BLOVEDBiz: Surviving Marriage as a Wedding Pro
For many of us in the wedding industry, becoming an entrepreneur is something we fall into rather than a lifelong passion and desire. We have come from steady, corporate 9-5 careers and stumbled across a new path, usually after planning our own weddings. And while that’s super exciting and all-consuming, we can often forget that our new spouse isn’t quite on the same journey.
We talk about weddings day in day out, but not enough about what happens after the big day – especially when you add the pressure of a new business – surviving marriage (or any relationship) as a wedding pro can be tough!
In the midst of my marriage breakup I came across this post about surviving marriage to an entrepreneur. While my solopreneurship wasn’t actually the cause, the fact that the divorce rate among entrepreneurs is higher than the general public didn’t surprise me. it’s not just the long and unsociable hours, but the financial worries, always thinking & talking about work, the failures, the new ideas… It’s an entire lifestyle, and because of this it’s not one that everyone chooses.
Of course, many of us are super lucky to have supportive other-halves, the ones who are happy to look after the kids all weekend while you’re at ‘another’ wedding, drive vans, make backdrops, set up weddings and generally get involved in the ‘big stuff’. But they don’t always really understand what we do.
But over the past two years, I’ve become more aware of the relationship struggles we all face as ‘wedpreneurs’ and have had many conversations with struggling business owners about balancing the demands of a marriage and family life with business.
I’m sure you’ve all heard some of the following:
- You’re having too much fun
- It’s not work when you’re hanging out with friends
- When are you going to get a ‘real’ job?
- Your business is a great hobby
- Why haven’t you done the laundry/cleaned the bathroom/put dinner on? You’ve been at home all day
- You’re out again this weekend?
- But I’ve been at work all week…
- When are you going to get a steady income?
It’s not because your partner doesn’t want you to succeed, or pursue something you’re passionate about, or even that they don’t understand your vision; they just see you working so damn hard for so very little. They want to see you happy, but don’t know how to help you. So here are some of the things I’ve learnt that will help you smash those relationship goals and survive marriage as a wedding pro:
Building a successful and financially viable business isn’t going to happen overnight. It takes, on average, 3 years to get your business to a comfortable point – perhaps even longer if you are juggling working full-time or caring for young children. Even when you switch off your screen at the end of the night and crawl into bed next to your partner, you are still thinking about work. It’s never ending. You will need their unwavering support and belief, and they will need a lot of patience.
SHARE YOUR DREAMS
One of the toughest challenges for your other half is not really understanding WHY you’re pursuing this business dream, when you had a perfectly respectable and salaried job. If you can share your dreams with your partner, it will make it easier for them to come along on the journey, whether those are financial or lifestyle-based. Those shared dreams, whether they’re small ones like getting a cleaner, paid childcare or affording more date nights, or big ones like a new home, luxury holidays or even a move abroad, your dreams will give you both reason and purpose when you’re working late or have forgotten to stock the fridge (again!)
BE UP FOR THE CHALLENGE
You need support and encouragement, but there is nothing less supportive than a ‘yes’ man, who thinks everything you do is amazing and incredible and that the sun shines out of your a$*%.
Your partner is the best person to challenge you when they see you making choices or decisions that may not help you achieve the dreams you are working so hard for. Often it’s easier to see a problem from a distance, and being outside of your business but close to you will help your partner identify different ways of dealing with challenges in your business life. Your job is simply to listen to them and understand they are doing this for you!
WORK HARD, PLAY HARDER
The wedding industry is particularly tough when it comes to making time for your other half. During wedding season you’re busy with client projects in the day, client calls in the evenings and working at weddings over the weekends. It can seem impossible to make time for anything else!
Out of season it can be tempting to cram your diary with styled shoots, collaborative projects, wedding fairs, networking events and re-brands (which are all great!) but you also need to dedicate some family time – at least a date night with your partner and one family day per week, and a week or two holiday with your laptop and phone notifications switched off. Limit yourself on how much you can talk about business, and spend the rest simply making the most of being together.
In season, make sure you’re taking at least one day out each week, and don’t book weddings on too many consecutive weekends. At least one weekend a month off!!! Not only does your partner & family need to see you, but you also need some downtime away from the inevitable stress of weddings to make sure you don’t burn out.
So before wedding season hits, try and work some of these simple tips into daily routine and I hope they will help to build you a stronger business and marriage.