Before going into business together as a couple, pass this test.
So you’ve had the pillow talks, the long drawn-out conversations, and you’ve made up your mind and decided you want to go into business together as a couple.
You want to start your own company so you answer to no one else – you weren’t meant to have a boss and you know it – and you want to work together, play together, and never have to be apart again by going to a stupid job all day!
I Totally Get It. You are speaking my language, honey, I love power couples. They seem to have it all: Love, business, and freedom to do as they damn well please. Anytime and all the time. It’s sweet living alright.
But can I just ask you: How have you prepared for this transition?
Whether you are live-in partners, engaged, married, or anything in between, you have a love romance relationship and now you are adding a business on top.
Take this test: Imagine you are business partners now. And still lovers and life partners. How comfortably and effectively would you do these business responsibilities with your honey:
. Discuss strategy and vision for your business.
. Set aside personal pride to truly take in the perspective of the other.
. Hold each other accountable especially when deadlines are missed.
. Call out each other’s mistakes in an effective and kind way.
. Resolve conflict on your own while staying focused on the business.
. Manage stress and low times without “taking it out” on your partner.
. Admit to your weaknesses so you zone in on your strengths.
. Disagree and still make decisions and move the company forward.
. Respect the working style of your partner while collaborating on projects.
And do all of this and a lot more while still maintaining the love and happiness and respect in your marriage or life partnership?
If you haven’t given all this a second thought, do. Adding a complex element such as your own business into a romantic relationship takes deep understanding of your partner and smart decision making, all of which comes with time and experience.
So stick around. I’ve got a few things to say on this topic because I for one love to see more happy couple entrepreneurs who are killing it in their business and rocking it in their love relationship.
So are you the kind of couple meant to survive going into business together?
A lot of couples jump into this opportunity because the rewards can be so big and so sweet, but you get the rewards only if you know how to make your relationship work and how to go from a romantic relationship to a love plus business relationship without sacrificing either one.
Inconvenient truth: Not all couples make great entrepreneurs together. They may make very happy married couples or great life partners, but not good business partners by any stretch of imagination.
So what sets one couple apart from another and what can you look for to ensure that working with your significant other will not ruin your marriage or relationship but rather enhance it by a thousand fold? And how do you survive working with your spouse while building a mutual dream?
The 3 Rules of Survival for Going Into Business Together
1. To start a business together, you need the same strong why and burning passion to make it work.
Why do you want to go into business together? Ask this and listen to each other. Do you have the same strong reasons? Is self-employment truly right for you? Do you at least have one big reason – one big why that you share?
When I started dreaming – and scheming – about getting my husband to leave his wonderful job to come work for me, my big why was beyond wanting to be with him all the time (I do even after 9 months of working together) and beyond creating a freedom lifestyle (we have – we travel extensively around the world and take our company along on every trip. This post is being brought to you from Toronto, Canada. The next one will be from Asia.)
My big why also intersected with his big why and it was this: We wanted to stop wasting time at a job that did not fulfill us and we wanted to create something that was completely ours. Something that would make a difference and something that would be here long after we are gone.
Running and owning our own company was the only way we could fulfill this desire.
Your big why will be what you return to together when – not if, but when – you have times of conflict and struggle. Your big why has to be something you share and your intense desire around it has to be pretty much the same level. Or else, you have some talking and thinking to do.
Before you get into a business with your partner, figure out your why.
2. To keep a business going, you need friendship, trust and respect.
Some romantic relationships are just love and romance. The couple saves the friendship for their friends. It’s very clean-cut and it can work out brilliantly too. They are just lovers. Sometimes, friendship is how you get started then you fall in love and it all gets mixed in together. And other times, you may be more friends than lovers but you still love and care for each other deeply. Where you fall in your relationship is very personal and nobody’s business but yours. If it works for you, it works.
My husband and I were friends first. That’s how our story started. And we’ve never lost that but we’ve certainly had to polish it a lot since we started our company. Do you have an element of strong friendship with your partner or spouse?
The first rule of surviving a business is friendship and trust at its core. Romance has to take a backseat when you are in the middle of discussing contracts and negotiating for a good deal or making some tough calls about your budget. But friendship can strengthen your bond as business partners, trust can help you understand the other person’s perspective with care and with these two, you can move mountains together.
3. To grow a business large and successful, you need work ethics, boundaries, and flexibility.
Now it’s time to buckle up and ride the waves together. You have shake hands and started your business. Now it’s time to grow your baby. This is the day-to-day stuff, the working together, the getting along, and the making of those tough decisions. For this to work brilliantly, you have to look at your core values. Is work ethics one of them?
As much fun and joy as I have working my husband, the work is heavy duty stuff. I have 12 hour days and countless weekends and nights of work that I would not trade it with anything because we both have strong unquestionable work ethics EVEN IF they are different styles of working.
Doing the work takes discipline and it’s a trait you need to share as a couple. Just make sure you both see eye-to-eye on this.
You don’t want to ever ever micromanage each other but you also need to respect the working style of your partner. You trust them, you believe they will come through on their commitments.
You also need to work through some boundary issues. Work time is work time and the more play gets into work, the more work gets into the personal part of your life. This can work but the downside is it just takes longer. The more you focus on work and respect each other’s boundaries, the quicker you get things done and get to play.
And you must exercise flexibility. When you go from working for your boss to working with your spouse, you learn the world about this person that you thought you knew so well. And if there’s one thing that you should repeat to yourself as you adapt and transition into this beautiful phase of your relationship together is to be flexible.
You trust this person. You are friends with them. You share your big why. You want to build a dream together. You both have work ethics. You see the same future together. Now be flexible. Don’t mind the small stuff. Don’t pick fights over little nothings. Don’t let your ego or pride get in the way. Be flexible with each other. You have the big stuff worked out if you came all the way to the end.
When you have these rules of survival down, the fun and freedom begin and then can you kiss every business conversation with the seal of approval, love and smarts.
How to start your dream business together as a couple
I am passionate about helping corporate employees who feel stuck in their jobs to create a freedom lifestyle just like I did. You have so many opportunities but if you don’t know how to see them or how to make this transition, well, it’s easy to write it off. Don’t. You live once. You are more brilliant than you know and just because you are stuck in a bad situation doesn’t mean you can’t get out and start your dream business.