When your partner is negative about your business.
This week Frankie Tortora and Steve Folland have a chat in response to a question from Detective Stella King AKA Anonymous. They say:
“I’m so sick of my husband’s negativity about my business! I started it 7 years ago with a view to running it when children came along and since then, I’ve been able to pick it up and put it down around my son and various life events.
I’ve always felt the need to hold onto my part-time supermarket job so I feel like I’m ‘doing my bit’ but have been increasingly resenting the fact that my business takes a back seat to everything else — how am I supposed to make the same or more money if I’m not given the opportunity to work on it!?
His view is if I’m spending ANY time on it, it should equate to money coming in and it doesn’t matter how many times I try to explain to him that I need to put the hours in before I reap the rewards, he makes comments like “I don’t want you to get your hopes up” — Obviously not with comments like that!
He doesn’t understand it and he never will, but can anyone advise on things I could do to get him more on board before I start looking for a new husband!!?”
• • • • •
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Take note dear listener! We might swear a bit. This one’s for the parents. To be enjoyed at your desk or once the kiddos are in bed.
Here’s what was said in this episode:
Comments on the previous episode:
[00:01:21] – Frankie
Hello, you’re listening to the Doing It For The Kids podcast, where we swear a bit too much and talk a bit too fast about freelance life with kids in the mix. I’m Frankie, and this is Steve.
[00:01:30] – Steve
Hello. Yes, each week we take a question from the Doing It For The Kids community. Do our best to answer it, but of course, we start each episode by looking back at last week’s episode and taking your comments on it. Last week’s episode was…
[00:01:41] – Frankie
…it was our advice for anybody thinking of going full-time freelance, making the leap into being totally self employed.
[00:01:47] – Steve
Charles got in touch. Hi, Charles.
“Absolutely agree with Steve”.
I’m not just reading it because he said that by the way. I am.
[00:01:55] – Steve
“I rushed into buying business cards at the start. I’m yet to take on a client that got my info from one of them! There are far better things you can put your energy into that will help you get clients, like your social media profile and presence.
I also try to put some time aside to learn — whether it’s your craft or how to run a business. You’ll learn a lot from making mistakes, of course, but every now and again, it’s good to learn something before you get it wrong.”
[00:02:25] – Steve
Our answer to this week's question:
[00:04:33] – Steve
Okay, here’s some anonymous detective names from the fantasy Name Generator.
[00:04:38] – Frankie
[00:04:38] – Steve
Cat West. Sounds too much like a bank, doesn’t it?
Karen Armstrong. Gwen Newton. Ziva Tanner. Stella King.
[00:04:52] – Frankie
Oh, come on.
[00:04:53] – Steve
[00:04:54] – Frankie
No. Stella King.
[00:04:57] – Steve
Okay. This week’s question comes from Detective Stella King (aka Anonymous) who says:
“I’m so sick of my husband.”
[00:05:06] – Steve
By the way, I feel like this question should come with a warning. If you want to grab a cushion for you to punch…
[00:05:14] – Frankie
…large glass of wine…
[00:05:16] – Steve
…find an undecorated wall that you can pummel your head into.
[00:05:20] – Steve
“I’m so sick of my husband’s negativity about my business. I started it seven years ago with a view to running it when children came along, and since then I’ve been able to pick it up and put it down around my son and various life events.
I’ve always felt the need to hold on to my part-time supermarket job so I feel like I’m doing my bit, but have been increasingly resenting the fact that my business takes a backseat to everything else. How am I supposed to make the same or more money if I’m not given the opportunity to work on it?
His view is if I’m spending any time on it, it should equate to money coming in. And it doesn’t matter how many times I’ve tried to explain to him that I need to put the hours in before I reap the rewards.
He makes comments like, ‘I don’t want you to get your hopes up’. Obviously not with comments like that! He doesn’t understand it and he never will. But can anyone advise on things I could do to get him more on board before I start looking for a new husband?
Yours, Detective Stella King.”
[00:06:37] – Frankie
So, I feel like there are two options here. One is: get a new husband.
The other is, have an affair? Bit harsh?
[00:06:53] – Steve
Have we contacted our legal team about whether this whole episode can ever be used in court?
[00:07:01] – Frankie
I feel like we don’t really need to unpack why Stella is pissed off. I feel like everyone in the room is going, ‘Yeah’. So I feel like maybe this should be more about practical advice. She wants ideas of how to turn this around.
[00:07:15] – Steve
You know how in the past we’ve had episodes where we’ve talked about some people not understanding what it is that we do and this world that we live in? Maybe part of this is that? Maybe he can’t envision what your vision is?
Maybe he can’t see it because he doesn’t live in the world that we live in — he doesn’t see the success that people can make of their jobs online to live a flexible, fulfilling and financially rewarding life. Maybe he just can’t see it?
[00:07:48] – Frankie
Clearly he can’t see it.
[00:07:49] – Steve
So maybe you have to show him it. Maybe you need to sort of literally sit him down and say, ‘Look at these people — look at what they’ve done!’
