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Spousal Support

As the writer of this column, I often get “love letters” from readers, usually arguing over my point of view. Keep them coming, there are as many opinions as there are business models – trust me there are a lot!

On one Sunday morning while getting ready to watch our beloved Seattle Seahawks, I received an email from a reader. It was how his spouse, after 2 years of starting his home-based travel business, is still not buying into his dream of doing what he loves more than his day job.

I could practically feel the desperation and frustration in his words.  It takes a tremendous amount of courage to write such a personal plea to someone you have never met. We all want and need the support of our families & friends in this business. Without it, another layer of stress is added to our need to succeed.

I am not a psychiatrist or psychologist, nor do I play one on TV; we will leave that to Dr. Phil. I do, however, have some experience when it comes to this from my past life with two travel franchise organizations.

I believe there are (at least) five things you can do to help elicit the support of your family.

  • Have a plan- Think of your significant other as a bank officer who you are asking for a loan to start your company. Before the bank buys into your business, you have to provide them with a plan, financial projections, and realistic milestones to convince them to lend you them money. Think of your family in the same way. You have to sell them on your dream and make it part of their own. I subscribe to the 3 year plan.  Year 1- is just figuring out how to do business, Year 2 is building the business, and Year 3 is when it should take off. Have a written business or strategic plan. Keep it simple so that your teenage kid or grandchild can understand it.
  • Invite your spouse to be part of the business– It doesn’t have to be in a major role. Maybe as simple as brainstorming ideas every now and then. Be transparent in what you are doing. Let the spouse opt out of the business – if they choose. When you do this they will not feel like you are hiding something. If they choose to not be involved, it becomes their decision. If they are not involved, they cannot complain (wishful thinking I know) because they are not contributing to the business. I hate to say this, but they are the first to jump on and enjoy the benefits when things are going well, and usually the first to criticize when the opposite occurs.
  • Take your spouse on educational trips- When you attend conferences and FAM trips, make sure you are only attending those that will have a direct impact on your business. For instance, I would not suggest you attend a Carnival FAM trip, if your focus is on river cruising.  That is not a wise use of time or money – and your spouse knows this.  The key here is to make sure they realize that real FAM trips are a lot of work. I would suggest an industry conference. In most cases, they involve very intensive learning sessions from breakfast until after dinner – and then start the whole process over the next day. The fallacy that we all encounter is this, because most conferences and fams are in exotic locations or on cruise ships – it is no work & all play.
  • Get some early wins- Nothing inspires loyalty like a win – ask any football fan. Share your successes with your spouse. Buy in is not just financial or mental – it’s emotional as well. You need a cheerleader. Give them something to cheer about. Small, consistent sales beats the “big score” when it comes to buy-in.
  • Be prepared for the Emotional Roller-coaster of being an entrepreneur- The balls don’t always bounce in your favor. You will win some and lose some, but if you know this will happen, you can prepare both mentally and financially – and so can your spouse. By doing so, the ride will feel more like a kiddie coaster than the Steel Dragon.

For those of us fortunate to have the support of our spouse, family, & friends – let’s not take it for granted. They may not always understand what we do, but it is up to us to let them know how much their support means to us.


Dan Chappelle specializes in helping sales professionals achieve their full potential by thinking BIGGER, working SMARTER, and producing real RESULTS.
Dan Chappelle is a professional business advisor, sales coach, author, and speaker. His training and consulting firm helps develop sales oriented business leaders, individual salespeople, and entrepreneurs. His best-selling book Get Your S.H.I.P. Together: The Wealthy Travel Agent Guide to Sales, is available on Amazon.com. For information on Dan’s Sales Acceleration programs, visit: www.DanChappelle.com

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