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Announcing the book, “Till Business Do Us Part, How To Thrive In Your Business & Survive Your UnSupportive Husband”

The book, “Till Business Do Us Part, How To Thrive in Your Business & Survive Your UnSupportive Husband”  is scheduled for release in 2020, date to be revealed very soon!

My quest is to shed light on this never-discussed topic. If a woman business owner is struggling with an unsupportive husband, not only is her family suffering, but the risk to her business is great. Why? Because the quality of a woman’s primary relationship affects her business.  She’s either confident in the support she receives or distracted by the lack of support, perceived or real.  And the effects of an unsupportive husband on her business are significant.  She may give up, give in or accept mediocrity.  This is reflected negatively on economic development, for the people she employs, the taxes she pays, and for the contributions she makes through direct donations or donations-in-kind.

My research is demonstrating that the number of women business owners who deal with unsupportive husbands is staggering and the spectrum of that lack of support is wide. But, the one common denominator they all share is the shame and isolation. Shedding light on this dicey topic will give women business owner’s a place to, well, breathe, and find solutions.

This book will not throw husbands under the bus.  Quite the opposite, in fact. The book’s message is getting laser-focused on growing a profitable business and how to accomplish it with everyone’s best interests in mind. This is not a memoir, but I do have empathy and deep understanding of this sticky subject. Any stories I share personally will pale in comparison to the courageous, amazing women business owners I am featuring and the strategies I offer to navigate these tricky waters.

Please share your respectful thoughts, below, or if you wish to contact me personally I respond to all courteous emails at annette@tillbusinessdouspart.com.

Your Happy Warrior (a person undiscouraged even in the face of difficulties; plucky crusader),

Annette de Lancey Giacomazzi

P.S. For those of you who have known and have been eagerly anticipating the release of my book, sometimes life throws you curve balls.  Sometimes those curve balls deck you out cold. But, then you get up and finish the game.  And hopefully, the game is better because of your time out.  I am in my time out.  But, there is a benefit! I am collecting more information and case studies to make the book even more valuable for you!

Reflection: What is Your Intent?

Do you know the reason you acted or spoke the way you did?  Take a moment of reflection.  Think strongly about what may have caused you do react that way.  What was your intent when you did this?

When harshly confronted, when listening to another’s malice or spite about others (think heated opinions about traffic or politics or…), or when someone unexpectedly fesses up about some transgression, human’s typically counter 1 of 3 ways: Flight, Fight or Freeze.  My personal modus operandi?  I freeze.  I am stunned when someone lashes out at me, is spiteful about something or someone (who isn’t there to defend themselves) or is even mildly surly.

To combat this, I internalize 1 question, “What is/was your intent?”  At worst, they huff and puff and storm off. At best, someone may reflect on their reaction and rephrase their statement.  My children, while growing up, heard me ask this question all the time.  It was and still is powerful.

IntentLOOK IN THE MIRROR:  Think of the last time you overreacted.  What was your intent? To vent, to hurt, to dominate? None of these add value and causes ill-will with your partner (spouse, co-worker, parent, child, boss, or friend).

Is your business a hobby or a real endeavor?

hobbyHas your husband flat out said or joked around that your business is a “just” a hobby? Have you been plagued with doubts whether your business is real or not?  Do you constantly compare yourself with other businesses and/or business owners?  Well, pull up a chair; we’ve all been there.  But, doubt and comparison are a waste of your great brain.  The first thing you have to do is know the truth and the terms so can defend yourself to others, your husband and most importantly, your inner critic.

The first thing you have to do is define the words hobby and business.

HOBBY: an activity or interest pursued for pleasure or relaxation.  Money is spent on the hobby, but money is not derived from it.  There is nothing wrong with spending money or time on a hobby unless it is excessive or necessities are being neglected.

BUSINESS: the activity of making, buying, or selling goods or providing services in exchange for money.