[00:07:56] – Frankie
There are literally thousands of us that are proof that you can do this and make money and be successful — do all of those things, as well as fulfill our other responsibilities as parents and as cleaning fairies and as whatever else.
[00:08:09] – Steve
Yeah, he can’t imagine people being able to build a successful business online, working from home by themselves. In which case, I’m sure there are examples of books — which I can’t think of right now… — but maybe people could suggest them that you could give him if he’s a reader?
[00:08:26] – Frankie
My Creative (Side) Business is literally a series of case studies of people that have turned their creative hobbies and passions into successful businesses.
[00:08:35] – Steve
So maybe you have to show him?
[00:08:36] – Frankie
Get on Amazon, buy some of them.
[00:08:38.930] – Steve
Maybe there’s extreme examples of that. You know people like Sara Tasker, for example from Me and Orla. People who are absolutely raking it in while seemingly having a wonderful life, right?
Now, we don’t all need to be that level, but that just goes to show what is possible. So if that’s possible, why can you not earn more than you could at a supermarket? I’ve got nothing against supermarkets, let me just say. That is just the example which is being given here.
[00:09:06] – Frankie
Yes, it could be any day job, right?
[00:09:08] – Steve
Maybe you just literally need to open his eyes and his ears to what is possible. Because, honestly, in some people’s worlds — what you’re doing just doesn’t exist.
[00:09:17] – Frankie
[00:09:18] – Steve
Some people just do not see the world in the way that we see it. And I think maybe we need to open this guy’s eyes.
[00:09:30] – Steve
I mean, hats off to us. We’re being bloody generous to this chap. We could be saving his marriage and he doesn’t even know it!
[00:09:36] – Frankie
I get the impression your husband comes from potentially a corporate world or a more traditional workplace, let’s put it that way. Forgive me when I then also suggest that maybe he would understand more like, traditionally ‘manly’ things such as spreadsheets or Gantt charts? Or like, if you were to present to him what your plan is for your business in a really, almost corporate way: ‘This is my plan for the next year. These are the things I want to achieve. This is how I’m going to do that. These are the hours I’m going to work. This is how much money I’m going to make. These are my projections for the first fucking quarter.’
Would he benefit from that kind of information being presented in, like, a language that he understands? Essentially, I’m assuming he understands. I know nothing about this person.
[00:10:19] – Steve
Yes. So you’ve shown him that it’s possible, now actually, show him the financial side because it’s clear that the financial element is important to him — and fair enough, to a certain extent, family finances have to be met.
[00:10:30] – Frankie
[00:10:30] – Steve
So he obviously has a thing, ‘Well, if you’re going to be working on this, then it needs to be bringing in money’. But yeah, maybe you need to show him that as well? And show him that runway, or lead up, or whatever it is.
[00:10:42] – Frankie
And maybe like taking it back to basics and explaining the building blocks of building a business and running a business. As patronising as that sounds, it’s something he needs to hear because so much… I mean, I don’t know what the stats are, but I’m going to say 60% of the work you do as a business owner is not directly paid for by a product or a client. Like, so much of the work that you do is admin, finances, marketing…
[00:11:06] – Steve
…making up statistics.
[00:11:08] – Frankie
There is so much work that goes into the paid job and if he doesn’t grasp that, then, of course, he’s going to be frustrated when you’re seemingly spending loads of time away from the family, away from him, whatever he has an issue with and not being able to invoice for that time at the end of every fucking day. He needs to get real and you need to help him to understand what the reality is.
[00:11:30] – Steve
Sometimes the visions of our own businesses are in our heads. It’s no bad thing to have to write them down so that you can help somebody else see it.
[00:11:37] – Frankie
That’s such a good point. Communication is key. Again, as in every episode about partners: talk to each other all the time. Your entire business and your hopes and dreams and your plans and your aspirations and how much money you think you can earn — they are all in your head and he cannot read your mind.
He might think that you’re not serious about it and you’re being unrealistic about what you can achieve or whatever, but he doesn’t see any of the work that you’re doing, likely at 11pm, brushing your teeth every night thinking about this shit. He doesn’t hear any of that stuff. He doesn’t have the internal, constant narrative that you get when you run your own business. So like, yeah, tell him.
[00:12:16] – Steve
And on that spreadsheet of reality, it can ultimately point out the fact that X amount of pounds in your own business is going to be worth more than the amount of pounds working at the supermarket. It all tallies up with the childcare that would be needed to do that job. It sounds like he obviously needs to know that you as a family are going to be okay.
[00:12:39] – Frankie
And that you’ve thought about that, which you obviously have. As I say, I know it’s frustrating.
[00:12:48] – Steve
And you know what? Maybe in doing all of that and showing him the possibilities in explaining your plan, he will start to understand and to see the passion that you have for it and the fact that it makes you happy.
Now, I like to think that that counts for something. And maybe the fact that he says he ‘doesn’t want to get your hopes up’… Maybe he doesn’t want you to get hurt if something goes wrong? If we give him the benefit of the doubt here, maybe he’s trying to protect you?
