What Your Life Partner Needs to Know About Supporting Your Business

Normally, I start every episode with, “I’m so excited for this episode! I can’t wait to talk to you about the things that we’re going to talk about!” And I had to tell you, I’m starting this episode and I’m scared. We’re going to talk about some things. And we’re all going to very bravely hold this space together. I’m going to do my very best to shepherd us through this conversation about what your life partner needs to know about supporting your business. This is actually going to be a podcast series. You are going to be getting episodes on this for the next few weeks. 

I hope you share this episode with your business friends because I think we’re about to have a conversation that is not being had in most spaces, but it is being had in my spaces, in The Bold Profit Academy and The Bold Profit Academy Plus.

As we unpack this conversation in this series, I think you’re going to see why, and really start to understand one that you’re most likely not alone in the conversations that we’re are having and the ones that you need to have. I hope this puts some tools and resources in your hands and that our relationships in general, but specifically with the most important people in our lives do impact our businesses in positive and negative ways. 

The conversations that are being had around life partners, spouses are usually invoking a tremendous amount of shame and shitting on women for talking to their spouses. Typically, a man, I’m seeing this very much being a man-woman thing, but I’m also understanding that we all have a different sexual orientation. We all have different relationship dynamics, and this might be coming up for you in your relationship, even if it isn’t a heterosexual relationship. I’m seeing a lot of shaming and shitting on women for talking to their spouses about making investments in their business. 

We are getting two camps of polarizing, in my opinion, nonsense. 

We’re getting one that says, “You don’t need permission. It’s your business.” And it’s kind of giving the connotation that you’re weak and that there is something wrong with you or your marriage. If you are having this conversation where you’re checking in with a partner, and then on the flip side of this, we have, “I don’t talk to my partner about my investments because I don’t need any stinking man to tell me what to do.”  

I am here for women rising in business. I am here for it, and there are a lot of good things that happen when we put that armor down. When we let our partners in, when we have these conversations when we navigate our feelings and the parts of us that feel trampled on, or maybe there’s some past trauma there, not everything’s about trauma, but men and women, sometimes it is. 

As women, I’m very present to us, really carrying some armor around this, and it’s not helpful. It’s not. So neither side of this camp is beneficial in my experience. 

And this first podcast episode, I’m just going to be walking us into some of the things I’m seeing. I’m going to be sharing some data and statistics with you that I think are important that you can use to temper some of your feelings. This is always a facts and feelings experience on Bold Money Revolution Podcast. 

Some of these facts are going to be helpful for your partner to understand. And this is really going to walk you through things that you might already know, might already be feeling, but maybe I’m putting language to them that you haven’t had.  Then I want you to listen to this with your partner because I want them to hear me share your experiences through my perspective and help them understand where you’re at and what is helpful and what is unhelpful. 

Women tend to be less confident around money and business decisions and default to asking their husbands what to do, or even their accountants. I get this from women too. I need to talk to my accountant and this usually goes horribly wrong for many reasons, but the root of why this is a problem is based on a quote that I heard from Tony Robbins. And every time I say this quote, I preface this by saying, I am not a fan, a disciple, a Kool-Aid drinker of Tony Robbins. I believe he can be predatory and harmful in his actions in coaching. I am fully aware that Tony does not care what I think of the alignment of our values or not. But while I quote him, I don’t condone his actions. And that’s really important for me to be clear on and be in integrity around for my own values.  Tony says, “When two people walk into a room and there’s rapport, the one who is most certain will influence the other.” 

This is where women fall down in this conversation. And this is why I talk a ton about business and financial literacy for women business owners. I want you going into every conversation, regardless of who it is with every negotiation, every sales conversation from a place of certainty. So you can influence the outcome probe deeper, not freeze in the face of questions or conflict. 

This is very much about our emotional intelligence and our self-awareness and our business and financial literacy. Of course, there’s some stuff in here around our mindset in terms of our beliefs and our attitudes. But this is when women say to me, “I need to talk to my partner.” I take a breath and I’m very clear that it is not my place to get between you and your partner. I am also not a marriage counselor or therapist. I’m a woman. I am married. 

John and I have been together for 26 years and have been married for 21 years. We are not relationship goals. We have had so many ups and downs, so many hard moments, so much adversity, so much collective trauma. We’ve screamed at each other. I’ve thrown a phone at him. He has stormed out on me. We have slammed things. We have fought in front of our kids. We are not in any way relationship goals, but I am willing to be very transparent on this subject because we need to be talking about this.

