Want to work from home? Make it a family business, not YOUR business.

avatar
by Tsh

Tsh is the founder of this blog and lives in Bend, Oregon with her husband and 3 kids. Her latest book is Notes From a Blue Bike, and believes a passport is one of the world's greatest textbooks.

It’s hard to know where to start answering your questions about my writing process and how I balance parenting with working from home. You’ve asked some great questions, and I’ve got some answers for you.

But I don’t have all the answers. And, everyone’s situation in life is different, so I don’t want to share what I do as though it’s a prescription for How To Work From Home. Over the next few weeks, my posts about work will be more descriptive; how it has worked for me thus far.

There are many others I know who successfully write (or run a business) from home, and they’ll be sharing their insight as well.

To start, I thought I’d tackle what I found to be a very interesting question — and one that speaks to laying the foundation for a successful writing or home-based business career.

“How do you convince your husband you’re not just playing on the computer?”

I got a little chuckle out of this one, because I can definitely see that issue being a big deterrent from finding the freedom to work online. if Kyle thought I was goofing around on Twitter or just chatting for fun on Skype all day, then I’d definitely feel frustrated about doing my work.

Here’s the thing, though — I’ve never had to convince Kyle that I’m not playing on the computer. From the get-go, he has been 100 percent supportive. He was there when the blog idea was first thrown my way, and encouraged me to give it a go.

I wrote on ProBlogger last fall how Simple Mom would not be what it is without Kyle behind me. When I write, he gives me the time I need. He graciously rolls up his sleeves around the house. And he gives me post ideas and encouragement to keep going.

Just some of Kyle’s roles include: approving or declining ads from our ad network affiliation, receiving and distributing email from the blog’s contact form, paying all the editors and contributors, tracking all the blog’s accounting, serve as a sounding board for most every idea I have, and of course, share the workload with the house and the kids.

Lots of successful blogs are what they are because of the spouse behind the main writer. Here’s what a few friends had to say:

• Stephanie Langford of Keeper of the Home says, “When I was balancing two blogs and had a much higher work load, my husband pitched in a lot to make it happen. He helped me with running my private ads and responding to advertisers, checked my emails, and sometimes gave me time off to go and work while he stayed with the kids. With both of the books I’ve self-published, …he was instrumental in helping me to edit, format and market them, as well as giving me plenty of time to get away during the writing process.”

• Meagan Francis of The Happiest Mom says, “First of all, [my husband is] my biggest cheerleader, which is great for morale. …And he’s totally competent with the kids and happy to take over on that front (though he doesn’t do everything MY way) so I know that if I run out to a coffee shop to work for the afternoon, everything will be okay at home. …We talk business and strategy all the time. Whenever we go out to dinner we end up spending half of it talking shop about blogs and books and publicity and all the rest. We’re constantly bouncing ideas off each other and setting long-term goals about where we want to take each of our businesses. I love it.”

• Katie Goodman of Good Life Eats says, “My husband is my taste tester—always honest and that means a lot to me. He is also a great help cleaning up the disastrous messes that happen regularly in the kitchen. Occasionally he will take the kids for a “daddy outing” on the weekend if I need some alone time to get caught up. I couldn’t keep up with anything if I didn’t have his support. He’s an emotional support as well.”

• Nester of Nesting Place says, “My husband plays an equal role as me in the success and longevity of Nesting Place.  I cannot imagine starting a business of any kind without the support of a spouse.  Of course, for many of us, blogging started off as a hobby so the jump to business blogger is tricky, but my husband is a visionary, entrepreneur, risk taker, and encourager at heart, so it was natural for him to get excited about the blog. His enthusiasm and acknowledging my blog/passion as a real business has helped me see it as that.”

• Emily Freeman from Chatting at the Sky says, “If my husband didn’t understand the blogging thing, I don’t think I could do it. The main way he is supportive is that he respects blog writing as a legitimate way of communicating and expression. He gives me time to devote to it. He prays for the people who read. And he usually reads my posts as well.”

In short, Kyle’s full support is the biggest reason why I’m able to run Simple Living Media. And it’s been that way from the beginning. So to be honest, I’m not really sure how to convince your husband that you’re not just playing on the computer — at least not from personal experience. Here are a few thoughts to mull over, however:

1. Are you just playing on the computer?

I don’t mean this in a snarky way. But when you do sit down, are you mostly working? Yes, it’s sometimes hard to tell the difference between online play and work, especially when blogging is so much fun.

