10 TIPS for Getting your Spouse to Support your Business

You've conquered your fear, you didn't ignore the dream in your heart and you're somewhere between brand spankin' new and in the launch track, cobra roll, corkscrew, pretzel knot, sidewinder of the entrepreneurial rollercoaster. And now you want to take it a step further.

How AMAZING would it be if your spouse was on board with your business?

Robb and I put our heads together to help you make that dream a reality, but it's not a quick fix. It's a commitment to integrity, humility, communication, connection and a win-win for the both of you.

My husband and I have built a million dollar online business from home in the last 5 years, so we know a thing or two and we've mentored a couple or two ;) We could not have done this without our mentors, the example of our peers, a commitment to connection over being "right", open communication, forgiveness and a teachable posture.

We work together. We live together. We work from home. We live at home. We are VERY different people with VERY different perspectives, passions, personalities and skill sets. We have had TONS of obstacles that needed to be overcome (and still do on a daily basis). And you and I, and my husband and your husband -- we aren't that different. If we can do this, you can do this - but all things worth having, are things worth working for, and we work our butts off for it.

We have had MANY long conversations, little arguments, silent treatments, seasons of stuck and we had one messy one this morning finalizing this content. It was perfect timing and a heaven-sent reality check that we still have work to do. We've also had JUST as many (if not more) golden moments that have made our marriage and our business (and the fusion of the two) the most incredible ride of our lives.

It's our honor and our passion to pass on the wisdom that we've received and the breakthroughs that we've had (and are still having) along the way to you and your partner!

  • Maybe they don't believe in you or your vision at all.
  • Maybe they're hurt and scared (even if they don't admit it) that things will change.
  • Maybe they're stressed out because as you made room on your plate for your business, more responsibility fell on theirs.
  • Maybe they don't understand what you do or why you love it.
  • Maybe they don't have a clue what you do.
  • Maybe your dream is to have them work alongside you.
  • Maybe you've tried, and it was a complete hot mess express that strained your relationship.
  • Maybe you just don't know where to start.

We've intentionally designed this 10 step list to be a progressive process that starts at ONE and can be built upon slowly. What's important to remember is that you never graduate past the early steps - you build on them and never leave them behind.

As we work down the list, the spectrum shifts from minimal involvement to very involved. Whether your spouse has a career and a list of responsibilities that will never move past the first step or you have a partner that is willing and ready to go all the way with you - your success is possible and totally personal to you, your marriage and your lifestyle. There are plenty of people on either side of the fence who are proof that no matter your circumstances, success is possible. The things that stop people on both sides? Excuses, commitment, patience, lack of personal responsibility and attitude. Awesome news: you have control over all of those things. You get to decide.

1. Support is a start.

A hug. A cup of coffee delivered to your desk. Ordering pizza for dinner. Taking the dogs for a walk. Doing the dishes when it's your turn. Taking the kids for ice cream when you have an important call that requires silence. Fist bumps. Encouragement. Moral Support. Mentioning to his coworker what you do and trying to send a referral your way. Not hating every second you're on computer. No criticism. No passive aggression. No resentment. Open communication. Asking you how your day was. Being on the same team. Understanding. Another hug.

One problem that we face when we're starting something new is that we often want everyone to see things from our perspective, match our pace and live in our new world. That's most likely not how your eyes were opened and how you got involved. Don't expect that from your partner.

The key is to set YOUR pace and allow everyone else to progress at THEIR pace.

If you've been training for a marathon and your partner has been sitting on the coach, chances are they are much more likely to join in on a 2 mile jog than a 20 mile long run. 2 miles can turn into 3, and 3 can turn into 5, and so on and so forth.

That mean that WE have to accept the support at its foundation if we expect the absolutely pinnacle of support. It can look like anything. But these are planted seeds. They are gestures of love, kindness, support, understanding, patience and encouragement - and if THESE seeds are not tended to, they won't grow into mighty pillars of support.

2. Walk the walk.

If you're going to build a business, build a business.
If you're going to spend time away from your family, make it worth it.
If you're going to invest money into trainings or products, use them.

Tough love moment: maybe they reason that your partner isn't supportive is because you aren't taking your business seriously and you aren't getting results.

