Personal Relationships and Business Support

Solo entrepreneurship can be a lonely journey and if you have a non-supportive spouse or significant other, it can feel even lonelier. Lately I’ve seen a greater number of brand new small business owners, who feel as though they are all on their own, even though they are in relationship.  Conflict between the man and the woman

Even if you are not presently in a personal partnership you may feel the need to seek relationship support from close friends and family members. In either case you may be been surprised by what appears to be the lack of unconditional support.

When I was building an entrepreneurial business 14 years ago, I was married with two young teenagers. During the business development stage, I was working over 70 hours weekly and telling myself the classic workaholic’s lie. “I’m doing it for them.”

It might make you feel better to rationalize your non-supportive behavior, but if you are anything like I was, deep within, you understand that being an absentee spouse and parent is not doing anything for them. Furthermore, you are mostly doing it for you and it’s okay to admit that truth.

If you need relationship help now, you’ll still need it while building your business but then there will even more pressure on all fronts. Everyone is familiar with a couple that tried to solve their relationship problems by having a baby. Did it work for the couple you knew? No? Then why would birthing a new business improve your relationship?

Here’s another big lie.

It’s not personal, it’s only business.  Donald Trump

Everything is personal! When Trump and others use that line, they are only trying to justify less than human behavior.

You and the actions you take are the main reason why your business succeeds or fails. If your life sucks then your business results will suck.

If you have weak personal relationships that drain your energy, then your focus will be lacking. Without a strong focus, your decision-making, personal productivity and inspired actions will all suffer.

If you don’t have strong spousal support or unconditional support in your close relationships, you first need to understand them from their perspective.

When a life partner cautiously advises you not to venture out on your own, they are not questioning your ability or resolve to succeed.

They are only speaking from the perspective of their own fears.

They could fear having less time with you. Your initiative could be forcing them to face their own fears of success, of failure or of never being authentically fulfilled in their work. And of course they could be thinking about having less money and how that affects the household budget.

Good personal relationships are essential to making good business decisions. If you are fighting battles both at home and in the marketplace, you will lose on both fronts.

My first coaching  certification was in relationship building and more and more it’s my relationship coaching skills that come into play first, with my small business clients.
If you’re considering starting a small business, first repair or end non-supportive relationships.

You might enjoy these tips for a confident career change.

Remember this brilliance in the face of relationship problems.

I’m never upset for the reasons I think I am.  Eckhart Tolle

What relationship challenges do you need to understand greater, in order to build your business with less resistance?

What adjustments need to be made in your relationship with you, so that you are more grounded and your business is more supported?

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Support Resource:

Request a free Confidently Make the Leap, strategy session to get really clear on how and when to make your move.


  1. I can only imagine this would be detrimental to your business and your life. My wife Tina is super supportive, which makes it that much easier to concentrate on the work at hand. In the past I have been in relationships that were less supportive, and I remember the drain of energy clearly! Even though at the time I was employed in a corporation, my talk was of entrepreneurship, and I was told to “be realistic” – that is draining even if you feel you are right in your thinking.

    Jays last blog post..The Sunday Ponder

  2. Hi Tom…

    What you write works both ways I suppose or maybe in all things, balance.

    For me, I have been without a commited partner in awhile, and I love the independence of owning my time and decisions…but I must say that sometimes it would be nice to have someone hold me up once in a while…as I said, balance is key.

    Thanks for another great post, Tom!

    Henies last blog post..ISayUSay Has Retired – Please Welcome “The WriteShots!”

  3. Trey - Swollen Thumb Entertainment says

    Before I got married, I made it very clear that I was a man of great ambitions, and that a relationship with me was going to involve many sacrifices in time, energy, and even money. My wife, Julia understands that. Sometimes, it’s not easy. We’ve come to a point where financial troubles often put a burden on our lives, and cause stress. When I say that I am putting so much of my energy into building Swollen Thumb Entertainment, and I’m doing it “for us” I don’t feel like that’s a lie.

    I make it a point not to plug my posts unless they actually have something to do with what I’m commenting on. With that in mind, I touched on something similar in my post, “Don’t Ask For Permission” a few days ago. I mention that you need to go for what you want, and if anyone in your life is trying to hold you back, to not let them. There’s only two reasons why someone would not want you to fulfill your dreams. Either they are jealous of you, or they are afraid of you.

