Following is a guest blog by my wife, Jennifer Blumer.  We’ve gone through some stuff as she has learned to live with an entrepreneur, and I’ve learned to accommodate her needs while in the process of growing my businesses.  Her wisdom is unmatched in the business world, and I value her comments greatly.  Some of my clients would do well to heed her advice…  here it is.

Are you an entrepreneur who happens to be married to a non-entrepreneur?  That would be Jason.  As the saying goes, opposites attract.  This is true for us.  If your spouse is less than enthusiastic about your wonderful business ideas, perhaps I can shed a little light into his or her way of thinking.  Let me share a few tips for helping your nervous partner be excited about your business pursuits.

-Avoid debt and build a cash reserve.  I put this first because this has been the biggie for us.  I don’t mind Jason’s new ideas and pursuits as long as I know we won’t be paying for them later…as in, long after the newness has worn off and he has moved on to the next adventure.  If there is cash in the bank that can be used to pursue a new endeavor, then why not?  Debt is not your friend.

-Be careful about your timing if you want your spouse to be excited.  Jason came home for lunch one day and let it out that he wanted to open a new office in another town.  The kids were running around as I was making lunches after a morning of teaching one to read, one to multiply, and keeping one from climbing the walls.  All I heard from Jason was that this would cost a lot of money and he would be even busier.  Of course he said nothing like that, but his timing could have been a bit better.  If you want your spouse on your side with new ideas, you have to sell that idea to him or her just like you would to a customer!  Timing is everything!

-Listen.  Even if it is your business, your spouse does live with you and lives with the consequences of your business decisions…for better or worse.  When I feel my opinion is valued by Jason, as evidenced by his listening to me, I am more likely to support him in any way I can.

-Be willing to alter your plans if necessary.  In one business venture, Jason and his partner were going to purchase several pieces of equipment.  Expensive equipment to be used in uncharted territory.  I was very thankful when they decided to buy about four units rather than eight.  The plan was to buy more later if the first units made money.  Nothing wrong with going slow at first.  This might mean doing your new project on the side rather than full time in the beginning.  And now, it seems to be working.

-Don’t be afraid to dream out loud with your spouse.  This is so important.  I have always known Jason desired to grow his firm, but until recently I did not know the specifics of his dreams.  Now that I do, he has my full support, especially since I know he is aware of my concerns.  Knowing his dreams provides me with the context for his everyday decisions to make sense.  Without this background, I could not always understand his decisions.

-Know your stuff.  I can trust Jason to build his businesses because he studies constantly.  He seeks the counsel of all kinds of people.  He is not going to just come up with an idea and open a business.  I can trust him to know his customer, the market, trends in the business, etc.  Research is so important.  This is one of those things that takes time, but pays in a big way later.

-Lastly, never stop communicating.  I do not need to know every detail of Jason’s day to day business operations.  I don’t necessarily care which software he chooses or which phone system is best.  But I do want to know the overall big picture and how it will affect our family. 

I hope these comments are helpful.  Thanks for letting me share.