Posted in Consulting

Being self-employed without the support of your better half or significant other


As a consultant, when someone comes to me with the interest and a business plan to go into business for himself or herself, before even checking the quality of the business plan, the next question I usually ask of this eager client is: do you have the support and the blessing of your entire family?
I am taking this opportunity to share with some of you readers, a discussion that some LinkedIn members were having about self-employment. A 53 year old Black male really got some attention. Although going into business for himself this time around was the third business venture of his life thus far, he still felt that he was being setup to fail for not having the support of the woman he loves. His first business venture entailed a home health care agency and temporary staffing in Southern California. He had the full support of his woman at the time. She and two other members of her family not only helped around the office and sometimes pitched in as Home Health Aides but helped this man secure $25,000 in private investments. His second business venture was with a sibling and a third partner. This business venture was about Information Technology temporary staffing & services and introducing the One-Stop Shop concept to the African and Caribbean communities in Maryland, Northern Virginia, and Washington, DC. Once again, he had the blessing and the support of the woman he loved. His woman poured $20,000 of her own money into this venture and got back $60,000 when the group dissolved in 2008. However, three years ago, the table has turned drastically when he met this passionate woman from East Africa. Her emphasis, like most American women, was on financial security and the fact that this man does not make enough money to support her and her children. It also came to my attention, which may be relevant to this blog entry that African immigrants from her country of origin have the lowest self-employment rate among all other African immigrants in the United States (i.e., with Liberia, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Egypt, Ghana, and Kenya listed as the top countries of origin). This 53 year old Black male also shared with the group on LinkedIn that, it was like pulling teeth getting his woman to invest $300 in his new business venture. She complains about not getting any return on her investment ignoring the fact that her man spent that same amount on a designer bag he bought her for her birthday, and spent even more on birthday gifts for her children. Moreover, he wanted to surprise her with a 3 karat diamond necklace. Unfortunately, he never got around to it because he’s always too busy putting out fires having to run a small business all by himself.
Enclosed, please find the paragraph that the man in question wrote in our LinkedIn discussion about self-employment:
“It’s nerve-wracking when you don’t have the full support of the woman you love when you have your own business. Her full support is so critical because self-employment is for the most part based on a shared vision that derives directly from good business ideas or a concept that promises to supply the high demand of many potential customers. Self-employment does NOT offer “financial security” right off the bat but the on-going process of putting the right team together with the appropriate expertise in any growing market is sure to pay off great returns and profits to its stakeholders.”

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