The past month, the biggest step my husband and I’ve taken to simplifying our lifestyle is that we’ve sold our outlet grocery store to two members of our family. We still own the building at this point and time, so my husband’s renovated what was once our apartment and placed his office inside it.
My husband has an uncanny business mind. He was homeschooled, has never been to business college or interned with anybody. Yet he is attuned to the fickle relationship between supply and demand and knows how to work the economic system.
On the other hand, when it comes to money, I am an unadventurous miser (okay, except when it comes to clearance shoes). When we were first married, and my husband wanted to invest in the online retail business that’s sustaining us now, I thought he was crazy.
We had a good thing going, why wreck it? Why take another risk? But, after a month and much cajoling, I gave in. I let him invest a small portion, bit my nails to the quick, waiting to see if we would get that investment back.
We did. And then he invested some more. I won’t act like I know how his business all works, because I don’t. But I swear it’s legal. My husband is an entrepreneur, and though both sets of our parents are entrepreneurs (must be a Mennonite thing), I have not inherited their gift.
I blame it on the fact that I did not crawl. My right brain’s strong; my left brain’s underdeveloped.
After my husband and I married, we talked and realized I would not have time to write creatively if I worked at the local newspaper.
So I worked part-time in our store and part-time in the office, writing. Without really knowing it, I became what I never thought I could or would be: a bona fide entrepreneur. It was up to me to sit in that chair on a sunny day and write. I punched my own clock. I set my own deadlines.
The first book I wrote while seated in the office of our store was a total flop. But I learned a lot through it. I learned how long it took me to complete a manuscript. I learned how to push through writer’s block. I learned to pace myself, so I wasn’t scrambling toward the end.
Though I am working with a publisher now — and love it! — I still set my own writing schedule. I can work around my daughter’s naps, doctor’s appointments, and family vacations. And I will be the first to admit that sometimes this is not as easy as it sounds.
I still do not have a knack for the business side of things (my left-brain husband’s the only reason you all won’t be receiving a shoo-fly pie in the mail to celebrate The Outcast’s release on July 1). But the beautiful symmetry of our right brain/left brain union is that my husband can help me understand what is profitable for “my business” and what would really be wasting my money and time. He can read over my manuscript, and I can proofread his website (adding a few splashes of color and exclamation points when he isn’t looking!!!).
I let him invest in his calling, and I invest in clearance shoes…
Sounds like a pretty good plan to me.
Six ways my husband’s helped my entrepreneurship:
- We’ve been conservative with my book advance, treating it like a loan and not like a golden ticket (authors profit from book sales only after the advance is repaid to the publishers).
- A family member took my author photo (so it cost us nothing). A camera with high resolution capability and a friend with a good eye is really all you need.
- When shopping around for someone to help film The Outcast’s book trailer (we will be filming at a Mennonite/Amish farm equipment auction on April 6th), I bypassed a very talented fellow who would charge me more than I would probably make up for in book sales. Instead, I went with someone who doesn’t have as much high-tech equipment and so doesn’t have to charge as much. But she is still very talented.
- I am not going on a physical book tour. Though I plan to visit some delightful bookstores, I will mainly use social media to help promote my book. Again, this is because the amount of time and money I would put into the tour would not — for a debut author such as myself — pay off.
- My sister-in-law’s been watching our daughter once a week so I can go into town and write. Sometimes you have to invest in your work, and the hours of solid writing help propel me into the rest of the week, definitely making up for the cost of babysitting.
- I try not to be shy about promoting my work, because I believe in my product (ie: The Outcast’s message!).
Are you like me and find comfort in punching a clock, or are you like my husband and enjoy taking risks? Do you dream of one day working for yourself?