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Couples Working Together: 7 Tips to Work with Your Spouse

They say if you want your marriage to last, don’t work with your spouse. But more and more couples are proving this saying wrong by running a business with their spouse and succeeding – both in business and at marriage. Read on for advice to achieve harmony when running a business with your spouse.

Over 3 million of the 22 million small businesses in the U.S. are owned by husband-and-wife teams. With such staggering statistics, it’s obvious these modern couples have found a way to overcome the odds to run a successful business while fostering a strong marriage.

Take James and Jeanine Pruitt, owners of Rustic River Cabins in Estes Park, Colorado. They’ve been married for more than 15 years and have been the co-owners of their vacation cabins property for the past seven years. While there have been plenty of challenges in establishing their business, the working couple is prouder than ever that their company – and their relationship – is flourishing. “We were able to get through [the hurdles] because of our communication, because we love each other, and because we love what we’re doing,” Jeanine said.

Whether you’re considering starting a small business with your spouse or want to find ways to breathe new life into your existing working relationship, find out how to set your marriage – and your business – up for success with these tips.

  1. Learn to communicate well.
    Just as the foundation of a strong marriage is good communication, the backbone of a solid working relationship with your spouse is being able to convey your thoughts, feelings, and perspectives. You must be able to share your goals, visions, and even setbacks with each other so you can remain on the same page. If you struggle with effective communication, as many do, consider working with a marriage counselor or a business coach who can recommend better practices that will allow both you and your partner to feel valued and heard.
  2. Identify common goals.
    Having shared goals can be a key factor to establishing a good working relationship for couples. By spending time envisioning your future and creating a list of both short-and long-term goals, it can ease challenges that arise along the way while keeping you and your partner on the same page. Whether it’s financial freedom, greater flexibility, or the ability to spend more time together, keeping these dreams in mind and regularly assessing progress can keep you inspired and connected.

Not only can you run a business with your spouse – you can both contribute to financing it. Learn more about funding your business debt-free with 401(k) business financing.

  1. Work to your strengths.
    While it’s inevitable that business owners will have to perform tasks they don’t enjoy at some point, it shouldn’t be a regular occurrence. Both you and your spouse should enjoy the work you do. That means leveraging your strengths to do the work you enjoy and hiring others to take care of tasks you don’t enjoy or don’t excel at. For example, if you’re better at speaking with customers while your partner is more adept at handling paperwork, then divide those duties accordingly, and hire others to fill in the gaps. This will help you avoid burnouts and keep you smiling at work and home.
  2. Assign ownership.
    Some married couples may also find it useful to assign responsibilities so they each have ownership over specific roles. This ensures all duties are taken care of and may reduce friction that can occur when too many people try to accomplish the same thing.
  3. Have regular check-ins.
    No matter what approach you take to assigning responsibilities, it’s always important to have regular check-ins with your significant other for both business-related items personal matters. Be sure to be open and honest about how things are working as you run your business together and assess where you’re at in reaching your goals. Ask yourselves what is and isn’t working, what areas do you need help in, and what can you do to improve?
  4. Respect each other.
    Respect plays a big role in any successful marriage, and it’s even more important for couples that own a business together. Differences in working style can be a major contributing factor to conflict. However, if you take the time to understand how your partner works, you’ll be well on your way to harmony at work and home.
  5. Carve out alone time.
    One of the most sought-after benefits of owning your own business is flexibility. But some married couples who own a business fall prey to workaholism and leave little time to reconnect with each other. The most successful working couples remember to schedule time for themselves, whether it’s as simple as dinner together once a week (sans mobile devices) or a getaway with no work allowed. Having a strong personal connection with each other will only make your working relationship easier.

No one has ever said mixing business with pleasure is easy, but if you dream of being able to work with your spouse, it is possible by nurturing your relationship and aligning goals. A shared career can be a beautiful journey if you’re both willing to support each other, embrace compromise, and love unconditionally.

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