View from the Bride

blog_fonnieMegan brilliantly suggested that my wife describe her experience of my home-based business. Fonnie’s job title at The Feisty Empire is Voice of Reason – a thorny, thankless role that she performs admirably.

Now, while the Voice of Reason was happy to share her thoughts on life at Empire House, she wanted the Senior Writer to record them. Here, then, are her authorised impressions, good and bad.


My former career in human resources was grinding me into a paste. Desperately unhappy and longing for change, I was very poor company. When Fonnie backed me to pursue a career in writing, I was transformed. Though (like everyone) I still have bad days, I’m infinitely more content.


When Fonnie wakes at 5.30am, I’m often already at my desk. When she comes home at 7pm, I’m still there. I sneak away during TV ad breaks to check my emails (sometimes not to return). Walking the dogs, I can talk Empire for the whole 6 km. Fonnie occasionally wishes for a husband who leaves work at work.


When Fonnie takes leave, so can I; there’s no boss to beg. If she’s sick, I can drop everything to drive her to the doctor. If she wants a weekend away, I can take Friday or Monday off (provided I don’t have pressing deadlines). Just as she helps me, I’m able to do chores for her – like collecting dry cleaning or interstate visitors any time of the day.


When work goes quiet and revenue stops flowing, Fonnie worries. A lot. The five months from last November were particularly sepulchral, and Fonnie wasn’t convinced that teaching myself Web 2.0 was a better activity than drumming up new business.

Fortunately, Fonnie now realises that Web 2.0 was definitely the way to go. The work is flowing better, but there’s still no way we can tell if my last job was … my last.


Fonnie’s proud of what I do. She likes to read this blog and is impressed with my new website. She tells her friends when I’m in the media and stayed up all night to listen to my first graveyard shift. Her pride, wisdom and insight keep my myriad activities true.


When I get more work than I can handle, I stress. Too much work can trigger as much tension as none. Fonnie would like me to take things easier, set realistic deadlines and do each job calmly in turn. I’m getting better at this too.

Well, that’s the Empire’s Voice of Reason done. I’d now like you to summon your partner for their frank feedback on life in your business.

I can’t wait to see what they say!


Paul Hassing, Founder & Senior Writer,



  • I think Chris would say ditto to all that Fonnie says Paul!

    I laughed at the ‘checking emails in ad breaks never to return’. I’ve been guilty of that too.

  • Nice entry and good points that proves that there is Yin and Yang in virtually every circumstance. With freedom of self employment comes concern with ongoing income. With certainty of income in corporate comes a lack of options and an inability to be spontaneous. Both good and bad in their own way.

    That leads us to question why we do what we do and what the attraction is. What is the most important – money, security, freedom, variety or external validation?

    It will be different for each of us and many have made the transition from corporate to self employment only to find the grass really isn’t greener. Others make the leap and love it. Personally I do both and have found it works really well for me, the best of both worlds.

    Ask Joanne and she will say that the benefits are good but time taken to achieve them is not. Work life balance or a need to fulfil our self defined destiny?

  • Thank you both for your responses. Kate, I’m glad I’m not alone! Malcolm, I’m really glad you’ve found your perfect place; you’ve certainly worked hard enough to get there! Best regards, P. :)

  • Paul, a man has found a good thing when he finds a wife.

    Understand your past, believe in your future, and love you today, just the way you are.

    We are changing ever moment and we are never the same. I know that you love Fonnie with all your heart.

    Some kind of stress management is a good thing too! :)


  • Geez Malcolm, there’s nothing in there to pick-on mate! It’s all just so nice & meaningful and poignant… :- (

    Oh except for the bit (which I just love), where Paul has asked to “summon your partner for their frank feedback” and you decide that is just fine and dandy to speak FOR your partner (Joanne)??? Guts move mate! :- )… Is there a demarcation dispute brewing here? God I hope so! Hehe! ;- )

    And Kate, you only just escaped by offering what ‘you think’ your partner ‘would say’…that’s pretty tricky… :- P

    Almost speaking on behalf of my beloved, I reckon she’d ‘hock the jewels’ if I spoke ‘for her’ on any occasion/subject…but only after she gave them a good kicking, of course :- )