    So if your spouse is jealous of you, maybe they don’t want you to succeed? Maybe they want to be the one who brings value to the marriage, or the income. Perhaps they want a one-sided marriage?

    If your spouse is afraid of you, maybe they’re afraid that you “settled” for them and if you become succesful, then you will leave them for someone else. Maybe this is also an issue of dominance. Your spouse may not like feeling inferior to others.

    Of course, you have to look in the mirror, and ask yourself if you still are contributing to the marriage. You can’t blame your spouse for everything. In a marriage, you must work together on things, and make compromises and sacrifices, which requires energy and effort from BOTH people.

  4. Great post, I do not know what I would do without the support of my husband. He has, since the very beginning giving me the support love and pep talks I needed, to help me to accomplish my desires doing what I do. He is my biggest supportoer and I am his. Bravo for writing a post about the unsung heroes and sheroes.

    Coryelle Kramer~Animal Communicators last blog post..Bach Flowers For Animals: Spotlight On Honeysuckle

  5. In the movie Bread and Chocolates, there’s a line that smacked me: “Madam, your husband is not a connoisseur of your soul.” I hear from people all the time who are in relationships with someone who isn’t a connoisseur of their soul. You’ve offered some wonderful suggestions for dealing with that.

    And, of course, anyone moving into the entrepreneurial life needs to connect with kindred spirits. Entrepreneurs really do think–and talk–differently.

  6. 100% with you – everything is personal!
    It all starts with personal values. What you value the most?
    What business is most important – rising happy family or making few more bucks?
    It took too long to realize it – but now I know it deeply, family business is first. then all the rest
    Loved the topic a lot, good stuff!

  7. Chris Edgar | Purpose Power Coaching says

    Thanks for this post. Another way to say this might be that the way you do business, or relationships, or skiing, or whatever, is the way you do everything — if there are places where you feel afraid or inadequate, those are probably showing up all over your life. But the good news seems to be that if we address an issue in one area we deal with it in all of them.

    Chris Edgar | Purpose Power Coachings last blog post..Inner Productivity, Part Two: Reuniting “Work” And “Life”

  8. Hi Tom,
    I think you are right on target without support things are always harder. Be it business or family matters it all the same support makes life flow and work.We all know when we are being supported and when we are not. And when we have families our family must come first always then work. Tensions always blow over into other areas of our life its just the nature of our being.Having a support system is always what gets you through it all. Each of these can really affect the other in good and bad ways.
    Great Topic! Not all people put their family first I sure have learned that through out the years.

  9. Jay – Outstanding man! You enjoy the support of a loving woman. Keep counting that blessing. It’s worth a lot!

    Barbara – Wow. Thanks for that movie line. Powerful! I agree no one is qualified to pass judgment on our soul’s desires. You’re right about who you hang out with. All entrepreneurs are always welcome here!

    Alik – Glad you can now see the importance of family as well. I guess some of us need to experience the pain first to wake up.

    Diane – Welcome. You’ve hit on the key. I’m grateful that family is always there, regardless of our less than supportive behavior. When the chips are down, family comes through. But that support does need to be cultivated.

  10. I could not have started my business 3 years ago because I had too much turmoil in my family. Now that has settled, the time is just right to get it all going. My life is settled, my marriage is good, and my enthusiasm is pumped up.

    My hub has been supportive. His biggest worry was the 50% cut in our income while I got the ball rolling. He is relaxing a bit as now I am paying myself some (although not what I was making).

    The hub has an MBA and I find my biggest challenge is receiving unsolicited business advice from him that I decide not to take. He almost scolds me for not doing things his way. I ignore him and go on. He can’t stand me not hanging on his every word about business and following his advice to the letter. I have done some of the things he suggests but I have to run it the way I feel good about and he doesn’t have the whole picture either.

  11. Ricardo Bueno says

    It’s been my experience that the love, support and tremendous amount of help that you get from friends and loved one’s really DOES go a long way. It will literally make or break you and it will hold you through those tough and down times (and believe me, there’s a lot of ’em sometimes). There’s nothing wrong with going it alone, but…when you have that support, it’s easier to get up from the falls that you take.

    Ricardo Buenos last blog post..Answer the Phone!

