Follow Us:
What to Do When Your Partner Doesn’t Support Your Venture

Baby Don't Call Me Baby
Being an entrepreneur can be difficult at times.

Ha! Yes, I know I’m stating the obvious. To be successful, you need to have a strong support system, people around you who whole-heartedly believe in you and your mission.

But what if your spouse or life partner, the person you expect to be your biggest cheerleader, doesn’t completely champion your dream? Can you still reach your goal?

I’ve been in this situation. Since bringing it to light, I’ve had many other (mostly) women admit to me that they are in the same boat. Starting a business is challenging enough without having to add personal relationship issues to the mix!

I won’t pretend to have all the answers here, however I can offer some first-hand advice that you may find helpful.

1. Make sure you find a coach or mentor to hold your hand and kick your butt as appropriate.

Sure, everyone would do well to have such a person in his or her corner regardless, but when your life partner can’t or won’t rationally discuss business with you, it becomes critical to have someone with whom you can discuss decisions.

2. Join a strong and supportive mastermind group of successful business people who can help you solve problems, brainstorm with you and connect you with the right resources.

You need to find people you can call who will share the excitement with when you land that big client or media placement. You’ll need their numbers if and when the deal falls through too.

I’m reminded of the time I learned that Rachael Ray’s daytime talk show had said YES! They were going to feature one of my products on the show.

I was ecstatic. When I told my husband, he kind of shrugged, said something to the effect that he’d get excited when it brought in some money, and then asked what was for dinner.

Can you relate to this experience? I hope not, but if you can, know that you are not alone!

3. Do whatever it takes to get your head in the right place.

Read books, learn EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), meditate, exercise, pray, etc.

This is critical because if your spouse is telling you your idea won’t work, you won’t make money, or it’s time to give it up and get a job, you are going to need the fortitude to keep your positive outlook and the ability to keep listening to your heart to know you are doing the right thing.

4. Accept that there are some topics of discussion that are going to be off limits at the dinner table (or anywhere else).

Become okay with not sharing the details of your business development challenges or financing negotiations because you know such a conversation will not contribute to your happiness or success.

5. Get honest with yourself. Look at this relationship and ask yourself if this is really where you belong.

Yeah, that’s hard and painful. The answer may make you uncomfortable. You might pretend you don’t know, but in your heart, you do know.

Wait!

Before you think I’m advocating the break up of your relationship though, take time to examine the root of your partner’s non-support.

As entrepreneurs, we tend to have a higher risk tolerance level than other people.

Perhaps your spouse is scared to death of how the bills are going to get paid and the potential that the bank could take your house if you don’t succeed.

If there’s ego involved, he could be afraid of you becoming more successful than he is. Counseling could be useful in helping you two communicate better.

If it comes down to your spouse not respecting you or your talents and not believing in your power, then you need to return to the top of this section and reflect on whether or not you want to live a life like that.

Some people are lucky enough to successfully work in their business with their spouse or to have a super supportive relationship even if their partner is not in business with them.

For those of you who don’t have that situation (yet), know that you can likely find success by creating alternative support systems.

More from Women Grow Business:

Image: theaterculture via Flickr, Creative Commons

Lori Saitz is founder of Zen Rabbit Baking Company. She shares happiness by helping business people show appreciation for and give recognition to customers and employees with The Gratitude Cookie™. With an understanding of the value of creating strong connections and experiences, she supports clients in increasing customer loyalty, referrals and profits. Connect with Lori on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook.


    1. Awesome post, Lori. I think there’s a distinction between having a partner who’s supportive in general (as in, not telling you to get a job every day :) ), and having a partner who wants to hear about all the gory details, which would be uncomfortable for anyone when things aren’t going particularly well.

      I subscribe to the theory that it’s not fair to ask one person to be your whole world, so I love the idea of knowing what kind of support you need and looking around for it, either from your partner or a fellow entrepreneur (or three!).

      1
    2. I recently experienced this topic, your mate not supporting your ventures. I will encourage all women if it is in your heart do not listen to your mates negativity and let it thwart your plans. But I will recommend that you humbling listen and pull some of their pointers. Some of the things my husband told me I did not want to hear but eventually took his advise and it actually led to where I am now. Which is the proud owner of a public relations firm

      2
    3. I agree with you Ann that no one person can be everything to anyone. Regardless of “reality,” it comes down to one’s perception of whether or not she is getting the support she wants or needs from a partner.

      Good point, Lisa. It is often difficult to take advice from a spouse when you perceive it to be adversarial and it’s really in your best interest. It’s tricky to step back and look at the suggestions from a neutral place. But if you can, like you said, you can end up better off.

      3
    Join the Small Business Forum Community
    The Small Business Forum is a place where small business owners can learn, ask questions, and share advice on how to succeed online