When women say this to me, I always want to say, “Can I support you in having this conversation with your partner?” And what I want to do is I want to walk them through their next steps so that they are clear about what is happening next in their business, where they are, where they want to go, what they think is in their way, and what they believe to be the next step for them. And that is how I want them to have that conversation with their partner. I want them to be certain.

On the other hand of this polarizing topic where you completely bifurcate your life partner from your business, this is also problematic for your life and business. It becomes secretive and a part of you that you can’t share or talk about or don’t want to, or don’t feel welcome to for any number of reasons. Whether it’s your own confidence, whether this is how you deal with stress, whether it’s you’re getting some kind of message spoken or unspoken from your partner. This is also going to come back and really be a sticking point. 

This is an episode that I hope will help you have better conversations at home about your business. 

I’m specifically talking about it now because this is the time of year where you’re considering starting a business. I started my in December of 2014. You’re like looking at your life choices. It’s a new year coming. It’s a fresh start. Gosh, we’ve been through hell these last 18, 20 months, a lot is changing for people. People’s mental health is really struggling. You might be considering starting a business. You might be looking at whether or not you are going to quit your business and get a job or go all-in on your business. I’m speaking to a lot of women who are like, “Now is my time. It’s this year, it’s a do or die. It’s now or never. It’s all in. I have this dream. I have to make it work.” So there is a lot of personal urgency and determination that I’m hearing on these calls, tried a lot of things and haven’t gained a ton of traction. I need to make a decision. Do I go all in or not?  

When it comes to change pretty much any kind of change, I think it is like a pendulum. I can think of how this has happened so many times in my life with different kinds of change that somehow we’re humans. We like extremes. We like black or white thinking, all are nothing. None of these are great perspectives in my opinion to come from, but we’re in this one place on the pendulum all the way stuck over here. And in order to move from this place, we need to swing the pendulum with some force. And we head all the way back over to this other place. 

So what this would look like here is you might have been somebody who had been overly reliant on your spouse’s validation, perspective, input, whatever. And then you swing the pendulum. And now you’re in this other polarizing category of where you’re bifurcating your relationship with your party and you are, I’m not talking to him about anything, but ultimately on our journey to change, we always fall. 

We want to fall in that middle place where you are energetically neutral as emotionally neutral as you can be. I realize that that’s not possible all the time, but also maybe just aware of when you’re on one side of the pendulum and when you’re on the other side of the pendulum. And so can we take you from one extreme to the other? And through these conversations, have you kind of hovering gently methodically, harmoniously moving in this some middle state of the pendulum that is really where I hope to walk everybody in their change in whether it’s on this topic or your topic with money or anything else with money. Maybe you were like an extreme spender. You would spend, spend, spend, you got into a lot of debt and you’re like, “This isn’t working for me. I need to change.” Then you swing the pendulum all the way to the other side. And now you’re hoarding all your money, and you’re afraid to spend it because you might go back to that other place. That’s not actually what happens. We want to bring you into that middle place. Where you’re just kind of rocking gently in that middle part of the pendulum. And so that’s what I hope this conversation is going, to do for you. 

Over on Instagram, I asked women to share with me their friction points, their stories, their questions around this topic. Please always feel free to hop into my DMS. If I’m asking questions, please feel free to share. I don’t share who shares what. I like to look at things from more of an aggregate overall perspective. And that’s what I’m going to do here. 

One friction point for women that kept coming up is the “when in your business” question. 

  • When is your business going to start making money? 
  • When can you start contributing? 
  • When are we gonna see more money?

What I actually see is that women are actually contributing, but it’s not being acknowledged because it’s not being communicated clearly what their contribution is that’s being made. I once had a client whose husband was wanting to know, when are you going to start contributing? When is your business gonna start bringing home more money? And then in the next sentence, she’s like, “Well, I put in the pool in the backyard with money from my business. Like I took all this money out to my business and we put in the pool,” but he’s not acknowledging that for whatever reasons. 

I have some thoughts on that, which I’ll share later on in this series. But this is becoming a friction point, I appreciate your partner’s desire to get involved and be concerned about what your plan is and your revenue goals. And I do think that’s a conversation that needs to be had, but I want you to know that for most women, this, and I want you to know this, and I want your partner to know this, that style conversation is wholeheartedly unhelpful dialogue, and I’m going to share why.

The women I work with put so much pressure on themselves. So much pressure. This is why I have the SLOW model. The L  in SLOW stands for lower pressure and expectations. And listen, men put this pressure and expectations on themselves, too. My husband puts just as much pressure and expectations on himself, and it’s funny because we have to be aware of each other’s projections. 

