Two years ago, I was running a mildly successful personal development blog. And by mildly, I mean I had 10 readers.
But I loved my dorky little space on the internet, and I dreamed about expanding it into a business with flashy digital products and helpful private coaching sessions.
I saw other people (younger people, grr!) getting paid good money for the work I was doing for free.
You know what would make this even easier, I thought. Quitting my day job as an editor!
It seemed like the perfect plan. By quitting my editing job, I’d get back 9 hours a day that I could devote to my startup business.
All I had to do was convince my husband Chris.
He had zero experience with entrepreneurship and was happy in his cushy corporate job. But my enthusiasm and starry-eyed expression must have been something to behold because he agreed.
So I sent in my resignation letter (I worked from home), packed up my Elements of Style, and dove head first into my life coaching business.
I had no idea what I had gotten myself into.
If your day job isn’t filling you with joy and happiness, you may be tempted to call it quits and start your own business. However, if you’ve got a romantic partner, then that decision isn’t solely yours.
But sometimes you need to be brave and trust your gut…and ask your spouse to trust you too.
Here’s how you can convince your spouse to let you quit your job.
And maybe, just maybe, it’s not about convincing at all.
Um, Don’t Quit Your Day Job
To show you how naïve I was, the idea of staying at my day job while I built up my business in my spare time never occurred to me.
Honestly, I’d gotten to the place of no return where I was so burned out and disillusioned that I needed a dramatic fresh start. No Plan B. No safety net. Just quit.
This is not a good way to start a business. In fact, this is a freakin’ terrible way to start a business!
Quitting a well-paying job is not something to be done on a whim. Let’s add getting a tattoo and having a baby on that list too.
I advise my clients NOT to follow my lead. This abrupt decision caused me and my family a ton of stress about money. I assumed my business would make me rich and famous in a month or two…maybe three. Sadly, this is a common entrepreneur mistake.
Most businesses take about 2 years to be considered successful, that is, you’re making the same amount of money as you used to be making at your day job. I finally reached that goal earlier this summer.
But let’s say you’ve done your homework, saved a chunk of money, and have researched all the benefits of working for yourself. Why is this a good decision for your family?
Here’s the thing: there should be no need for you to convince your spouse to let you quit your job. You should have a good enough case and tons of supportive evidence to back up why this is a smart idea.
No convincing needed.
And if you do need to stay at your day job for financial reasons, don’t use it as an excuse to half-ass your business work. I have numerous clients with day jobs, kids, and other obligations but they’re able to grow their own businesses with just 1 hour a day.
Prove It, Hot Stuff
If you’re serious about quitting your job, the you better act serious!
Show your enthusiasm for the work you want to do. This means no sitting on the couch watching reruns or staying in your pajamas all day during the precious hours you have to devote to your business.
As author Steven Pressfield likes to say, you’re either a professional or an amateur. What do your actions say you are?
When you’re first starting a business, you can expect to work more in the beginning as you’re getting things up and running. I used to blog daily to grow my readership, I read everything I could about being an online entrepreneur, and I spent days planning my growth strategy.
Prove to your spouse that you’re serious and create a detailed business plan including your products and services, marketing strategy, launch timelines, monthly/quarterly/yearly goals, and your budget.
Finally, a professional business owner is intrinsically motivated because she loves the work and is not starting a business to escape a bad job situation.
Bloom Where You Are Planted
It’s so, so tempting to spend a ton of money on your business when you’re starting out. You see your competitors with fancy website themes, cool graphics, CRM programs, and all the bells and whistles imaginable.
But if your business isn’t making any money, how can you justify those purchases? You could have the snazziest website in the world, but if you wind up with $3000 of debt you can bet your spouse will be none too pleased.
Think of it this way: would you approve of him or her dropping insane amounts of cash of a hobby, sports car, clothes, or the latest tech gadget? Probably not because those things don’t earn money. And until your business earns money, you can’t be spending willy nilly.
A common phrase I share with my clients is “Bloom where you are planted.” That means use what you got, right where you’re at now. It’s why I use MadMimi instead of an all-in-one CRM and why I use a StudioPress theme instead of hiring a professional designer.
You can still earn money using basic tools. Don’t underestimate what you can do without pulling out your credit card at every turn. Your spouse and your wallet will thank you.
This goes for your clients and customers too. My first clients were my friends who acted as my guinea pigs. They got free coaching, and I got glowing testimonials. Those testimonials led to paying clients and helped position me as an expert.
A quick way to get money when your subscriber list is small and you don’t have many readers is to work with the folks who already know, like, and trust you. In my Entrepreneur Editor Experience program, I help my clients send warm letter campaigns to make easy money even if their businesses are tiny.
Nurture Your Changing Partnership
When you nurture your business, it will grow and develop into something new. As you can imagine, when you earn money on your own, your relationship with your spouse will change too.
You must remember to nurture your partner and continue to reconnect when your relationship dynamic is shifting.
He or she might feel weird about you earning money on your own without a big corporation supporting you. Your partner might have secretly wanted to start a business also but was too scared.
Handle these feelings of uncertainty and jealousy by planning date nights and one-on-one time together. Remind your spouse that your relationship comes first, no matter how successful your business gets.
My business has gone through 2 years of triumphs and failures, but now I’m thisclose to earning more than my hard-working, loving husband. This is something that never would have been possible if I hadn’t quit my corporate job.
But more importantly, it never would have happened without his unwavering support and belief in me. He knew what I was capable of long before I believed it myself.
This post focuses on Step 4 of the Life Editing Process, Rearrange Everything Into a Perfect Flow. For more about life editing and what it can do for you, click here.
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