Once you’ve identified you have a business, you define what style it is.  There are two main types: lifestyle and growth.

A lifestyle business is defined as one that allows you to maintain a particular lifestyle. It is often thought of as a solo endeavor.  It typically has limited scalability and potential for growth. It can have employees; it can even have big revenue.  But, it’s purpose is to allow you, the business owner, the ability to live your life on your terms while you run your company.   Old school pundits pigeon-holed creatives, photographers, artists, into this category.  Now, bloggers who are enriched by extended and frequent exotic travel with their families and who are blessed to have the flexibility in their day to watch every one of their child’s soccer games are changing the face of business.  With the explosion of technology, even professionals such as CPA’s and lawyers can have a virtual and nomadic lifestyle.   Home party consultants can generate enough income to pay for a child’s first bike, braces, family travel, and tuition. Typically, lifestyle businesses allow the business owner to work out of their home giving the illusion it isn’t a “real” job though that mindset is rapidly changing.

Replying to an unsupportive husband about your lifestyle business takes finesse.  You want to be firm and compassionate. Here’s an example Darcy, a home-party consultant, shared, “Bob, I like providing “(she listed what her income provided)” for the family. Being a (fill in the blank) gives me an outlet to be social and productive while not interfering with the primary responsibilities of being a mom/wife.” Then she added, “What worries you or what are you fearful of me doing this?”

For the blogger who is tired of hearing, “When are you going to get a real job?” you can lightheartedly reply, “Why would I leave behind travel, experiencing my children’s milestones, and the opportunity to enrich my readers, all while paying my bills and funding my retirement?”  Replace the specifics with your own experience(s) and repeat it over and over, in your head till you believe it, and to the naysayers of your (lifestyle business) life.

A growth business is defined as having revenues increase significantly every year, a strategic long-term vision, and an exit strategy for investors.  This business owner is typically your quintessential 80-hour p/week entrepreneur. Understanding the growth business takes an intimate understanding of the life-cycle of business. There are victorious highs and crushing lows.  Only a resilient business owner can navigate those choppy waters. Unsupportive husbands or ill-advised friends will often ask, “When are you going to give up this fantasy?” They don’t recognize the sacrifices you are making and what you need to do to grow and in some cases rescue the business (remember the mention of the life-cycle of business?).   Responding to the unsupportive husband is trickier because it is highly likely you’re consumed with your business and have neglected him.  You may be neglecting other important people in your life, such as your children, friends or your mother, too. OUCH!  Regardless, it is best not to dismiss gripes, but to respond in a compassionate manner. Ask him what he is worried or fearful of. Listen carefully to his response. Perhaps he’s worried you are spending all of the savings on the business (you shouldn’t be, after a point, but that’s another post), or that he’s feeling sidelined.  He may even be worried about your health. Regardless, you need to address the issue and come to a thoughtful, realistic agreement that you can both live with.

Hopefully, this gave you the needed information to practically address your husband’s comments. Bottom line, feel no shame with producing an income, as long as you’re not jeopardizing your primary relationships, your health or your soul.

As always, I welcome family-friendly, helpful comments!  Have you experienced defining or defending your business to your husband?  How did you respond?

How to Help Those You Hurt (when you made a BIG mistake)

We all make mistakes.  Even my totally cute, perfect friend, Jan.  I don’t know when she did, but she’s a human being so I’m sure she forgot to put the butter away some time and her dog got into it.  Love ya, Jan! <3  But, the other 99.999% of us have made many mistakes and some of them are big, hairy, icky, makes-you-want-to-shake-the-memory-out-of-your-head mistake. How do you get that out of your head? How do you shake that guilt, embarrassment, and yes, shame? How do you know you won’t do it, again?

trust is like paper once its crumpled its not perfect

As a woman of faith, I am thankful Christianity gives me the gift of grace.  It’s God’s “do-over” plan. But, here’s where the rubber meets the road.  Just because I was forgiven by my creator doesn’t mean I can take a pass and commit the offense over and over.  I need to be remorseful and turn from committing the same crimes/sins/mistakes.  Christian or not, that’s a great way to live a life.  Only when we are released from that guilt and shame can we be and do our best.  

