Never mixing business with pleasure is usually pretty sound advice. But does this rule still apply when the business partnership is with the love of your life? There is an increasing number of couples around Australia who say that it doesn’t, including me.
My husband and I have certainly faced our fair share of challenging moments since we made the decision to start our own small business. But because we faced them as a team, they’ve actually brought us much closer together. After almost a decade of hard work, our business is still booming, and our marriage is so much stronger than it ever was. Below is my list of the five most important considerations when running a successful business with your spouse.
Speak To A Family Law Specialist
While you’ll both be hoping and planning that the business you create together will be a positive experience, you should still discuss some of the worst-case scenarios. Because on top of the usual risks of running your own business, there’s the extra risk of it breaking up your marriage. If your spouse is also your business partner when going through a divorce in Australia, the company that you both own together will form part of your assets, whether it’s a separate legal entity or not.
Make an appointment together with a specialist in family law to find out what options are available to pre-emptively reduce any negative impacts on your business. Creating a legally binding contingency plan for marriage separation within the company itself may help maintain the overall value of your business.
Separate Work and Personal Hours
Having a healthy work/life balance can be extremely difficult if you’re living and working together, especially if you are working from home. Ask any couple who has experience working together, and they’ll most likely tell you how important it is for their marriage and their sanity to separate their work and home lives.
The best way to make sure that your relationship doesn’t become an extension of the business; you both need to establish and maintain clear boundaries around the business. Create a routine that provides you with enough time for running the business, while also giving your relationship the attention that it deserves. Your priorities should always be life partners first, and business partners second.
Divide Work Responsibilities
Clearly defined roles and responsibilities are also imperative for any couple who work together. Not only is this crucial to establish workflow, but it also fosters a degree of independence for you both within the workplace.
Having these clear job descriptions means less chance of arguments or time wasted when jobs get done twice, while other jobs aren’t even started. Once you have decided who is doing a task, you then need to trust that the task will be done. Remember that micromanagement doesn’t work well in most workplaces, so make sure it stays out of yours.
Keep Communication Open
It should come as no surprise that communication is key in relationships, but especially in working relationships with your spouse. By constantly communicating everything with each other, you’ll both know exactly that is happening with the business and presents a united front. In fact, you should both over-communicate. That’s the best way to really underscore the importance of communication.
Keeping the lines of communication completely open at all times will help you both feel like you can voice your concerns and share ideas at any time. This will provide you with a much clearer understanding of each other, which can ultimately strengthen both your marriage and your business.
Spend Time Apart
You’re going to be spending a lot more time living and working together, especially when the business is just starting out, so it is essential to schedule some time apart. Not only can time away from each creates a little creative inspiration, but it will also give you both more things to discuss when you’re spending some time together.
Your weekly routine should include some space for things you enjoy doing, like going to the gym or meeting up with friends for a coffee. Even just a small amount of time alone can give you both your lives some balance and your sense of self. Remember to always encourage your partner to take time out for themselves too, because in the end, you will both reap the benefits of having some space.
Going into business together with my partner has been one of the most challenging yet rewarding experiences of my like. As long as you both strive to maintain the same levels of love and respect that drew you to each other, your partnerships together will always have the best chance of success. Because when all is said and done, there’s nothing like sharing the lows and highs of working towards common goals with the love of my life right there by my side.