One of the first things people say to us when they find out Mark and I work together is “I could never do that! How do you make that work?” And honestly, it’s a tough question! I’ll admit, it isn’t all unicorns and rainbows! Patience, respect and a sense of humor all play a BIG role. But the other day I found myself in a conversation with a friend who also works with her husband and we noticed there were some commonalities that help us see success.
Stay In Your Lane.
We all have strengths and weaknesses. One of the hardest, and most rewarding parts of starting your own business is having to take an honest look at what you’re good at, and the things you’re not. Mark and I are lucky to balance each other and pick up the slack in the areas one of us is weak. On the other hand, while I excel in networking, social media, face to face meetings and short term strategy, he excels in operations, finances and taking dreams and giving them achievable steps. We’ve found “our lanes”. More importantly, we stay in them. I don’t try to take over the operations or finances and he doesn’t try to micromanage my social media campaigns. We respect each other’s roles and let each other do what we do best.
Would You Talk to a Co-Worker That Way?
Sometimes its hard to tell where “spouse” ends and “colleague” begins. It’s easy for the argument...errrr I mean discussion…about the Marketing flyer format to turn into who unloaded the dishwasher last. Don’t let it. If you wouldn’t speak to a co-worker at an office that way, you shouldn’t be speaking that way to your spouse. Keeping communication respectful is critical.
Give Yourself Some Space.
Living and working together means a lot of time together…A LOT. Luckily, I really like my husband so most of the time that’s not a problem! That said, we need time to ourselves. We each usually carve out 3-4 times a month that we are going out with friends on our own. Its also common that one of us will work from a coffee shop or remote office space. Its amazing the difference getting some space makes.
Put Aside Time To Dream Together
Its so easy to get caught in the day to day routine of keeping a marriage, family and business afloat. But really, we don’t just want to stay “afloat”; we want to thrive. And that takes a vision, goals and dreams. One thing Mark and I have always been good at is coming together and re-charging by talking about where we are, how far we’ve come and where we’re going. Truth be told, usually this is over a glass of wine, or 2. But taking time to do this creates an “us against the world” momentum that’s unstoppable and so important for long term success.
Have you ever worked with your spouse? Could you?
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Elli is the President of Sunways and loves spending time outside with her family, and is passionate about cooking and holistic health.