An Open Letter to the Spouses of Online Entrepreneurs

Dear Significant Other,

By now, you’ve probably figured out that your spouse was cut from a different mold than everyone else. Most other people go to some sort of school or training, pass out their resumes to a number of preferred employers, and locked themselves down to the traditions of a conventional job. There’s nothing wrong with that, but your husband, significant other, life partner or whatever else he wants to call himself decided it wasn’t for him. (And I say “him” here, but it’s just applicable to all the female Internet professionals too.)

For some of you, you may have come to respect the nature of working from home and earning a living from the Internet, even if you don’t completely understand it. For the rest of you, you might see this digital entrepreneurship as a “phase.” Believe me; it’s not a phase.

If you’re hoping that the affiliate marketer or professional blogger that you married is going to give up on his dream and buckle down to a regular 9-to-5, you’re going to be disappointed and frustrated… that is, until said affiliate marketing and professional blogging starts paying for fancy steak dinners in paradise and stylish new cars. Running an online business is just as legitimate as running a brick-and-mortar business, without the added headache of a physical location and unnecessary overhead costs.

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What this means is, for the most part, the online entrepreneur in your life is probably going to be working out of a home office (when we’re not working on the go). If you stay at home too, you’re going to see a lot of him. If you have your own job outside the home, guess who’s still going to be home when you get back from your evening commute? Whatever the case, you should remember one thing:

Just because we’re home doesn’t mean we’re available.

There is a definite sense of freedom that comes with the dot com lifestyle, but it doesn’t mean that we want to run errands and do household chores just because we’re already home. We’d much rather spend that time building our business. And you need to respect that.

Oh, and yes, of course I’d love for you to come along on business trips. But the same philosophy still applies. If we’re going some place for a trade show, we’re there for the trade show. We’ll want to walk the convention floor, attend the talks, and hang around a bunch of networking events too. We’ll probably end up talking a lot of shop. We have fun, for sure, but it may not be your cup of tea. Whatever the case, we won’t be as freely available as we would be on a “non-work” vacation. If you’re not into Internet marketing or whatever it is that we do, you might have a better time doing your own thing and we’ll meet up later. And that’s okay.

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And one more thing. We may not necessarily earn regular paychecks like how we would at more of a typical office job. It’s not like we can expect to get the same amount of money in our bank accounts every couple of weeks. That offers both a wonderful upside, since there is limitless potential, as well as the possibility of catastrophic failure.

But you know how successful online entrepreneurs view these catastrophic failures? We see them as blessings. We see them as learning opportunities. We see them as the necessary bumps on the road to far greater things. And we’d love for you to come along for the ride. After all, behind every successful man is a woman. We’re happy you’re standing there with us.

With love,
An Online Entrepreneur

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24 thoughts on “An Open Letter to the Spouses of Online Entrepreneurs”

  1. Yes, making a decision to become a work-from-home entrepreneur really does take a change in lifestyle. And yes, I agree that the learning curve is a little worse with the loved ones. I myself managed to feel understood only when my mom finally joined the work from home phenomenon. When she did? She finally shut up — because she can already empathize. Ha! πŸ™‚ Thanks for this post, John!

  2. Hi Michael,

    Love it. Love it. Love it. I am blessed in that my partner/fiancee is also an online entrepreneur. She gets the gig. She knows the drill. She’s been through the wars, in the trenches, with me, and we both stuck to it, and now we’re full time, traveling, digital nomads.

    I speak to others who aren’t as aligned. Their husbands or wives are not as supportive or they’re outright against their online gig. This is tough. I feel that if you want to be free you’ll do what it takes to be free, including staying up late at night on a Friday – at 9:30 PM – to work after hours. Yep, I’m doing that now.

    No big deal really, as we’re both used to it. This is the gig. Some wonder what it takes to blog from Bali, to blog from Fiji, to blog from paradise. It takes a team effort and it takes both parties, whether 1 or both are online entrepreneurs, to accept that this is not your 9-5 gig.

    Many supportive spouses go South when things get tough, money-wise, or when things aren’t aligning as quickly as they feel things should be aligning. Dem’s de breaks, folks, as when you’re all in, you’ll realize that we experience ups and downs, and you’ll need to ride the peaks and valleys with us.