John and I can really get into it sometimes. And he’ll say to me, “Your expectations are too high of me,” and I always have to stop. And I’m like, well, really, I don’t have that many expectations of you because I’ve done a lot of this work. In the past, I have had high expectations of him. And we have to really unpack that moment around is this really mine or is this yours? Are you having high expectations of yourself and putting it on me? Because right now I really don’t feel like I have any expectations of you, and here’s why.

As humans in general, we put just so much pressure on ourselves. We don’t need that style of conversation. The content is worth talking about, but the style and how this might be coming up is not. And as well as women and men, I work primarily with women and a small amount of men have to battle the fear of disappointing themselves and others almost every day. This is like a top-five fear of disappointing somebody else, but also really disappointing yourself. So these conversations around revenue goals and plans and could be a real drag on somebody’s energy. 

Even if this is coming from a helpful and loving place, it might not be the best way to be supported by or support your partner. Also, women are incredibly sensitive to being mansplained, too. If you’re a dude and you’re listening to this right now, just want to say, we’re very sensitive to this. We’re also very sensitive to having had to do things the masculine way our entire lives from school to careers, and women are looking for the opportunity to lead in a different way. If you have a partner who has a lot of masculine energy in that way, it can be unhelpful. 

As a matter of fact, the entire world is looking to lead differently. This isn’t just about women. I work with larger companies. Women and men are looking to lead differently. They’re looking to step away from the hard skills, like over-emphasizing planning, and put more attention on the soft skills or what I would like to call power skills, such as empathy and vulnerability and compassion and flexibility. There is a lot of research around this in the leadership development space. I do not pull any of that research into this episode, but I want to let you know that it is absolutely there, that there is a shift from this old paradigm. 

I got to tell you if this is a male-female relationship, ladies, your husband doesn’t want to feel like he’s being thrown out with yesterday’s trash because he’s a man. Like the world is shifting and he is feeling that. And I think that there’s compassion required on both sides that this way of doing business in this way of life is being disrupted right now. 

This way of leading that we’ve all been used to is changing, and we can incorporate empathy and vulnerability and compassion and flexibility and intuition into how we plan, strategize, and execute, which is why we teach from frameworks in our programs and not blueprints or templates. It is both. It is both and in those spaces. If I can just have everyone acknowledge that we can have strategic conversations from a place of empathy, vulnerability, compassion, and flexibility, I would be a very happy camper. And that we can execute from these places as well. It might take you swing in that pendulum though. And that is what I also like to hold space for in my programs. 

I had somebody say to me the other day in the Bold Profit Academy, that while she hasn’t been there necessarily tangibly or physically implementing on the content in there, she has been energetically implementing. And that’s what I’m talking about. I say this in a very not woo-woo way. There are times where we are energetically implementing. And that’s why these things take time. It’s not just step, step, step, step, step. We’re overcoming sometimes invisible barriers as we do that. 

When your partner is asking these questions, partners, when you are asking these questions, you are putting pressure on the business owner that they don’t need to have. They are already putting enough pressure on themselves. They are already stressed and we’re going to talk at themselves. And you’re putting the onus on them to prove that they are trustworthy and knowledgeable. You might not know this, but probably the top five things women business owners struggle with is self-trust and while it is absolutely your responsibility as the business owner to communicate in a way that as a leader, in a way that communicates in a way that builds trust the partner has to meet you in default to trusting. Like we need you to default to trusting us, not default to distrusting us. If they feel like they’re not trusting you, it’s actually not about you. It’s about them. Just like we have our trust issues, so do they. And this is maybe how their lack of self-trust is showing up. It’s being projected onto you.

That energy of proving is disastrous once you pull that into your business. 

If you are pulling the energy of proving into your business, I have to prove that I can do this. I have to prove to my partner, that I can make this work. I have to prove that I’m the expert. I have to prove that I can make money. That is going to work against you. Sucks, but it’s true. So instead of being in the energy of proving, can you and your partner sit down and switch to co-creating a list of evidence that you are both trustworthy. When have you showed up for each other from a place of trust? When have you really come through for your partner in a way that exuded trust? How do they define trust? How do you define trust? 

Trust is a tricky construct to unpack. I have spent a long time doing that. And I haven’t told the story in a long time, and I’m not going to share it here, but it’s reminding me that I should probably talk about the time that I spent six months unpacking what trust means and the fact that I had to take some unplanned leave from my business in order to do that when I first started out. More than one woman has shared the following with me. And it’s absolutely brilliant. And this is a great way to build that trust and rapport with your partner. 

