Should couples work together? One of the things that people can’t help but romanticize about is working with their spouse in the same company. Think about it for a second; wouldn’t you love to work with your spouse? Who wouldn’t love the setup?
You will get to spend more time with your spouse and also have the unique opportunity to build something together.
The idea sounds cozy and idyllic.
Both of you finding ways to make your business grow, while you sip your coffee and watch the sunset.
Well, as much as we all like to think that running a business with your spouse is like heaven on earth, many business ventures started by husband and wife end up in ruins.
Sometimes, it’s not just the business that fails, the marriage also breaks apart.
While working with a partner can buy you more time to spend with the family, there’s also the high risk of work stress seeping into the home.
So, should you work with your spouse?
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of starting a business with your spouse and running it together.
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Owning a Business With Your Spouse
You spend a lot more time together, which helps build intimacy in your marriage.
Collaborating with your spouse can be very exciting because you have the opportunity to share your passions with the most important person in your life.
You develop an even greater sense of respect and admiration for your spouse.
When you work with your spouse, you get to know each other more as well as catch each other’s visions and aspirations.
You experience success and defeat together as a team.
Going through the good and bad times together makes your marriage and partnership stronger.
You can easily sync your schedules so you can spend more time on things that matter.
You can decide when you can go on holiday because you have total control over how you run your business.
You don’t have to ask permission from anyone, except each other.
When you work with your spouse, going to the office is like hanging out with your best friend.
You can spark each other’s creative juices and find ways to fill in the gaps in your business.
You can play on each other’s strengths.
While spending more time together seems like a dream, it can also get annoying.
Especially if one of you places a high premium on personal space.
You don’t get any breaks from each other ever.
You get a backstage pass to each other’s weaknesses.
If you get extremely irritated by missed deadlines, disorganized workspaces or delayed emails, then brace yourself.
This is because when you work with your spouse, you’re bound to run into all those problems and more!
Married business partners often find it hard to separate marriage problems from their business problems.
So small problems can quickly turn into conflict.
Expect work to carry over to your personal life.
So you might find yourselves talking business even on date night.
You might have to compromise your work hours.
It’s very rare for both partners to be at their peak performance at the same time.
To this end, finding a work schedule that works for both of you can be a challenge.
Because you have different ideas or standards on how tasks should be accomplished, it’s easy to get into an argument.
There’s nothing wrong with engaging in a healthy debate every once in a while.
However, if you don’t make the effort to talk about your issues rationally, things can easily get heated.
When things get rough on the business front, there is pressure on both of you to make your marriage work.
Since you’re both stuck in the same place, it is difficult to get and extend moral support to each other.
It’s also easy to start playing the blame game when you work with your spouse.
Your pride could tear you apart.
You’ll be making mistakes in front of your greatest critic.
So admitting to your shortcomings can be a bitter pill to swallow.
Also, when your spouse disappoints you, you have the tough choice of whether to let bygones be bygones or not.
It’s easy to feel resentful towards your partner, especially if you think that you’re the one doing all the work.
Owning a business with your spouse can be a struggle when you start to compare your efforts to theirs.
Couples in business together have a harder time working from home with all the distractions around.
There are days when one is all pumped up to finish a project, while the other wants to slow down.
When you work with your spouse, you’re sharing a workspace or a business.
In addition, you’re feeding off on each other’s enthusiasm and energy levels.
You both have your own passions that you want to fulfill.
Nevertheless, there are times when your passions will collide and someone will have to wave the white flag.
It can be extremely challenging if no one wants to give in for the greater good of the business.
4 Important Questions Married Business Partners Need to Ask
So should couples work together?
When the negatives seem to outweigh the positives, is starting a business with your spouse worth all the trouble?
Before you start anything that you’ll regret in the end, here are 4 important questions that couples first need to ask themselves and each other.
1. Do You Find It Satisfying to Communicate with Each Other?
The best husband and wife businesses are run by partners with the ability to communicate with each other and find satisfaction in it.
Effective communication is the pillar of all successful relationships, whether in the boardroom or the bedroom.
If you can’t stand talking to each other as a married couple, do you think that you’ll do better as business partners?
Before you think of starting a business venture together, you need to develop your conflict resolution abilities as a couple.
This helps safeguard your marriage against petty business quarrels.
2. Do You Both Have the Right Traits and Mindset to Work On a Business Venture Together?
Starting your own business is actually a lifestyle choice that both partners need to make.
Going into business together, be sure you not only have the right personality for it, but also the right mindset.
So, if you’re still unsure about how to work with your spouse, it’s crucial that you talk it out.
This is your chance to really know each other before you dive into starting a business venture together.
Make a pact that you won’t allow your business to affect your relationship with each other.
Also that you’ll always put your marriage first.
Remember to set expectations.
Many couples start their business ventures without having hard talk.
So when the going gets tough, they find it hard to pull together.
3. What are Your Respective Strengths and Weaknesses?
Here’s the hard truth.
Working on a business venture together isn’t always going to be 50-50 effort.
There are some tasks that you’ll be better off doing while there are some decisions that your spouse will be better at deciding on.
You have different strengths and weaknesses, so there are situations where one spouse has more tasks and responsibilities than the other.
There are some days when one spouse will have to work harder than the other.
