I’m no stranger to the trials and tribulations of working with my spouse.
My husband, Phil, and I started our first business filing company in 1997, which we later sold to Intuit. Then we started all over again when we founded CorpNet. And while we’ve had our share of disagreements in running the business together, neither of us would have it any other way.
We’re by no means perfect as a co-working couple, but here are a few of the tricks we use to stay sane and happy.
Separate Your Responsibilities
CorpNet wouldn’t run as smoothly if we both made decisions on the same things. I’m more operations, while he’s more creative and technical, so we each have our own domains. We respect one another’s decisions in those areas, and trust one another to make the right decisions for the company.
Leave Work at Work
So many couples who work together end up talking shop at the dinner table or even the bedroom, but Phil and I have a definite rule: once we leave work, that’s it. It’s time to focus on our four beautiful children and our personal lives.
Couples fight, and working together doesn’t alleviate that. If anything, it makes it worse! But we’re quick to close the door so our staff doesn’t hear us, and we strive not to make personal jabs if we’re trying to come to a business agreement. Shouts and tears have no place in the office, and they make your staff uncomfortable, so even if you’re a passionate arguer, save that passion for deciding who gets to control the remote tonight at home.
Schedule In Date Night
You prioritize important client meetings, so why should spending time off the clock as a couple be any less necessary? Phil and I strive to go out each week, even when schedules are busy. Date night doesn’t have to be expensive or long. Even grocery shopping together or taking a long walk can help you recharge your batteries and reconnect on a personal level.
Make Balance a Priority
If you both work in the same place, chances are when you need to work a late night, so does your spouse. But don’t shortchange your family. We try to tag team getting off early and picking up the kids, or shuttling them to their sports and dance classes. That way they always have at least one parent cheering for them.
Set Your Goals Together
Running a business with your spouse tends to kick your ego to the curb. After all, setting up goals that only personally serve you doesn’t work if there are two of you involved in the goal-setting process. Aim to create business goals that benefit you both, the company, your employees, and even your family.
Working together as a couple isn’t for everyone, but even if Phil and I had to do it all again, we’d do it the same way.