Manage Working Together As a Couple
Edited by Eng, Lynn
Working with your spouse or partner is a difficult decision. The reason this idea is so daunting is that most people who try it report that they absolutely love it, or they hate it and will never do it again. There doesn't seem to be an in-between, and so you may find yourself feeling put off by the very idea.
But working as a couple can be incredibly rewarding, and there are ways to make sure everything goes smoothly.
- 1This might seem obvious, but too many people assume their partner is going to be as excited about the idea as they are, which can lead to big problems right from the start.Broach the idea with your partner.
- 2Even if you're both excited about the idea, don't rush into anything yet. Take a few days to mull over the situation.Take some time to think about it.
- 3Sit down together when you'll be uninterrupted, and make sure you both voice all the pros and cons that you can think up.
- 4Write down all these pros and cons, as well as why you think working together would be good, and what you think you would gain (and potentially lose.)
- 5At this point you probably have an idea, but "open a baked goods shop" is much different from "open a store that specializes in creating the healthiest cookies on earth." You need to make sure you know exactly what you're trying to accomplish.Detail exactly what it is you will be doing together.
- 6At this point, if you still think that working together sounds like a good idea, look into what will be required - such as the materials you need for what you would be working on, any legal coverage or contracts you'll need, etc.
- 7You can't be vague here, since you need to know what your role is and isn't, and your partner needs to know what their role is and isn't. The fastest way to a crash-and-burn situation is your partner feeling "stuck" in the hard labor role when they thought they would be taking orders.Make sure you discuss who would be doing what.
- 8While an equal partnership is likely the best course of action since you're working with your partner, someone does need to be the "final decision-maker." Who is "the boss," and who is in charge of making what decisions?Also discuss who has what authority.
- 9Write everything down.
- 10Keep clear lines between work and home!
- 11Edit the "contract" you created together if necessary, but only with mutual discussion and agreement.Have regular meetings where you discuss work with your partner, and you get their take about what's going on, and you make sure you're both still clear on your roles and responsibilities.
- Good communication is crucial to working together as a couple. If you don't make sure you're communicating everything very clearly to your partner, problems are inevitable.