  12. Evelyn Lim says

    You are certainly making a lot of sense. When things at home are in a turmoil, I can hardly concentrate at work. My husband won’t let me either. He is even more of a believer than me in that family is the core foundation of all relationships. If we don’t get our personal life in order, it is possible that our business life can suffer greatly.

  13. I’m so happy to see you connected personal and professional – I very much believe that if we personally are not “in order” our business affairs cannot be in order either.

    My husband is so supportive – I wouldn’t be on my own without him. I almost have the opposite problem – too much support. My husband is a coach and sometimes I feel like the lines are blurred between his role as husband and his coaching. He’s very good as a coach and he’s very entrepreneurial in his thinking. Sometimes when I talk about my business I want him to be my husband, not my coach! We joke about it often. I count my blessings every day.

  14. The distinction between professional and personal is an illusion as I see it. On the other hand relationships are strengthened by respecting secrets.

    I’m lucky, my partner is supportive – not so with others, but it is my partner that matters most.

    I guess an extension of this is finding ways to get time off fairly quickly. When dealing with an emotional crisis it is hard to do good work – and they can come along very quickly. So if we can find ways to take time off quickly I think this is great.

    Evans last blog post..Belief, Certainty and Agreement

  15. Giovanna Garcia says

    Hi Tom

    My husband and I started our first business 14 years ago, and I must say. We were in it 50/50. It was still hard to work together and live together. We spend the first 2 years find out how to work with each other, and it was the best thing we ever done.

    Not only have we had the support of each other but the respect of how to work with each other. We have run a few corporations together and you know what? Nobody watches you’re back better than your other half (if you have a great relationship).

    Great information, you are right about making sure you do repair, rebuild whatever it take to make sure you have the support. Business is tough as it is, home is where you go for support.

    Giovanna Garcia
    Imperfect Action is better than No Action

  16. LifeMadeGreat | Juliet says

    Hi Tom

    This is so true. Both my boyfriend and I have been in relationships that have not supported moving out of the typical corporate role. It is very difficult and I don’t think it ultimately works.

    Perhaps if you are exceptionally successful almost immediately things won’t fall apart, but then maybe something else similar will cause disruptions down the line.

    I am very glad you have raised this point as it is not something that is typically addressed.

    Partners need to have similar values and if these do not marry, there can be problems…


    LifeMadeGreat | Juliets last blog post..Overcoming The Barriers Of Introversion: Starting The Process

  17. It’s not easy working hard to get a business off the ground. Most of us do it to create a better future. The problem is the present moment suffers.

    It’s about understanding our needs. If we need to rest we need to accept this and take a break.

    Karl Staib – Work Happy Nows last blog post..Your Big Dream for This Year

  18. Hi Tom,

    There is much to be said for travelling light – I’m on my own and this makes decisions on where to spend my time and energies a lot simpler. Like Henie says, the corollary to this is that I don’t get the ideas input and emotional support that we all sometimes need when pursuing individual goals.

    I like the way you address issues that impact us all so honestly and ask the questions that need to be asked.

    Daphnes last blog post..The Gift of Community

  19. Remembering that our friends and family may have their own fears around our business ventures is very important. As you said “they are not questioning your ability or resolve to succeed” they are just exhibiting their own inner fears.

    Stacey / Create a Balances last blog post..Celebrate Your Life Friday! 1.30.09 (winners, online retreat, and more)

  20. Jewelicious says

    Thank you so much for your post, it helped me to analyze our relationship. The thing is that i and my partner are in totally different kind of businesses, and have nothing in common what concerns our businesses.He just opened his office, and his talks about everyday business routine makes me bored, because i can not give any advice and can only listen. It seems that he spends too much time on his new “toy”and i feel a kind of offended.
    Which kind of teleclasses would be beneficiary for me?

  21. Hey Tom

    > If your life sucks then your business results will suck.
    You have a way with words and I agree.

    I’m a fan of “fix time, flex scope.” Basically, I set a fixed amount of time and then, work as effectively as I can to deliver incremental value within the timebox.

    To balance things out, I also set a minimum amount of time in other hot spots like body, relationships, and fun.

    J.D. Meiers last blog post..Avoid Mental Burnout

  22. Hi Tom – What a great post. Tying the two worlds of business and personal together is SO important. They definitely affect each other.