They share their teachers, their podcasts are listening to the book that they’re reading, maybe the courses that they’re taking with their partners, so they can see who they are learning from. I love this, my husband and I are always learning together. We’re always, and it’s a little easier because we’re both business owners, but the things that he likes to learn about are very different than the things that I like to learn about. 

I was reading a really good book called, The Psychology of Money, the other month. And I was having a real hard time getting through it because I kept stopping and saying to John, “John, John, you have to hear this chapter. I need to read this to you.” Can you enroll your partner in learning with you or sharing with them the relevant bits of what they might need to learn? And I’m not going to lie, I really love when I get DMs and emails from your significant others telling me, I get this from my clients’ significant others telling me how much my work with their partner has improved their home life. I can think, oh gosh, at least a dozen times getting messages. And sometimes, I have repeated interactions. I have people’s partners who messaged me or DM me, they follow me, and they DM me frequently. And I appreciate that. 

I get it so hard. I’m in a relationship with my husband. We have both worked for other people. We have both worked for ourselves. We have had times where I have worked in a nine to five job and John has run his own business. We are both running our own businesses right now. And the level of dialogue that we have had to have through this 15-year journey, this really started 15 years ago when we started our first business. So we’ve been at this for 15 years and it has been various stages of ugly and beautiful for 15 years. We happen to be in a really great spot right now. 

Really, I get it. John and I have really over the last, I’d say five years, but really, especially over the last 20 months have really, really upped our communication game. I also want to be transparent and say that part of our communication game was me saying to him, you have to go to therapy, happy to find you a therapist, but I cannot hold the space. I can’t do this emotional labor with you. I’m also supported by coaches and therapists and healers and who I need in my life. So that neither one of us are coming to each other where we’re expecting the other one to provide all of the support. That has made this much easier as well. 

Here are some of the things that your significant others want you to know, especially if this is a male-female dynamic. 

When she knows you trust her, when she feels you trust her, that positively impacts her business in ways that are genuinely hard to describe. It’s energetic, and we’re going to get into this in the other episodes, but please know that this has a huge impact on her ability to go and be confident in her business and earn money. And I’m going to share more about the importance of this based on my own experience and how this has helped me. 

The other theme that has come up is around being realistic and setting expectations are rather coming to agreements. And there is a difference between expectations and agreements and Steve Chandler, who is a very high-level coach has a wonderful audio. I’m I’m not an affiliate, but I use this training a lot in my corporate work because he does talk about this from a manager-employee perspective. He also talks about it from a spouse’s perspective. And I don’t know about you and your relationships, but I’m the visionary big thinker, manifester. 

My husband, John, is ambitious as hell, but he can get a little hyper-focused on the day-to-day, which is also an important skill. So my strengths versus his strengths. And if you haven’t done things like, go figure out what your love languages are, go do the Strengths Finder and see what your top five strengths are and what your partner’s top five strengths are. Do that before the next episode is out and use that as kind of like a springboard to have some of these conversations. However, the second I paint the picture, he’s right behind me moving in the same direction. 

So many women want their husbands to lead in this way, but that might not be their strength. I understand that women hold a lot and creating that vision and enrolling your partner can feel like one more thing you need to do, but if you want what you want, then you need to have the courage to give the direction and take the lead. 

I want to get into some data that I’ve pulled up just in general, some research around women-owned businesses, but also some data points around mental health.  

I do also wanna say that a lot of the research that I have gone down the rabbit hole and looked at, it’s just not doing a great enough job in terms of the disparities in women-run businesses around race. And I want to acknowledge that before I even get into these statistics and I’m 100% on the lookout for those. And if you’re somebody who knows of any good studies for women in business, for that segment well by race and really starts to look at the nuance differences in those ways, please feel free to send them to me. I’m always looking to learn more and do better. 

Let’s start with Guidant Financial, they’re a founding member of the small business Trends Alliance, and they put out this research. 

“To learn about small businesses and its future Guidant Financial became a founding member of the small business, Trends Alliance. A group of companies dedicated to supporting small businesses with data trends and insights. To achieve this goal, Guidant Financial and SBTA companies surveyed over 2,400 small businesses and franchise owners nationwide. We asked current and aspiring women business owners to share what their businesses looked like, how they responded to the COVID 19 pandemic and more. Here’s a look at how 2020 affected women-owned small businesses in America and what they expect in 2021. 31% of all small businesses or franchise owners are women, up from 27% last year.” 