For men especially, it's all about results. It's about the concrete, tangible and rational - it's not about the dream, the feelings, the emotions and the vision. Those are general statements, but it tends to be the case.

Why is this so important? It shows your serious. It will put the skeptic at ease. Your partner already believes in you, and now they will believe in your idea, opportunity, business, product or service too. Set a goal and make it happen, no matter what.

Raise the stakes. Use this to your advantage. Promise you'll do something and deliver. How can someone take you seriously if you don't? How can you expect your partner to take your business seriously if you don't?

3. Love in their language.

Gary Chapman's The Five Love Languages is a game changer when it comes to relationships, marraige and business partnerships alike.

Find out what your partner's love languages are (either have them take the quiz or take the quiz the way you think they would answer) and learn to give your love that way.

If you express gratitude and affection in a language that doesn't speak to them, they may not even realize you're trying to love them. The more in tune you are with your spouse's feelings and needs, the better you will make them feel, the stronger your trust and the more connected you'll become.

4. Whats yours is theirs.

This is pretty simple. If you partner bought a car or a house, would you appreciate if they called it theirs? If you and partner had a pet, would you appreciate if they called it theirs? If you and your partner had a child, would you appreciate if they called it theirs?

If you partner started a business, would you appreciate if they called it theirs?

Change your pro-nouns from MINE to OURS. It's a simple, powerful statement that you're sending to your partner. What's mine, is ours and I'm doing this for us. End of story.

5. Be direct and ask, be interested and listen.

If you want to someone else to be open and understanding, you need to be open and understanding.

In fact, you may need to demonstrate even more openness and understanding than usual to set the stage for this new season of your relationship. This has a positive impact on everything that the two of you share, but especially when it comes to change.

Have an open and direct dialogue.
Tell them you care about their opinion, that you respect them and that you want to know their thoughts about the business. Present the communication and connection TRIFECTA. What are your feelings? What are your fears? What are your needs?

This is not about figuring out how to navigate around their fears, feelings or unanswered questions. This is about accepting their feelings and opinions as facts. They get to feel however they feel, and no one, including the person who loves them the most should be allowed to take that from them. That doesn't mean that their feelings and opinions are your truth or THE truth.

Actively listen. Listen as if you have to repeat it back to them. Listen as if you have to do a presentation on their perspective. Your partner deserves that respect more than any one of your prospects or future clients.

Don't try to combat their objections or their doubt. Listen to their thoughts, acknowledge them, truly be interested and after every pause, wait an addition 15-30 seconds to see if there is more. Very often, we don't receive an open ended platform or act as generous, fully- committed, willing receivers.

When THEY are finished, share your understanding on their concerns and discuss in a fair way until you are on the same page. Acknowledge their needs, fears and feelings and commit to doing your part to meet their needs, overcome their fears and honor their feelings - not discount or ignore them.

6. Set goals and vision-cast together.

One major reason I know that Robb and I have been able to support each other is because we are working for a common vision.

We worked to live in the same state. We worked to leave our jobs so we could be home together. We worked to pay for our wedding in cash. We worked to pay off our consumer debt. We worked to pay off our student loans. We worked to pay off our cars. We worked to pay off our condo. We're working to build our family home.

When you're deeply connected to WHY you're doing something, you can endure almost anything. This is especially helpful when your partner couldn't care less about doing the things that you do, may not have interest in your industry or be able to jump in and lead the way that you can.

What your partner CAN do, is support your fight for the vision that the both of you have for your future. The sooner you can include your partner in setting goals, dreaming big, casting vision and having the conversations about what you want your life to look like in all areas -- the deeper respect they will have for your commitment, the more pride they will take in your successes, the more encouragement they will give you in your failures and the more support you'll have on a daily basis.

7. List every business activity and document every process.

So what if your spouse came up to you in an hour and said,

"Babe, I'm ready to do this. Where do I start? I would love to take 50% of your workload and do all the things you hate. I'm 100% committed to learning, executing and loving the entire process. Where do I begin?"