But I’ll be honest – I hardly read any blogs anymore. I wish I had more time, but I’ve found over the years that I have seasons of producing and seasons of consumption, and when I’m producing a blog, I rarely have time to consume them.

I’m also on Twitter and Facebook just a few minutes per day. Really. If I kept them up all day, I’d never get any writing done. I know myself too well.

So ask yourself if your husband might actually be on to something. Are you writing or working more than you are playing?

(I’ll show you soon what my typical work schedule looks like, and how I allocate my time.)

2. Share your process.

If you’d like to earn money blogging (or making jewelry, or whatever), talk about what you’re working on. Share what you’re learning, show him your work, and ask for his opinion.

Make it a family business, not your business. When Kyle and I talk blog stuff, we talk about our work and our ideas. It’s not my baby at all. He really appreciates when I fill him in on my day — the emails, the interesting article I read and linked to, the response to my Facebook questions.

3. Show him the money.

Well, not literally (or maybe literally, if you’ve got it). Basically, show him some of the small, early rewards of your efforts. Has a big blogger linked to you? Did you make a sale in your Etsy shop? Did you sell a small ad on your sidebar? Receive a sweet email or comment from a reader? Delight in those milestones and share them with your spouse.

4. Show him this post.

This post isn’t the end all to be all, but perhaps if your husband reads this post and sees that the success of many blogs depends directly on the full support of the spouse, perhaps he’ll be more on board.

When you’re just starting out

If you’re just getting started, it’s not necessary to expect your spouse to perform a lot of tasks related to the blog. Don’t feel like you can’t turn a profit from your blog or business because your spouse isn’t willing to share the workload.

But it really is helpful to have his moral support if you want to spend any decent time on your writing or business. If you don’t yet… talk to him about it. Tell him how you feel. Make some tangible, concrete goals with your work, and see what he thinks.

And then support him with his work. Ask him questions about his passions, and talk about stuff other than your work. I think Nester sums it up best with this wonderfully convicting thought:

“I never dreamed that I would get to do something that I loved this much and now. I’d like to be able to support my husband as he transitions into something that fits more with his passion. And Nesting Place is allowing him to do that. My advice for someone who wants their spouse to support them: consider if YOU are encouraging them in their passions; it works both ways.”

I started with the issue of spousal support because I really think it’s one of the foundations for a business’ success. Soon, I’ll get to the nitty gritty of how Kyle and I balance our workloads together.

How do you support your spouse in his or her passions? What are some practical steps you can take to help him or her take your writing (or whatever) more seriously?

Join the Conversation

Like This? Subscribe for free and have it delivered to your inbox.

Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing this great information! We discuss a lot in our household whether or not we think blogging can be a part of our financial future and how we can make that happen together… without one person just being chained to the computer! Very timely and inspiring. Thank you!

    ~Angela~

  2. avatar
    jennifer renner says:

    Great article, I don’t have a website up yet but I did start a facebook page called the family industry. Its about families that have a business either at home or beyond, a place where family businesses can unite and share there stories and advice or tips. So feel free to like us and maybe offer some good advice or link your blog to it. thanks

  3. I am so blessed, my husband is the one who encourages me to write, every time I feel like quitting. He always says, “Take a break, but don’t give up!” He helps around the house, with the kids, rejoices over my little successes, and recently stayed up until midnight the night before a conference proofreading my proposal.

  4. if we were to play “where in the world is tsh?” from the top pic, i’d know where you are!! i recognize those antlers… :)

    thanks for this post and future posts on this topic. i’m really involved in that right now as my husband and i are saving and planning in hopes to soon embark on a family business together. he’s very supportive of me and my dreams and i want to make sure i’m equally supportive of his. a lot of our dreams our intertwined and we share a lot of the same passions. we’re excited for the future!!

  5. This is great, looking forward to more!

  6. I’m so excited about this series, Tsh! Thanks for the view from the inside out.
    To answer your question, my husband has been incredibly supportive of me, in all endeavors, but especially recently as I wrote my ebook a few months ago. Just a few weeks ago, my husband decided to start writing a book of his own (something I think we both knew he has had in him for a while now). It’s been really gratifying to give him the same support and help he gave me during my own writing process (taking the kids, not complaining when he’s up late in the writing zone). It’s also been fun to connect over a common experience.

