Valentine's Home Business Couples

With Valentine's Day on the horizon we decided to write an article on couples in business but then we all thought that actually ... a home business couple is for life … not just for Valentine’s Day.

So probed a bit deeper and we've had a very interesting few days. Firstly we set out to find what makes or breaks home business couples. Then we went 'head-hunting' to find out what makes the mind tick positively for couples working from home. 

In our quest to find how you can keep loving your home business partner we found some brilliant advice and top tips for home working couples. And we found lots more about working with partners and family.

A Home Business Couple Is For Life … Not Just For Valentine’s Day

Ken and Paula, founders of iHubbub, applaud the all home working couples on St iHubbub's Day! Read their own unique story and Paula's amazing five year wild ride.

 

Husband And Wife Teams

Experienced business coach and personal career mentor, Penny Davenport has 20 years experience helping people achieve their career goals and personal dreams with a unique coaching programme.

Penny says: “Husband and wife teams are no different from any other business partnerships. The partners need to have a clear shared goal or vision. Their personal goals outside of work do not have to be the same but they have to be compatible with how they want to run a business. For example, one partner can't lose it if another has to pick up a toddler from nursery.

“Chemistry is the all important thing. Some partners have it. Some have to work at it. Married business partners need business as well as personal chemistry. The most effective people understand their natural styles well, and the styles of others and ADAPT.

Most important rule in business - DON'T TAKE IT PERSONALLY - no-one is trying to offend you or ruin your day.

Most important for married partners. Should you keep work and home separate? Penny says this depends on the couple. Some need to and others are effectively living and  working 24 /7 without a problem. It all comes back to the idea above, sharing goals and understanding.

Time apart is useful for any partners, married or not - a break, talk to other people, a chance to recharge.

 

Couples Working From Home

David Cliff, Managing Director of Gedanken, a company which offers a range of services to business people, including mentoring, coaching and counselling told us that couples working together can work, but it needs to be approached with care.

When couples live and work together, the intensity of stresses from both personal and business life can interact.

It is important to create clear break points in the home and work relationship, as well as demarcation of specific spaces and times which are for work or non-work activities. This latter issue is particularly important when the couple work from home, because travelling to the office is a particularly strong work life boundary marker for most people that home working can remove.

Couples need time to maintain their relationship and the demands of a shared business can result in this critical aspect being neglected.

 

Essentially, ensuring a good work-life balance is vital

Living and working together requires the people involved to have outside interests which do not involve their partners, to provide important breathing space and individual support outside of the relationship.

Likewise, it is important, particularly when working from home, to have agreed times when work starts and stops, and also spaces which are specifically for work. This helps to separate the tasks which are relevant to the workplace from those which are domestic, avoiding fragmentation of the working day.

Strains will have no space to ease if there is not enough down time to enjoy the non-working relationship and wind down.

 

Don't Be 'Heart Break' Couples

Marina Pearson is UK's Female HeartBreak Expert and International author of Goodbye Mr Ex. Her three golden rules for how to keep your relationship intact in terms of working and living together are:

  • Make sure you have the same vision and keep checking in every 6 months to make sure the vision is still there.
  • Make sure that the values of each other don't change and if they do that this is communicated to the other. When values change this is when relationships start to breakdown because each person stops understanding what is important to the other. Without knowing this, needs won't be met and frustration will set in.
  • Keep communicating with honesty. This is key to make sure that no assumptions or expectations are introduced which are the termites of any relationship

Marina came right out and said that she works with women to get over their ex relationships so she know what makes a relationship breakdown and understands what can keep it together.

 

Sharing One Thing

It is worth remembering that both these areas of the couples' life share one thing.  Both positions are running a home based business. 

One, the couple life in the hoIt is worth remembering that both these areas of the couples' life share one thing.  Both positions are running a home based business.me is founded on emotion and the other in the work place is founded on making money to live, says Clare Ireland, of CoupleWorks who works with loss, trauma, ageing, addictions, depression, cross cultural issues and difficulties with communication.
 
Clare also believes that if working together in business has to be, roles in both positions need to be clearly defined and adhered to.  Who does what in each area must be laid down at the start of both commitments and ground rules agreed to and kept from the outset.

