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His and Hers

Can a couple run two businesses out of one home?
January 6, 2004
URL: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/22554

Is one house big enough for two separate businesses? "Absolutely!" agree John and Linda Ruffin, who run independent companies from adjoining offices in their Santa Barbara, California, home.

John Ruffin started The Synergy Group, a management consulting and training firm, 12 years ago. Four years later, buoyed by his own success and convinced of Linda's potential, he encouraged his future wife to start her executive search firm, Opportunities Plus. While admitting their arrangement may not work for everyone, the Ruffins agree on its potential benefits to both partners and businesses.

"We are on each other's board of directors," says John. "As a couple, we're close, but we have enough distance to contribute to each other's strategic thinking. We bring different experiences and judgments to the table. I love to bat ideas back and forth with Linda. When she's totally caught up in her own business and we don't have time to do that, I really miss her input."

What makes the Ruffins (and other entrepreneurs like them) successful in their relationship as well as their individual businesses?


Lynn Colwell is a life coach and writer in the Seattle area.