Running a Successful Business With Your Spouse

How To Love Working With Your Spouse, From A Husband And Wife Team

Obviously going into business together is a tremendous risk to take for any two people, but it can be done. My husband Geoff and I have been working together almost 12 years now, and in step with Valentine's month, I thought I'd share how we make working together and being business partners work! We don't have all the answers, but we have some of them. 

1. Share An Office And Have A Separate Work Space Just For You

This piece of advice is especially relevant to my fellow work-from-home folks. It's an absolute necessity if you have different work styles, creature comforts and personalities. 

I'm the type of person who loves collaborating face-to-face with my husband in our office, and I also need time for being completely "in-the-zone" working at the desk in our master bedroom, or outside in our backyard. I think this is because I'm the creative and he's the tech-savvy, and I definitely know it's because sometimes I like having a podcast on to listen to in the background when I work. 

Whatever the case, you need to have that shared space for work, collaboration, and meetings. But you both also have to spend time a part to do what you do best. This is also true  for working with friends—you don't want to reach a point of cabin-fever so-to-speak.

2. Learn A Little Of What They Do Well, So You Can Be A Resource

Now with this piece of advice, don't kill yourself trying to master what your partner does for your business. There's being well-rounded and then there's being a master of none as Confuscious would say. You need to stay sharp at what you do, so don't try to become your partner's carbon copy. But I can't tell you what a relief it is knowing I can depend on Geoff, or he can depend on me, if one of us needs the other to jump in on whatever it is I usually take care of.

The heart of this piece of advise is that making an effort to appreciate and take natural interest in what each other does strengthens your relationship and informs both of your work. It saves time as well. For example, I can anticipate when something I create may require x, y, and z, which Geoff would tell me anyway. Likewise, Geoff is more sympathetic and appreciative of what you do. 

Even if you hit snags where you disagree with one another, stay open-minded because in finding solutions and working through your different skillsets you become better as a couple and teammates. 

3. Use A Project Management System and Have Weekly Check-Ins

I think communication is very important when it comes to working together with your spouse. And you only get better at communication the more you work together. And investing in a project management system is invaluable to making it easy to keep organized and have fruitful meetings about your business.

We created a proprietary project management software for ourselves years ago, but there are so many software companies specifically for that to choose from., Asana, and Trello are three companies that we have experience with, that you might one to look at in your veting process.

4. Suprise Each Other With Little Treats

Sometimes family business owners forget to treat themselves for all the hard work they do. And surprises I have found help keep relationships fresh and exciting—feelings that fade and can be hard to recapture after the honeymoon years.

Whether it's going out after dropping off your kid(s) at school and bringing home a treat for them for breakfast like a Starbuck drink, or doing something they consider a treat, surprise them with it. Surprise treats are another way to show appreciation and thoughtfulness for your partner.

Getting to work with your life partner in all aspects of your life is a treat, and as long as you put effort in both your work and personal realms, you will be successful in both. 

5. Stop If It's Not Bringing You Both Joy Anymore

If you are in a financial position to pivot out of your business and pursue something separate from your partner, this might be the right choice for you. You'll know when your business is no longer bringing you joy, you just will. And nothing is worth ending your marriage or romantic relationship over. Not money. Not accolades. None of it. 

This advice is not to say that you should never attempt going into business with your life partner. It is a reminder that you both have permission to walk away from your business but stay together as a couple. If you've both tried to discover how you best work together but your business is hurting your personal relationship, don't feel like failures for chosing your love for one another over your business. 

I hope this article has been helpful to you. Best of luck in your venture together!