Let that passion rub off on him. And who knows, maybe he’ll not just start to come around to it, but actually be actively giving a shit about what you’re doing.
[00:13:25] – Frankie
I feel like it’s going to take a lot of work. I feel like we’re not there yet. Yeah, you’re right though. I’d like to think that if you were given the opportunity to talk passionately about what your plans are, that that would be infectious and he’d like, pick up on that. I mean, he’s your husband. He should want you to be happy and to get excited about your life.
[00:13:45] – Frankie
But then I also, again, giving him the benefit of the doubt… I also wonder if maybe he hates his job? We don’t know. But maybe there’s some resentment from his side in terms of like, ‘She wants to do this thing for herself. What about me? I’m the one slogging away in my corporate job’. I don’t know…
So many words I’m putting in your mouth, but that could be a scenario. It’s a scenario I see lots of other people in and maybe that comes from a place where he’s frustrated in what he’s doing and he wants to be happy too and doesn’t see a way out of that either?
[00:14:15] – Steve
Maybe you need to show him the benefits that he will get out of it.
[00:14:20] – Frankie
Oh, that’s a good one. Yes. Now we’re talking.
[00:14:23] – Steve
Part of that is bringing finances into the family, right?
[00:14:26] – Frankie
Which is what he wants.
[00:14:27] – Steve
But maybe it’s a bit of a juggle even doing the part-time job at the supermarket. Like, maybe it will ease pressures in certain ways or maybe the flexibility that you would have in your life will mean that you get to do ‘this’, which would make him happy. Yeah, you get what I’m saying.
[00:14:44] – Frankie
Only you know the puzzle of your situation. But yeah, that shift might open up things for him that he doesn’t currently have. The change in what you do and how you work might change the dynamics of your relationship, might change the dynamics of you as a family. Might mean you earn more money for less time if you’re given the time to build it!
[00:15:06] – Steve
I hope he understands this. Every business that I talk to, there’s this snowballing effect, there’s this momentum that builds. So every time that you have taken time out of it…
[00:15:19] – Frankie
…it will slow it down. Yeah.
[00:15:20] – Steve
As your kids get to a certain age and you can put more effort into it and more time into it, then that snowball effect — it just happens. If the business is meant to be, if it’s a good idea and you’re good at what you do, then it will happen. And you can’t do that if you’re not given the bloody chance to do it.
[00:15:37] – Frankie
So this is where I do my patriarchy speech, right? Because this does stink of the patriarchy. Like everything about this situation is gross. I can smell it from here. Whew!
[00:15:49] – Frankie
We can recognise how he might be feeling, things that are coming out of his life. The dynamics of the family, the dynamics of the relationship, all the rest of it. But ultimately this scenario is about power and control.
As much as nobody wants to admit that Stella is asking for permission, that is essentially what is happening here. And that’s fucking shit. That’s a horrible feeling and that’s not the way the dynamics of modern relationships should be.
[00:16:16] – Frankie
This is not unique to Stella’s situation. So many people are in these, like, power dynamics. It’s not just this individual husband, it’s the entire fucking system of men getting promoted despite having children and all the rest of it, and women being expected to pick up everything else.
I don’t need to tell you people this, you are living this stuff!
But this question stinks of all that stuff and that is so far outside of Stella’s control, which is why she’s pissed off about it and is frustrated about it.
[00:16:42] – Frankie
And yes, there are things she can do, some of which we’ve already discussed. But ultimately, really, I feel like the best thing that Stella can do is essentially to stick two fingers up to the situation and get the fuck on with it anyway.
And that’s going to be really hard in that, if she’s just going to continue to build her business without his support, that’s going to mean she has to do it out of his eye-line essentially. So that means late nights, early mornings, fitting it in wherever possible, around her children, around her existing job, around all her other responsibilities.
[00:17:13] – Frankie
And I’m not saying that’s a good idea because that’s inevitably going to lead to burn out and it’s really fucking hard. But I feel like the only way she is going to get through to this individual is literally doing the job herself and going, ‘Look, I fucking did it, mate. Here’s the money I made this year. Here’s my resignation to the supermarket because I’ve earned enough money to feel that I’m sustainable in my business now, no thanks to fucking you’.
It sounds extreme, but given what she said, I feel like the only way it’s going to get through is if she literally shows him.
[00:17:44] – Frankie
And I don’t mean… we talked about examples and we talked about books and we talked about all the rest of it, but literally show him. Do it. Do it for yourself.
And how much more satisfying would that feel when you get your business to the point where it’s cool… but then obviously, as I say, you risk massive burnout and there’s only so many hours in the day and it may take longer than if he gave you his fucking support, which he should be doing. But, oh my God, the victory would be sweet, no?
[00:18:15] – Frankie
Quite an extreme pep talk there, really sorry.
Because it is possible and you will be a success. I believe in you, Stella! The entire Doing It For The Kids community are already doing it. We believe in you. You can do it!