  7. Great article. I have been praying along with my husband about starting up two blogs as another source of income (main reason behind them are more self help than anything), but I am not sure how to really go about starting one from the ground up. Can you post an article of the ins and outs of starting one? I have a family blog currently, but don’t know how to tackle the other two. One is journaling my road of infertility and miscarriages over the past 8 years and currently. The other is my weight lose journey through weight watchers, both which I have felt led to share and being transparent about. I feel like all I read is feel good sites that don’t show the good, the bad and even the ugly. All in all I just want to share and to me that is what blogging is truly about. Any tips would be greatly appreciated.

  8. Excellent, excellent post. I definitely feel that I would be a more successful blogger if I made it a family business. Honestly, I never had thought about it this way. Thank you for the gentle kick in the rear! I’m going to email this post to my hubby right away!

  9. avatar
    Heather says:

    Tsh,

    Though I’ve been a mom entrepreneur for a decade, I have only recently starting talking about (and treating) my work like work. Unfortunately, until now, my husband and kids probably thought I *was* just fooling around online or worse, ignoring them.

    Now, I talk about what I’m doing, how it’s going to make money, how it makes me feel and how my kids and husband can help/support me.

    Life – and work – is so much better. :)

    Thanks for starting this fantastic series!
    Heather

    • Heather, this has been a recent “aha” moment for me as well. For the last few years I was attached to the idea to ditching the idea of work and letting my work be my life–which is great philosophically speaking, but I’ve reached a point where I need to create boundaries around my work time. And that means treating my work like work.

  10. If it weren’t for my husband’s support I probably would have given up writing a long time ago and I certainly never would have started a blog. Even though currently he is a much more prolific writer than I am, he’s always willing to put his work aside to help me out. At first I had to fight some jealousy when he started writing more regularly. He’s accomplished more in the last six months than I have in the last four years. But since his day job is not as fulfilling as he would like, he depends on my support of his creative efforts (writing and computer programming). He suffers from clinical depression and I credit his return to writing (along with Prozac and serious prayer) with helping his recovery. He even completed National Novel Writing Month. It’s hard to feel jealous when I’m so proud of him.

  11. Tsh,
    Funny, just this morning I was talking with my husband about this. About how his support has made my copywriting business and my growing family fitness and healthy home business website start to take off.

    But it goes a step further . . . I also recognize that the ways we’ve managed to prioritize and strategize about resolving conflicts and issues in our relationship and family life fuels my business. It allows me to focus completely when I go to write.

    On the days when tough things come up and we haven’t had a chance to work things out, it’s so hard to give my attention to things that have to get done. For this reason, I count his support not only in how he stands behind my business efforts, but also how we’ve both developed ways to work on things outside of business so we can work on things that have to do with business.

    Similarly, the ways I’ve brought my children into helping me with my business, talking to them, giving them small jobs according to their ability, etc. also helps reduce the issue of “Why are you always working on the computer, Mommy?”
    Great topic!

  12. Partner support makes such a big difference (in everything!). My partner is very supportive of my work and is helpful with encouraging me to meet my goals. He hears everything too–all the stories, the new ideas, & the challenges.

    I love your gentle, tough love of asking “are you playing online”. It’s so easy to be distracted. My biggest challenge is not switching to email or twitter when I’m having a stuck moment while writing. 15 minutes later and I’m completely distracted.

  13. Tsh,

    I was just this morning writing an email to someone about how it feels like my seasons of consumption and seasons of productions ebb and flow…wild to see your same words here :)

    Thank you for this honest look inside and for the others who shared. I completely agree that having your own business (and perhaps especially online and from home) requires a lot of pulling the curtain back so that others in your family who may simply feel confused about it all begin to understand it more…and with understanding normally comes encouragement and support!

  14. Family’s love and support is so crucial in everything we do – life and work. How can anyone do anything without the support from those around you? My husband is just as supportive as critical of my work. Sometimes there is a fine line between “constructive criticism” and just plain criticism but even the latter can be viewed as support. If your loved ones are not critical of your work, who else would be that honest? It’s ‘tough love’ but in the end, the family support is THE most important element in your success.

    I am looking forward to this series. Thank You!

  15. Hi Tsh,
    I found myself nodding at almost everything you wrote. This is a fantastic post ~ full of truth and solid advice. Well done :]

  16. Tsh,
    Great post! It seems that you’ve really hit the nail on the head here. I know my husband is my biggest cheerleader and having that knowledge in my back pocket (and the support it gives me) keeps me going. It’s hard whenever you start something new but especially with this whole “blogging” thing because it takes time to gain momentum (and visitors!). Without a paycheck, and being too new to have lots of “linking” you need someone to say “Keep it up! You’re doing such a good job!”