    I agree with what J.D. said. We do have to find a balance between work and relationships. Failing to do so could lead to real lonely life at the top.

    Barbara Swaffords last blog post..SEO – Are We Getting It All Wrong

  23. Henie – I love my independence as well. Yet I think it’s possible to garner great support from longtime associates who believe in your mission. I’ve received lots of unconditional support that way. But we do need to be clear and ask for it.

    Trey – Welcome. I don’t see the fear you speak of, in my coaching practice as often. More often the non-entrepreneurial partner fears more for themselves, as you mention when you commented about folks being fearful they’d be left behind. I’m glad you were very clear about expectations before your marriage – that’s a sound move for all.

    Laurie – Yes it’s your business and you need to be the main decision-maker. Sounds like you and your husband would benefit from agreeing to some boundaries around your work.

    Coryelle – Welcome. I’m happy that you are blessed with a supportive husband.

    Chris – I love the way you stated this realization so positively.
    Absolutely address any fear or issue well and the ripple affect blesses all areas. Love it!

    Stacey S. – Wow, that’s a pretty cool problem to have. As a coach I can relate. Sometime my daughters need Dad and sometimes they need me as coach. The challenge comes in correctly knowing when to be the support they need.

    Evan. That’s well said. Sounds like you know when to listen to your body and take that break. We can always feel, center and return refreshed.

    Karl – Yep the present moment is so powerful and the allure of the future enticing. That’s why I keep ingesting regular doses of Tolle to remind me to simply be now.

    Ricardo – I agree man. In the toughest times we can always count a a few bothers and sisters to remind us that we are loved.

    Evelyn – Yes and isn’t it nuts how we need to keep re-learning that lesson? Here’s the biggie – do not avoid addressing things. Address them early and often. Avoidance always makes things worse.

    Giovanna – Welcome. I love to hear these kinds of stories. You and your husband stuck it and did the work necessary to co-exist in business. Powerful I’d like to try that with a women some day. 🙂

    Juliet – Yes. Not only do we need similar values but we need to be very clear and honest regarding requirements and expectations. That’s where the friction usually surfaces.

    J.D. – I always enjoy reading your comments because they drip with authenticity. You, for one are, able to compartmentalize and follow-through. Many have never exercised the necessary discipline to do so. Congratulations!

    Barbara – Yep and not only will it be lonely that way but it won’t be much of a life either.

    Jewelicious – The challenge you presented will be addressed in the group coaching experience that I have scheduled for Feb. 18. Communicating among partners with different objectives can improve with the right tools. Hope you can make it. Sign up here.

  24. Hi Tom: That line from Eckhart Tolle is also in “A Course in Miracles”. It’s a delicate balance because on the one hand you want to give a new business that you’re starting out on your own everything you’ve got, but on the other hand relationships need time and attention or they can wither. I remember when I lived in the US I was attending a seminar where a woman stood up and explained that her husband had let her know when he opened his solo practice that at first he would be absent most weekends because he would be hard at work. So she started developing closer relationships with her female friends and would spend her weekends hanging out with them. When her husband’s practice took off and he wanted to spend more time with her, she didn’t want to alter her weekend plans with her friends.

    Marelisas last blog post..Five Creativity Videos on YouTube

  25. Ian Peatey says

    Thank you so much, Tom, for raising this Donald Trump quote

    “It’s not personal, it’s only business”

    My ex-boss used this line on me about 10 years ago in the process of making me redundant from a job I’d given my heart and soul to (not to mention 9 years of my life). I was more upset about that than about losing my job. I wanted it to be personal, I wanted to be recognised as a human being, not as an expensive ‘headcount’ that needed to be taken out of the numbers.

    I didn’t get that respect from my boss, but I did get it from the person I was sharing my life with. That made all the difference to then successfully setting out on my own. Without her support I probably could have done it, but it would have been so much harder.

    Great post

  26. Donald Trump may have money and fame but his personal relationships seem to be rocky. The way he treats “the small people” isn’t very good either. He is not my idea of how I would want to succeed in business or life.

    I loved the Eckhart Tolle quote too. Marelisa, thanks for letting us know that it comes from A Course In Miracles. One of these days, I will have to sit down and study that.

    Tom, this article truly shows the spiritual maturity that you have in business and your relationships. Thanks for sharing that maturity with us.