    When you do make it, your spouse will be happy. They’ll appreciate the work, the time, and persistence you put into the gig because the freedom of calling the shots, of working from anywhere, of taking vacays whenever you want to and of simply having no limit to your income is well worth the problems that you need to face and solve over a period of months and years.

    Thanks Michael and John. Inspiring piece here.

    Tweeting soon.

    Ryan

    1. Nick says:

      Ryan, do you mind me asking what you do online?? I am dead set on creating an online business. Yet there are so many options I find myself overwhelmed and unsure which to choose. Any tips would be greatly appreciated!

      Gratefully,

      Nick

    2. pause says:

      Ryan you’ve even added more value to the validity of this promotional article (yet inspiring).. Praises to all who have made the leap over to the dot-come and koodos to the rest who have grown some balls (or courage) to stick it through!

      Cheers,
      Pause

  3. roger noah says:

    Hey John that’s a great post. people do not understand others most of the time. Because you are at home, your spouse believes you are there for the chores. No you are there as you would be in a normal office.

    Internet provides freedom. Freedom to do what pleases your family and you. Freedom to explore the world. Freedom to afford whatever you like in life.

  4. Angelo says:

    you’re right, work is work! Also if we working at home!

  5. I still have my regular job but I am working on my online business part time. I should let my wife read this letter. Lol. She does not understand what I am doing online. I am trying to tell her that online entrepreneurship is better than the traditional path. But I know I can’t convince her until I get better results.

    The best thing about building an online business is you can do it while still working on a job. That’s what I am doing right now and I enjoy the journey while still providing my family’s needs.

    1. pause says:

      Janrey, dude most people have a hard time with believing in something they can’t see – therefore will often lose their drive. The clearer your vision, the greater your eagerness and strength in your determination… It’s not as easy to convince your wife with words and not worth getting into a “competition with words”, just let her see how determine you are – she’ll respects that.

      Bro I am going through this process too, while housing a family with three little children and managing to keep my hair in tact… John’s platform provides clarity to our eagerness.

      Good luck!

  6. wow, this is very powerful i was wondering how come i can’t plus it but i have posted a link on my plus and shared with my family….i wish someone would understand. This sums up what i would like to tell my spouses but can’t. thanks for looking out for us.

  7. faisal says:

    having expectations isn’t wrong.

  8. Connie Yom says:

    Really enjoyed this post John! Thankfully, I have a very supportive husband who knows I am not and never will be a typical girl.. =) Keep up the great work!

  9. Tony says:

    Your words sum up the online entrepreneurship pretty succinctly, and a spouse who can accept the landscape is a priceless asset!

  10. Jethro says:

    This guest post is great! I think some people misunderstand those who prefer and work at home. I did this before and I felt my parents assumed I was doing nothing whenever I was online back then. Thanks for this wonderful post! πŸ™‚

  11. Gilly says:

    “Behind every successful person, is their loved one.”

    /only change I would make. πŸ˜‰

    1. Michael Kwan says:

      I agree with that in principle. I just wanted to keep the wording in this post the way that John had it in the linked post.

  12. DNN says:

    This is a very creative and thought-provoking post about online entrepreneurship and running a business from home. It actually stirs up the mind of the Internet marketing newbie and the newbie blogger because they pretty much don’t know where to start.

    In the next 10 years, it’s predicted more more people will delve into affiliate marketing because they will be looking to seriously supplement their income longer daytime employment.

  13. Thank you for this John, I am only about 4-months into internet marketing, and my family and I are still working out the specifics of what it means when I’m home. I look forward to making formal introductions in January at Platinum!

    Regards,
    Joshua Ellison

  14. Boreyrak im says:

    Good job to do like this I like your performance I wish you all success.

  15. Great post! Most(if not all) successful business folks usually have their spouse’s full support in what they’re trying to achieve. I’ve done some research on this and this post validates my own findings.

    A shared vision is definitely recipe for success.

    Awesome content. Love it.

