly agreed (thank you?) and gave me some practical steps to see me through my own undoing. Maybe therapy will be good for you too, or maybe its something else, but be prepared for an uncomfortable and wonderful process.
 

Chant quietly This is a season, this is a season”.

Can you keep up with this insane pace of what it takes to start a business for the long haul Probably not. But can you endure for a just a little bit longer? You sure can! 

Keep in mind that as things grow, you’ll have more margin to hire help. This could be help with the business, help with household chores, help with childcare, etc. Getting to that point is a special, special time of feeling completely maxed out but knowing you have no choice but to keep going. It’s like mile 8 of a half marathon: You can’t turn around, you can’t quit, so you get your poop in a group and endure to the finish line! As a wife, this might look like: taking on some of the household responsibilities your husband once championed, spending even more time with the kids, or running errands at 9pm because there is literally no space in the day. 
 
CHOP CHOP LOLLIPOP! I get it. I get you.
 
It’s a lot but you are actually doing it! When the day comes where you can contract out some business work, hire your first full time employee, or pay for a babysitter/nanny so you can get some other things done, C-E-L-E-B-R-A-T-E. This is a big deal and you will be grateful you pushed so hard to get to this point.
 
Caveat: No business is worth a severed marriage or an inpatient stay at the mental health clinic. Use wisdom and listen to those around if you they start raising red flags about your pace of life. BUT I CAN BE OBJECTIVE ABOUT MYSELF, AMEE! I AM JUST FINE!” (quietly raises red flag.


Become besties with calculated risk. 

Don’t take those big, bold dreams from the shower and throw all of your Benjamins into the wind. That’s not what I’m saying. I AM saying ask questions, talk through scenarios, make some spreadsheets, find a calculator and punch in actual numbers alongside your husband (don’t just spell the word HELLO upside down on the calculator and drink wine). 

 

Discuss. Share. Think.
 
 
The numbers need to make sense or you’ll be sorely disappointed that you built the lemonade stand but ran out of money to buy Dixie cups. You might not feel more calm about taking the risk, but if you go down in flames, at least you’ll have some nice looking spreadsheets (hey girl, hey). 
 

Pivot!

 
Take this one from my friend Ross Gellar. KEEP THE COUCH MOVING UP THE STAIRS, F.R.I.E.N.D.S. It may not be pretty all the time (like cutting the couch in half), but this is all part of the process. The business or idea won’t end where it started and you’ll make many small shifts along the way. Embrace this. Your focus areas need to change if the business is going to survive. The questions will morph from HOW CAN WE GET PAID IN NOT MONOPOLY MONEY to how can this be more effective and efficient? How does this scale? What is the long-term play? What would an exit look like? If you tell your husband you don’t want to shift because GOSH DANGIT I LIKE IT HERE, you make a better fossil than a wife (paleontologist reference because Ross Gellar. Duh).
 

Don’t be a stage 5 clinger.

We all know these ladies, don’t we? The ones who don’t allow their husbands to go to the business/social events because WE JUST NEED THEM AT HOME SO BAD ALL OF THE TIME.

 

Stop. You are being annoying. It inhibits business growth and development if you can’t ever share him with the world after 5pm. It doesn’t need to be every night (or you’ll both end up on the previously mentioned therapy couch) but if a group of wise people are getting together to talk business and your husband gets invited, SAY YES TO THE DRESS, LADIES. Don’t just allow it— bless it. Remember that business is built on relationships, relationships are built on trust, and trust is earned through time (and lots of it). I can tell you EVERY job/project/contract/investment opportunity my husband has landed since college is because of relationship equity, not random wizardry of the interwebs. Bonus level: collect 5 stars if you attend the networking event
 with him.
 

Find founder friends.

Sometimes our friends whose husbands have normal people corporate jobs say super warm things to us like WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU GUYS” or HAVE YOU EVER HEARD OF LORAZEPAM”. This is why you also need founder friends. They, too, have walked through seasons of uncertainty and scarcity, wins and losses, and they each have stories to tell. Boy do they have stories to tell. Pull them close. Listen to them. Learn from them. Empathize with them. Cry with them. Celebrate with them. This journey is meant to be shared with others and if you choose to live in isolation, you start to believe I AM LITERALLY THE ONLY ONE WITH PROBLEMS. 

 

You aren’t; even Jay-Z says so.  >
Also, don’t just kick back and wait for these wives to pursue friendship with you, okay? There is no entrepreneurial osmosis. If you can start a company, you can start a friendship.
 

