Keeping the Love while Chasing the Dream: Balancing Marriage and Entrepreneurship
Originally published on BlackLove.Com
I got up from my corporate desk with tears welling up in my eyes. I tried to hold them in as I walked swiftly to the bathroom. I pushed open the door and boom, just like that, the tears rushed down my face like I opened up the floodgates. I was so incredibly torn and sad. I walked over to the bathroom sink and looked into the mirror as I cried uncontrollably. “I can’t do this anymore,” I said aloud to myself. This was the exact moment I knew I had to quit my job. I was broken. I was holding on to my security blanket of a job for so long because I was so scared to just leap and go after my dream full force. At this moment, on this day, I finally realized it was time! I pulled my cell phone from my back pocket and immediately called my husband, Ernest. He picked up, and alI I could mutter out were my uncontrollable cries.
“Bae, what’s wrong? What happened?” He replied with concern and worry on his voice. I replied, “I can’t do it anymore.” He already knew what this meant. He knew the feelings I had been having about my full-time job and how I had been so torn about leaving. But this was my breaking point. I replied, “I am quitting my job - do you have faith in me?” That was the exact question I asked Ernest, and this was all I needed to hear. I needed to know if my husband had faith that I could DO IT. And by “do it," I mean to leave a full-time corporate job, at a great company with amazing benefits, making good money. “CAN I DO THIS?” Hell, I even had some doubt in my mind. Would I be able to sustain this kind of income as an entrepreneur? I did not have all of the answers, but my husband had the one answer I needed .“YES - I believe in you, and you can do it.”
Becoming an entrepreneur was something I didn’t know was in my cards. I was always taught to go to school and get a good job-which I did. But chasing my dream of building my personal brand online and empowering other women is my calling, and I had to chase it with no regrets. Signing up for entrepreneurship, there are so many things that you don’t realize or expect. I didn’t know I would lose friends, I didn’t know that people would change around me, and I certainly did not know my marriage would take a hit and change! WOW - I wasn’t ready.
The first three months after leaving my corporate job was insane. It was literally like God said “Finally you listen to me –– NOW HERE” and threw all of these amazing blessings at me. Obviously, I was not complaining, but I was busy. As a lifestyle blogger, I was busier than I have ever been in my life. The first three months I traveled a ton and was always working on projects so much that I started to neglect what was the most important to me, my marriage.
To be able to do what I love and have my family support, means the most to me. I had to learn and grow in order for my family and marriage to continue to thrive and survive.
1: Prioritizing Over Balance
Prioritizing my marriage was the number one thing I had to learn while chasing this dream. Early in my entrepreneurial journey and honestly even six months prior to me taking the leap, everything BUT my marriage was the priority. I would come home from my 9-5, cook and then hop right on social media or my computer –– without even really acknowledging my husband or having a real conversation. My whole focus and attention was on my business. That IS NOT healthy. With chasing a dream, I had to realize that I have to place boundaries on my work and prioritize my marriage and family better. So what that meant for me is having actual work hours. Now, one year later, my current work hours are from 9 am to about 6 pm. After 6 pm, I am all about my family. You have to set boundaries and be able to clock out of chasing the dream. With me setting priorities and boundaries with my work, allowed me to be more present in my home and marriage. With just this one change, I noticed a significant difference in my relationships.
2: Business Transparency
They say that entrepreneurship is a pretty lonely role. I have to agree. I went from working in a corporate setting with a team to working in my home office…alone. I had to adjust. Early on in my business, I tended to keep everything to myself with the fear that no one would understand. I thought, “Ernest won’t get what I am dealing with in terms of working with a brand” or even “Ernest doesn’t get any of my business frustrations,” so, I kept a lot in. Ultimately, I learned that being transparent about your business to your partner is necessary. Opening up and sharing my struggles and my wins with my husband made us stronger. It also allowed him to learn more about my business and be able to offer advice and assistance. I made him feel like he is a part of my team because, in reality, HE IS! Even though my brand is my business, my husband is definitely a major player in it, and I had to learn to make him feel that way.
3: Make Your Spouse Your Teammate
With me opening up and being transparent with my business to my husband, it allowed for us to be more of a team. When we decided to get married we vowed to be a unit, so why not be a team with the business? Although right now Ernest does not have a sole role within the business, we still work together a ton. Even if it’s just me seeking caption advice or quick photography needs –– we work together. We set business goals together and discuss projects. Having my spouse as a sounding board has definitely helped strengthen my business and our marriage at the same time. My husband feels a part of every win, and it doesn’t feel like I am just doing this all on my own. Creating a shared business vision and goal is essential when chasing the dream - together.
4. Dream Together
While visiting Angola together for a business trip for my brand, I overheard Ernest tell one of my supporters that “She dreams and I drive.” I thought that was such a powerful statement by my husband. The fact that he allows me to dream is a blessing. Women sometimes vent to me that their significant other does not allow them to dream or believe in what they are doing. That is heartbreaking to me, because had Ernest not said “YES, I believe in You” a year and a half ago –– who knows if I would be HERE writing this blog post for thousands to consume! Having the support is so major as an entrepreneur, but the last and final thing I want to share today is don’t ever let the support be one-sided. I remember early in my business it was all about me, me, me. But I had to learn that my husband has dreams too. Even though right now he may be helping drive my dream, I can’t let his slip. I want to be a supportive wife to his dreams as much as he supported mine. My business is cruising right now, and it is time for me to help drive my husband’s dreams and passions. Focusing on our mutual passions and long-term goals together will help guide the decisions we make with our business so that it continues to thrive.
I am so thankful and blessed to be doing what I love, but I am even more happy that I have the love and support of my husband and we are doing it together. I can honestly say our marriage is stronger than it has ever been because of these principles we have adapted.