Should You Work With Your Spouse?

You love your mate. You shop together, cook together, read together…but does that mean you should work together?

In 2003, there were 1.2 husband and wife teams, or copreneurs, in North America (sorry, I couldn’t find newer stats). And while some couples work together in perfect harmony, others fail miserably, threatening both the business and the marriage.

My husband advises me on my business sometimes. Typically I get belligerent because I assume I know everything and he knows nothing. Hm. Not sure that would work if we were copiloting the Egg plane. It’s enough for us to share an office.

Before you dive in to a situation that may be difficult to scramble out of, consider these questions:

  • Do we have a similar work ethic?
  • Do we agree on where we want to take this company?
  • Will one of us be okay taking orders from the other?
  • Can we separate duties so we don’t step on each other’s toes?
  • Will working together 40+ hours a week bring us closer or further apart?
  • Will this affect our relationship and home life?

These are all valid things to cover together. Personality comes into play hugely, especially if one person is the subordinate of the other spouse. Take time to really assess whether this is the best move for work and life.

If you do jump into the business pool together, use these tips to keep a happy household.

  1. At the end of the work day, shut down from work, physically and mentally. Don’t talk about work at home.
  2. Clearly delineate each partner’s responsibilities (“I handle finance and you handle marketing”) so there’s no confusion about decision making.
  3. Make a point to get out of the house and the office every week or so to reconnect.
  4. Support each other in decision making.
  5. Keep disputes private; your staff needs to see you as the image of solidarity.
  6. If it gets to be too much, save the marriage first. If that means one person leaving the company, make the call.

Photo: Stock.xchng user Mattox. Royalty free.

Susan Payton is the President of Egg Marketing & Communications, an internet marketing firm specializing in marketing communications, copywriting and blog posts. She’s written two books: 101 Entrepreneur Tips and Internet Marketing Strategies for Entrepreneurs, and has blogged for several sites, including The Marketing Eggspert Blog, as well as Mashable, Small Business Trends, FutureSimple, BizLaunch and Lead411. Follow her on Twitter @eggmarketing.

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