This is part is critical whether your spouse is a part of this process or not. It's going to help your brain, time management, workflow, delegation, productivity and SOUL. Get it all out on paper (virtual or old school) and get it out of your brain. Get it out! Once it's something tangible that you can see in front of you, you can have a grasp on what needs to get done and who you need to help support you.

Chalene and Bret Johnson have changed our world with their Smart Success Academy and "Delegate or Die" checklist. Make sure to print out a copy of this checklist as a way to get the juices flowing. I think I teared up a little when I first got my hands on this PDF at their live event.

We wouldn't be here if it wasn't for the simple systems and skills that they teach. When you have a list of all the things that you do in both your personal and business life, you have a greater understanding of why you feel so stressed and your partner will have a better appreciation for why their support means so much to you.

There are tens if not hundreds of daily activities that you're doing that should probably be delegated at some point. Until you document what you do and how you do it, you'll probably continue wasting time and energy on things that aren't your core competencies (or the things that only you can do that you love doing).

8. Speak to their strengths and watch for their interests.

Once you have this list compiled, schedule a meeting with your partner in a setting that you know they will appreciate. Do it over dinner, don't do it during their favorite TV show. Ask them when is a good time for them. Court them. Make it special. Create excitement.

It's VERY important to understand that this is not a honey-do list. You are not your partner's personal assistant. They are not your personal assistant. You are PARTNERS. Take off your bossy pants and treat them the way you would like to be treated.

What you don't want to do is dump all of the things that you hate about your business or your home life onto them. It's your business and you love it. It brings you passion and excitement, you see the vision, and even you hate doing it. Why would we think that our partner who isn't connected to our dream would love it? It sounds like the short end of the stick if you ask me. I can almost guarantee your partner will shut down.

But if you do this the right way, this is where the magic happens. You married your spouse because they are amazing, talented, smart and you love them. You also probably married someone who is very different from you, and that opposition usually makes for the very best partnerships.

Present this list as an opportunity for them to simply LOOK at all of the things on your plate and ask them if there is anything that you do (because you asked for this business) that they would LOVE doing, are GOOD AT doing or would be excited to LEARN how to do. This, on the other hand, sets them up for the opportunity to start dipping a toe in the water and providing you additional support that is fulfilling, challenging, interesting and exciting.

If there is something that you really struggle with (and you know they are great at it) ask if they can provide insight, feedback, opinions or give it a look. You don't have to jump into OWNERSHIP. Treat them as a highly-skilled consultant. Let them see how much you value them.

If they ARE interested in helping out, it's incredibly important that you provide positive feedback, express appreciation using their love language and match their pace. The way that you treat your partner, this process and the pace is going to heavily influence the experience that your partner has. Treat them with honor, respect, appreciation and patience.

9. Be their cheerleader, not their coach.

You're not the boss. You're their champion. You can't hire and fire your spouse.

You are two totally different people who agreed to do life together. You pledged for better or for worse. You're motivated by different things. You have different skill sets. You're 50/50. You have to sleep with them at night. You're in this together, so treat them as an extension of yourself, and be kind.

(Incredibly important for network marketing professionals: even if you are "genealogically" his upline sponsor, you are on the SAME level).

10. Divide and Conquer

This is the step that can make you unstoppable.

You know where your expertise is and where you passion catches fires. You know what your partner's skill set is and what make them come alive. You've delegated everything else (or you have a goal and a vision to). That part, is a perpetual work in progress.

You are in your zone, they are in their zone and you are now running as an efficient unit, utilizing everyone's strengths and producing the highest quality output that your team can muster. We call this WINNING and SMART SUCCESS.

This is the last of our Top 10 tips because this is the goal. It takes time, it takes vigilance, it takes patience and it takes revision. It's a process. You're not going to lost 50 lbs in the first week of a new workout program and you're not going to have everything perfectly delegated, divided and conquered.

Now here's the thing: divide and conquer, like many of these other points requires constant communication, clarification, understanding, self correcting, co-correction, patience and forgiveness. You must ALWAYS pay attention and keep working on these things, because just like success, you can't BUY IT. It's for lease, and the rent is due every single day. It is, however the most beautiful, fulfilling, amazing, life-giving house on the block - and you guys built it together.

We'd love to hear your thoughts! Anything we can unpack a little deeper? What are your best tips?

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