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Staying Married While Running a Business

by Jennifer Stewart | Sep 13, 2011 | Advice

Perhaps it’s because we’re married business owners, but Gage and I often find ourselves giving advice to married clients starting new businesses. If you’re thinking about starting your own gig and wondering how it will affect your marriage, here’s a list of the things we think every burgeoning business owner should know.

  1. Your spouse doesn’t want to talk about your business constantly. Sure maybe in the beginning they want to hear about what’s going on, but constantly going over all the minute decisions you have to make and ‘running ideas by them’ to get their input will get old quickly. You have to dwell on your business to keep it successful, but your spouse doesn’t. Figure out a way to check yourself when you see their eyes glaze over.
  2. Your spouse needs to be involved to care. Having a business is like having a kid. And having a kid alone, without your spouses help, is ludicrous. Any good partner has skills that you don’t possess, so use those skills for the business. This creates an unconscious bond between your spouse and the business, which you need to make them care.
  3. Your spouse will never care about the business like you do. A new business is rarely a 50/50 effort. Most likely one person thought of the business and the spouse bought into the idea. The one that bought into it will never have the dedication that you do. Don’t take offense. The bond between a kid and their mother is different from that of their father.
  4. Your customers/clients are your boss. DO NOT tell your partner that owning your own business will give you more time to be with them. It will give you less time and even if you do go home, your brain will still be at work. Only highly sought-after professionals get to set their own schedules and rules. The rest of the world is a slave to the status quo.
  5. Put your spouse in your calendar or to-do list. You will pay more attention to your to-do list than your own hygiene so give yourself reminders to do nice things for them. This may be the only thing that keeps your spouse from cursing you out as you stare off into space and think about work while they talk about their day.

Obviously this list isn't terribly optimistic, but forewarned is forearmed. It's better to assume that there are difficulties ahead and then be pleasantly surprised than to think that these common occurances won't affect you. Tune in on Friday when I'll be posting my tips for spouses of business owners.

Jennifer Stewart is the Office Manager and wanna-be organizational psychologist at Modern Species. For more posts from her, click here.

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Food is our common ground,
a universal experience.- James Beard