Working with your spouse to start a business can be one of the most fulfilling experiences two people share together.
But it’s not without its challenges. Here is a list of things I have learned over the years and from starting a business with my wife Chelsea.
1. It’s good to disagree
Agreeing all the time on everything does not necessarily make for a successful relationship or business partnership. What makes any relationship stronger is the difference in opinion and point of view and your ability to see the other side. Not just your own. This is how we grow and expand our way of thinking.
So feel free to have a difference in opinion from that of your spouse. Then talk it out. Look at both sides and come to a place where you can both be happy with the outcome.
2. Know when to take a step back
You won’t always agree on everything, and that’s ok. But when a consensus can’t be reached, things can often get heated and potentially lead to an even worse situation.
Don’t try to force a resolution. Know when it’s time to take a step back and allow the air to clear. Maybe you two need some time alone to think things through without pressure from the other person. Some people do their best thinking alone.
Agree to talk over it again at a later time.
3. Know when to apologize
We don’t always need to be right. We aren’t going to always be right. Even in the best partnerships, disagreements will happen.
If you found yourselves in a situation that quickly spiraled out of control and you both have taken time to calm down and process what happened, address the situation again, but this time with love.
If you were wrong, or maybe said something hurtful which you didn’t mean: apologize and mean it.
“I can respect any person who can put their ego aside and say, ‘I made a mistake. I apologize, and I’m correcting the behavior.'” ~Sylvester McNutt III
There is nothing more adult than admitting when you were wrong, or plainly put, acting like an ass.
4. Know when you need a break.
In our modern culture hard work is celebrated. How many times have you worked straight through your lunch break? It’s easy to do when trying to make a deadline. Or you get so involved in a project you lose track of time. Have you checked your work emails on your days off or on vacations?
“In most workplaces, rewards still accrue to those who push the hardest and most continuously over time. But that doesn’t mean they’re the most productive.” ~The New York Times
Overworking will take a physical and mental toll on the body as we push ourselves to sustain a high level of energy. The impact of this can be devastating to our bodies and our relationship with our spouse/business partner.
Physical: body aches, eye strain, headaches, restlessness, fatigue.
Mental: stress, anxiety, problems sleeping, reduced productivity, depression.
We are all different so your challenge is to find work habits that work for you. If you work from home like we do, you’re going to be completely in charge of your time. Take breaks often, go outside for a walk and fresh air. Do something different and then come back to your work. Eat a healthy meal and stay hydrated. Your body and your business partner will thank you.
5. Play to your strengths
We all have things we are really great at.
I used to think I was really good at building websites and would do everything associated with web design. But recently, we discovered that not only is Chelsea good at graphics and SEO work, but she actually enjoys doing it.
I never liked or was very good at doing SEO, so that allowed me to give up some tasks and focus more of my attention on the things I’m better at.
Take the time to figure out what you’re both great at and what you both can bring to the table! The more time you spend working with your spouse, you’ll figure out what these things are.
6. Know when it's just not going to work
This is a tough one but here it goes. Not all relationships, even the really great ones, will make for good business partnerships. This goes for even the greatest friendships. It sometimes just won’t and can’t work.
If you find yourself in a working relationship with your spouse, and you have noticed that you’re fighting more, this might be a good time to rethink the business relationship. It’s not worth putting your personal relationship at risk.
Sometimes the best thing for you both is to know when it’s time to call it quits.
These six rules can be applied to all interpersonal relationships whether your working with your spouse, friends, a family member or someone you just met! The deepest and strongest relationships are sure to be challenged, but keep these points in mind as you navigate those difficult streets and you’re sure to find lasting success and happiness. ❤