The Challenges of Going Into Business With Your Spouse

The Challenges of Going Into Business With Your Spouse

Your partner has a great entrepreneurial idea. Before you combine your resources, consider the challenges of going into business with your spouse.

Perhaps you met in business, law or medical school. Maybe one of you is taking over a family business or has come up with an innovative new product. You and your partner are committed to each other, but should you commit to opening a business together? Before you pool your resources and take the plunge, consider the challenges of going into business with your spouse.

Defining Roles

At home, the two of you may have a well-oiled machine going. You know whose night it is to make dinner, who will drive the kids to school and whose turn it is to take a night out with friends.

But when you work together, you must define roles clearly, in the same way that you would when you hire employees and build your team. If you structure your company to make each of you an equal partner, this role definition can be difficult. You both must resist the urge to do everything. Starting a business is an all-consuming project that throws you together 24/7. Plan so that you don’t duplicate effort or infringe on your partner’s areas of expertise.

You’re in a Love Triangle

There was, perhaps, no more poignant moment in a very public doomed marriage than the interview where Princess Diana said, “There were three of us in this marriage.” When you go into business with your significant other or spouse, you are creating a triangular relationship: you, your partner and your business. This is true whether you establish an accounting practice or open a medical office. Dual military couples face particular challenges maintaining their relationship if one outranks the other or partners face deployment thousands of miles apart.

If both of you are in sync and committed to making the business partnership work, it could be the best thing that ever happened to you. But if one of you feels the other is putting in too much or too little, the sense of imbalance can impact both your personal and business relationship.

Work-Life Balance

There are plenty of common workplace mistakes you should avoiding making. Working with your spouse could easily guide you into committing one of the worst career mistakes: a loss of a work-life balance.

When you go home with your business partner, the temptation is to keep talking about the business. But as with any other career, people who are half of a “couplepreneur” enterprise need downtime, family time and “me time.” Discuss boundaries between your business and your home so that you can return to work refreshed, ready to solve problems and take advantage of new opportunities.

Couples who go into business together can potentially end up better financially than a couple with separate careers. The profits from the business go back to the family unit. Women who are business partners with their husbands tend to make more money than they would if they were working solo or for someone else. But you also jointly take on the risk of failure, with no separate job or career as the fallback for hard times.

Passion goes a long way both in business and personal relationships. However, it’s essential to understand and prepare for these common challenges of partnering with your spouse before working together. If you and your partner know each other’s strengths, support each other and can maintain open communication, you’ll be able to handle the challenges of going into business with your spouse.

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  • August 15, 2022