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November 1999



From Cynical Spouse to Business Partner - Azriela Jaffe

Thomas Sandor had a problem - a wife, Renee, who didn't think too highly of his decision to involve himself in Network Marketing companies. His speeches and passionate sales pitches to her fell on deaf ears, especially when the money wasn't exactly - shall we say it nicely - overwhelming their savings account. Then Renee stumbled upon her own Network Marketing opportunity and to Thomas' amazement and delight, she became not only accepting of his career choice, but a true partner. Thomas recently wrote to me:

"I've been in the Marketing/Sales Business for the past 25 years, but for only one year have I been active on the Net. There have been many adjustments to make and many nights wondering if what I'm doing is really building a future for my wife, Renee, and me.

"You know as well as I that there is a lot of hype in the air about marketing on the Web. Everybody's out to appease everybody else's urge for instant gratification. I'm just as guilty as the next person when it comes to falling into this trap. I see a business venture that states "Make more money than you ever dreamed possible from the comfort of your home," I get jazzed, sign up and 72 hours later, when my mailbox is not flooded with cash and checks, I start thinking the company screwed me, the deal was too good to be true, etc. The worst is when I get people I know personally to buy something from me (because of me), only to find the company went out of business, was shut down, or skipped town. Instant gratification is quickly turned into overnight dissatisfaction!

"Needless to say, in these circumstances, my wife was wondering where all the money was that I kept talking about making! She only saw money going out and nothing coming in. Then something really cool happened. Renee found a product that she liked while surfing the Net. The people she communicated with were honest, and integrity was high on their list. She got a sample of the product and it worked for her. I got on the Net to see who these people were and found out that they relied on Network Marketing. I told my wife that if she liked the product and the company she could become a distributor for very little money.

"To make a long story short, Renee is now making just as much, if not more, money than I am! We sit down and have business meetings. We share ideas, dreams, and realities! I know now that she doesn't feel like I'm living in a cloud, that the ideas are real, and with hard work and integrity, we can create a successful business together on the Net. What makes me so excited, and the reason I just had to write to you is that now we are doing it together, for us, not just me, not just her, but us."

Like many smart entrepreneurial couples, Thomas and Renee have split up the business and each does what they do best. Thomas is the sales/ marketing expert and Renee handles all the administration. Thomas reports, after a year of working together: "We're having fun, making money, and still sleeping in the same bed!"

If you are trying to convince a spouse to believe in you and your new business, but the money isn't quite there yet, and you've been suckered into a scam or two in the past, you will likely be blocked in all attempts to find a receptive ear from your mate. Can you blame him or her? Your spouse probably feels a responsibility to talk some sense into you, and also a strong need to protect themselves from being hurt by your "crazy" ideas. He or she is angry and frightened-- after all, what happens to your money also happens to your spouse, and every bad deal you enter is a rotten deal for them as well. Even when the results start becoming more positive, and you are sure that this time you have landed yourself the right fish, it may take a long time and some substantial profit before your spouse will stop telling you to fish someplace safer.

I share Thomas' story for three reasons. First, I want you to see that no matter how unsupportive your spouse is initially, there is always hope.

Second, you can learn from Thomas that the solution to igniting your spouse's enthusiasm for your business may not lie with you. Your spouse may need to be turned on by someone totally outside of your marriage or family, an individual who she will listen to because that person is not her spouse who has gone off once again pursuing one of his crazy ideas. She may have made up her mind about you, but she's still open to seeing potential in the work of others who have not hurt her before.

Third, I want you to hear the joy in his voice and the delight he experiences now that he and his wife are united in a common purpose. It is exceedingly painful when a spouse does not support or endorse your choice of business venture. The triumphant feeling you get when your spouse not only comes around, but joins you, is better than what you'll feel when you land your biggest customer, because you just did.

AZRIELA JAFFE is the founder of "Anchored Dreams" (, and author of Honey, I Want to Start my Own Business, A Planning Guide for Couples (Harper Business 1996), Let's Go Into Business Together, Eight Secrets for Successful Business Partnering (Avon Books 1998) and Starting from No, Ten Strategies to Overcome Your Fear of Rejection and Succeed in Business (Dearborn, April 1999). For free online newsletter for entrepreneurial couples, best ideas in business, or marketing on the web, or for information about her syndicated column, "Advice from A-Z", email Questions and reader response can be emailed, or write to PO Box 209, Bausman, PA 17504.

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Reprinted with permission from Upline, Jaffe Feature - November 1999, 888-UPLINE-1,