Marriage is hard work. Running a business is hard work. Trying to just be great at both.... It's no secret that it comes with its challenges.
If you're married and running a business, this week is for you. I, along with a couple of other successful wifepreneurs, have decided to get very personal and honest with you about the struggles and how we've overcome them.
First, let's chat with Dr. Nadia Brown. She is an authentic, bold champion for women business owners. She leads The Doyenne Agency, Inc., a sales agency that provides outsourced sales support and sales training for online brands and boutique service businesses.
Through her intensives and sales support, she helps women break through the glass ceilings they encounter in business by helping them build profitable and sustainable businesses. When it comes to sales, women come to her timid and shaky about going after the money – they leave her strategic, strong, emboldened and most importantly, paid.
She is the author of Leading Like a Lady: How to Shatter Your Inner Glass Ceiling and the forthcoming book Selling Like a Lady: How to Master Sales with Dignity, Class & Grace and lives with her husband Toby in Phoenix, AZ. To learn more, visit www.drnadiabrown.com.
As successful as Dr. Nadia is now, her business had to start somewhere. Her start was not as glamorous as one would've hoped, and her household was affected by it. What you'll learn through this exclusive interview is how a woman had to apply wisdom, sacrifice and hard work in an effort to balance her life and her business.
Who are you and what kind of business do you run?
I’m Dr. Nadia Brown and I run a sales agency, The Doyenne Agency, Inc. We provide sales training and outsourced sales support for small to mid-sized service businesses.
What’s your family dynamic? How long have you been married? How many children, if any?
My husband and I have been married for 10 years. We do not have any children.
Before you started this business, what were you doing?
Prior to starting the sales agency, I ran a leadership institute that provided coaching and training for corporate and business leaders. Before leaving corporate, I was a Project Manager at a financial institution.
What was your husband’s initial response to you starting your business?
He was initially shocked and a little resistant. I didn’t have a clear enough plan for his comfort level. Plus me starting a business and ultimately leaving my job meant a big financial hit to our household. At that time, I was the bread winner and it could have had major implications to our lifestyle. However, over time he stated that he wouldn’t stand in the way of God’s plan for my life and thus began the journey of us figuring out how to make this business work without sacrificing our marriage.
How did the start of your business impact your household? What challenges did you have to overcome?
It had a huge impact. It took far longer than I care to admit for the business to become profitable. The biggest challenge was finances. Thankfully less than a year after I left my job, my husband got a new job paying what he should have been making all along so that helped, but it was still stressful.
I had to adjust to this new dynamic and there were times when the business wasn’t making enough money and needed to dip into the family finances. There were several stressful conversations those first few years. There were times when I felt that maybe I should just quit and while my husband wanted to support me in pursuing my dream, it was hard to argue with the balance sheet.
I eventually took a short-term contract position to help alleviate the financial strain, which allowed me to invest in much needed sales training. That was a huge turning point in my business.
Many Boss Babes feel that men are easily intimidated by them. What would you say to that?
Simply put in my opinion, some men are intimidated. I think society’s definition of how a woman should behave, dress, when she should have children, etc. particularly a Christian woman, can make it challenging for some men to grasp how to engage with a career woman. Prior to meeting my husband, I remember dating a guy who thought my pursuit of higher education was somehow “unholy”. So, when I started my doctoral program a month after Toby and I started dating, it took me months before I told him and then I waited several months for the proverbial “shoe to drop” after I told him. Needless to say, that never happened. For whatever reason, some guys can’t handle it so my advice is to marry the one who can.
Many Boss Babes also feel that, it seems easier to be single if you want to run a successful business. How would you respond to that?
Honestly, I can see why they might feel that way. I would be lying if I said that in those early days that thought hadn’t crossed my mind, especially in those moments when Toby and I disagreed on how I should move forward with something. However, my husband has been my biggest supporter even when he didn’t agree with how I was doing things. And honestly it feels good to have someone who has your back. I’ve had to learn how to accept and appreciate his support and I don’t know where I’d be without it.
Society tends to think that modern day entrepreneurial or career women do not want the traditional marriage and family? What do you think of that?
Toby and I often joke that if we’d known marriage was going to be this good we would have done it sooner. Not that we haven’t had our challenges over the years, but I think one thing that helped us was that we said in the beginning that we wouldn’t let society dictate what our roles in the marriage should look like. I think modern day entrepreneurial or career women don’t want others to dictate what their marriage or family dynamics should look like, but it doesn’t mean they don’t desire to be married or have a family.
What would you say to the wifepreneur and/or mompreneur who is having a hard time balancing her family life and her business life?
First, ask for and receive help. I think as women we too often try to do far too much on our own and then we get frustrated when we are tired and burned out. Second, communicate, communicate, communicate, particularly with your husband. Third, find a community of support.
What’s your best practice for keeping your business and personal life running smoothly?
Support. I have a council which provides me the support I need with focusing on the growth and direction of my business. I also have support in my business and at home. Don’t be afraid to hire what you need or be ashamed for hiring a chef, nanny or housekeeper for example. Do what you need to do to create the structure of support that will keep things running smoothly with the understanding that seasons change and your needs will change too.
Any final thoughts for the women reading this interview?
Being an entrepreneur is not easy, but it is worth it. And it’s possible to run a successful business and have a happy, healthy marriage.
What Dr. Nadia Brown shows us here is the power of perseverance and doing what's necessary for the sake of fulfillment in all areas. It comes with sacrifice. It comes with hard work. But if you're willing to give and take what's needed, you can be successful in love and business.
One of the services she offers is outsourced sales support (aka they do the sales for you), whether it’s ongoing or just for an event or launch. If you’re interested in learning if this is right for you, visit MeetWithDrNadia.com to schedule a chat.
If you have questions for Dr. Nadia, feel free to drop them in the comment section below.
All photos taken by Nicole Simone.
Flowers provided by Azelly.