Let me start off by saying that I love, love, love my spouse. He encourages me, motivates me and keeps me driven. We have a great relationship but a failed business partnership. What worked at home failed to work for our business. It was either save our relationship or the business and we chose the first one.
A few years ago, we had the idea of starting a business together. Why? Because we’re both marketing professionals with Type-A personalities who love what we do. We feed off each other’s ideas and at times finish the other’s sentences. The idea of putting two powerful people together to create a successful company seemed fantastic and we decided to seize the opportunity. The problem lay with not being able to separate home emotions in the office and vice versa. Couples can also find because they’re working with a mate, they can be lackadaisical when it came to approaching deadlines. Also, we were confined to one office which meant we were always together 24/7. This can be great but couples need their space. Six months into the business we realized it wasn’t the best idea and we ended the business partnership.
Do I think you can create a business with your spouse? Yes, but there are guidelines you have to follow to make it work.
1. Delegate the tasks and be firm: Create roles as a normal business environment. Two Type A personalities can’t be the boss. Also, remember your partner is not your assistant or secretary. One can handle sales and marketing while the other works on press and design (depending on your business).
2. Separate the emotions: It’s easier said than done but it will create a better work environment. Your husband or wife failed to wash the dishes at last night but don’t carry it to the office. Be professional around each other and your staff. The worst thing is creating a negative energy in the office and having it affect your staff. This leads to a low productivity in work.
3. Have separate offices, if possible: Give each other space. When you’re around during the day with your spouse and then again in the evening into the night, it can become crazy. Sometimes couples love to be around each other 24/ and if that works for you guys then go for it. If it doesn’t, it’s okay. It doesn’t mean there are problems in your relationship. After all, absence makes the heart grow fonder.
4. Know when to clock in and clock out: I remember having conversations with my partner during dinner and the topic always centered on business. Date nights were replaced with networking events. Where was the romance, the sparks? If your schedule is 9 to 5, then after work, get off the social networks, stop sending emails and focus on your home.
5. Avoid jealousy: Never be jealous of your spouse’s success. Remember, it is a partnership. If your spouse is becoming more successful then so is your business and so are you! Also, never be jealous if your spouse is around women or men whether it’s a business meeting or a conference call. This is a personal problem that should be discussed at home and adjusted for the office. Jealousy will hinder your business.
6. Be a support system: If your partner is lacking something, work with them. Remember, in order for your business to grow you have to sort out each other’s strengths and weaknesses. If you are a great communicator and your partner isn’t, provide tips to help them become more comfortable. Guide your partner! Don’t talk down to your spouse because they “don’t get it.”
My spouse and I have formed separate businesses that are successful. It works because we’re able to give each other advice from afar!