Alarm bells – women are entering small business ownership, entrepreneurship at really high rates. This is exciting. This is an exciting time for women in our economy and in our history. And I hope that if you are a partner of a woman who is running a business, I hope that you really see this, especially if you are a male. 

So over half of those women business owners are genX, born between 1965 and 1980. Baby boomers account for 31%, while 17% of millennials were born between 1981 and 1996, and Gen Z born after 1997 make up 1% of the respondents, obviously because of their age. 

I think there’s a lot of interesting things here. I think also millennials are just getting started. I’d be curious to know if the women entering the small business ownership space right now are primarily millennials who are becoming either slightly disillusioned with what’s going on in their corporate jobs or maybe they were super smart and saved up and are now able to forge their own path. These women are also highly educated, the largest share at 34% holds a bachelor’s degree, while 27% have a master’s, and 8% a doctorate. 

This is really important information because the women that I support and the women in that I work with are experts. They have degrees, they have a lot of years of experience, they are not new necessarily to business, but the results they have been getting so far have been underwhelming, and they have been overworking and underearning for years. And these are the women that I work with. So that is an important statistic. 11% of respondents have an associate’s degree, 20% of high school diploma or GED. 

A lot of women business owners are great at their craft, they’re experts. If your partner is an expert, she’s fricking badass at what she does. And women are really present to the fact that they don’t have some kind of formal business education. I want you to know that I don’t believe you need a formal business education to run a business. I believe you need to have the right information. That is really what I hope to do through this podcast and through our programs is really increase the business and literacy among all people, but specifically, women. 

The top four industries of women-owned businesses are health, beauty and fitness services, food and restaurant, retail, and business services. The amount each spends to launch their business differs over half spend less than $50,000 to get started. Really want you to hear that number, startup phase less than $50,000, are you prepared to invest $50,000 or less in your business to start, to launch, to get started? 

Of course, this might look different if you’re a brick and mortar versus an business that is leveraging a virtual space and things like that, but starting a business is not free. That money has to come from somewhere. 17% spend between 50,000 and a hundred thousand and 9% spent up to $175,000. The remaining 22% spent between $175,000 and over a million dollars. The amount each spent to launch their business. 

What I want you to hear, that’s getting started. Impressively, 30% of respondents have owned their businesses for 10 years or more. 17% just launched last year, 20% have been open for two to three years, 13% for four or five years. And those are just some overall statistics around women in business and getting started and what those numbers look like. I think that’s really important to call out. 

The next thing I want to chat about is mental health.

Here’s how I see your role as a partner supporting somebody who is running a business, you are a mental health checkpoint. Do not do things that take away from your partner’s mental health, do things that check in on it, that support it because I am really, really, really concerned for small business owners and their mental and emotional health. I need help checking in on folks. So if you could be a partner that checks in, that would be really great. 

From, one in 10 small business owners in Britain are considering suicide according to their accountants in their latest snapshot of SMEs. 11% of small business owners are thinking of ending it all, overwhelmed by the coronavirus pandemic. While 78% of SMEs owners have worse mental health. 89% of accountants say that their small business clients are generally under more stress. Those are some really big numbers.

Gallup published a study in May of 2020 that concluded while the past few months have been hard on all small business owners, female business owners are suffering at rates far higher than those male business owners. Gallup has found that even when controlling for political affiliation, business size, and business location, female owners report experiencing higher levels of daily stress than men do, 62% versus 51% as well as higher levels of daily worry, 60% versus 47%. Women-run businesses have come a long way and we still have a way to go. 

Partners, you have a huge role in helping women close these gaps, increase their revenue, and truly impact your family’s overall well-being because running a business, it should contribute to your overall well-being, your mental, emotional, physical, spiritual, financial well-being, not just your financial well-being. And we’re going to talk about how you can support your partner in these different ways of well-being in the podcast episodes to come. 

The purpose of this podcast series is to help you understand what support you need as a business owner to help you educate your partner on what support you need and have real, honest conversation on what it takes to be self-employed because we aren’t talking about this and it’s literally killing people. I want everyone to take this seriously. I want everybody to really share this and to share this with your partner. 

This is a big ask here, share this podcast with your friends who are also running businesses. I believe this one is the most underrepresented topic in business education today, and I know it’s going to help so many people. I’m asking that if this resonates with you, please share this podcast episode.