It’s a thought that has crossed numerous couples’ minds: “What if we start a business together?” It sounds like the ultimate dream to find a business partner in your life partner. You’ll have someone who will always understand you and try to work things out for your good. The business of your choice will be something you’re both passionate about, and this will surely make your marriage stronger. In some rare cases, this is true. For most couple-preneurs, however, they belatedly realized that this venture is not only far from ideal — it’s also destructive.
Before you sign any dotted line and compliment yourselves with official titles, you’ll want to have a realistic view of what couple-preneurship actually looks like.
There’s a Lot of Good
In spite of the aforementioned warning, there’s no way to discuss couple-preneurship without acknowledging why it appeals to so many married people. One of the primary reasons is that you can maximize your combined skills without shelling out on employees early on. If one is a licensed architect and the other is a licensed engineer, starting a firm together sounds like a logical choice. The same applies if one is an artist and another has good PR skills then you’ve got the product manufacturing and the sales covered. For more traditional business set-ups, diving into the corporate scene together is less daunting than doing so alone. There’s no more need to build trust and establish your security against possible fraud because you’ve got that covered in your marriage already.
Building capital is also less frustrating because you understand what your sources are and how dependable your partner is in terms of finances. With the right mindset, plan, and expectations, you can avoid the common pitfalls that destroy couple-preneurs. The worst part is that it’s not only the business that suffers, but also their marriage. They end up contacting a county divorce lawyer and permanently end their most important partnership.
There’s a Lot More Ugly
It’s a fact that a lot of couples don’t do well working together professionally. When they first start out in their business venture, they’re usually caught off guard with how differently they view expenses, hiring, marketing, and sales. You and your spouse can agree to separate work life from home life, but this will grow increasingly difficult the more invested you are in your business. When you don’t succeed in drawing a line and respecting it, personal conflict will affect business decisions and vice versa.
Another hurdle that needs overcoming is the assumption that your spouse knows what you want. The reverse also applies, and this tendency is the fastest way to break down your communication and create a string of misunderstandings. From here, your business expectations diverge and the company goals are no longer clear. Employees might be forced to take sides, especially when you and your spouse have overlapping control over certain tasks. This inevitably impacts your office culture and your staff’s loyalty.
Tension in the company can trickle down to family life and to your children. Oftentimes, self-care is also abandoned and causes buyer’s regret because you might be in competition with your spouse as to who does more for the business.
One of the worst ways it can affect your personal life is when you two mismanage your finances by letting it bleed into the business. Irresponsibly using your own money to fund it can compromise your mortgage, debt repayment, and other obligations. Your emotional investment in the business makes you incapable of giving each other a fresh perspective on your dilemmas, and chances are huge that you’ll take it out on one another.
Prevention Not Intervention
Couple-preneurship is not a bad goal in spite of the many ugly sides it can have. When the two of you are set to become business partners, your first goal should be to strategize how you’ll make it work out for your marriage and your professional goals. Bear in mind that prevention is always better than intervention, and starting early on with good habits is the best way to make your business partnership work.
Work on the fundamentals like communication. How do you make sure that you’re both on the same page? In what areas does one tend to assume, and how do you confirm something without sounding confrontational? Speaking of confrontations, you also have to learn to acknowledge existing conflicts and nip them at the bud. Pretending that things are okay when it’s not creates a deep crevice in your relationship.
Above all, how do you draw the line between your marriage and your business partnership? Time off is crucial in revitalizing your affections both for each other and for your joint venture.
Do a Realistic Assessment
Every couple-preneur is different from each other. You’ll want to start by making a realistic assessment of your preparedness as a couple so that you can identify what needs fixing and improving. Talk to others who’ve been successful in this field and get insight from them. All relationships are a work-in-progress, so work well in yours and you may find success on this road.