There are special challenges and unique rewards for married couples that create and operate a home business in tandem.
This kind of joint project can create new feelings of unity, togetherness, and working for a common goal that many couples don’t experience in their hectic “do your own thing” lives.
On the other hand, business partnerships involving mates, if not handled properly, can also intensify negative feelings toward one another, add stress and pressure to a marriage, and drive a wedge into the heart of the relationship.
For these reasons, some couples would never consider working together in a small business, not wanting to risk possible clashes and avoidable irritations.
But working closely together for a common goal might actually draw some couples into a more healthy and compassionate relationship, especially if they have been working all their lives in separate worlds and saying “hi” as their paths cross every once in a while.
The key to a happy and successful working relationship with your spouse may lie in the preparation and foundation you lay for your business. Here are a few suggestions:
1. Sit down, in advance, and decide why you are going into business and what you hope to get out of it.
Come to a meeting of the minds on your business goals, what you’ll do with the profits when they come, and how you will set up your planned exit strategy when the time arrives.
Try to anticipate some of the potential areas of the business where you won’t see eye-to-eye and settle those up front.
2. Make sure you both participate equally in the glory and the agony of the business.
This is not one person working for the other.
You are partners and both deserve the credit for a successful business.
Likewise, if there are problems that come up, which there surely will be, don’t “designate” those to just one partner’s to-do list.
The unpleasant, boring, or difficult tasks need to be shared the same as the fun stuff.
3. Develop a plan to assign certain duties and responsibilities to each partner as his/her share of the workload.
Avoid the conflict of each of you trying to run the whole business “on your shift.”
You are working in this effort together but you each need your own space as you do that in order to feel that you are not being bird-dogged or micro-managed every step of the way.
4. Determine how the home front duties will be divided.
Just because the wife, for example, managed all the household chores like cleaning, laundry, shopping, and child watching before, does not mean that she should be expected to continue those activities by herself and also carry her load of 1/2 the business duties. Both partners need to share in the “whole” of the family duties.
5. Set aside time each week for a date, a walk together in the park, or a movie together, etc, and don’t let your business enter into the conversation during this “timeout.”
You need to unwind and re-energize and just be a “couple” caring for each other away from your business partner setting.
6. Make sure to help each other at critical times.
If there are some deadlines approaching that must be met, don’t hesitate to set less important things aside and work side-by-side to get the task accomplished.
Just because the workload is compartmentalized, there is no sense in one partner “overloading” while the other cruises or tinkers. Working together to reduce the stress for one partner will pay dividends for both of you.
7. Each person needs to be able to have some elbow room so you’re not tripping over the other as duties are performed.
Plan tasks so that you’re sitting at the computer at different times (or get two computers.)
If one person needs to be on the phone for a length of time, the other needs to arrange tasks so the phone won’t be needed at the same time.
Just pay attention to staying out of each others’ way.
8. Differences and conflicts are bound to arise between partners in every business – deal with them like adults.
Set up a procedure that you can both agree to that will help to resolve those conflicts without pain or tension.
Disputes, arguments, and grievances need to be fixed as quickly and amicably as possible.
The business partnership can really be a growing and learning experience for a couple, especially if they have not spent much working time in close association in the past.
Who knows, maybe an office romance will develop! For a married couple, that can be a great fringe benefit.
To your online business success,