How to run a successful business with your partner in life

Business Couple
You probably have heard of Chip and Joanna, the celebrity entrepreneur couple, who became nationally known for their home renovation show on HGTV, "Fixer Upper". However, their adventure didn't just stop at reality TV shows. The couple has now owned multiple businesses ranging from real estates, restaurants, to retail and book publishing: Magnolia Homes, Magnolia Realty, Magnolia Table, Market & Silo Baking Co. are just some of their business ventures. Their phenomenal success seems to re-define what couple entrepreneurs are in the modern business world. They are no longer just mom-and-pop shop owners, but influential entrepreneurs, real estate moguls, charity founders and motivational speakers, who are building a legacy rather than just a business.

Looking back at my career path, I noticed that most of the companies that I have worked for (not planned, just coincidentally happened that way) are owned and run by couples in business, or what Forbes called it, "couple-preneurs". Personally, my husband and I can hardly agree on a decision in life without an argument. But seeing more and more successful couples who have made the professional partnership work for them, I can't help but wonder: what are the secrets of their "couple-preneurship" and how do they overcome the challenges of running a business together.

Clearly Defined Responsibilities

I noticed that couple-preneurs have a very clear idea of their responsibilities and what roles they play within the company. For example, I have worked for a law firm briefly, and like how the bosses divide duties based on their career passion and specializations: the attorney takes care of the legal side and operations, and the creative one works on branding and strategies. Similar to this construction company that I visited, where one of the owners is in charge of the construction process and the other takes responsibilities in marketing outreach. The key is: even though the business couples have clearly defined responsibilities, they both have to share the same value and vision of their company, which is crucial for the business to thrive in the long run. Both have to be on the same page especially when it comes to what team culture they want to build and which direction the company will go next.

Stress Management Support

The pressure that comes with starting and running a business is extremely high. According to Inc.com, long hours of managing business and family life have caused tremendous stress to couple entrepreneurs. If couple-preneurs are building a business together, challenges and tough times are inevitable in any sort of business and relationships. Having a stress relief support system that works for both is absolutely much needed. One of the power couple, who owns the Keller Williams the Woodlands branch, shared one of their secrets to staying energetic and less stressful, which is actually spending some quality time together and NOT doing anything. Unplug from your phones, social media, and emails. Instead, dedicate 10-30 mins a day for meditation and doing NOTHING else! I was shocked when I first heard about this 3 years ago. But after I have conversations with many seasoned and young professionals, it seems that more and more people use meditation to help them to stay focused and achieve productivity at work. Human brains are not iron machines, and lifestyle doesn't have to be all about hustling and making phone calls. So make sure to give some time for your mind and body to connect and recharge without any distractions from the world.

Family and Work, You Can Have Both

If both parents are busy with work, then who will take care of kids? Many couple-owned companies start to blur the lines of family and work. "Bring kids to work Fridays", for example, has become a popular initiative at the workplace. One of the couple entrepreneurs who successfully managed both is the founder of IDEA Lab Kids. They create a business with their family in mind. They know if they are too caught up in business without caring for their kids, then there's no point in pursuing the business. So they create a franchise that actually allows parents to run a business that is family-oriented, where couples can work without cutting down time spent with their children. Not all businesses have the luxury to do the same, but if the entrepreneurs keep an open mind and are considerate about their family and their employees' family, it will only strengthen the team building and company culture as a whole. After all, the workplace is the second home for full-time employees, so why not actually make them feel that way?

There are many other noticeable traits that I have learned from power couples, such as showing mutual respects, and not taking each other for granted, which goes the same at work and home. Leave a comment and let me know your thoughts on couple-preneurship.

“You don’t develop courage by being happy in your relationships every day. You develop it by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity.” – Epicurus

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