“Behind every great man, is a great woman.”
Awhile ago, we featured a post about the best ways that women support other women when they head into starting their own businesses. We explored how important authenticity, trust and finding common ground is to relating to other strong women and letting them support you. Of course, here at Make The Rest Up, while we are #badassbossladies, we LOVE the support of the men in our life. In fact, our biggest kickstarter supporters were men!
In the case of some of the successful business women I’ve had the pleasure of knowing, I’ve heard countless times that behind our success, is the support and trust from our partners! They help make sure we keep following our dreams in their own ways. We sat down with 2 couples, Nicole of Nicole Ryan Photography and Natasha, our founder, and asked them and their spouses each to submit their answers separately about what starting their businesses meant to them. Here’s what they had to share with us!
In what ways does your significant other help your business succeed?
Nicole: Josh, my husband, helps my business in a million tiny ways, but the biggest is as a second pair of eyes. Whether it's helping me create and customize pricing that works for my clients and my business (his sales background is a major help there), or simply aiding in crafting a challenging email, he is an incredible sounding board and right hand man at Nicole Ryan Photography.
Josh: Mainly as a brainstorming partner and sounding board. Nicole is always looking to make her clients happy, and sometimes looks to me for advice around how to best approach a unique client situation (pricing, special accommodations, communication challenges). We also think, together, about how to best grow her brand while balancing the enjoyment her work.
Natasha: John has been the rock behind my entire career. Besides relocating 4 times for my career, he has always cheered me on when I come up with new ideas. When he discovered my "secret" Youtube beauty videos addiction he started bugging me, but not in the way you would think...in fact, he thought I should start my own channel! Obviously I choose to stick with what I know, which is business but he encourages me emotionally, picks up more than his fair share of household duties and even got a part time job to help us in the transition from my full-time job to entrepreneurship. It's safe to say he helps me in every possible way!
John: I think it really comes down to the emotional support; being a cheerleader for Natasha when she needs one. She'll worry that being away from me as often as she is will put a strain on our relationship, but I'll always reassure her that we've done, and succeeded at, long distance before, and that it's nothing new. Also I love doing things around the house so that she can be more focused on the biz!
What is the biggest sacrifice he makes/has made to encourage your career?
Nicole: When I quit my day job to pursue photography full time, he took on the burden of knowing that if I failed, or even went through a dry time (as self-employed folks are prone to do), I would have to lean on him financially. At that time we weren't even engaged to be married, so that was a big gesture on his part. Without that vote of confidence, I'm not sure I would have had the courage to take the plunge.
Josh: Probably a financial one. I helped Nicole get her business off the ground when cash flow wasn't a business strength. When she made the switch from part-time to full-time, she needed moral and financial backing to take that leap of faith.
Natasha: He sacrifices his own whims and financial freedom in a lot of ways. Because we made the huge decision that I could quit my job as the primary breadwinner (he's back in school full time!) we have to cut back and count every penny. He also sacrifices our personal time together since I split my time between SF (where he is in school) and Austin. But, he's careful to never make it feel like a sacrifice, that's real support!
John: I don't think it's a huge sacrifice, but Natasha has mentioned how much she appreciates that when we talked about me getting a part time job to help pad our finances, I acted fast and and secured a position within a week or two. It's the least I can do while I'm in school and this semester's classes have a pretty light workload.
What is your greatest strength?
Nicole: "Perspective". Six years of building my business has really shown me how to keep the important stuff in focus (photographer pun!), and not to sweat the little things. You are putting your heart and soul out there for sale, and it's a real shot to the ego when someone criticizes or complains about what you deliver... or they don't want to buy it in the first place. But that does not mean you've failed. I've had awful days and made mistakes that seemed career-ending at times. But they weren't, of course. Be extra grateful for every positive review and happy client, and learn from the mistakes or complaints. Take a deep breath, go to bed, and do better tomorrow.
Josh: There are so many. Optimism. Perspective. Work ethic. She's a quick learner and quickly develops deep relationships with her clients. They trust her because she expertly and naturally conveys that she cares and is good at what she does.
Natasha: I think my greatest strength is to just accomplish things. Even when I'm faced with things I've never done before (like working with a lawyer on a company agreement), I get it done and I typically think I do it well.
John: I am envious of her ability to collaborate with others, rally people around her, and get things done by asking for help. It has always been a weakness of mine, asking for help, but I think that quality could eventually rub off on me.
What will your biggest challenge be in moving forward in your business?
Nicole: I think my biggest challenge will be determining how to scale the business. Right now it's just me... so my earning potential is pretty much capped at what I can physically do myself. I'd like to see the business grow in a way that allows me to continue doing what I love, while also offering opportunities to other photographers and creatives. And therein lies the actual biggest challenge for me: relinquishing 100% control, in the pursuit of growth.
Josh: Does she want to grow the business? If so, how big? What does it look like? Then, is she willing to take the steps - work harder - in the short-term to set herself up for long-term success? She wants to make what her Dad refers to as "mailbox money", and that takes personal and financial commitment.
Natasha: My biggest challenge will be letting go! With the ability to get things done comes control issues (don't we all have some degree of that?). I have to remind myself constantly to trust the people around me to do their jobs well and have faith that everyone accomplishes things in a different way, and that's ok. Being an entrepreneur is unpredictable and the quicker I learn to let go of every little thing, the better we'll fare.
John: Growing too quickly could present an interesting challenge, not that anyone's complaining of too much business :) We've talked about where we'll be in about two years when I am done with school, and when Make The Rest Up becomes nationwide (!) that could mean moving anywhere the business might need us the most. But for the time being, the next 2ish years, we'll at least be splitting a big portion of our time in San Francisco.
Supporting Future Women
It was amazing to see how many similarities our couples had when it came to showing their support of their spouses, but even more so, how their experiences were a lot alike even in different industries. Starting a business is a life changing endeavor and we’ll take the support from anyone and everyone we can get it from! This support, is another reason that for the month of May, our charity of choice is Girl’s Inc. An organization dedicated to making girls grow up to be strong, smart and bold. $5 from all our complete looks and perfection complexion sales go towards Girl’s Inc this month so book your appointment today to show your support.