How to Tell Your Partner You Want to Quit Your Job and Start a Business
Are you considering a leap into entrepreneurship? Many professionals quit their jobs to launch new businesses during the Great Resignation. However, giving up a reliable paycheck to start a business is a risky choice, even with convenient access to expert business counsel and other tools that the internet affords.
Leaving a job to start a business can be overwhelming. In 2022, 50.5 million people changed or quit their jobs—more than the 47.8 million who did so in 2021. Some jobs are easy to leave, but breaking away can be difficult.
Have you reached the tipping point where it’s time to let your spouse or life partner know that you’re leaving your job–but find it difficult to start the conversation? Or have you tried talking about your dreams of something more fulfilling and ended up fighting instead?
It can be tempting to either avoid “the talk” or resign yourself to the miserable job until you can’t take it anymore. Or, you can turn the conversation into a healthier and more productive one, even if your partner has concerns. The goal is to reach a point where you both feel good about the outcome.
Tips for communicating entrepreneurial intentions to your life partner
As you’re preparing to venture into entrepreneurship, focus on what you can do to facilitate understanding from your spouse or life partner. Here are some steps to help you build bridges rather than destroy them:
1. Be honest.
Be honest with yourself and your partner about your reasons for quitting your job. Writing out your reasons is an excellent way to show your partner that it’s not just a spur-of-the-moment choice. A written list can also boost your confidence during the discussion.
Sometimes our partners don’t genuinely see how unhappy we are at work, especially if it looks like a perfect job on paper. Explain why starting a business is so important to you. Furthermore, when you have a clearer idea of your next step, you can show and explain why that next career or business is essential as opposed to the old one. That comparison alone can make a huge difference both for you and your partner.
2. Listen to your partner.
As with everything else in a relationship, it’s important to make sure your partner feels heard and understood on the topic of a career change. Simply taking the time to listen and give your partner room to ask questions or voice concerns can ease tensions tremendously. When your spouse feels heard, they will be more likely to offer support and guidance as you navigate this career change.
3. Make a solid plan.
It’s possible that your spouse will be more concerned with the how of your decision, which can trigger your fears that your business plans won’t succeed. Setting aside the “hows” early on is essential, but don’t ignore them altogether—that can create conflicts later on and stop you from pursuing your dreams. This may be tricky because the “how” is often precisely what your partner wants to talk about. Ensuring that your partner knows you have a business plan and are committed to it will go a long way toward gaining their support.
It’s a smart move to make a plan that addresses how you would handle some of their concerns. For example, would you commit to saving a specific amount of money before leaving your job?
4. Protect your emotions.
Your career change is a huge transition that can come with many ups and downs. Whether you feel sure about your next move or have no idea what to do next, you may experience times when you feel down about the whole process. Figure out ways to relax and take care of yourself that enable you to think clearly, such as listening to music, exercising, or getting out in nature — maybe even with a Yellowstone river rafting adventure!
5. Practice gratitude.
The whole process can cause stress and strain for your partner, so express gratitude for any support they have given you along the way. It’s important to determine the best ways to show your partner gratitude as well. Is it enough to just say thank you, or do actions speak louder than words? Try to find specific, actionable ways that show your spouse how much you appreciate them in a way that resonates with them.
As an entrepreneur, making that leap doesn’t scare you; it excites you. The thought of creating something from nothing or joining a team to build something from the ground up has driven you from fantasy to determined action. All you need to do is convince your partner. Do so by clearly stating your plans and motives upfront, then reiterating how going into business together may even benefit you both.
Contributed to EO by Patrick Sipp of Flying Pig Adventures, who gets his clients back into the outdoors, where the spray of the river, the warmth of the sunshine, and the immensity of the world around are clear and present. The company’s most recent trip includes horseback riding and river rafting by Yellowstone National Park. Patrick is a family man who has turned his passion for the outdoors into a gateway for his guests to experience adventures unlike anything else.