My baby was a newborn and we had just opened up our online store two weeks after the unexpected, early birth of my daughter. There I was in my home office using the excuse of a very small shipment to lash out in anger. I was frustrated and went for my husband’s jugular – if you knew what you were doing, if you had asked me for help, if you thought this was important (if you thought I was important)!, you would have taken care of it last night, I yelled with a shaky voice. I’d been there before and I was going there again – wrongly taking out my frustrations on my husband.
We’ve since learned to work together much better and I think that running this business together is helping our marriage. Here are a few tips I’ve learned based on trial and error.
1. Get Excited Together. Owning a business can involve anxiety, uncertainty and frustration. Small business owners often become people’s punching bag and feel a keen lack of respect from customers. On the flip side, owning a business is exhilarating and liberating. The small business owner is guiding this business to *hopefully* be successful. As a business owner, I can try new strategies, develop new paint classes, run fun promotions and hire awesome employees. When you feel a lack of communication or big picture energy in your business, invite your spouse to a business lunch in which you discuss the fun, growth aspects of your business. Stay upbeat and enjoy dreaming together.
2. Divide and conquer. I am the owner of our business but I could not do it without my husband. After our big upset about that shipping label, we decided to put him in charge of one aspect of the business, the online shop, because his talents line up with the more technical and detailed needs of the online shop. He runs it and I pack orders and drop them off to be shipped. He has since taken over the bookkeeping aspects because his strength is in detail oriented work whereas I want to curl up in a ball and cry when it comes to anything with accounting.
My strengths are in big picture planning, engaging with customers, hiring employees, working with consignors and other businesses and driving the task oriented part of the business. You MUST communicate which areas one person will handle and which areas the other person will handle and then trust the other person enough to let the other person handle it. He makes the final call on all issues related to the online store. I make the final call on business strategy, employees, marketing and pricing. We enjoy getting each others opinions but respect our domains within the business.
Do you work with your spouse or own your own business? What strategies to you put in place to help your business and your marriage work amiably together?
© 2013 – 2014, Taylor Hoffman. All rights reserved. Love it? Please share, pin, tweet or email but do not use my work without permission.
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