When Your Home is Your Business
Creating a home based business seems like an ideal opportunity for a couple. Shared goals, shared space, and shared resources. This profitable model generates over $427 billion annually. Do your homework, however, before you jump into a business with your spouse.
According to incfile, “70 percent of home-based businesses are successful within three years of founding, compared with only 30 percent of regular businesses.” Your chances of success are high while your expenses are minimal. Getting started can be as simple as printing business cards and upgrading your internet connection.
Want this to last for the long run? There are a couple details to figure out first. Skipping over these things can be costly. So let’s reduce the risk of stressing out your marriage with business stuff.
Does Your Workspace Work?
Without some checks and balances your business can take over your life…and your marriage. Therefore, some minor adjustments will fix this issue.Without some checks and balances your business can take over your life...and your marriage. #workingwithyourspouse Click To Tweet
Most entrepreneurs complain about the lack of work life balance. A home based business with your spouse will take up as much time as you choose to give it. Basically, an ongoing long list of details demand your attention.
Here’s where boundaries make a difference. They’ll create sanity instead of allowing your business to consume your life. Agree on ground rules about the business, work space in your home, and time devoted to non-work activities.
Your Business with Your Spouse
Our history is rich with examples of couples in business together. Surf the internet and you’ll find dream situations as well as nightmare stories. A home based business with your spouse blends marriage and business. Figuring out how to make it work without taking a toll on your marriage can be tricky.
Tips to thrive when you’re in business with your spouse:
1. Create office hours. Don’t put your toddler in the tub and then open your phone to answer one more email. Office hours become especially important when one person wants to stop at 5 pm and the other partner works continuously.
2. Treat your business like a business. You would never leave the office to transfer your laundry from the washing machine to the dryer. When you are “at work” during your office hours, leave home tasks alone. Postpone personal errands and calls with friends to your break time or after work hours.
3. Strengths. A lot of heavy lifting occurs in the beginning. As your home based business grows, you want to focus your time on the things you do best. So if you earned an advanced degree in business development, then you don’t want to spend all your time in packaging and fulfillment. Yes, your business needs to get some specific things done. However, you want to do work that brings out the best in you. That means focusing on your strengths. Otherwise, it feels like punishment when you never get to do the things you enjoy most.Do work that brings out the best in you. That means focusing on your strengths. #workingwithyourspouse Click To Tweet
4. Carve out your work space. Some couples can easily work side by side. But that makes concentration difficult when you’re involved in a complex project while your partner loudly talks to a client on the phone. Steve likes to listen to music while I prefer quiet. So he wears noise-canceling headphones when we’re both working at home.
5. Separate your work and living spaces. Working on the couch may seem ideal. However studies show that “commuting” to your work space gets your mind in gear for work. Therefore, save the couch for movies and reading a good book.
6. Create a Do Not Disturb signal. Minor interruptions can easily break your concentration. What clues will let your partner know not to interrupt you? Some of the couples I’ve worked with choose to hang a do not disturb sign or wear their earbuds. Whatever you decide, it’s important to respect each other’s signals. Out of respect for your partner, save your questions for later or send them in an email.
7. Use your own tools. Business at home is one place where sharing becomes costly. Sharing a computer gets sticky when you both need to get work done.
8. Communication breakdown. Constant interruptions become annoying and reduce flow. Instead, figure out the best way to exchange information. One couple who had separate offices in the house relied on Slack for messaging. How often have you thought you shared a critical detail with your spouse, but never did? A messaging system reduces those oversights.
9. Create neutral ground. Keep your work space focused on work. However, a neutral ground like the kitchen is similar to the office water cooler. If you both meet in the kitchen you can stray away from work topics, spend a few minutes on fun, or share a hug and a kiss.
10. Get out of the office. Simply because your business is at home doesn’t mean your stuck there. Stake out a table at your favorite coffeehouse or work in the park on a pleasant day. Periodically, a change in location will inspire you.
11. Go home from work. Your work styles may differ. Don’t let your business with your spouse stifle your relationship. Remember to relax, do fun things together, invite friends over, go out, etc.
Spend Time Together
Even with those guidelines in place, you and your partner may prefer different work flows. Being in business with your spouse is a process. As a result, you’ll discover things about one another that you didn’t realize before.
Do you go for a run together at 4 pm and then put in two hours at 8 pm.? Does your partner work all day and then shuts down at 5 pm?
Get crystal clear about each other’s preferred schedule. And remember to do fun things together. Otherwise, resentments can build. You’re more likely to succeed in your home-based business when your marriage is nurtured.
Both require attention and communication. It’s difficult to separate work and marriage, especially with a home based business. Working in business with your spouse is demanding. As a business coach, I help you grow a business that supports your lifestyle instead of one where you continually sacrifice. Schedule a complimentary strategy session to successfully grow a prosperous business together.