    Patricia – Spiritual Journey Of A Lightworkers last blog post..Fear Is My Friend

  27. Lorraine Cohen says

    Amen Tom

    I just returned from Christine Kloser’s Freedom Formula Experience in LA that combined spiritual principles and business practices for conscious entrepreneurs. One of the messages repeated throughout the 5 days was how imperative it is to have support from personal and business connections to be at your best – prosperous and happy.

    Hey – check out my new video – I say YES!


  28. “I’m never upset for the reasons I think I am.” Eckhart Tolle

    How true:)

    Home based business has so many pluses, sometimes I forget the negatives- The Net has changed for me what being a solopreneur is. When I first left safe secure employment to set up my own business I never had the support I now have from being part of this wonderful world of blogging. twitter, stumble etc
    I also feel very blessed in having a life and business partner that support me- yes we do have challenges, but so few after 20 years.

    thank you for making me think about how blessed and abundant my life is


    Suzie Cheels last blog post..Abundance Cafe: 1 February 2009

  29. Stop writing about me! 🙂 This issue has been bugging me for months. I’ve come to the point many, many times where I want to make the break. I’ve been so close to opening my mouth to say the words and then my breath stops. We broke up a year ago and got back together months later. I should have known better!

    Davinas last blog post..Shopping for Effective Attitudes

  30. Hi Tom,
    The personal relationships really can make or break our professional goals. I look at my own relationship with my wife – and that is a key to my success or failure professionally. Without her support and buy in — without the backing of my family — it’s not worth it. I have a commitment to them as well. One that is a two-way street. Without that in place, my professional successes mean much less…

    Great stuff to think about Tom. Reminds me to not forget to focus on the relationship I have going on at home…

    Lances last blog post..Sunday Thought For The Day

  31. Mare – Thanks for pointing out The Course in Miracles reference. Now I’m not sure who did not give attribution to whom. Either way it’s a powerful line of recognition. Yes, in my relationship coaching I saw many cases of the guy taking what he had for granted and then waking up far too late. Hopefully some guys will read this.

    Ian – I can only imagine the anger that stupid line would have caused in that situation. I’m happy you’ve risen above it with the support of a loving partner.

    Patricia – I never got the Trump appeal either. His books seem full of hype and empty platitudes. Thanks for your kind words of recognition.

    Lorraine – I’m happy to see the basic concept of support spreading so much. Congrats, now you’re a video and a radio star!

    Suzie – Absolutely, the support may be virtual but it’s real in how it feels.

    Davina – I feel for you. yet there is a part of you who knows that sweet taste of freedom. We must create a vacuum in our relationships so that the right folks are free to find us. You know this.

    Lance – You display much of your big heart online so I’m sure that your wife and kids get their share. But proactive cultivation in every relationship is essential.

    Reading about so many of you who do have healthy relationships makes me wonder if bloggers do it better? 🙂

  32. Hey Tom,

    As we discussed a bit when we spoke earlier, the first thing to be aware of is yourself and what you may not be seeing in the other person. It’s easy to get offended and not realize what may be going on with them that may be causing their actions or words. Usually they are not trying to hurt you but are reflecting back their own insecurities and issues.

    As the wonderful Barbara Winter commented above (Hi Babs!), entrepreneurs truly do act, speak and see things differently. If your significant other isn’t of that mindset, it is not always going to be easy to make it work–but it can.

    Christine | Communicate Values last blog post..How Can Twitter Benefit Me as a Small Business Owner?

  33. Wow what a terrific post. I couldn’t agree more. Having spousal, significant other or any loved ones support makes managing business difficulties so much easier.

    The first thing I do when I doubt myself is talk to my fiancee about it. She trusts my judgment and knows that I sometimes worry too much, so she knows just what to say to make me feel better.

    We often neglect to combine the elements of our personal lives with our business lives because they seem different and separate, but the undeniable truth is that the two effect each other in very monumental ways.

    Enlisting the support of our loved ones can do so much for our resolve and stamina in running a business, working or plowing through any rough patches.

    That said, I just loved what you said here:

    “Everything is personal! When Trump and others use that line, they are only trying to justify less than human behavior.”

    I have nothing to elaborate on this quote…it’s just so true. 🙂

    Matt Thomass last blog post..Maximize the Value of Your Business by Mastering the Basics

  34. Christine – That’s a powerful understanding. Language and mindset greatly influence the effectiveness of communication.

