What to do when your partner isn’t supportive of your freelance business
Ugh. The fact you’ve found yourself here, needing to read this, sucks. We’re sorry that you’re having to deal with the negativity from someone you care about, while also riding the freelance rollercoaster and the family juggle too. It’s a lot.
The one good thing? You’re not alone.
Many of us freelancers have people (including partners, friends, family) in our lives who just don’t get it. And it’s never easy to take.
Still, we’re here to give you some tips on how to deal with it — so you can stand firm in your decision to be your own boss, no matter what anyone else thinks about it!
Help them see into your world
First up, let’s make one thing clear: if your partner is negative about your freelance business, this says nothing about you and your capabilities. This is all about how your partner is experiencing things and the baggage, anxieties, misconceptions and stories they’re bringing to their understanding of freelance life.
It can be really hard to ‘get’ why you’d want to take a leap of faith and run your own business if you’ve never seen anyone in your life do it before and make it work.
If they can’t see it, they just might need a bit of help.
One way to do this is to show them examples of other parents who are making freelance life work — just send them to the DIFTK Community for a start! ‘My Creative (Side) Business’ is also a good read if you want loads of case studies of people who turned their creative hobbies and passions into successful businesses.
But think about your partner, you know them best — what resources will help them get a better understanding of what it is you do? Is it a book they can read? A podcast you can listen to together? Some social media accounts you can send them to? There’s plenty of examples of people out there making freelance life work, be proactive about sharing them.
Show them behind-the-scenes
If you want to further support your partner into understanding what’s really going on — and crucially, understanding how you make your money! — how about a more ‘corporate’ approach and presenting your current achievements, financial data and goals? Don’t be afraid to get those gantt charts out folks!
Show them exactly what you’re working on, what sales you have to make and how you actually go about running your business day-to-day.
As a freelancer you likely know that a huge portion of your time isn’t actually spent on the money-making activities and that this is completely normal. There’s loads of other shit to do — the admin, the emails, the financial stuff, the marketing! But if your partner is looking on and not really understanding what you’re doing, it’s understandable if they begin to feel frustrated when you’re seemingly spending loads of time away from the family, yet don’t always have much to show for it.
Communication is key here. As is often the way, your entire business, your hopes, dreams, plans and aspirations are likely in your head and your head alone. It’s your business, your baby, your big vision — but your partner can’t read your mind! Tell them as much as you can about your freelance business, and how you’re planning to make it work for you and your whole family.
Share your passion & invite your partner to do the same
We’ve covered the importance of sharing the nitty-gritty but before you get too bogged down in the serious side of freelancing (aka making sure it’s actually profitable!), don’t forget the importance of showing your partner what freelancing does for you, personally.
Share your passion. Share the good stuff. Share your raving customer reviews. Share links to your work. Share your products. Share how much you love running your business!
Share your passion and invite your partner to do the same — even if those things aren’t something that can be monetised, they matter too.
Forget permission, it’s your dream, go for it!
Having someone you care about be negative about your business is never easy. It’s natural your self-esteem gets a hammering and — particularly if you’re a woman — self-doubts can quickly snowball into questioning your choices…
Don’t let that shit get to you!!
Remember, you don’t need permission from anyone to pursue your business idea. Whether the aim is to make millions, or you’re more than happy to be making enough to cover your portion of the bills while doing something you love — your freelance career is worth pursuing, no matter what anyone else tells you.
More from the blog…
Being self-employed can be a lonely old ride, and even more so when you’re a parent. We’ve all...
You know the drill. Freelance family life is chaotic and exhausting... finding the time to watch...
I wrote this back in 2016 when DIFTK was just an idea, but it still rings true. Here's why I...