This is why it’s important that you start a business with a positive partnership mindset.
Your respective strengths and weaknesses make you a stronger team because you have the opportunity to excel in different aspects of the business.
One cannot and should not work without the other.
As you work with your spouse, you have to see this as a partnership, not a competition.
4. What’s Your Idea of Work-Life Balance?
This is probably the most difficult question that couples need to ask before starting their own business.
Any business owner knows that running a business requires a huge time investment.
When you work with your spouse, it can get even more challenging because it’s not just an empire that you’re building.
It is the relationship with your family as well.
For people who are strongly considering trading in the corporate world for their own businesses, it can be emotionally and physically taxing.
If you want to know how to work with your spouse, you need to have a game plan that will help you keep your work-life balance.
Again, it’s about putting your relationship first and not letting your business get in the way.
You need to agree to put each other’s concerns and needs first before the business.
Don’t let business hours override quality time because, in the end, no amount of business success is worth losing your spouse over.
10 Tips on Running a Business With your Spouse
So, can couples work together?
Is there a way to successfully run a business and build a strong marriage?
The simple answer is yes.
The long answer?
Yes, you can, but you need to be prepared to make some tough decisions along the way.
When you work with your spouse, it’s not just the business that’s at stake, your marriage too.
But, if you’re dead serious on becoming one of those couples in business together, then here are 10 tips on how you can make your business partnership flourish despite the problems that it can cause in your marriage.
1. Set Boundaries
When it’s time to get some work done, then get it done.
When it’s time to go on downtime, make sure that you go on downtime.
This means shutting down your computer and doing things with your spouse not connected to your business venture.
Failing to set boundaries is going to be stressful for you.
It’s also going to cause unnecessary misery on your partner.
Don’t let your professional and personal lives bleed into one another.
2. Give Each Other Space
That you share the same home and business doesn’t mean you’re not entitled to personal space.
You may be one person by marriage, but you still need to have your own space to breathe and do what you want.
When you have your own sense of privacy, you can focus on tasks more and complete projects without feeling like someone is breathing down your neck and watching your every move.
Allowing each other to have space will help both of you to concentrate on your share of the load.
3. Believe the Best in Your Spouse
Sometimes, it’s easy to get frustrated or lose your cool when your spouse messes up.
To avoid any unnecessary tension at home, always remember to believe the best in your spouse.
No matter how big the mistake, that’s no excuse for you to stop treating your significant other with the respect that they deserve.
Avoid correcting or arguing with your spouse when there are other people present.
4. Learn to Play Up Each Other’s Strengths
If your spouse is better at making sales calls than you are, let them work their magic.
Probably you’re better at keeping the books, then assure your spouse that you can handle it.
The best partnerships are made of two people who recognize each other’s strengths.
When you divide your tasks according to what you’re good at, you get more done.
5. Take a Breather – Go on Weekly Dates
The best husband and wife businesses are run by people who are passionate about their cause and each other.
So, no matter how busy the week is, make it a point to go on a date and just enjoy each other’s company.
Make time to go out for a steak dinner if you can afford it.
However, if you’re still trying to earn a profit, you can cook dinner at home then go to your favorite ice cream place for dessert.
Be purposeful about spending time together outside business hours.
This way, you can still keep the romance going even amidst the stress.
6. Learn the Art of Compromise
When you work with your spouse, you should choose your battles wisely.
You don’t have to win every single argument.
Small things can quickly escalate to large-scale arguments, so always be open to compromise.
Take turns giving in to what each person wants.
For example, if you work better in complete silence while your spouse prefers to have music on, ask your spouse nicely to put headphones on.
It can take a few reminders but don’t let yourself get frustrated by it.
7. Have Your Own Work Desks
While sharing a work desk may seem very romantic, it’s not very practical.
Sure, you may start off optimistic and patient, but given time, it’s likely that you’ll be at each other’s throats.
Set up separate areas in your office where you can get your respective work done without being a distraction to each other.
It’s one of the simplest and most effective ways to help you keep your sanity.
8. Go With the Flow
Your business will change and evolve over time, so be ready to go with the flow.
Keep an open mind and be willing to change roles when new challenges arise.
You and your spouse need to learn how to be flexible, especially if you’re working on a start-up.
The great thing about starting a new venture is that you have endless possibilities before you.
Also, if you want to take your business to the next level, you both need to learn to let go of your personal agendas when things aren’t working out.
9. Make Every Single Word Count
Want your business venture and your relationship to flourish?
Then make every word that you say count.
You may not be aware of it, but you have the power to make or break your spouse.
Working together gives you the opportunity to speak life to your spouse so be purposeful with your words.
Instead of criticizing your spouse, inspire them with encouraging words.
Take every chance you get to let your spouse know how much you appreciate their efforts.
Not just in the business, but also in your relationship.
10. Work on Building Each Other Up
Taking care of business together isn’t the same as taking care of each other.
So more than business success, aim for relationship success.
Find ways to nurture each other and build each other up while you don’t let long business hours get in the way of building a meaningful and loving marriage.
Finally, you are the only person who can answer the question, “Should couples work together?”.
If you think that you have what it takes as a couple, then go for it!
If there’s even a hint of doubt that you can make it, take time to talk things through.
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