It has been two years since Chelsea and I officially incorporated AveryToday, Inc. and we have spent nearly 700+ days working together side by side. We have traveled to different countries, spoken to several companies, and completely dropped the ball and several potential clients due to the old saying, “You don’t know what you don’t know!”
It has been an awesome journey so far and I hope we get 75+ more years working together side by side. I also hope that many other couples get the chance to work with one another if they so desire.
Chelsea likes to say the benefit of working together is that you get to spend all your time together and the downside is that you get to spend ALL your time together! For those who would like to work more with your life partner here are five things you need to run a successful business:
1) Open Communication. Always open. This never shuts off. Sometimes you are introverted. Sometimes you are extraverted. Sometimes you need your partner to push you and other times you need to push your partner. There is always a need for open and honest communication. Do everything you can to improve in this area.
2) Outlined Roles and Responsibilities. What does your partner do? What do you do? What value do each of you bring to the company? What are your strengths and weakness? What needs to be outsourced? Planning out roles and responsibilities takes time and is always growing as things like shipping, product orders, marketing design, website updates, contracts, thank you letters and more pile up onto your to-do list!
3) Agreements About Money. Chelsea and I have an agreement that anything over $100 we both need to have sign-off approval on it. If it is under $100 and we have it in our account we can go for it. This has helped us manage our money. We discuss bigger purchases so we can discern if we really need to incur the expense. We also must agree on what we are willing to cut out of our personal life to make our business thrive.
4) Agreements About Risks. Risk in any start-up is inevitable. Usually, there is a lot of risk, and you must take many risks if you want to get ahead. In our case, Chelsea and I sold everything we owned and drove halfway across the country (twice) to live with our parents in order to start our business. We said Yes! to things when we weren’t ready but knew it was the right time! You need to take risks. How are you and your partner going to handle them when they happen?
5) Personal and Professional Time. Chelsea and I do a good job (now) balancing our personal and professional life. We put days in the calendar where it is only us with no social media, phones, internet or TV. We call them “date days”, and we spend more time together in the mornings and at night not focused on work. Find the balance. Always remember you are life partners first and work partners second!
Working with your life partner can be amazing! I recommend it for any couple who is thinking about it! Take time this week to talk with your partner to see if it something you both would enjoy and what project you could work on together. Two heads and two hearts are always better than one! As always…
Question: Would you start a business with your life partner? Why or why not? If you already run a business together, what other advice do you have for all of us?