Freelance Professional Photographers: Your Spouse is THE KEY to success

My parents David and Bonita when they were dating

Growing up I watched how both of my parents supported one another. We hear a lot about children do better when raised in a two parent home.

Children raised in intact married families:

  • are more likely to attend college
  • are physically and emotionally healthier
  • are less likely to be physically or sexually abused
  • are less likely to use drugs or alcohol and to commit delinquent behaviors
  • have a decreased risk of divorcing when they get married
  • are less likely to become pregnant/impregnate someone as a teenager
Your business is like a child
So just like children who benefit from a loving two parent home so too will your business flourish when your spouse is supportive of your business.
If you came to me about becoming a freelancer, one of the first questions I would ask you “Is your spouse supportive what you’re about to do?”
My biggest cheerleader and support is my wife Dorie. 
The difference between a supportive spouse and one that is questioning you all the time as you are trying to make business decisions can cost you your business.
Dorie’s father was an entrepreneur and she is very comfortable with this role. Not everyone grows up in the family of an entrepreneur. There is a huge difference in how your household life will be day to day when you have an employer verses you running your own business.
All the books on parenting emphasize the importance of the two parents being on the same game plan when it comes to raising your children. You learn to support the other parents decision even if you disagree.
If you disagree you talk about it and then the next time something comes up again, the game plan may be different, but that is because you discussed it.
There is very little good that comes from disagreeing with another parent’s decision in front of a child. It is not that this should never happen, but that you understand the consequences of this disagreement when the other spouse made a decision when you were not there.
It’s a Two Way Street
There is a Bible verse that I think every couple and friendship needs to know. It is Romans 12:10 “love one another with brotherly affection; outdo one another in showing honor.”
Whatever your spouse feels passionate about is something they need support doing. Dorie has a calling to help journalist. Here is an article on her ministry to journalists.
Click here to read the article
Dorie also has a passion for helping the parents of The Citadel. She knows from first hand experience that parents need more information on how they can support their child. She has created a blog to help those parents.
Click here to go to Dorie’s blog
Earning Support
You cannot go to your spouse and say I need you to support me and immediately get that support. I can tell you a secret on how you get it—Give It!
Here are some ways that you can first be supportive of your spouse:
  • Respect your spouse’s personal/business decisions
  • Demonstrate you have faith in them
  • Give them your shoulder on those days when they have a sinking feeling
  • Work with your spouse on balance
  • Celebrate your spouses successes
  • Don’t try and Fix-it [As a male I struggle with not trying to jump in and fix things]
  • Listen well
  • Be Truthful, Genuine and Credible with your encouragement. Don’t embellish your comments of support.
Dorie has done an incredible job of making me feel like I can be a successful photographer. This has been the most important key to the success of my business.
No Spouse
If you are not married and not even dating you still will need some support from a community. I would encourage you to have a good friend that can help with some of the support that married people get from one another. You just need some support or you will find it more stressful than it should be.
The Foundation
When we think of building we start with a foundation. There are two types of building foundations: shallow and deep foundations.
Both of them are there to create the support that creates a firm support for the rest of the building.
I would argue that the foundation that I have built my business on is made up of two components. First is my faith in God and the second is my spouse. Together the two of these have interlocked to give the business what it has needed to grow.
On top of the foundation you need to have solid business practices and a portfolio that will invite clients to want to work with you.
Supportive Discouragement
If your spouse has some weaknesses that you think will lead to disaster, encourage them to either go take classes to learn more about this or maybe they need to outsource that area of the business. Maybe you as the spouse may want to take on helping them because this might be something you are skilled in.
Don’t tell them they are going to fail. Tell them how they will be successful as long as they address what you think might be holding them back.
Seek out wisdom
The best time to seek out the wisdom of others is before you start your business and not after. Start with your spouse talking about your dream. Find a good mentor/coach and remember to listen. If you are finding little or no support, this is a good sign that you need to assess your friends and spouses concerns.
Be a good parent as well
Our daughter Chelle
I am very proud of my daughter and love to talk about all she does to anyone who will listen. She loves the theater and while most parents are telling their children how difficult it is to be successful, we encourage our daughter. Sure we don’t sugar coat it, but we took her to Hollywood to see behind the scenes and see all the careers that are creative.

Encourage people to pursue their dreams. Remember that often the chasing of the dream leads to a very successful career and not always exactly as they dreamed. However, it was the chasing that gets them to where they will be successful.

During the Emmy Awards Monday night Jim Parson’s thank you reminded me of how important support is in our success. 

Jim Parsons won his fourth Emmy for his work on The Big Bang Theory. Parsons took the opportunity to thank his father in his speech. Mickey Parsons, he said, died before all of the craziness attached to Big Bang Theory began. He thanked his father for supporting him.
“He encouraged me to be an actor. He never discouraged me to be an actor, and in a career that hinges so much on confidence a lot of the time, that was a really great gift,” Parsons said.
I highlighted the part, because it is just as applicable to any of us. Support builds confidence.