“Give us this day, our daily bread.”

Wouldn’t it be something if the Bible said Give us this year, our yearly bread?” If it did, I think our dependence on God would shift dramatically. Because a founder’s future is full of risk, we need someone whom we can depend on to fill that void and provide for us each and every day— and I believe that person is Jesus. I trust that if God has called us to this path, He will meet our daily needs (not our daily wants- those aren’t the same, dear ones). During this season, I’ve been forced to ask the hard question, Do I trust God or do I trust me?”
Spoiler alert:
don’t trust yourself. Write down the ways you’ve seen evidence of God. Don’t ever overlook His daily provision. 
 

Flexibility is bomb.

Sometimes we get bogged down with the hard parts of entrepreneurship and forget to celebrate the awesome perks. Let’s talk for a moment about how bomb a flexible schedule can be. Our husbands work freakishly long hours, often 6 or 7 days per week. However, they can also arrange their schedules to help us out when we are just D-O-N-E. Hallelujah. They don’t have to punch a time clock, spend years accruing PTO, or feel the awkward stares of the office ladies if they take a late lunch. 
 

 One of my favorites ways this plays out in my world is elementary school drop off and pick up. If my husband is here at his home office, I can legally leave my preschooler at home to watch 20 minutes of Daniel Tiger while I whisk the other child to and from school. It’s a magical thing, this one child responsibility, and I sing my husband’s praises in the drop off lane until I come back home, and then I get annoyed at him for doing things like BREATHING AND EATING AND TALKING, and then my love for him rekindles again at pick up time and I remember how wonderful he is for keeping my preschooler.
What a nice wife I am. But truly, I’m so thankful my husband is available to help
 

Emotional intimacy: get woke.

I don’t know if it’s the number hours, stress, or sheer exhaustion, but entrepreneurship can take a toll on marriages. It’s easy for both people to just carry on playing their respective roles during the day and forget they are one unit. Our natural default is not emotional intimacy so it’s something we have to be intentional about creating. Some questions to think about:
 
  • Are you truly connecting with your husband?
  • Is he a safe place for you to share your feelings?
  • Does he close the laptop at night?
  • Do you carve out time to spend together, doing things you both enjoy? (Don’t let him drag you to Star Wars. You don’t need to connect THAT badly).
  • When was the last time you touched your husband? When was the last time he touched you?
  • How are you currently serving your spouse?
 

 While every marriage is different, you are probably aware after answering a few of these questions where yours stand
s. If you feel distant from each other, FOR HEAVENS SAKE, TELL HIM. Tell him nicely. Be careful of words like never” and always” and every time”. Apparently, men don’t love hyperbole. I won’t tell you how I learned that, you’ll just have to guess. 

 I mean, can you imagine me speaking like that!? NEVER! EVER!
 

Watch yo’ mouth.

Starting a company is hard. Starting a company with discord in your marriage is harder. If you constantly bring negative verbal feedback about a new idea to the table, a small part of your husband and his dream will slowly die. I’m sure of it. If you don’t think your husband can do it, then you are right. He can’t, if he wants to keep the peace in your marriage. Don’t make him pick between you and his new biz— LET THE MAN HAVE BOTH THINGS AND JUST LIVE HIS LIFE IN GLORY.
  
It’s so easy to criticize and tear apart what is unfamiliar (new business, new ideas) and it turns out you are most comfortable doing JUST THAT with your spouse. If you are a Jesus follower, there is wisdom tucked into the book of James about the power of the tongue. Use it to build your husband up and encourage him along the way in this journey. He’s already aware this is scary, risky, and overwhelming, he doesn’t need your habanero mouth. .
 
And there you have it, dear readers. I hope you feel less alone and more understood in your own journey. I believe in the good of starting new businesses and ideas. I believe in the power of local entrepreneurs backed by wives of noble character. I believe in you.
 

About The Author:
Amee Yost is a stay at home mom of a 6-year-old and a 4-year-old. She also moonlights as a professional home organizer during the free time she doesn’t have. She’s usually carrying a Yeti full of coffee. Amee’s husband, Micah, is the creator of a university code academy, partner in a local coffee company, founder and president of a marketing firm, and launching another new business this spring (details coming soon!)
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2 comments

  1. […] You can connect with Micah on Twitter or check out his website. During the show, we also talked about a blog that Micah’s wife wrote. Check it out here. […]

  2. […] under pressure through the ups and downs. You can check out her advice for entrepreneurial families here or listen to her husband’s episode […]

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