Ten Rules For Working With Your Spouse

22 Jun

When my husband and I told people he was leaving his job to help me with my business full time they looked at us like we both had three eyes. I think part of it was them being worried about a lack of steady income when we had two small children to feed (they were 4 and 5 at the time). I think another reason they were worried is because working with a spouse can be hard. Really hard. He had been helping me with my business for a few years, but only part time. Working together full time requires a lot of work and commitment to both your marriage and your business both. We have learned along the way and I am happy to say we are still as in love as ever. Here are a few of the things we have learned:

1. Communicate. Communicate. Communicate. You would be crazy to just assume things are going to fall into place. Before you take the jump you need to sit down and talk about how you both want things to go before you start working together. The last thing you want is to assume you are on the same page with duties just to find out later on that you are reading from entirely different books.

2. Assign tasks. During your sit down write a list of all tasks that need to be done. Do your very best to assign tasks to each partner. The goal is to make both people happy and give each person things to be in charge of.

3. Be prepared to revise tasks as needed. Over time you will figure out that there are some tasks one person enjoys more and some they are just better at. It is important to create a balance between what each partner enjoys doing and what they are better at doing. You are running a business. In a dream world you would love every minute task, but you live in reality. What if neither of you enjoy the accounting aspect? Well, either you need to outsource that task or one of you needs to suck it up and get it done.

4. Keep a schedule. This is important whether you work for yourself or with your spouse. When you work from home it is easy to get lost on Facebook or wake up at noon. Try to create a basic schedule and stick to it. It helps each partner to see what the other is doing and eliminates a bit of work at home anxiety.

5. Keep work at work. Go back to your schedule. It should have a “closing time” somewhere on it or you will work 24 hours a day. When 5 o’clock rolls around we are no longer coworkers. We are a married couple. The work stuff gets put away and we spend our time trying our best to talk about anything BUT work. Easier said than done, but we still make a big effort to keep those two worlds separate.

6. Understand that your feelings will get hurt. I remember a time where my husband misplaced an item that we needed to ship. I probably wasn’t as nice and understanding as I could have been. It can be tough to be the boss when your employee sleeps next to you each night. You have to have the understanding that one spouse is likely the “boss” and you have to be OK with it. Don’t let your feelings get hurt. And if you are the boss don’t take those work resentments home with you at the end of the day.

7. Have some alone time. It can be really hard spending 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with someone. I love my husband to death, but sometimes I just want to be by myself. We have to consciously schedule alone time or time out with friends and family. A couple of nights a week I will watch junk TV while he is in another room playing his video games.

8. Think about the financial impact. This is a more boring rule, but still important. Before you take the plunge you need to speak with an accountant and/or tax adviser to discuss the financial structure of your business. Sole proprietorship? Corporation? LLC? Do you each get a paycheck? Is the business in both of your names? etc. All of these questions are ones that need to be answered before you go into business together.

9. Ignore the negative Nancys. Lets face it. People will tell you how STUPID you are for working together. They will tell you it will ruin your marriage. They will tell you it will NEVER work. Ignore them! Only you and your spouse know what is best for you. Let the haters hate.

10. If it isn’t working then change. Working together isn’t for everyone. If you get six months in and want to kill one another then change your plans. Your marriage should always be your number one priority. Either you need to change the structure of your work from home plans or you just need to stop working together. Don’t go through life hating each other just because you are stubborn and want to prove people wrong.

One Response to “Ten Rules For Working With Your Spouse”

  1. Grandma June 22, 2015 at 3:56 pm #

    Retirement will be a breeze for the two of you!

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