  17. avatar
    Jacquie Fisher says:

    Tsh –

    LOVE this post and really looking forward to future ones. My husband has always been very supportive of my ideas and business (which is very new) and I agree that it’s so important to have that support. My biggest struggle is finding those small milestones to celebrate, after working in other positions where the milestones were much bigger and more influential to our family’s bottom line :-)

    I have learned that sharing what you’re working on daily (from both you and your spouse/partner) is a key step to keeping connected and feeling that you are able to help each other as you both progress in your careers.

  18. What a great article! I’m pretty new to the blogging world and my issue is feeling guilty about blogging at night after I put my baby down…but surprisingly my husband is super supportive as well! I think this makes a world of difference. I love your blog!! You always have super informative articles.

    Delighted Momma

  19. You answered a question I’d been wondering for a while now…how do you bigger bloggers keep up with other blogs. I’m finding I have less and less time to read blogs on a regular basis. However, I feel bad expecting people to come and read my blog when I’m not out there reading theirs. I really have to limit myself, though because I don’t get much done or I spend way too much time blog reading/hopping.

    I find it important [for me] to get out and read blogs, but I need to specify a time frame and stop when it’s up.

    Thank you for sharing this. :)

  20. This was very helpful Tsh. I think my husband has sometimes thought I was just playing on the computer, and maybe at times I was! A lot of it seriously IS research as I try to determine what route my business is going to take. My hubby and I were just discussing this weekend how I can take being a “blogger” to being a speaker, writer and coach. He had lots of tips and ideas for me.
    I would love one day for us to work side-by-side again (we did it when our kids were younger and it was stressful but one of the best times of our life!)
    Thanks for giving us a peek into your life!
    Bernice

  21. I love reading these posts and can’t wait to read more. I love your site and your book.

  22. What a practical–and sweet–post. My husband is a knowledgeable business consultant, and I really appreciate his advice about all things blogging (and all other things too, for that matter, but we’ll stick to blogging for now!) I think he is much more involved with my writing ventures because he knows how much I value his imput.

    Love the picture of you two with the side-by-side laptops!

  23. This speaks to me – that THE REVERSE IS ALSO TRUE! My husband has been wanting to so “something different” for a long time, and I’ve been “encouraging” him by suggesting that he do more research, figure out the logistics, take some classes, etc (things he will never have time for with his current 60 hour/week job)…. All the while hoping he would just stick with the job he has! I’ve just started realizing that maybe I need to be the one that steps up, takes on some of those tasks, and start working with him to lay the groundwork to pursue a different dream.

    Thanks Tsh.

  24. great advice- thanks!

  25. I really think it’s important for those who are considering working from home (and primarily online) really take into consideration their spouse’s support for their endeavors and to have open, honest communication about it. Your tips/ideas about how to do that are especially helpful. The work/balance aspect is another big consideration.

  26. Thanks SO much for sharing your ‘inside tips’ on how you do what you do SO WELL! I love that you started with the foundation of your business, your functioning marriage/family perspective. Sometimes I take for granted my husband’s unquestioning support…I needed a reminder to say ‘thank you’ a lot more often.

    My husband is behind my dreams/efforts 100%. Without his patient, listen-to-my-latest-dream, go-with-the-flow personality I have no doubt that I wouldn’t be as far down this blogging/online business road as I am today. Coming from a background of a very dysfunctional family it is so revealing and healing to be experiencing family-life and business-life in one big functioning, supportive package.

    Thanks for giving me the chance to brag about my husband today!

  27. My husband is pretty supportive, although sometimes life means he can’t give me as much work time as I’d like. Still, the weekend hours I can work while he watches the kids are valuable.

    I’ve often told him that if he comes up with an idea, we’ll try to make it work too, and given other ways he could help me more directly if he likes, but it’s not his thing, which is fine by me.

  28. What an inspiring post! I’m a busy WAHM too, with a VERY supportive husband. We make it work because we’re in a unique situation: he works from home as well! He’s a translator.

    Before our son started kindergarten this year I had all the baby care and he had more work back then too. Now we both sit quietly and intensely working like mad while Aidan is in school.

    Then we do the tag-team parenting thing: if he doesn’t have a big job, then he’ll watch the boy. The only downfall to that is that we don’t do many things together as a family and that is something we need to work on.