    Paul! Is that Fonnie? God she’s so hot!!! ;- ) Fonnie, if you are reading this…YOU’RE HOT! :- )


    some cheeky, blaspheming, hacker that has stolen Stephen G’s ID and is pretending to be him…

  • Malcolm Owens

    Dont tell Paul that Fonnie is hot (even though she is) he already has a big enough ego! I’m quite happy to speak for Joanne and I have no need to ask her as she tells me regularly so I knows exactly what she thinks!! After 20 years she is very used to me and my quirky ways (except for that one time with the rabbit).

  • Dear Susie, my good old friend from Squidoo, then Twitter and now here! You’re dead right about a good wife; thank you for your wise words. Not a day goes by that I don’t thank my lucky stars for Fonnie. :) Everyone, please click on Susie’s name (Tipigal) to discover her tipi lenses. They are fabulous!

    Stephen, you raise an interesting point, as usual. You’re a stirrer, but that brings good stuff from the bottom of the pot. Fonnie did indeed authorise me to use her photo. I agree with your assessment 100%! I am a very lucky man. :)

  • Hi Malcom :- )

    Clearly, you are indeed very happy to speak for Joanne :- )..but hang on…am I to understand that you are the first and only male in history to actually know what a woman is thinking?…’exactly’ no less? :- P

    Don’t worry mate. I’m sure everyone here will keep your historic secret. Otherwise you might end-up in a laboratory somewhere…:- )

    And best not get me started on ‘rabbit’ stories! :- P

    Hi Paul :- )…’Interesting point’?..What? That Fonnie is so hot? :- )…’Stirrer’?…Moi? Je ne prie pas mon ami… ;- )


    Stephen G

    PS I reckon after this, I’ll be a very lucky man too mate…lucky to be alive! :- P

  • Great to hear the ‘other’ side of things. In some ways I’m surprised that your lady’s not in the business with you (though I suppose that could be a bad idea in some ways!).

    I’m lucky, too, Paul. My muse is proud of what I do (even if the first thing I published after deciding to freelance was about Internet porn). She’s looking forward to her first dedication on a real published book, too – which is more pressure than you can possible imagine for me!

    Bizarrely, I think the thing she likes best (from the number of times she says it) is having me around all the time. I know, she’s a glutton for punishment.

    The negative? As yet, freelancing doesn’t pay enough to keep her in a new pair of shoes every week… 😉

    Oh, and the only one who does any summoning in this house is her! (Though the cat would probably qualify, too.)

  • Great to get your insight,Spike; many thanks! Fonnie certainly could work in the busines. She gets the mystery 9-letter word puzzle in the paper three times more often than I do.

    But our home is only 4 metres wide and she has her own career that she loves. We think a few hours doing our own stuff each day is a very good thing. Best regards, P. :)

    PS. Put me down for a copy of your book; you can’t half write!

  • So few couples realise the importance of having a separate part to their lives: smart people, you two! My lady’s a psychologist, so she knows the importance of not being fused together all the time (though I’m sure she’s writing a thesis on the loony she lives with…). Fonnie gets the 9-letter word puzzles? Yowzer, that’s darned impressive!

    The book’s only one chapter long at the moment, I’m afraid. Have to do the paid stuff first, so it gets back-burnered an awful lot. Did just publish my first ever proper eBook today, though: a little story and colouring book for kids! I’m beginning to understand the nervousness you must have felt when starting your own business (to a much lesser extent) and the thrill of it!

  • Thanks, Spike; Fonnie certainly impresses the pants off me daily.

    Your book looks great and I encourage all readers to visit your site by clicking the name above your comment.

    One of my clients and I are very keen to learn all about ebooks and self publishing. Perhaps we could convince you to write a guest post here about your recent learnings? Best regards and well done! :)

  • Hey guys… noticed your comments have you heard about the Boost 500 Challenge in South Australia? There are $1,000 grants on offer… It’s a fantastic opportunity for All Small Business Owners go to

  • Nice one, Tracy; many thanks for that! :)