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How to Support Your Spouse When They Want to Start a Business

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Starting a business may not be your personal dream. Your spouse, on the other hand, may have the entrepreneurial itch that drives them to take action. People are now starting to think a little differently about business and employment — it’s a great time to get creative.

Whether your spouse is starting a business independently or you’re going into a joint venture, the process can be a sensitive and overwhelming experience. To be successful, it’s important to have spousal support from the start. Here are some ways you can support your spouse as they take the leap to start a business.

Ask to Be Part of the Conversations — Early and Often

Open communication is the first step toward getting on the same page about funding, vision, goals, and more. Especially at the beginning, being a part of external conversations with your spouse and their business associates and vendors shows that you’re there for them. You’re on their team.

If you’re not asked, volunteer. Maybe they aren’t sure how you feel or how involved you want to be. Show them. Speak up. You may not be a co-owner, but you’re still their partner in life, and they need to know that also applies to business — which will impact you both, as well as any other family members you may have. Join the calls, attend some meetings, and talk to each other behind closed doors. Do what you need to show that you’re their second set of eyes and ears, and you’re on their side.

Be Honest About Their Ideas

After some healthy communication with your spouse about their ideas and in-depth plans, it’s time for some conventional honesty. This is your time to have their back by expressing your concerns, questions, and feedback. Are you concerned about finances? About the business idea itself? Are there gaps in the information you need to form an opinion?

After addressing these issues together, you can decide how you feel about moving forward and trusting your spouse’s vision for this business venture. Hopefully, after developing the idea further, together, you’ll find yourselves confidently charging forward toward a unified goal that’s positioned for success.

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Confirm You’re in it for the Long-Haul

Starting a business isn’t a short-term commitment. Once you take the plunge, you’re in it for a while. This is most people’s intention anyway, but expectations need to be set from the get-go. Make sure you think deeply about the seriousness of this decision, and after some thorough, personal deliberation, let your spouse know how you feel. To show your support, verbally confirm that you’ve thought deeply about this long-term adventure and you’re in it for however long it takes to make it succeed.

Prioritize Communication, Indefinitely

If you haven’t noticed so far, most of this process is based on open, healthy communication. The main thing to remember is that it’s not just a requirement at the beginning. Supporting your spouse in their business venture means communicating on a regular basis and over time. It’s about being ready to think through decisions and dilemmas with them.

Think of it like this: if you’re struggling at work and don’t know how to handle a coworker, you’d probably bring the problem to your spouse for advice. In this way, communication flows both ways, and just because it’s their business venture, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be ready to talk things through.

Accept that Mistakes Happen

Your spouse is about to start an exciting journey that could make your lives brighter and more prosperous. But it won’t be perfect, and it will be a major learning experience. Be ready for some bumps along the way and show them that you’re there for the ride, regardless. You’re both going to experience great successes and some great stresses. Support your spouse by aligning on this crucial expectation: mistakes happen.

To be more proactive, you can also suggest a stress management plan to help you both handle the pressure. Whether your plan consists of yoga, deep breathing, relaxation videos, or frequent breaks — feel it out and do what’s best for each of you.

Be Transparent About Finances

Starting a business requires total transparency. We’re not only talking about feelings and vision; we’re talking about financial transparency. Do you have any hidden or forgotten debts? Credit scores you need to be open about? Financial fears you need to get off your chest? In order for this venture to work on one side, honesty has to come from both.

To help support your spouse during these financial conversations, you can always bring in a third party for funding support. You don’t have to carry that burden alone. At FranFund, we can take that process and simplify it, while still showing you all your options, whether that means leveraging a 401(k) or an SBA loan.

Don’t Forget the Relationship

Sometimes, owning and running a business can be more than a full-time job. It can feel like a full-full-time job. Try to remind your spouse to take breaks and even help pave the way. Whether it’s setting up a relaxing dinner and movie at home, or setting aside time on the calendar for a daily walk around the neighborhood, this effort could do wonders. Not only does it show you’re there for their business, but also as their life partner. You have their best interest in mind — in and outside the business.

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