I Run a Business With My Husband. Here's How We Make It Work (and How You Can, Too). Working with your spouse can be challenging, but more often than not, it's so rewarding. Here's what I've learned and experienced co-founding and running a business with my husband.
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Establishing both a successful business with your spouse and a successful marriage can be difficult. Both of these relationships — the working relationship and the marital relationship — come with their own set of challenges, let alone the dynamic of balancing both.
One of the most significant reasons working with a spouse can fail is when you are not on the same page with business and financial goals. While working with your spouse or significant other can be a challenge, it can also be very rewarding. When you can work together as a team, not only can you find success together in your business, but it can also make your relationship stronger.
Running a business with your spouse doesn't imply sacrificing your marriage for the company. With proper communication, it is possible to succeed. It is possible to maintain a proper work-life balance than when running the venture alone. Marriage involves reprioritizing to maintain an appropriate relationship that you can successfully incorporate into the business.
Here are a few tips I've learned working with my co-founder (and husband) in our financial planning firm, Dynamic Wealth Strategies.
1. Communication is key
This is the most important aspect of working together successfully. Make sure you are communicating your needs and expectations clearly, and be open to hearing your partner's point of view. My husband and I have different personalities and we make decisions in different ways, so we have learned how to communicate effectively to be on the same page.
I've learned to expect that in the two minutes he has between meetings he'll quickly rattle off all kinds of ideas and items needing to be done to get these out of his head — and I've had to train our team on how to organize, delegate and complete this. He's learned that I need to take in all angles of information before making a decision and that this process takes longer than making spontaneous decisions. Respect that your partner may have a different way of approaching things and try to see it from their perspective — that their style of communication (which includes receiving information) may be different from yours.
2. Set boundaries
It can be difficult to leave work at the office when you are working with your spouse, but it is important to set boundaries. Make sure you are taking time for yourself and your relationship outside of work. This can be hard to do when you are both passionate about your business, but it is important to make time for each other and come back to the things that brought your relationship together in the first place.
My husband and I drive to work together. I need the transition from the office back home to mentally unwind from the day and prepare for my "other job" as a mom. My husband now knows this, and he has learned to give me the time that I need. We also try to spend weekends together as a family and keep work topics to a minimum.
To be honest, this is hard for us! The subject will often turn to our business, but we both know that coming back to other passions and interests that first brought us together is important to keep our foundation strong, and is something we continue to work on.
3. Have defined roles
When starting out, it can be helpful to have defined roles and responsibilities. This can prevent confusion and help keep things organized. As your business grows, you may find that these roles change and evolve, but it is important to have a starting point.
My husband and I each have our own defined roles in our business. He focuses on the financial planning and investment advisory side of things, while I focus on marketing and operations. We are both involved in client relationships, but this provides a structure for us to start with. As our business has grown, we have added staff and expanded our roles, but we still keep this structure in place. It helps us to know what each other's strengths are and where we can focus our time and energy.
4. Remember why you started
It is important to remember why you decided to go into business together in the first place. What was your motivation? What are your goals for the business? Keeping these things in mind can help you push through tough times and remind you of what you are working towards.
My husband and I started our business because we wanted to help people achieve a better quality of life. What we found is that we also wanted to create a better quality of life for our own family — we wanted to have more control over our time and our lives and be there for our child as he grows up. We also wanted to create a legacy for our own family. Keeping these meaningful goals in mind helps us to push through tough times because it will definitely get tough.
Remember what you are working towards and that you have an awesome partner by your side to help achieve what you've dreamed about.
Working with your spouse will have its challenges but with proper communication and boundaries, you can make any business successful. When you share a common goal, you can follow it regardless of the challenges because you know you have the support of someone you trust.
Securities and advisory services offered only by duly registered individuals through Madison Avenue Securities, LLC. (MAS), Member FINRA & SIPC, and a registered investment advisor. Dynamic Wealth Strategies and MAS are not affiliated entities.