These days, it's becoming less and less uncommon in this industry to find working couples in the same business or running multiple, related businesses under the same roof. Planning for a work-life balance, establishing boundaries and work spaces are the keys to a successful pairing, on site or kicked back on the sofa. The wedding world can become all-consuming if you don't plan ahead to allow for personal and family time. Whether the simple act of scheduling a date night or the more intense planning for a vacation, thinking ahead of the curve is the big piece to a successful business and happy relationship.
With evening client appointments, networking events and office work that you never seem to put a dent in, working couples can easily fill every night with professional "obligations." And, we haven't even touched weekend weddings and events yet! Block out one night a week and schedule your appointments or networking commitments around it. Most local associations host events on the same night every month, making planning in advance easier. Go out and do something fun or stay home, eat pizza and watch a movie; just do not talk about work.
You can easily book events every weekend of the year so blocking vacation time well in advance is key. No matter the seasonality of your business, commit to a blocked week (or two!) some time in the year and schedule your business around it. Down the road, you can start the discussion of where to go and what to do. If we're honest with ourselves, there's more business coming down the road. Blocking out that date is not going to make or break your year; but, not taking time off might break your relationship. So, take time for yourselves.
Who’s The Boss?
When couples work together in the same business, it's key to establish roles. Collaboration is fine but dividing and conquering specific job tasks is a major component to business success. Look at each of your strong points, divide business tasks and take ownership over those items. Identifying your respective business "lanes of traffic" makes planning, decision-making and action taking much more efficient. Additionally, it enforces the trust you've already placed in each other as partners in business and in life.
It’s Not Personal
Clear, honest communication in any business, much less when you live under the same roof is huge. Remember: discussions over business are not personal. It's practically guaranteed you will not like every decision your partner feels strongly about. All professionals - but especially working couples - should always approach disagreements constructively and respectfully. Consider a "what if" approach before defaulting to a "no way". At the end of the day, it's business and you cannot take those feelings to bed with you.
As each of you grow in your business roles and as the company grows, you'll likely outgrow your home office space. Having your own designated work space is integral to healthy professional relationships in general. It's an imperative, however, when you're working with the ones you love the most. If we're honest with ourselves, we can admit how get frustrated we'd get if you worked in a corporate environment and had to plan the day around someone else our work space. It not only stifles business efficiency, effectiveness and growth but it adds to personal frustration.
Who Feeds The Dog?
Industry expert Andy Ebon coined a phrase, “whoever feeds the dog, owns the dog.” If you as a working couple operate complementary businesses out of the same space, there needs to be a hierarchy. If a potential client comes in and books your partner for catering, then in turn books you for décor, the caterer feeds the dog. If they as a caterer offer linen and rentals, then they have the first opportunity to offer those services to the joint client. This is such a good business model in any situation. It establishes boundaries and forces clear communication. When you go to bed at night, your businesses are there to support you as a couple. Planning for you time, personal spaces and establishing clear roles and communication keeps the family happy.