A Woman’s Business is More Than a Side Hustle

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I was listening to a podcast episode featuring award-winning financial educator, Tiffany “The Budgetnista” Aliche. The Budgetnista provides women with access to resources and tools for saving money, paying off debt, and living richer lives. She aims to make financial literacy more accessible.

During this interview, The Budgetnista detailed a key distinction between how her former partners and current husband regarded her business aspirations — which have since taken her from 300K in debt to $10 million a year.

The Budgetnista said that ex-boyfriends considered her business a “side hustle” in its infancy stages. One of them liked that she was a preschool teacher. It meant there’d be cooked meals, and she’d always be home in the evenings.

Partners didn’t want The Budgetnista neglecting homemaker duties in favor of entrepreneurial endeavors. She had to sneak and work on her dreams.

It’s a story most women know all too well.

Even our friends and family often perceive self-employment as inconsequential. They wonder when we’ll get a “real job,” stop playing around with cute ideas, and turn our attention to getting or keeping a husband.

I think this perspective is more hurtful when coming from a partner. How sad it is to be passionate about a project but have to hide it from the person you love the most. How unfortunate, to be building a life with someone and feel forced to keep a significant part of yourself private.

This disconnect between women, business, and finances has been ingrained into our culture.

As The Budgetnista mentioned, women didn’t even get access to credit without having a husband as cosigner until 1974! So, just 46 years ago, we weren’t deemed smart, or responsible, or whatever enough to have a credit card without a man’s endorsement. Or, maybe the notion was just that we shouldn’t have such a need.

Women got a late start but hit the ground running. It’s incredible how far we’ve come so fast, with so much in place to keep us in ours. Forty percent of US businesses are women-owned, generating $1.8 trillion annually.

Yet, many still carry an archaic mindset regarding women and entrepreneurship — even if they weren’t alive when conflicting ideals were most prevalent.

For me, a dead giveaway that someone doesn’t take your work seriously is them putting the word “little” in front of it.

Are you still doing that little podcast?

How’s your little blog going?

Have you started making money from your little jewelry business?

See how that one word changes the entire sentiment? It’s offensive and upsetting to spend time building something you believe in, only to have it reduced by those closest to you. Nothing about the effort put into a business is trivial.

Which takes precedence between a woman’s professional and familial goals is a matter of preference. Neither is inherently more important than the other. It’s a personal decision.

If a woman prefers to only do something on the side for extra money, great. If she’s working to make that side hustle her main hustle, also great! Because she’s a woman doesn’t mean that building a business can’t be at or near the top of her priority list.

Imagine if The Budgetnista would’ve done what was most pleasing to her partners. One of two outcomes would’ve likely transpired:

  • She wouldn’t have been nearly as successful.
  • She would’ve given up the dream altogether.

The first outcome may have led to the second.

The bottom line is, The Budgetnista wouldn’t be generating millions of dollars in revenue. She wouldn’t have been a guest on that podcast — and I wouldn’t be writing about her.

She wouldn’t have achieved this:

Through her company, The Budgetnista, Tiffany has created a financial movement that has helped over 800,000 women worldwide collectively save more than $100 million, and pay off over $75 million in debt, purchase homes and transform the way they think about their finances.

Good thing Tiffany kept sneaking around with her ambitions and chose herself.

Now, she has a supportive partner by her side. Tiffany says that her husband helps cook, clean, and ensure she has what she needs. They’re mutually nurturing and independently capable. They’re winning together — which to me, is the epitome of life partnership.

I wonder if those other guys are kicking themselves…. They could’ve been winning too.

It takes an evolved or minimally self-centered outlook to allow a woman the space to be more than a lover and mother. I had a guy tell me that I need too much time to work on personal projects for his taste, but that he’d listened to my “little” podcast appearance. He admittedly wanted to be with his partner every waking moment possible. That’s something I can’t offer.

I need space to breathe. Space to BE. Space to do.

Many women have aspirations that extend beyond romantic commitments.

If anything, a partner should help bring her vision to fruition. At the very least, don’t stand in the way.

The Budgetnista is one of many who serve as evidence that a woman’s business isn’t automatically relegated to a side hustle. It can grow into a venture more successful than imagined. That side hustle could become the family meal ticket. Don’t block your blessing because you want four-course meals every night.

Even if things don’t evolve as planned, and efforts don’t pay off as hoped, pursuing the endeavor is a woman’s right. She’s not less deserving of opportunity and encouragement because it may take away from fulfilling the duties of outdated gender roles.

I understand being traditional. I can even understand being a bit dependent on what your partner brings to the relationship. What I don’t comprehend and can’t condone is stripping a woman of her brilliance, and not allowing her to be a person above all things.

Originally Published on Medium.com


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