WORKING WITH THE SIGNIFICANT OTHER


“The best part of working with my husband is the confidence that we will get whatever we dream accomplished together.” — Tylynn

This resonated with me and sent tingles down my spine when I read this, taking me back to when my husband joined me, and we started building our business together

For a long time, he had been watching me from the side-lines. He was already in a well-paid corporate job with an amazing salary and I was plodding along building a dream.

As we sat down at night, relaxing over a glass of wine, he would ask me about my day becoming more and more fascinated about what was driving me and where my passion was coming from?

“I want some of what you have,” he admitted.

I was intrigued because he was the corporate person I had looked up to and I assumed he considered himself brimming with success. Well respected in his job reaching director level, great salary, all travel paid for and a nice car in the drive. As we talked over time it became more and more obvious to me that something was missing.

“I am hungry for success” he said “but on my terms. I want to help you and I have the skills you lack. “Together we can make this work.”

He quit his job, we moved to a new house and thankfully we never looked back.

Stephen who works with his wife Debbie says, “It can be difficult when you both have different ideas so good communication is key.”

They run a property management company but make sure they switch off from work and do not discuss work on their days off.

Switching off can be difficult, conversations with my husband always seemed to lead back to work issues. We never saw it as a problem, but our friends and family would say, ‘You need to switch off for god’s sake’ Perhaps they wanted to hear us talk about something else. We must have bored the arses off them constantly, but we were having such fun, and most of them just didn’t get it.

During the past couple of years, I have been working as an associate, promoting quality health and nutritional systems. Businesses such as these often attract ambitious couples who want to work together, I get taken back to the fun years I had working with my late husband. Years I could never get back.

In 2018 I offered to host an event at my house in Spain, I was introduced to a young couple Allie and Orrin who were at the time living in the UK. They arrived at my house resembling a couple of young students complete with rucksacks and little else. In my kitchen, we chatted over coffee and I was impressed about the passion they both shared for the business they had both started to build.

That was two years ago, they are now married with a beautiful baby boy and living and running their business from Dubai. To meet them it is clear they are besotted with each other. Allie jokes and tells me, Orrin, is terrible to work with, however, it all works out well because we have very different skill sets.

So do you think working together has enhanced your relationship? I asked Orrin.

‘In one way definitely and in another way, it can harm the relationship as you did not fall in love building a business, the business can distract from what made you fall in love in the first place. We are in a good place now, but it was tough for a year or so.’

This resonated with me as I remember my husband asking me early on in our relationship,

‘If the business does not work out will we still have a relationship?’ I remember my reply so clearly and perhaps I should be embarrassed by the reply I made. ‘What if the relationship doesn’t work out, will we still have a business?’

Orrin goes on to add that they used to try and not talk about business on their time off, which always failed. ‘I made an effort to step back and let Allie lead and it has made a lot of difference.’

Striking the balance of skills whilst ensuring you respect each other and what each contributes is a skill in itself. Compromises over decisions, backing down from heated discussions and learning to be a team of two will pave the way to better business.

Lee and Julie Carr started their business together quite by chance after trying products from Isagenix. Julie works for the NHS and her husband is a Maintenance Engineer. Quite different vocations yet in their spare time they have been able to work together on promoting the products to their friends. Within a year they had managed to save enough money by working together and were able to take their family to Australia for a three week holiday.

Julie tells me that Lee is the one who does all the talking, He is a much better speaker than I am but I have my own skills. I can relate to women customers better. Most of our customers are women but when we need to share our products with men, Lee is much better dealing with them. We still go to work on our other jobs and work about ten hours a week on our Isagenix business. What is great is that we have something to fall back on at any time and it always has the potential to grow into something bigger.

Working on your own can have an advantage, it can often be easier to switch off when there is nobody there to bounce your ideas off of. Often you have to focus on other topics of conversation with friends and family.

Focusing outside of the box can be extremely hard for couples especially when their work involves the social circles, they move in.

Our work often dictated our life, even our kids became involved and I am glad they did because there were so many life skills they picked up from conversations that were held around our dinner table at night.

But what if your partner does not want to be involved in the business you are building? It can be a hard and lonely process especially if you crave the urge to voice your concerns and need some understanding. Perhaps your partner does not understand the time and dedication it takes and complains that you do not give them the attention they need.

A former partner I had when I first started my business accused me once of having an affair. Not with another man but with my business, Unfortunately, we did split up and I believe that had a lot to do with it. Possibly it would have made a big difference if he could have been more supportive about the work I was having to do and the dream I was trying to create. I guess we had different destinations which involved different journeys.

Should you put all your eggs in one basket?

Joining forces can also be risky as you share the possibility of the business failing, nobody wants to think about that but when it happens it can be hard on both of you financially. Keeping your fingers in outside pies can be an advantage just in case.

Today with so many people working remotely and from their homes, the nine to five and going off to work scenario is steadily leaving the normal. Garages and spare rooms are becoming workplaces, sometimes the office can be the dining table and your mobile phone. Whatever it is our ‘significant others’ are seeing more of us, whether they like it or not. Could the future see more couples start working together as we gravitate towards this scenario of working? I hope so. It can be tough at the beginning but for those of us that can get it right, I can see long, happy and fulfilling relationships ahead.

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