If you made a BIG mistake, which sadly means usually hurting those we love, there is a formula to move on:

  • Quickly ask for forgiveness from those you hurt.
  • Never, never say, “because you did “y,” I did x.”  That is deflecting.  Also known as blaming.  That’s what children do.  Take responsibility for your actions, own up to your faults. This is not giving in, it’s growing up.
  • Repeat your mistake, and how you hurt them, in your words. You may not have the exact words, but it shows you’re trying to understand their pain.
  • Let them speak their pain regardless of how uncomfortable it makes you feel.  Sit with it. Your discomfort is fairly low on the “we care” scale, at the moment.  It’s part of the process.
  • Empathize with them.  You must feel their pain for you to grow.  If you don’t feel their pain, seek counseling.
  • Give those that you hurt time to heal on their time-frame, not yours.  If that means getting fired, put on administrative leave, losing someone or something, or any kind of separation, accept it.
  • Let those you hurt re-hash the “event” for awhile.  It’s part of their recovery.  But, after some time, they and you need to move on if healing is going to occur.
  • Make restitution when necessary. Even if it takes the rest of your life.
  • Recognize some mistakes and hurts can’t be overcome.  Be prepared to lose the one(s) you hurt.  This may be the lesson you need to grow and learn.
  • Get help if you need it.  Don’t wait for a court-mandated order or your loved one insisting on it.  Take the initiative and seek professional help. This is taking action.  Action is always esteemed over words.
  • If the relationship continues, recognize it will be different.
  • Don’t do it, again.  Actions speak louder than words and memories fade more quickly if not repeated.

Blessings and Joy,

Annette

 

Business is redemptive

Redemption to some is a charged word. But, for me, it means new beginnings. Redemption means literally to save.  But, it doesn’t have to mean saving others.  Flight attendants have taught us for decades to put on your oxygen mask, first, then turn and put it on others.  Why? Because we can’t help others if we passed out, or more bluntly, died, from lack of oxygen.

So, then, how can we save ourselves? But, more importantly, why do we need saving? If you’re a woman business owner in a difficult marriage,  you need saving.  If your husband has poor communication techniques that leave you feeling drained, confused, and rejected, you need saving.  If you are spending too much time defending and preparing for the next onslaught of negativity, you need saving.  But, how do you save yourself? And what does that really mean?

First, you need to discover who you are. Why? Because you need to know what (or who) you are saving.  What better way to find out who you are through full expression of creating something new or rediscovering what “your juice and your joy” are about. Take, for example, Sophia, who owns a bakery.  Her head and her heart are divided between placating her husband’s constant negative doubts about her and her bakery or focusing on becoming the best bakery her town has ever experienced. What does she love to do? Bake. Not process payroll.  Not package the products. Just bake.  To do that, she needs to put the right people in the right positions.  Even if that means making difficult decisions such as letting some people go or scaling back the business.  She needs to get back to her passion so her business can grow to meet her vision. When Sophia synced with her passion, again, she knew her truth: she is the best baker and is creating the best bakery in her town.  By focusing on being her best in the business, she now more confidence and “head space” to respectfully defend her husband’s criticisms and intelligently engage in a difference of opinion.

Then, there is the story of Tonya, a vibrant young mother of 3 rambunctious boys, who is caught in the cross-hairs of a verbally and emotionally abusive husband and her desire to transition her exquisite silverware hobby into an income producing business.  Her husband actually said to her, “What makes you think you’re so special? I work hard. I don’t want to hear another word about your stupid silverware s**t, again. In fact, I don’t ever want to see it either.”  Don’t you just shudder when you read what her heart and soul hear? Tonya, bless her heart, thinks that she is doing something, anything to control the circumstances from making that ugly beast come at her, again. So she tries to manipulate the situation by literally putting her business in the closet before he gets home every night.  The truth is her creative, loving soul is tortured with self-doubt and self-flagellation stealing her creativity.

