Why I Asked My Husband For “Pocket Money” While I Built My Business
As an independent woman, determined to be equal in every way to my husband Mark, we more or less earned the same and split all expenses down the middle.
However, I was miserable in corporate life and while Mark loved his job – I couldn’t wait to get out of mine, but it was stressful making no money from my business and we couldn’t afford to live on one salary.
So I sucked it up, but the frustration made me crabby. The first time I quit my job, I had no idea what business I should do, but I thought the freedom from my job would motivate me.
I ended up in crappy temp jobs like supervising exams to earn money. The pressure to succeed from scratch was killing my creativity and I really didn’t have a plan… or a savings cushion.
The second time, I eased gently out of work, going part-time so I still had a wage coming in while I refined my business and honed my writing skills. I really recommend this rather than quitting your job before you have your business idea sorted.
So when it was time to make the leap into full-time entrepreneurship, I sat down to have a serious money conversation with my husband.
This is how it went…
“Honey – from the 1st January, I’m doing my business full time. For the first six months, you’ll pay all the bills and you’ll give me an “allowance” of $200 a week to use however I want.
I’m doing this so I can build a business that works when we have kids in the future and so I can be happier in myself.
Are you cool with that?”
Yes, it kind of sounded like I told him, rather than asked him but I knew it was time – and I had to propose something drastic, otherwise life would have continued with me frustrated and waiting for the stars to align, or for someone else to give me permission.
I needed the stability without the stress to make my business happen and so I asked for it.
The first month working for myself, I earned $225 from coaching. Hardly a full time wage, but it was THRILLING. I think I spent a big chunk of it on some celebratory champagne.
Next month, I doubled my income (WOW) and kept on doubling it almost every month.YIPPEE. Pretty soon, I no longer needed my “allowance” but Mark still covered all of our bills… and he still does.
My income changes week to week. So he makes sure we can pay our rent and I can do things like buy us a new car and pay for my laser eye surgery in cash. Niiice.
Getting over the guilt
Working for myself was so crucially important to me but I felt incredibly guilty at first when Mark went off to work each day. However, I realise that he LOVED his job and wanted me to be happy.
I knew I wasn’t hanging out watching Oprah in my PJs but my work was so fun that I felt almost guilty that I could earn money doing what I loved… what a concept, right?
Asking for help
If this article sparked something for you, maybe you could sit down with your significant other and have a similar conversation. If you need to cut expenditure like premium TV channels, dinners out or holidays – trust me, it will be worth it.
Share your dream for your business and enrol your husband in his part. He will be much more open if you’ve got a track record to share; a few clients, a regular schedule of blogging and a good social media profile. Asking for the time to “figure it out” is a bit unfair, unless you have a good financial cushion.
It could take 6-12 months for you to replace your full-time income, so the expectation is that your husband will cover the bills. Alternatively, you could use savings or downscale your life for a year.
The “pocket money” is crucial and it’s the part I missed the first time. It sucked having no money of my own and I felt incredibly guilty every time I spent a dollar on myself. The new arrangement meant that I could use my “allowance” any way I wanted, without guilt.
If you can’t afford that right now, negotiate cutting down your hours at work to take at least one day off while you build up your business income.
It’s unconventional and it will bring up a lot of fears and insecurities, but don’t wait for everything to be perfect.
Happy wife, happy life, right?
Life coach and author of Lucky Bitch
P.S I’d really appreciate if you shared this one around to your other entrepreneurial girlfriends. It’s important for us to be honest.