[There are few posts on our blog that I have a deeper sense of pride than this one. My sweet husband, Quinn, is the backbone to The Identité Collective. He stands for everything I stand for, and everything the business works toward: empowering woman creatively, financially and socially. The following post was written by him last year, and it still stands true today. These words hope to help other partners of female entrepreneurs, understand how to be the most supportive husband/boyfriend/girlfriend/wife possible.
To you my darling, Quinnie, there is no me, without you.]
A LITTLE BACKGROUND
I grew up in a family (statistically) much like many of you. Dad went to work every day, mom stayed home with the kids. But times are changing. In the US, more than half of today’s married couples are two income households. As of a 2011 study, women are the primary breadwinner in 38% of American households, up 10% from just 15 years ago.
This is where the story meets Anastasia and I. We met in San Francisco in late 2011. At the time, Anastasia was finishing art school and I was working in hospitality management. We both had somewhat atypical schedules, with her in class and me working nights with only days off mid-week, it allowed our budding relationship to grow. Less than 6 months later we were living together, but our schedules had changed. Anastasia was working full-time in marketing at a commercial real estate company just north of the city, and I had moved jobs to a luxury concierge service. We now had evenings off together, but my days off were still the same.
Fast forward 18 months later, and we decided to move to Austin. Anastasia received a fantastic job offer and so we packed a moving truck and drove to Austin, me without a job. When we got here, I returned to the hotel business and bounced around until I settled into a position at an up-and-coming, independent hotel. I returned to working nights and “start-up” like hours, which found us rarely seeing each other outside of weekend mornings and nights on my day off.
But we made it work, we took full advantage of our time together and Anastasia and Kennedy held down the fort while I was at the hotel. We were engaged in the Fall of 2014 and began to plan our wedding for the following fall back in San Francisco. But in the spring of 2015, major change came.
On Memorial Day 2015, I was let go from my job, out of the blue. This rocked our world as we prepared to get married just four months later. What happed next really cemented the bond between us.
Instead of jumping right back into the hospitality world and searching for a job immediately, Anastasia encouraged me to branch out and really think what I wanted to do, not just what I could do. So I did some searching and set my sights on a job in tech. I attended a tech school and nine months after being let go, I found a job working for a startup, with a team I really liked, doing work I really loved!
Those nine months were not easy. In order to supplement our income, Anastasia started moonlighting and doing freelance work. After eight hours at work, she came home and worked three to four more hours. It would have been very easy (and justified) for her to begin to resent me, but she was supportive the whole time. She helped me find my way and helped me find a job that I am passionate about to this day.
We have had some diverse changes in our careers over the past 6 years, but none more monumental than the most recent. In September of 2016 Anastasia launched The Identité Collective. It was a huge step for her as she wanted to go on her own full time and we’d always known she would.
Anastasia and I have been married for just under two years and together for nearly six. In the time we’ve been known each other, we each had a few jobs in different industries, in different cities. Today we both have our dream jobs. Anastasia with The Identité Collective and me in an operations capacity for an emerging software company. And we’re more fulfilled and happy in our marriage than we ever imagined.
You may be in the same shoes as she was then, unsure if there was a “right time” to leave her 9-5 and go on her own. I can tell you from my experience there is no “right time” and it is truly a leap of (calculated, careful design) faith. When IDCO was launching, I knew it was my turn to be the support system and 10 months into the business, I can see what worked best as her partner.
THE 5 KEY ELEMENTS TO A SUCCESSFUL MARRIAGE AS A BUSINESS OWNER – from his view!
As I mentioned before, I always knew that Anastasia was destined to start her own company. After freelancing for years and growing an online following in early 2016, that fall she decided it was time to leave the corporate world. It still wasn’t an easy transition. We talked about it for a few weeks and discussed the potentials.
This is a critical first step. I believed in her from the start, but it was still very important for her to hear me say that I was behind her and believe in the dream. It’s paramount that you buy-in to your spouse’s work and support them in their business venture. You are their number one cheerleader and the early adopter.
Anastasia is truly my best friend, and like any BFF, I want her to succeed. There is absolutely no room for discord or disdain. You are a part of the business, as the business is a part of your life. As the traditional vows go, “I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health…” It’s tantamount that you are there for them for the highs and the lows.
I have always trusted Anastasia. So this isn’t a difficult one for me. I trust her both in business and life because she is (among many, many things) intelligent, rational, and future minded. With that, this is surely one of the most important pieces of any relationship, but even more important when your spouse is a creative entrepreneur.
Your trust is crucial to their success. When Anastasia comes to me about investing in something for the business or planning travel for work, there’s never a question on my end. I definitely miss her when she is away, but I trust her explicitly, I recognize the importance of whatever she’s planning for.
As both a spouse and best friend your trust in them is significant, but it’s also imperative to have them trust you. Working from home can often be isolating and a bit lonely, especially when the business is new and starting up.
When Anastasia runs things by me or fills me in on the goings on of her day, she isn’t looking for a critic, but she is looking for a levelheaded take or a view from the outside. With mutual trust we can easily make decisions clearly and without unnecessarily drama.
I include patience here in two forms. Patience in your partner, and patience in the business. We would all like to be instantly successful, right? Well that never happens. Even if it did, it wouldn’t ever really be worth it. It takes time. The success of a new business, especially a creative one, is rooted in hours spent developing the business and creating the content. Not every decision will be a rock star idea, not every client will pay on time, and not every project will go as planned.
As the spouse of the creative entrepreneur you must be the rock, the constant force, acting as a backbone to the family at times. Your patience with the process will ensure the framework of your relationship stays the course, no matter how tough the month is.
The other side is patience with your partner. It takes a lot to put yourself out there and start a business. Not only is there the constant stress of money on the mind; but often more pressing, is that the entrepreneur’s name and likeness is often on the line as well.
I work for a small software startup, and although I am an important part of the business and my work certainly adds to the success of the company, when I leave the office there isn’t any weight on my shoulder. It may have been a tough day, but ultimately most things can wait until the next day at the office.
For Anastasia, this is almost never the case. Her business goes with her where ever she goes. She is the face of the company, and its success rides completely on her. I cannot imagine that pressure. Because of this pressure, it is key that every attempt be made to not inject your emotions when issues arise for your wife.
Appreciate the hustle. Appreciate the dedication. Appreciate the stepping out and doing it. The fact is we all get caught up in our own stuff. Try to appreciate what your spouse is doing. Life isn’t a movie, it isn’t a montage and it certainly doesn’t skip the hard spots. Appreciate and celebrate the success and appreciate the fact she’s putting her neck out there and giving it her all. But most of all, when the business takes off, appreciate the hard work that was put into the business and appreciate how successful she has become – because you were an integral part of that.
[Sorry, ladies. He’s totes taken. 💕]