  29. Great post. Support from my husband in many things that I do is a great confidence builder and motivator. It’s a good feeling to have someone on your team even when things seem tough or out of reach. I can see how having a support system can increase the success rate of many endeavors. My husband is always supportive of my ideas no matter how crazy I drive him!

  30. My husband is a huge help on my blog, especially starting it up. He helped me design it, takes photos for me, and sometimes edits my posts. I basically pitched him the idea when I wanted to start a blog, and he agreed to me extending my mat leave a bit to see if I can make something of it. Now he’s encouraging me to keep pushing forward with it.

    My dream is that my blog and writing will one day make enough money that he can quit his job and work on doing what he really loves. Of course, finding the balance while we gradually work towards our dreams is the key! I’m now looking to start some freelance work to take some of the burden off him, and find that balance. I also work really hard to live as cheaply as possible so I can encourage him to work less and take more time for himself.

  31. What a though provoking post, especially as I contemplate where to take my blog. I recently decided to stay home full time with my two children. While it doesn’t give me any more time to spend on the blog, I feel compelled to work on it more than in the past. I think I’ll show my husband this article to share how he can help give me more time to explore what to do with the blog.

  32. Great post! It’s really very important to have support from family / husband when starting a home business, and it’s also really comforting to know that they don’t see you as just playing in front of the computer but doing real work.

  33. My husband is very supportive but computers are not his thing — so helping in a practical way is limited. Wherever I can I try to share victories, set backs (there are always some), and goals. I am cautious to keep certain times, like weekend nights, ours and not write unless there is an emergency deadline. With good planning, there won’t be any of that.

  34. I’m not a blogger (just have a family scrapbook blog for the grandparents), but I am a very busy math tutor. I stay at home with my 4-year-old, and tutor on the side. My business has really grown, so that now I have between 15 and 18 appointments every week. My husband is very supportive! He takes over with my son so that I can leave the house to tutor. The only problem is, now we rarely get to see each other. Any time he’s home from work, I take that opportunity to earn some money. I miss my awesome husband.

  35. Really great article, i’m waiting for more

  36. I found it interesting that you said you “hardly read any blogs anymore.” I’d love to hear more of your thoughts on that topic. For example, how do you engage with your readers and other bloggers? Do you think reading and/or commenting on other blogs is an important strategy for growing your own blog? Etc.

  37. I LOVE THIS. For some reason, I have believed the lie that the stay-at-home, homeschooling mom needs to just support her husband and do ALL the house work and ALL the cleaning and ALL the cooking. It is NOT like that at all in my house (my husband helps with SO MUCH) but I have felt guilty about it. Now I feel free! Thanks so much for listing all the examples of other women who have fantastically supportive husbands who take the kids on Daddy Dates, clean up the kitchen, and manage the finances of the business. I feel right at home! I am blessed to have a supportive husband and I need to CELEBRATE it, rather than feel unnecessary guilt.

  38. (By the way, my husband and I both work from home. He is an associate pastor and I run a 250 student School of Music in our community. I have had my own business for 13 years and it is a wonderful journey! We love working on both our businesses/jobs together!)

  39. Beautiful family greet you warmly. from Polish

  40. Thank you for this post!

    I am divorced from a man who was not very supportive of my choices, including anything I did artistically, despite the fact he was artistic too. He was raised in a family in which if someone stood out for achieving something, they would “joke” and say things like, “Oh, of course you make your own baby food, just to make us look bad, right?” It was sarcastic, but it hurt. I made my daughter’s cake for her first birthday and his mother actually said, “Oh, that looks perfect. But you can’t sweep the dustbunnies off your stairs?” These were all meant to be jokes, by the way. But I never took them as such and held a lot of resentment about them in. That wasn’t why we divorced, but it did contribute to the wall I had put up with him and others.

    The man I’m with now is quite the opposite. We knew each other from college and, being the same major, we had similar passions. I found myself more comfortable expressing myself around him early in the relationship. I could do yoga in front of him and not worry about looking stupid or being corrected, I could write in my blog and he would give me privacy and only read it if I asked him to, I could act silly with my daughter and he would join right in, I could sew her Halloween costume and I would receive real praise for what I had done from him and his family. And it was genuine. From the heart. I didn’t feel embarrassed anymore about doing things that made me happy.

    It’s an amazing feeling to have the support of someone like that. I’ve never felt that with anyone and I didn’t realize it was what I needed. I really and truly hope everyone finds someone who can be there, even with just silence and non-judgment, since I am truly blessed to have my boyfriend in my life so I can really feel like me again.

Speak Your Mind

*