To the entrepreneur’s wife on Mother’s Day…

“Behind every successful man is a woman who is still amazed.” Or so the old joke goes. In reality, success as an entrepreneur is often highly dependent on a supporting spouse. If you don’t have that support, it may never happen.

This post was inspired by a Mother’s Day e-mail from Perry Marshall of AdWords fame. Perry tells how his wife Laura continually supported him — through thick and thin — in his many entrepreneurial adventures. What a great tribute!

Similar story here. More than once,  my co-conspirator Mary (see the story on the goofy hat) gave me the nudge I needed. That support and confidence made all the difference.

To wit:

1978- Frustrated in my engineering position, I saw an ad for a sales engineer. Even though I’d never done sales, I ranted and raved that I could probably do the job. Finally, Mary piped up and said, “Why don’t you just send in your resume, and see what happens?”

  • She was right, of course. Incidentally, I didn’t get the job, but eventually I did get into technical  sales. (Persistence pays.) That experience was a great help later when making my own JumpToConsulting.

-1982- Fired from the technology startup I had helped get off the ground, I ranted and raved about working for others. Having moonlighted in the past, I floated the idea of hanging out my shingle. Mary said, “Why don’t you try it and see what happens?”

  • Once again, she was right. (Did I mention she also saw the writing on the wall at the startup several months prior to my firing?) I promised not to gamble the house, so I gave myself three months to book business or it was back to Corporate Land. It didn’t work, but eventually I did make the final JumpToConsulting. (Once again, persistence pays,)

-1987- Two corporate jobs later, I was REALLY itching to do my own thing. It looked like my corporate sales job might disappear, so I started making alternate plans. More ranting and raving, and more support from Mary —“Why don’t you try it and see what happens?”

  • Success this time! But, the first day in business the stock market crashed, which was very SCARY. But we survived, and we’re now closing in on almost 30 years as full time consulting engineers. Behind the scenes, Mary kept the books and ran my office. (And as a bonus, I get to sleep with the bookkeeper – she just groans when I say that.)

Along the way, Mary also found time to mother two boys into successful young men, who now have their own families and who blessed us with six wonderful grandchildren.

So thanks, Mary!  With all my love and gratitude,


P.S. Happy Mother’s Day to all of you who support your entrepreneurs… and all who are entrepreneurs in your own right!

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