Love is in the Air: How NOT to Start a Business with Your Spouse

 

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! As we celebrate a day all about the weirdest matchmaker ever (“Our friend Cupid set us up on a blind date! He shot us both with golden arrows, it was so romantic!”) let’s explore some of the things that make entrepreneur power couples work…and the things that don’t.

 

So you’ve decided to start a business with your spouse or partner. Congratulations! Entrepreneurship is both challenging and rewarding, and so are relationships. So combining the two? Well, that’s just about the most epic adventure you’re ever going to have.

When you run a business with your partner, you get to enjoy the satisfaction of creating something together. You get to spend more time together and grow closer. And you get to share a common interest.

But like everything else in life, business and romance can both be messy – and sometimes, when you mix them together, the results are explosive, and not in a good way.

(Yes, you’re going to be able to get twice as much work done, and you’ll get to spend twice as much time together, but you’ll probably also have twice as many fights.)

So how can you ensure that your joint venture not only succeeds, but strengthens your relationship at the same time?

It’s simple: Just do the exact opposite of everything we’re about to tell you.

 

Insist on Forever Working Side-by-Side At All Times

Effective power couples are attached at the hip – everyone knows that. Oftentimes they’re so attached at the hip that we have to refer to them as if they’re one person!

It can be tempting to suggest that each of you is an individual with their own unique needs, and that everyone needs their personal space from time to time. But this is foolish. If we are to learn anything from the examples set for us by Hollywood’s airbrushed narratives, it’s that spouses who are also business partners should never, under any circumstances, have alone time.

When you work side-by-side with your spouse and never give yourselves any personal time away from each other, you’re solidifying your relationship – each of you is forcing the other person to tolerate your quirks and flaws 24 hours a day, without reprieve. Eventually, you’ll wear each other down to the point where it doesn’t bother you that he chews with his mouth open or you really don’t care that she talks way too loud when she’s on the phone. And you won’t really care that you’ve lost your individuality and your freedom. Instead, you’ll just accept that this is your life, this is your reality, and you’re never, ever, ever going to have another moment to yourself. Relationships are about compromise, sacrifice, and sharing – so why not be miserable together?

 

Make Important Business Decisions Without Consulting Your Partner

How many times have you heard that the spark is gone, that he used to surprise you just because, or that she keeps complaining the two of you are in a rut, and expects you to figure it out.

Well if you want to not just reignite that spark but grow it into an explosive fireball, the fastest and easiest way is to make an important business decision that greatly impacts both your lives – all on your own.

And then, of course, surprise your partner with this earth-shattering new revelation at a moment when they’re least expecting it!

Surprises keep the romance alive. If you want to strike a proper balance between your business obligations and your relationship obligations, the best way to do that is to leave your partner out of important decisions – hiring, expenses, changes in your offer – and let them be joyfully surprised later.

Just imagine their reaction when they find out that you signed a new lease on an office building or bought a fancy new $5,000 printer without consulting them. They’ll be so impressed by your aptitude to make great business decisions on your own!

 

Defining Roles is Boring – Just Have Both of You Do Everything!

This one is lots of fun, because your suppliers and customers will never, ever know who they’re supposed to be dealing with – which means they’ll always be on their toes. That’s how you keep people at their best!

If you want to always bring something new and exciting to your relationship every single day, and if you want to feel like full partners, then forget about defining your roles within your business.

Instead, feel the romantic sparks fly as the two of you endure constant power struggles and your entire business falls to infighting. Sure, it’s not the ideal business outcome, but now you have a story to tell that’s practically torn from the silver screen – and you get to rebuild everything from the ground up, together. Just the two of you, working 14 hours a day every day, trying to reclaim what you lost.

And with no defined roles, you’re sure to get tasks done effectively, because some of them will get done twice! Your spouse already paid your staff? Pay them again – then you don’t have to worry about payroll for a month! Your staff will love you, and they’ll tell you that the two of you are such a good team.

Running a business with your spouse is an amazing opportunity to grow as a couple and dominate a market niche. And with the right approach, it can be super romantic, too. Just follow the 3 above steps and watch as your relationship and your business are fundamentally changed forever.