Now more than ever, people are starting all sorts of independent businesses that can pay way more than a typical 9-5 job, even a high-level corporate one. From online stores to coaching programs and YouTube channels, the digital world has created opportunities for people to build wealth in a completely different way. This, in turn, has created a new trend; more and more couples are running these businesses together.
Many couples see sense in joining forces and working toward one goal together and building their empires through their efforts. Working with your life partner is incredibly rewarding, but it also comes with a unique set of challenges. We’ve all heard stories of couples whose relationships crumbled when they started working together – is it just inevitable? No, the good news is, there are many success stories of committed couples who run successful businesses and have happy and healthy relationships – so what’s their secret?
Get a Neutral Third-Party
One of the most helpful things is to have someone to talk to who can serve as a buffer when you have moments of disagreement. This doesn’t mean you need to talk about the relationship, but more than you can talk about the business issues you might face.
Sometimes you’re just too close to the situation to see it objectively, and very often, a coach with relevant experience in the business can help. Many couples who work together have relationship coaches who can help the owners set themselves up for success.
You’re not going to make each other happy all the time; conflict is going to arise. When the relationship isn’t smooth sailing, this can hurt the business, so it’s also wise to enlist the help of a therapist who can help you navigate these tough moments. According to Dr. Piper Walsh, a marriage counseling professional near Orange County, California, “therapy can be incredibly insightful for couples who are struggling to communicate effectively. This is especially critical for couples who also happen to be business partners.”
Play to Your Strengths
Most people are individually gifted – there’s something unique they bring to the table that enhances the business. As a couple, this is a great way to have balance – perhaps one of you is more on the creative side, and the other is gifted with operations. Lean into these strengths because your different skill sets and even perspectives make the business even stronger. Finding your own zones of genius also gives you space from each other, which is also really helpful.
A Clear Separation Between Life and Work
For couples who don’t work together, there’s a clear demarcation of where work ends and life begins, but if you work together, that isn’t the case. As a result, the two worlds bleed into each other, and it can make it really difficult to just be a couple. It’s important to put the boundary between life and work firmly in place – maybe working in separate office spaces, even in the same home, and even imposing a no-work zone so you can leave work behind. Also, hiring people who can also work in the company with you will allow you to spend time away from the business without worrying about what’s going on.
The other way in which you have to create separation is to make sure your personal conflicts and issues don’t come into the office. The last thing your employees need is to hear the bosses arguing over household chores that weren’t done or something that annoyed them. Learn to compartmentalize so that you’re co-leaders and not a romantic couple when it’s time to focus on the business.
Work on Yourselves As Individuals
What makes a relationship amazing is two people who are working towards being the best version of themselves. That requires a lot of individual personal development – working on your issues, traumas, triggers, and flaws. It’s really easy to focus on someone else’s flaws, but what actually works is focusing on improving on your own. If your partner is doing the same, that means you’re stronger as a unit.
Working together doesn’t have to be a death knell for your relationship – in fact, if you handle it right, it can actually make your relationship better. No one is going to care about the well-being of the family business more than the two of you, and having that skin in the game together can drive success. It’s really all about working toward a common goal, communicating, and always being a team.