The following is a guest blog from my husband, Pete Strella.
It’s been two years since Rachel began her social media company. As I reflect upon this anniversary, I’m experiencing the same time warp I often feel when looking back on life’s significant milestones. In some ways, it feels like Rachel just started her business two months ago. In other ways, it feels like it’s been two decades.
They say time flies when you’re having fun, but the same holds true when you’re supporting a spouse who’s trying to start her own business, though replacing “having fun” with “working hard” is probably a better fit. She’s worked so hard that it often feels like I’m working too, even if I’m on the couch relaxing and she’s typing away on the keyboard.
For me, that’s been the hardest part. As a person who values relaxation, it’s hard to relax when you’re helping someone take on such a monumental task. I often feel like, just when I’m about to settle in, that’s when she asks me to proofread a few messages, design a slider, brainstorm, discuss how to handle a client issue, or any of the other tasks or obstacles that spring up.
So the toughest part has been knowing when I should be supportive and when I should say, “not now, I need to chill.”
But while it’s been hard work, I must say that I have never been more proud of her than I am right now. She’s built an amazing company that is based on what I would say is her “core value:” she wants to help people in whatever way she can.
Rachel saw social media as a way in which she could achieve this core value, and now she has not only helping local businesses, but she has a healthy, growing business of her own with a ton of potential to become even better. It’s been rewarding for me, too, as I’ve learned so much and met so many amazing people that I wouldn’t have met if Rachel hadn’t chose to go down this path.
By far, the best part has been being able to share in the success together, whether it’s a great blog idea that we thought up together, landing a new prospect that we talked over, or even playfully telling each other “I told you so” when we disagree but ultimately come to the right conclusion.
The best moments include taking a photo of Rachel holding her first check from a client, taking another photo of her moving into her new office, and tagging along on a business trip to Orlando (and visiting The Wizarding World of Harry Potter too!).
Rachel has invested a lot back into the business, in the hopes of maybe one day getting a bigger payoff. But even if that never happens or if it were to all end tomorrow, I think we’d both agree that the experience has changed us for the better.
Yet I’m willing to bet that Rachel will be in business for a very long time, because even if she makes me work too hard sometimes, I’ll always bet on Rachel. Always.
What a sweetheart! Are you supporting a spouse in business? How has your life changed in the process?
I did one better than Pete and actually formed a business partnership with my husband 4 years ago. He's a book author trying to take his business to the next level, beyond just books. I left my corporate job to help him get there—by providing website and graphic design, social media implementation, powerpoint & prezi presentation skills, writing, editing, and, overall creative and business strategy (along with scut work like doing project schedules and making travel arrangements). He would have to have two dozen freelancers on tap to do what I've been doing!
It's been a ton of hard work but so gratifying to put my efforts into our company rather than into a corporation that only uses a fraction of a person's skills and leaves one feeling like an interchangeable cog. With the explosion of the internet, growing a business is both much easier (free tools & resources!) and much harder (so many changes and so much noise!) than I could have guessed.
As for how my life has changed: working harder but less stressed since I like my co-worker; no commute; clothing budget cut down to nothing; eating dinner way too late; able to do what I want, when I want; and am always learning and doing rather than sitting in boring meetings. When I started this, EVERYONE told me they could never work with their spouse ("too bossy" seemed to be the #1 concern), and there are some "moments" (I hate being taken for granted), but overall it's been a big plus.
I couldn't agree more with Pete's closing words: "Rachel has invested a lot back into the business, in the hopes of maybe one day getting a bigger payoff. But even if that never happens or if it were to all end tomorrow, I think we’d both agree that the experience has changed us for the better." Congrats to both of you for enjoying the journey!
Your post is very reassuring. I've also wanted Pete to be a part of my business. Currently, he works in the corporate world, but some day...
[...] Rite Now,” a newsletter for Rite Aid Corporation employees. Pete’s other blogs include The Ups & Downs of Supporting a Business-Owning Wife, Twitter: A Medium for the Anti-Social, and Penn State Scandal: Conversation Should Shift to [...]
What a great story! A thank you to Pete for sharing. Being a client of Rachel's, I know first hand how hard she works on a daily basis. Its equally nice to hear not only about the positives of being a spouse of someone who owns their own business, but the challenges as well. Your story provides insight, honesty, and openness. Very refreshing!
Thank you so much for this feedback. It made me smile!
I'll share with Pete!!!