A partnership or working with your spouse can be the most incredible and rewarding experience as well as a difficult one. My husband and I have been working a home-based business together since 2003. I had been working it as a single woman for 7 years prior to that and when we met and got married (3 months after we met by the way…), he retired from his college coaching career to come home and join me. We have learned a lot along the way and here are some tips I hope will help you:
1,Assign Specific Tasks
One of you does something better than the other. I mean REALLY does some things better, not just claim to do a specific task better. Focus on your strengths and put them to work! In my home, My husband is great at simplifying things and focusing me. He is also great at getting all of our tax information together. I am great at following up with people and keeping in touch. What does each of you enjoy doing to make your business successful? If you focus on trying to be exactly alike, it won’t work out very well. That’s when procrastination starts, don’t let that happen.
2. Separate home and work
Your home and work relationship are two different things, and as such, they’ll have different dynamics. Have you ever heard “what happens at home stays at home?” At least that’s what I say. What’s most important is that whatever happens at home doesn’t carry over to work, and vice versa. If you’re annoyed with your spouse for forgetting to do the dishes or neglecting to pick up the laundry, that should have no bearing on what happens at work. Don’t bring your home life to work. Likewise, if she didn’t get the sale or he forgot to return a phone call, that should have no bearing on what’s going on at home. You can’t mix the two.
This step is very difficult to do, and doesn’t come naturally so it will take work, no matter how strong your bond is in working together! Remember, if you don’t “perfect” this, it is the customer or client who will suffer at work and yourself, your children or other family members who will suffer at home…
3. Always be respectful of one another
It sounds simple and we all learned it in Kindergarten! It is also very easy to forget or let this slip. Always be respectful of your partner at home, and remember your “please” and “thank you.” At work, even if one of you is subordinate to the other, maintain that respect- you both deserve to be treated with courtesy, honor, and kindness. Maintain this standard at both home and work and you’ll find it much easier to get along in both arenas.
4. Find ways to maintain your individuality
Sometimes when couples work too closely, they find it difficult to maintain a sense of identity and individuality. I have friends who are married and worked in an office together for 17 years. They drove to work separately and didn’t spend time together while they were AT work. That gave each of them time to be separate and some things they could talk to each other about later on in the day. Make sure you get enough alone time, even if it’s just to be alone with your thoughts. Everyone needs a little space.
5. Maintain separate working spaces
One of the best ways to maintain your individuality and get some “space” from each other is to maintain separate working spaces. Although my husband and I work together from home, we have separate office space so that we don’t get in each other’s way. My husband’s idea of organization is not MY idea of organization, so having separate desks removes possible arguments about that.
6. Take a Breather
If you work from home, get out of the house! Take a walk, or sit on the porch and soak up the sun or fresh air. Take a bike ride around the neighborhood. Find a coffee shop and go grab a book and a cup of tea or coffee and have a break. You will thank yourself for it later!
7. Marriage comes first
The most important thing to keep in mind, no matter what’s going on in your business, is that your marriage must come first. In our family, it’s God first, Family second and business third. If we have something that we need to talk about that has to do with our business and it’s our scheduled family time, then the business discussion has to wait. We have caught ourselves talking business or starting to get into a heated discussion at the dinner table or when we are going out to the park. It isn’t good for our family dynamics or the sanity of our daughter, so keep the focus on family and your marriage!
Working with your spouse can be so rewarding and fulfilling. If you try all of these strategies and working together still isn’t working out for you, then the most important thing is that you protect your marriage. That might mean that one of you has to step out of the business and find another venue for your talents, or if you’re a home-based business, it might mean that one of you procures an inexpensive office space, just so that you get more distance from one another. What’s most important is that you find the solution that preserves your relationship and protects your business. But remember… marriage comes before business enjoy yourselves and have fun!
I would love to talk to you about how you too can have a business and marriage at the same time.
Reliv Independent Distributor
Myrtle Beach, SC 29579