    1. Lynda says:

      Subject – The Support of a Partner, or “Not”
      I’m seeing a pattern emerge, (obviously) and it appears that the majority *do* have the support of their “Significant Other”, which is wonderful!!.
      I have one that has absolutely no idea of what is possible on the web, unless of course he stretches his imagination and uses ebay to bid for Football Shirts, or related items using one of my tablets which quite effectively allows him to get on with it, and at the same time keeps him off my pc. I’m expected to make all the right noises when his bids are accepted, and to be supportive when he doesn’t. I’ve no interest in Football at all, but this doesn’t stop his enthusiasm. He is computer literate (he updated his skill set) however he has absolutely no interest. I may as well be playing Bingo, Chatting online, or Shopping!. He doesn’t have the background needed to be supportive by any means, and I’m starting to wonder if he thinks the fridge & cupboard are filled by “Faries”, and that my utility bills pay themselves. I’m not far from asking him if Santa Clause pays for our Christmas!. I’m sadly quite serious. I’ve attempted to explain that I am setting up websites and why, but I may as well be talking to myself!.
      I don’t know what it would take for the proverbial “Penny” to drop?, He’s unbelievable, I did show him John Chows “Open Letter”, I wasn’t surprised by his reaction, what reaction?.
      So to those people who do have support great! and for those who didn’t realise they have a degree of support from their significant other may think differently after reading this. I have always enjoyed 18 – 20 hour days, and I hope to keep myself verry.busy.
      kind regards
      Lynda – smile

  16. Lynda says:

    November 12th 22:30hrs

    Hi, I’m looking for advice & direction – if it’s available?
    I did set a website up, I’ve purchased several domain names (the latter is due to the fact that I don’t yet know what I’ll be selling).
    I’d like to become an affiliate/associate and “advertise” products on my website (or as many websites required).
    I would like to earn a decent income just to “pay the rent”, or cover the cost of a treat. I’m not expecting to be a millionaire, although I would appreciate financial stability.
    I’ve looked at Amazon, EBay UK, Argos etc and the main question isn’t related to how much experience I have in IT, Sales, or Business Management, it is*always* “How Much Traffic do you have? – I can’t apply to the above names because to be brutally honest, I haven’t got any traffic at all. I’m afraid that I have reached an impasse, I just do not have a clue how to generate enough traffic so that when I complete an affiliate/associate application I won’t get laughed at!.
    This is probably something you’ve heard many times before, it isn’t as easy as providing the website and expecting the product to drop into it… I have the time, the inclination and the capability to run a successful business, but I am stuck!. My other half is not particularly IT savvy, but it doesn’t stop him thinking it’s a fairy tale and he isn’t afraid of saying so!. It’s hardly a supportive attitude, but I’ve not shown him anything tangible. I’ve one decently looking site so far, for both pc & mobile having used a template, but hey… a little help or support would go a long way.
    Regards Lynda
    Please Advise?

    1. Michael Kwan says:

      Nothing happens overnight and building up website traffic is very much a marathon. Focus first on building and engaging with an audience. Worry about the money later.

      1. Lynda says:

        Michael, Firstly, thank you for your mail,
        The building up of traffic is one thing, putting “Product” on a site is entirely different and not at all easy as expected. I thought it would be a case of simply approaching a manufacturer or distributor and basically saying “I’d like to sell your product”.
        Why is it so difficult?. If I had a material store front, it would be full of product, even the kind that loses 25% value as soon as it’s out of the box and put on show. Plus there’s the mail order side, advertising full colour dps displaying goods for sale with next day delivery. What I’m saying Michael is that I’m not used to being in a market that the world and his dog aren’t approaching me with offers of dealerships and a range of products that need selling. Please excuse me for having a culture shock!. Yes I could raise traffic with viral marketing if necessary, but what can I do with nothing to market?. I cannot sell what I do not have, and do not understand there not being anything to sell? Do you understand why I’m having a slight prob? – smile.
        Kind regards
        Lynda

  17. I couldn’t agree more about the important role my wife plays in our business. She may not be pounding a keyboard, or placing ads, designing graphics, or recording promotional videos but her support has kept me grounded and focused for the past 11 years online marketing and soon to be 14 years in life.

    She has had the patience and understanding and has been there to pick me up and brush off the dust when things fell apart 2 years ago. She was the one who made me get back to work after my surgery and reconnect with my marketing roots and to hear her talk you would never know how strong she is.

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