Deciding to start a side business is not easy, especially if you’re already busy with your regular job and family. Most of us start a side business because we need the additional income, so it’s a decision to be taken after careful consideration.
With almost 50% of people in the United States starting side hustles and side businesses, this is a major issue to discuss.
All the more so when you’re in a relationship, you don’t want your side hustle to ruin your relationship or your family overall.
How do you balance a potentially skeptical partner’s doubts with your excitement to build a side hustle and a new business venture?
The key, as you can imagine, is communication.
Here are a few ways to get your partner’s support, before starting a side business and afterward too.
Be Open and Honest about your Side Business
One main point of conversation when you’re thinking about starting a side business is the motivation for your new commitment. In order to get your partner’s buy-in, I recommend you explain what the project means to you and how you see it working.
For instance, will you allocate a specific day a week to work on your side hustle, or will it be a couple of hours after work every day?
Will you need a separate work space at home?
Will you be away from home and for how long?
Consider these questions and how they will impact your time and energy. Not only will these questions affect you, but your relationship. In any kind of partnership, it is essential to understand your point of view but also how big decisions can affect the other person.
Consider creating a family business plan. Go over all of the ways your new project will change the family dynamics – both good and bad. Then, armed with your reasons and plans, you can have an informed discussion and make it clear why this side business is beneficial to you both.
This comprehensive plan demonstrates your commitment to the idea, as well as brings them on board to get more involved!
Set Boundaries for your Side Business
Hustling 24/7 doesn’t help a relationship grow and it only results in your own burnout, isolation, and possibly depression. This is why you must be strict with yourself from the start and create clear boundaries between your side business and your home life.
From the space you use for work to the time you spend on your side hustle, clear boundaries keep you in a better mood and more productive. Make sure you are not running your side business from the same spot in your living room where the two of you normally relax with a movie in the evenings.
Be strict with the time you spend on your side business and stick to your commitments from the family business plan.
For example, if you both agree on the time you log off your computer and join your family in the evenings, it demonstrates your ability to keep family a priority.
Your partner prepares dinner or coordinates schedules so they’re home at the same time as when you’ll be free. This shows you’ve considered the impact on them, and it also carves out time and space to be together without interruptions.
Financial Impact of a Side business
As part of a couple, your financial situation impacts your family, not just yourself. This can have very serious repercussions on your partner and how they feel about your side business.
Sometimes, a side business can cost a lot more than you think or have unexpected expenses. A well-designed budget can mitigate some financial problems and create a trigger for you to back off if it starts to lose money. Discuss this with your partner and get their opinion and advice, too.
For me, this was really important a few years back when I was very unhappy at my job and decided to open a gym and change my job completely. My partner was initially concerned by the costs and he is also less of a risk-taker than I am, so I needed to convince him I had a plan and a clear path to achieve what I wanted from this project.
It wasn’t until I presented him with a business plan and broke down the financials to show we would be protected if anything happens that he agreed.
There were many discussions on what we would do if the business failed. I understood this was a huge trigger point for him. He wanted to be sure we wouldn’t lose our house or savings with my gym. Once we talked it through and he could see my approach, he was more on board.
Communication is KEY
Throughout running your side business, think of keeping your partner involved by communicating and checking in. While all the above worked in the starting stages, you might find your schedule and involvement varies from the first weeks to later down the line.
This is why constant communication is so important when it comes to making your side business succeed in the broader context of your relationship.
Additionally, remember your partner isn’t a mind reader. You will go through a lot of highs and lows with your business. Sharing how you are coping and whether you need any help at home is essential to running a self-employed business.
Be Mindful of Your Impact
Whatever you choose as a side business, the best way to get your partner’s support is to put yourself in their shoes.
How will this impact them and your family life overall? Just like I mentioned about being open and honest and considering your impact at the start, don’t just look at you running a side business from your own perspective.
Will a side business mean your partner needs to take on responsibilities you hadn’t considered before? For instance, going on more school runs or grocery store trips? Is your mood impacting your partner? Can you take a step back and leave your work worries aside when you spend time together?
Being mindful of how your actions impact your partner is the common thread that runs through all the advice above, and the best way to preserve their trust and support. It is extremely difficult to balance a side business with a full-time job as well.
Have you started a side business without support from your partner? How did you manage to get that support, if you did?
Let me know in the comments below!
Until next time,
The Bexa Boss Lady