Dear Amy: My wife is a wonderful person who has left nursing after more than 10 years, due to burn-out and differences with our medical industry.
She is looking for a new path and for two years has pursued life coaching and is looking into other business opportunities.
While she has many strong attributes, being a natural entrepreneur is not one of them.
I want to be supportive, but it’s hard watching my loved one spin her wheels pursuing dead-end ventures.
This hasn’t affected us financially yet, but that’s on the horizon. For instance, we both may be looking to leverage our equity for a business loan soon.
I already have partners, a business plan, and contracts and customers lined up, and I just don’t see the potential in her business ideas (I say ideas because there is no business plan).
How can I be supportive?
Dear Husband: In an honest, earnest relationship, it should not be necessary to endorse every idea your partner has in order to be supportive. Nor is it wise — in the name of being supportive — to go into debt to fund a business idea that isn’t yet viable, even on paper.
Sometimes, being a frank and honest broker — and offering to talk things through and provide considerate feedback — is the best way to be supportive.
Accurate statistics on the failure rate of new businesses are a little squishy (depending in part on how “failure” is defined), but the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that 24 percent of businesses failed in the first year, and 48 percent didn’t make it past the second year, pre-pandemic.
(It is also safe to assume that many small businesses that don’t fail don’t actually turn a profit for many months.)
If you and your wife are prepared for the downside and your family can afford to fund two entrepreneurial ventures (one or both of which may fail), then you might be able to endorse one another’s dreams without question. But a failure in this regard would prove a huge strain on your financial future, as well as your relationship.
I suggest that you and your wife might want to “pitch” to each other in a scheduled and formalized setting (even if it is at your kitchen table), presenting your ideas, plans, and market research, followed by a frank discussion about the pros and cons of each business. She critiques your plan, you critique hers, and you both discuss – as a team.
You should also discuss the impact of your startups on your household expenses, such as housing costs and health insurance.
Dear Amy: “Loving Husband” said his wife wanted to start a business but that, though she has many strong attributes, “being a natural entrepreneur is not one of them.”
I believe the couple would benefit from the free assistance of their local SCORE chapter.
SCORE (score.org) is a resource partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration with the nation’s largest network of volunteer, expert business mentors.
Dear Mentor: During this period of economic and personal “churn,” the help and advice offered by SCORE is invaluable.
Seekers can be paired with volunteer mentors by entering their ZIP code on the website.
Kudos for what you and other volunteer mentors do for budding entrepreneurs.