Starting and running a business alone can be quite challenging, you have to take into considerations a lot of factors that could potentially ruin your business or make it successful. One of such factors is who you choose to associate or partner with in your business. A lot of people choose to run their business with little or no help from their spouses especially if they started it before they got hitched; they do this because interference by their spouse could potentially breed conflict and tension in marriage or make them bond more intimately. Running a business your spouse, though is a whole new dimension of complexity, and a new slew of additional challenges. There are also advantages to partnering with the person whom you not only likely know the best, but whom you also most trust and love.
As to life, there are advantages and disadvantages but partnering with your significant other; could remove work-life boundaries and blend business and personal roles that could create all sorts of complex business, emotional, and familial issues, and resolve or expand any communication and relationship challenges.
There are a lot of couples who started businesses together and became very successful at it such that they built an empire together without allowing their marriage to suffer. Here are a few tips from Forbes from Allie Siarto who is the co-founder of Loudpixel, and successfully runs a business with her spouse.
Define your roles. Along with knowing your personality types, you should have clearly defined roles within the company. Write job descriptions for yourselves and set clear expectations about who will take on which tasks for the business.
Balance praise and constructive criticism. Make a point to thank each other for a job well done, and be kind about how you approach constructive criticism. In a close relationship, we often forget these basic rules of business.
Discuss your tolerance for risk. Because our business is our main source of income, my husband and I tend to be less risk-averse than we might be if we worked separately. We decided early on that we wanted to take a “slow and steady” growth path with no debt, loans or investments, but we reevaluate our views on tolerance for risk regularly.
Know your personality types. I tend to draw my energy from being around other people, while my husband draws energy from focused time by himself. I have my best focus and energy in the morning, while he works best late at night. And I’m very focused on the big picture, while he does better with the details. By understanding our own strengths, we’re better able to find areas where we complement each other. Consider taking a personality assessment to figure out your individual strengths and how you can best work together.
Make a point to engage in separate hobbies. When you’re starting out, you’ll be spending a lot of long hours working together to get the business off the ground. It sounds strange to say, but it’s important to make a point to schedule activities apart. When we started our business, I got involved in the local photography community, while my husband got more involved with the organizations in the local startup scene. This added some balance to our lives and gave us something new to talk about outside of work.
Have an emergency fund in place. Money is the number one cause of divorce and conflict, and cash flow tends to be the number one challenge for new businesses. When we first started out, we waited months to get our business cash flow in order and get paid — but we didn’t stress, because we had saved a personal emergency fund ahead of time.
Have a sense of humor. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Take time to find humor and happiness in the little things each day (I’ve been known to break into song and dance during the work day).