A confused mind can’t create.

How can someone create something new, something great with messages like that filling her heart, soul, and mind? Without a doubt, Tonya is in a damaging, unhealthy, abusive relationship and needs to not only get out (so easy to say) but she desperately needs to be saved.  Creating her beautiful custom silverware, hearing her customers accolades, and building an environment of support and beauty may just provide the redemption she needs.  But, first, she needs to know her truth.  She needs to correctly label her relationship, so she can move away from it and quit trying to fix it or excuse it away.  Just as an alcoholic doesn’t fall asleep on the couch, they pass out.  Chronic complaining isn’t venting, it’s a poor attitude of the heart. Tonya’s husband isn’t just having a bad day, he is an abusive man and they are in an unhealthy, destructive relationship.

Business redemptive? Absolutely! Hallelujah!

What Is Your Happy Place?

Happy PlaceMorning!

Notice the title didn’t ask, “Where is Your Happy Place?”

There is a subtle distinction.  But, this subtly packs a wallop.  I want you to think about the elements that would be in, part and present at your happy place.

Would laughter, respect, solving a customer problem, horseback riding, your children, to be understood, selling your products, running, picnics, worship, painting, balancing the checkbook, etc…be on your list?

A simple exercise to identify elements that make you happy is to take seven minutes and write down everything that makes you happy.

DO NOT overthink this. This is not about practicality or even responsibility.

Once you have that list, read it over 7 different times over the next 3 days. After allowing your happy elements to percolate in your brain, take your list and identify the top 7.  Then rank them in order of importance.  Now, add a “p” to the elements you have present and an “a” to the ones that are absent.

Where do your happy elements fit in your life now?

Where do you find them?

How can you add the ones that are absent?

 

 

As a creative outlet, starting and growing a business is personal

Starting and growing a businessBusiness is one of the last creative bastions remaining. And for that, I am glad.  Every human being needs to express themselves in a unique way that revitalizes and emboldens them.  I don’t indulge in the traditional creative outlets, such as cooking, painting, or writing poetry, because I feel lacking.  My creative talents are expressed in a different, albeit, tangible way.  I produce products and services that meet my customers where they are and what they need.  I designed (well, verbalized it to a very good graphic artist) the look and feel of our brand.  I established the systems and processes that ensure a memorable experience for our customers.  I try to inject fun and surprise for my employees.  But, personal expression in business doesn’t have to stop there. In fact, we’re just getting started.

Business provides meaningful and productive work for people to do. Business creates goods and services that enable communities to flourish. But, it’s in business where you have the ability to intentionally develop a culture where customers and employees can be supported and encouraged.  When employees feel esteemed, respected and appreciated, their on-job performance and loyalty skyrockets.  Setting up systems and processes that center around customers that are welcomed, loved and listened to, manifests a built-in ambassador network.  

But, the crown of creativity is, by design, creating an environment, a culture, that you may not have at home.   I didn’t realize it, but by not feeling validated, appreciated or listened to, I poured what I wanted needed, into my customers and employees.  For example, when customers call with a complaint, they are typically on the defense because they expect a similar position.  But, I don’t offer excuses. Quite the opposite.  I immediately offer empathy just by saying, “Oh, you must be SO frustrated.  You were looking forward to receiving your order to x,y, z (drive a new car, feel pretty with that dress, stop snagging all your clothes with that cast, give your family protection with your life insurance policy,…).  Let me fix this for you.”

Frustration dissolved, reconciliation begins.  I offered to my customer what I wanted needed: execution and empathy.  It became the internal “Care, Connect, Create” mantra of CastCoverz! and all employees are trained with this mindset.  By giving what I wanted needed, I filled a void, made raving fans of our customers, and built a blockbuster business.

