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In this post, I am going to teach you some tips for how to navigate relationships as an entrepreneur. This can be tricky, but having solid relationships in our life is so important for our success and just our overall well being.
If you have ever experienced turmoil in your relationships since becoming self employed, know that you are not alone. I am the first person in my family to become a business owner. I am so blessed to have such supportive parents, but I know there have been decisions I made that they were not always on board with.
With my Fiance, it’s been a whole different kind of experience! Tyler was actually a business owner himself. Which was totally attractive to me because we were like two peas in a pod. However when you have two business people in a room, things can be really good or really bad. Let’s just say we have had our share of both!
You May Have To Defend Your Decisions
It is always okay to ask the people in your life for support. Deep down no matter what, they want to be there for you. But when you are doing something that may be a little risky or a leap of faith, get ready to defend your decisions.
Making bold moves can be extremely scary, but when you can feel it in your gut that it’s the right decision you have to just go for it! My suggestion when making a big decision is to have all the backup responses already in your head. Think about what hesitations your family members may have and what questions they are going to ask. The more confident you are, the more likely they will be to get behind you.
Have a plan A, and a plan B. One of their biggest concerns is going to be that they don’t want to see you fail, so let them know that you already have a plan in place in case you do! If you are able to sit down and really address all their concerns chances are you will get up from that table with their support or at least feeling better than you did before.
Navigate Relationships By Setting Boundaries
You need to be able to set boundaries in your relationships and in your business to craft some type of work / life balance. This one is huge and I really got hit hard with this one when me and Tyler first started dating. Pretty much every relationship I had been in before Tyler was long distance. I had so much time to work on my business 24/7. When I met Tyler and he moved out to California to be with me, that was a big change.
I was used to spending evenings alone and editing or answering emails on my laptop all night. He wanted to (of course) spend quality time with me and have my full undivided attention.
It actually took me a while to really grasp this, because the way I saw it, if we were watching a movie together sitting on the couch, why did it matter if I had my laptop in front of me or not? I was still physically there with him, right?
After some time and a few discussions, I realized that it wasn’t about whether or not I was physically there. I needed to be emotionally and mentally there too.
If you are single or don’t struggle with this in a relationship or marriage, you may struggle with boundaries in other areas like friendships or parents, siblings, etc.
You probably started this business to have more flexibility in your life, and to be able to spend less time in work. Right? Never forget your why behind your business and what got you here in the first place.
If you do need some actionable steps on how to set navigate relationships with boundaries, try this:
- try turning off your notifications on your phone so that every time you get an email or a Instagram DM it isn’t automatically notifying your phone
- Put yourself on an actual schedule, work from 9-5 like you would any other job (or whatever those times look like for you) and stick to it. When the time comes to close your laptop for the night, close it and switch your brain over to home mode. Be present with your spouse, or even just yourself to do something you enjoy for the rest of the evening
- Sleep with your phone in another room. If you cannot seem to shut down your brain at night or if you find yourself checking your phone first thing in the morning, then try sleeping with it in another room.
Don’t Keep Them In The Dark
Another way to navigate relationships as a business owner is to not keep people in the dark with what you are working on. Your family and friends want to support you, even if they don’t fully understand or agree with what you are doing.
A mistake I used to make was never talking about what I did for a living almost out of embarrassment. Which is silly because it is something I love so much and am so proud of creating. But I was always worried my friends and family would just think it was some “cute” side hustle and not a career.
When you leave people out of the loop it can create weird tension. You will get upset if they don’t support you, but in reality they don’t even know what to support you on.
I will say though, there are exceptions to this rule. If you have already tried to open the doors to your business to someone close in your life and they were not open to the idea then do not force it on them.
Maybe try just sharing your successes and milestones to show them that you are succeeding at what you set out to do.
Navigate Relationships By Being Honest
Typically there are busy and slow seasons as an entrepreneur. We know that to be true, but it can be really frustrating when others do not.
A trap I would put myself in a lot is not communicating how busy I actually was in business, or even if I did, I would try to play it off like I was not stressed out. And this did a few things. I found that a lot of people would say things like “oh you are self employed you can just take the day off right?” when they wanted me to go do something. And no matter how much I was drawing, I would still go.
This changed a lot over the years because projects got bigger and I was taking more and more on my plate. When I would just drop everything to go hang out with friends, I would actually get more burned out because all I could do was think about how I should be working. I would feel guilty about not being glued to my desk to finish a client project.
So just remember, this is a job, and they need to understand that sometimes you cannot do things because you have to get work done. But you also need to tell them what you expect of them, otherwise how will they ever know?
Going along with that, be honest with people on what you need from them during these seasons. If things are getting really busy for you and you need your husband to make dinners for the next week, then tell him! I know you think you are superwoman, but even heroes need help too!
Take Time Off
At the end of the day I think the best way to navigate relationships as an entrepreneur is to have open communication, be honest, and be intentional about taking time off. You are not a working robot machine, you became self employed to be able to spend more time with the ones you love, so never lose sight of that.
From ArielManciu: Feb. 21 2021
“I’m so glad I stumbled across Sarah! For one she is so entertaining and speaks such truth and great info! Also being a fellow business woman, photographer, Christian, and Navadan I just really enjoy everything she has to share! Really fills my cup so I can pour into others!”
I'm Sarah Elrod
I'm a Cowgirl turned serial entrepreneur.
I'm a horse trainer, western wedding photographer, business coach and ranch wife.
I help women in the western industry grow thriving businesses from rural America.
When I am not strategizing new marketing tactics, you will find me riding my horses, cuddling my cattle dog, or kissing my hot husband.
There is also a good chance I am buying way too many outfits from western boutiques.
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