    Matt – I admire your fiancee for being wise enough to give your the verbal support you need to feel better. “Feelings First” ought to be an accepted mantra for good business building.

  35. People who say “don’t go into business with friends/family” should add, “if one of you is a jerk and/or does not know how to communicate.” Don’t you want to work with your friends? Don’t you hope you enjoy most or all of your co-workers / employees? Relationships are everything, and communication is THE thing you need to master. That’s why I created – to support couples in communicating better. But I’ve also used it with professional relationships – and cleared up an amazing amount of stuff in a really short period of time. Learn to be a great communicator and life is so very much easier!

  36. Bill – Absolutely, communication is essential for good relationships. What goes unsaid can hurt us deeply and what gets misunderstood is just as critical.

    Readers – Love Pong is a great communications tool for building powerful relationships. Right now, in the beta stage, it’s even free.
    Give it a shot – it works well!

  37. The one thing that many people who have never worked for themselves don’t understand is that just because we don’t leave the house, it doesn’t mean we’re not working. Just because there is no (or little) income coming in at the moment, it doesn’t mean we aren’t putting in long days. That means dishes don’t get done, beds don’t get made and that’s okay.

    99% of the time this issue never comes up, but sometimes it can cause significant tension if the couple isn’t aware of the thought-biases.

    Fortunately although my boyfriend just doesn’t “get” what I do, he understands that I work very hard and provides me with lots of support even if he has no idea what he’s supporting. 😉

    Alex Fayle | Someday Syndromes last blog post..Girls Aloud give us all a kick in the pants

  38. Alex -You raise an excellent point. It seems as though the work at home solopreneur is always relegated to meet the workmen, UPS drivers and every other darn visitor as well be available for any number of errands just because our time is our own. The understanding you speak of is essential to support. Glad you’d got it.

  39. @Alex- You hit a nerve with me when you said that people think we are not working when we are home. Wit my business, I present at schools but when I haven’t a presentation, I am working on my business at home. My mother-in-law loves to tell me on those days I am not in a school that I can be a lady of leisure that day. I want to pinch her head off as I have told her many times I am not being a lady of leisure but working. Her problem is she has no respect for what I am doing so she goes for that button and pushes it hard all the time. Needless to say, I don’t have the best relationship with her and really don’t care to develop one. Sad though….

  40. I’m a fine example of a business failing because the energy at home was draining me so substantially. It became a terrible cycle spiralling downward: upset by an argument over time management, I’d make a bad business decision that would hurt our pocket book that would cause another argument.

    I’ve stepped out of the business and the marriage and am starting all over again with full support and things are much eaiser, even as I struggle with the residue of the old stuff.

    Kip de Molls last blog post..Hot chocolate

  41. I completely agree with what you’re saying. I have a very supportive husband.
    He’s believed in me and what I’m doing so it definitely works out.
    It’s very sad that so many spouses don’t understand how hard it is to make it online. So much to learn and do.
    I’m so glad you’re bringing this up for everyone to discuss and become more conscious of.
    All the best,

  42. Laurie – Since you aren’t going to pinch her head off. Why not ask her if she intends to be insulting? Seek to understand, it’s a powerful action.

    Kip – I did the same thing brother. Sometimes we need to remove ourselves from the painful relationship in order to create what we want. I respect your decision to create your own freedom.

    Eren – Welcome. By sharing your gratitude for the support you receive, you will actually increase it. Good for you.

  43. @Tom: Good idea. I will give it a go. Thanks!

  44. Hi Tom- thanks for the welcome =)
    What you said is very true. So many people aren’t grateful for what they have and don’t express it to each other.
    Life is so short- we need to tell our loved ones how much we appreciate them and all that they do for us.
    Blessings to you,

    Eren- homemaking mentors last blog post..Christian Children’s Story: The arrival of Johnny’s Baby Brother

  45. how about you and your partner each start a business and become competitiors. bond through duals. love and war.

    robs last blog post..Dear Friend

  46. we can’t deny about relationship. Many people out there with many and different characteristic. We have to welcome for people to make grow up our business. the first time maybe we talk about business and the second is talk about LOVE… Who knows

    prasetios last blog post..Men’s Select More Like Smart Women


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