Where else can you create something that epitomizes your personality, your brand, and your feelings, but in business ownership?  What have you created in your business to fill the void at home?  I look forward to reading your comments, below.

 

 

Stop whining, blaming and complaining in its tracks with 1 simple tactic (and a cute kitten picture).

So, you are faced with another issue.  Yours, theirs, whoevers.  Stop whining, blaming and complaining immediately with 1 simple tactic.

Dee Dee Artner said, “Blaming others is an act of refusing to take responsibility. When a person can’t accept the fact or the reality, they blamed another person or the situation instead of taking accountability. If you have time to whine then you have time to find a solution.” 

I love that.  But, I take it one step further with all my critical relationships (my children, husband, employees, volunteers, etc.).  My simple tactic drastically reduces and in many cases, stops whining and complaining Stop whining, blaming and complainingin its tracks.  The tactic?  Insist that if a problem exists and they must “tell” you about it, then they must also bring to the table 3 solutions to fix it. Perhaps those 3 solutions aren’t applicable or realistic (especially in the case of a young child, story below) but what it does is shift the thinking to solution mode rather than stay in complaint mode. The other benefit to this trick is eventually the person will learn that they have to come to you with 3 solutions and they a): either don’t bring it to you or (even better) b): they figure out the solution and the problem is solved and done! Added benefit is children (and adults) start thinking strategically about problem-solving rather than having a reactive approach to problem solve.

Why do you have to keep children’s solutions in perspective?  I’ll tell you a story to illustrate. When I was a little girl of 6, I received a kitten as a gift by my beloved grandmother.  I Stop whining, blaming and complainingloved that kitten.  I called her Furful, because she was full of fur.  Well, after some time, it became evident that my older brother was allergic to her. My parents had to tell me the tragic news that Furful couldn’t live with us anymore and had to go to the local animal shelter.  I was heart-broken and in my wails I howled, “There must be another way!”  My dad in his infinite wisdom asked, “What would you have us do?” Sitting there looking up at my parents, I thought long and hard about my big brother (who I really didn’t like very much then) and how much I loved Furful.  I said in complete seriousness for my 6-year-old brain and broken heart, “Well, give HIM away!”  Furful you were never forgotten. 🙂

 

 

 

Shi(f)t Happens: Change Your Path

Shi(f)t Happens to us all.  You get to choose how you react to it.  When faced with it:

  • Sometimes you need to change course, reverse course, change direction.
  • Pull up the stakes, break camp.
  • Do a turn-about,double-back, do a 180.
  • Repeal, Have a change of heart.

It’s Ok if you do or you must.  Just promise yourself to make it an adventure.

Shi(f)t Happens

What this blog isn’t

 

  • What this blog isn'tIt isn’t about complaining or whining. Because complainers want 1 of 2 things: to have someone to fix “it” (because it is easier to complain than find a solution) or they want validation for their feelings or beliefs. Neither promotes growth and learning.  If your husband is a chronic complainer, don’t complain about him.  If you complain about your husband, stop.  When we’re hurting and confused about anything or anyone, the knee-jerk reaction is to complain because it gives the perception we’re doing something.  But, in reality, it keeps us from taking action. Let’s not forget, that complaining is a drain and boring. Who wants to be that?
  • It isn’t about husband bashing.  No matter how difficult your situation is or you perceive it to be,  do NOT lower your responses to his level.   You may not recognize it, but he is still a human being and has value.  Rise above it and when you do, do it well and with all the respect you can muster.

Please consider this your safe, happy place where you can get answers to questions you didn’t even know you had. Have faith knowing TBDUP is the place to find clarity, direction, support, and encouragement.

I’ve been there.   Breathe. We’ll get there, together.

Annette de Lancey Giacomazzi