In today’s Nigeria, I find that many more women are becoming the breadwinners in their homes as the years go by. And while this shouldn’t alarm you much with the rise of women empowerment programs, what I find alarming is that this women are being made to shoulder more financial responsibility at home in the name of supporting their husbands’ dreams of becoming ‘entrepreneurs’.
Now don’t get me wrong, the buzzword of our age is the word, ‘entrepreneur’. Becoming an entrepreneur can be as fulfilling as it can be challenging. But 80 per cent of entrepreneurs fail within the first 2 years of starting out because of the harsh business terrain that Nigeria is.
Year after year, many men simply abandon their responsibility to their families by quitting their day jobs on sheer hope that they can strike it rich on their own by becoming entrepreneurs.
I find that unrealistic expectations coupled with poor planning usually fuel this decision among many of my peers. I dare say, I too had been plagued by the possibility of becoming another Jeff Bezos (founder of Amazon.com) or Mark Cuban (Owner of Dallas Mavericks) but for the fact the God rescued me from the same foolishness…Jeff, Mark and other entrepreneurs may be admirable but as I drilled down into their stories here’s what I learnt:
Decide to be Stable Once You have Children
Most of these successful entrepreneurs were pretty set in their minds what they wanted to do and had attained some financial stability before they started having children. Your wife shouldn’t be left to handle all the bills if not for the strain it would put on your psyche as a man, but for your message you’d be sending your sons that it is okay to pursue a dream at the expense of family; and to your daughters, that it is okay to let their husbands punish them with undue financial burden in the name of making it big so that the family can enjoy.
Start something on the side and keep your day job
Thomas Edison worked at Western Union while he continued experimenting. Ray Kroc (founder of Mac Donald’s) worked for a company that sold paper cups and milk shakes till he was 52. Actor, Harrison Ford was a carpenter until he hit the big screen in his mid-30s. Your family will need your financial and emotional input until your dream can provide the needed cash to support them. Don’t quit that job yet!
Listen to Your Wife’s Gut
According to an article in Psychology Today, there’s research concluding that a woman’s intuition is more fact than foolery. Women do have an enhanced ability to read and decipher the impact of decisions and other non-verbal cues. Being married isn’t a problem, it is an added advantage. Talk to your wife about the decisions you want to make and listen for feedback. Trust me, she will send you back to the drawing table if you do not have enough money, experience or expertise. And just because the social structure devalues the opinions of women doesn’t mean you should too.
Let Family Be First
Jack Weil started Rockmount Ranch Wear at 45. Wally Blume founded Denali Flavours at 57. Most of what these men did before they started phenomenally successful company was support their families through paid employment while readying themselves for the future of their dreams. Don’t let your wives do it alone when the chances of chasing this dream today could blow back on your family four out of five times. Let me be the voice of reason.
And if you have quit your job and business isn’t pulling in the numbers to meet your obligations to that lovely woman and the children you have together, it’s time for a rethink. Let 2016 be a time when you do the necessary, not the desired. You might need to take on a job. You might need to reassess your business model to make it more cash productive; or maybe, now’s the time to hire a financial guru that can help you take your business through a re-engineering to the next level. Whatever it is; do it. Easy is not an option.
Trust me, it will be worth it, if at the end you win on all fronts. Hang in there!
Follow Nehi on Twitter at @NehiWrites