Here are some of Clare's tips to make your working and living relationship thrive:
 

  • Businesses where one partner holds the creative side and the other the financial knowledge is sometimes very successful as long as each does not try to control the other.
  • If both partners are controlling and 'into' the other's domain, anger and irritation is more likely to dominate.
  • Respect about the other person's timing is important.  When to start and end the daily work programme and indeed the home timetable.  These times can be different for both but need to be in place.
  • Individuation during the working day is paramount.  Coffee break with a colleague or friend in the area during the work day, but without the other partner has to be respected and not resented.
  • A separate work area is helpful in order for telephone calls not to be monitored by the couple partner.  Trust in both the businesses the couple has undertaken is essential.

 
Once at home, work has to be left at the front door to be continued on exit the next day.  It may be that at home the creative one becomes the accountant and the financial brain in the office becomes the creative one.  This needs to be valued.
 
Respect for the other's gender, identity and difference leads to overall success in the business and emotional world of the two people involved.

 

Appreciation And Risk

We asked Beverley Stone, who is a chartered business psychologist and relationship therapist with a Harley Street practice what she thought about what couples need to be aware of when working together from home.

Beverley is founder of Group Dynamics International, a consultancy specializing in personal, leadership, team and organization development and she is author of many, many books on relationships.

Bev said ...

1. Appreciate The Wisdom Of The  Difference

We’re often attracted to someone who’s the opposite personality to ourselves because subconsciously we realize that our two halves will make us whole. So, initially we find it cute that whilst we would jump on a plane and not worry about where it landed until it landed, our partner may need a thermos, blanket and map before leaving the house. But after 18 months, we spend the rest of our lives being irritated by the other’s approach and consistently argue in an attempt to make them the same as us!
 
No business will work if everyone has the same personality style. We need people who enjoy being analytical, impersonal, decisive, stable, logical, organized, practical, systematic, painstaking, thorough, adapt easily to routine and exhibit excellent attention to detail. We asked Beverley Stone, who is a chartered business psychologist and relationship therapist with a Harley Street practice what she thought about what couples need to be aware of when working together from home.

But a business also needs people who can sell and market the product or service; people who excel at building relationships, are alert to possibilities, are original, independent, perceptive, creative, inspiring, enthusiastic, value inspiration and intuition, welcome uncertainty and are skilful at influencing and handling difficult people.

So for your business to thrive, you need to make the most of each of your strengths and when you see a behaviour that frustrates or angers you, remember to “appreciate the wisdom of the difference”.

2. Agree Expectations

In order for you to appreciate each other’s contribution, you need to understand and agree it. A good way to do this is to set out clear expectations of the business and each other.

Each write lists of ‘This is what I want from the business and you’ and ’This is what you can expect of me’. Lay the four lists on a table, discuss them, clarify them and negotiate them. Once you both understand each others expectations and agree them, this will be your ‘contract’ and you can review this every month to see how your doing against it.
 

3. Be Aware Of Risks On Both Sides

For someone who wants to run out the door and experiment as soon as an appealing new idea is on the table, it feels very risky to be drag back to the drawing board to ‘waste time’ considering what could happen if it goes wrong. For someone who rarely leaves the drawing board, it feels very risky to run out the door and experiment.

If you don’t both take the risk of collaborating with each other so that you work within both your comfort zones, you may find that you start to sabotage each other through aggressive or passive aggressive resistance. To avoid either of you intimidating the other by using either with open aggression or veiled hostility, which could lead to a lack of trust or will to continue working together, learn to handle conflicts and disagreements openly, honestly and skillfully. 

Either do this as and when the conflict arises or review how your working together against a set of values (integrity, can-do attitude, respect etc) at the end of each day or the end of each week.

 

Making It Work

Bob Brown aspiration achiever from inspire2aspire, a leading coach specialising in working with living and working together couples who run their business from home.

Bob said: the issues we find are:

1.    Time management – business and personal have no boundaries and there is no clear free time. We use a business owners time system which helps them clearly allocates days to fun and money so that they get some clear rejuvenation time.

2.    Role allocation – when there are problems it is often because the roles in the business have not been clearly allocated so some things are done twice and others not at all. We have developed tools to identify what roles are required and who will be best at doing each and what probably should be outsourced when possible, since our focus is on getting people to do what they are best at.

3.    Understanding of the way each other works. Everyone has an instinctive way of working and if you don’t understand that it, it can be frustrating to the other person. For example some people love to be very planned while others enjoy making snap decisions and lots of change.

They use Kolbe© profiling with the couples they work with so that they can understand each other’s working styles. This improves communication and eases the stress. As a couple when there is friction it can be seen as personal rather than it just being a symptom of the way the other person is, thus it shouldn't conflict.

And you may want to read some books on relationship advice.