My husband is, hands down, one of the smartest people I know. He’s incredibly hardworking. And innovative. And he’s passionate about what he does. And curious. The curious thing is my favorite part. He’s always learning something new and I love that about him. I’d like to think he’d say something similar about me.
My husband is many, many things, and smart is just one of them, but you know what he is not? He’s not the secret weapon behind my business. I am.
I launched my first business at the age of 22, living on my own in Cedar Falls, Iowa. I registered my LLC and opened up an Etsy Shop. That initial endeavor was far from a success, but it taught me all the basics about starting a business.
A year later when Josh and I were first dating I was still charging ahead with my “side biz”, and I decided to start a blog. I think I was several posts in before I shyly told Josh about my foray into “blogging” which was still relatively new (this was 2009).
There have definitely been benefits to marrying a tech guru. Like in the early days when I was still working off the Dell Inspiron I’d had through college. It was on its last legs, there was no way I could afford a new one, and he could reformat it to squeeze another month or two out of it. Or the time my site was hacked and I thought I lost everything. He recovered it, seemingly by magic. We’ve created many websites together — some of them mine — and I couldn’t have done those without him (but I think he’d say the same). There are perks, for sure, and saved money, no doubt.
But over the years I have also battled to get fair recognition for what I do and the fact that I am, in my own right, quite a tech guru.
A simple remark over coffee: I wish my husband could build me a website so I could ___________.
A message in my inbox: Can I hire your husband?
And one of my favorites: So what does your husband do that allows YOU to do whatever you want?
The recent launch of The Digital Planner seemed to set off a new wave of these inquiries. What did he use to develop that?
Deep breath. It’s hardly my first or top frustration with my career. I’ve worked for 8 years as a social media strategist — try explaining that to people who upload every photo off their iPhone as a screenshot. I’m pretty confident a large segment of the population thinks I’m unemployed (otherwise I’m not sure why they keep sending me job openings?). For years I’ve been brushing off these comments. We’d laugh about it over dinner. I’d joke about my secret life as a lady of leisure. It never really occurred to me that maybe I needed to put these words out there.
He didn’t build my website.
He hasn’t created or developed any of the products I sell.
He’s not the reason I can “do whatever I want”.
In reality, the extra income that my Etsy Shop has generated over the years has been a source for BOTH of us to do what we want, and my ability to work remotely has offered flexibility for both of us.
I’m not writing this to diminish how much his support and occasional help means to me. And this is certainly not to say that he doesn’t deserve credit for the role he’s played in helping me build this business. He’s a brilliant programmer and I am, of course, thankful for the convenience of having a smart, supportive husband in my corner. But this is to say please stop diminishing my work and capabilities by implying that he’s the one doing it.
Yes he’s the first person I’ll go to if I’ve failed to figure something out on my own. Yes, it’s an advantage to be married to someone who understands so much of what my work entails. Yes, he’s given me his time and expertise over the years and I am forever grateful to him for all of it. But no, my husband didn’t build it: I did.
P.S. Today I got to update my tagline from “Top 2% of Etsy Shops” to “Top 1% of Etsy Shops in the World”. So, it felt like a good time to push publish on this drafted post. Thank you for being here, and thank you for supporting me so that I can do something I am truly passionate about: designing products that impact people’s lives in a positive way.