Some people say you should never go into business with your spouse or partner, but the fact is lots of people do so – and it’s worked brilliantly for them!
As with all things, it’s important to remember that everyone is different, and it’s all about finding the balance that works for you and your partner, depending on your personalities, shared interests and how well you work together.
Here’s what you need to know about doing life and business together.
Honesty is the best policy
One of the benefits of being both life partners and business partners is that you can (hopefully) be completely honest and open with each other. There will of course be times when one of you oversteps the mark or upsets the other, but the upside to being life partners as well as business partners is getting to remember at the end of the day that you love each other – as corny as that sounds!
After all, you got into this because you both want the best for each other and the business, right?
The show must go on, and so you need to find a way to get over things pretty quickly to keep the show running smoothly. Try and be as genuine as possible, not just with each other but with your clients as well.
Your clients know a genuine connection when they see one, and this is what could ultimately set you apart from your competitors.
Life (and business) will not be a bed of roses
Just because you love each other doesn’t mean that everything will be perfect all of the time. It simply won’t be, and the sooner you both realize that and work together to overcome disagreements and challenges, the better off everyone will be. Think of each challenge as an opportunity to learn something and grow from it together.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
At different stages of every business, there will inevitably come times that are more stressful than others. When you feel overwhelmed, don’t be afraid to be vulnerable and ask for help.
Running your own business is a tough gig at the best of times; always remember that in addition to your partner, there is also an abundance of help and information out there for you if you ask for it.
Do set boundaries
Let’s be honest: this is a hard one. It’s hard to not end up talking shop all day long and to separate “business” from “life”, but that’s no excuse not to try. Besides setting boundaries – no phones or shoptalk after a certain hour in the evening, perhaps – turning off your phones and electronic devices at certain times or on weekends could help.
Also, make sure that the two of you have your own interests, hobbies and side projects that you can indulge in. It’s important to create your own space and have that time away from work at least once a week!
It’s not always personal
Being life partners as well as business partners can make everything feel a lot more personal than it really is, so beware of this. The fact is you are both not going to agree on everything all of the time, so when disagreements come up, try to respect each other’s expertise, stay out of each other’s way, and don’t take it personally.
When you are in the thick of it and the pressure is on, remember that everything you do and say is for the benefit of the business – at least, that’s what the other person believes! (Having a sense of humour also helps.)
6 more tips on doing life and business together
Write everything down
Don’t keep your ideas and worries in your head. Putting everything on paper takes the pressure off having to constantly be on the ball and remember every detail.
Keep a diary of your accomplishments
Revisit them when you are having a tough day. You’ll be amazed how it can transform the whole vibe of your day and motivate you to get back to work.
Your workspace matters
Create a space for you both to do your work that is inviting, that reflects your style, and that motivates you.
Focus on the shared vision
Most importantly, don’t compromise on your shared vision or compare yourself to others. Focus on what you are doing and how you can better your business.
Take a different approach to copycats
Look at copycat types as a compliment – you must be doing something right.
Stay real and stay humble
Make friends with people in the industry instead of trying to compete against them all the time!
This article has been edited.
Michael Driver and Megan Baker are life and business partners at MJ Driver Laser Tattoo Removal & Lightening, one of the leading laser tattoo removal specialists in Australia. Since starting their company over six years ago, they have experienced the many ups and downs of the entrepreneur life together, and continue to work hard each and every day, building their business and learning about what it means to be life and business partners!