Do you consult with your partner whenever there are big decisions to be made? Most people do. That’s part of being in a relationship. You’re partners in life, so life decisions are made together, because they affect both of you.
If you are employed by someone else, do you consult with your partner on big decisions you need to make at work, about work?
You might, or you might not. It probably depends on the nature of the decision. If it’s one you have the luxury of contemplating for a while, you might discuss it at home with your partner, using him or her as a sounding board. Then you’ll make your decision and implement it.
The point is, there’s a big difference between a life decision, and a work decision.
With a work decision, you are the one with the knowledge and expertise, and you are the one who is responsible for creating a successful outcome from your decision. So even though you may use your partner as a sounding board, you retain the power to make the ultimate decision on what you’re going to do.
When you own your own business, a business decision is exactly the same as a work decision. One of the biggest mistakes I see newer self-employed experts or coaches make is to confuse which type of decision they’re making when it comes to their business, particularly when it comes to investing in their business.
This confusion shows up the most when interacting with their partner. They often will treat a business decision as though it were a life decision.
It’s understandable. In order to invest in a business before it becomes self-sustaining, or even sometimes when it is self-sustaining, it’s necessary to use funds from another source. It’s that challenge which often creates the confusion.
Because using money from another source is usually considered a life decision, and affects your partner. But creating a successful business is like making a decision at work. You are the one who understands your business, your expertise, and what needs to happen in order for you to be successful.
You are the one who understands that a business, unlike working for someone else, needs to be invested in to succeed. And you are the one who is following your heart, doing what fulfills you, and taking a stand for your dream. And you carry the responsibility for creating a successful outcome from your decisions.
It’s tricky, isn’t it?
What stand do you take? Do you give your partner the power to veto your decisions? What if it’s about investing? Do you give your partner equal power based on the fact that it’s his or her money too?
Or do you retain the power and respectfully take the stand that although you would like his or her blessing, this is your business, you understand what is needed to succeed, and you know you need to do it?
If your partner is “on board,” it’s not going to matter. But sometimes he (or she) isn’t on board. He doesn’t understand the concept of investing, and looks at it as an expense.
Or, she wants to see your business make money first, before investing more in it.
This one is really tough, because there are often two important investments that need to be made for a successful business: the investment in your expertise itself (for example, learning how to coach), and the investment in your business (learning how to create a successful business).
A partner who doesn’t understand the difference will often take the “make money first” stand, when it comes time to invest in the business part. That’s like telling someone because they have a hammer now, they should be able to build a house.
In the end, only you can decide how you are going to approach your business decisions. But consider this: if your business is your path to your heart’s desire, how would it benefit your relationship for you to achieve that heart’s desire?
And how might it affect your relationship if you don’t?