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What's the best way to partner up with my spouse?

I'm starting a real estate company and I want my husband, who will soon get his real estate license, to be part of it. Would it be best financially to have him do sales and I do listings as a husband and wife team or have him as an assistant? How should we define our business roles?
Elinor Robin answered April 15, 2008
According to the U.S. Census Bureau's 2002 Economic Census, more than 3.6 million businesses in the U.S. are run by co-preneurs--husband-wife entrepreneurial teams. Certainly, no single model fits all of them. Some are part of a revolution that is pioneering a new model of marital and business equality. For others, one spouse is behind the scenes and other runs the show. The recent growth in co-preneurship has been attributed to a wide variety of causes--everything from new franchise availability to the high cost of child care.

For many co-preneurial couples, no part of life is separate from the other's; your financial, spiritual, professional and family lives are intertwined. Because of that co-preneurs face some unusual challenges but also reap some magnificent rewards.

As a result of both my work with co-preneurs and my personal experience as one--building my own business ( with my husband, David--I have come to see that there are no easy answers. What works for some will be a disaster for others. However, some key concepts are essential to making co-preneurship work. Here are my top six tips for working with your spouse.

Co-preneurship can be either a blessing or a curse to your marriage. So, before you take the plunge, honestly assess your situation. If you regularly struggle with control issues in your marriage, running a business together is not a great idea. Remember: There is no getting away from your co-worker when you are married to him. You already know whether you and your husband operate as a team or as two individuals who happen to share a space and a future.
Elinor Robin, "The Relationship Mediator," has more than 18 years of experience in mediation while working within the public and private sectors.