4 Things to Consider Before Working Together

The husband and I decided to do an experiment this year. Over the summer Matt took leave from his job to come on board as my business partner. It is something we thought a lot about, and we felt like it was the time to make the leap with this blogging business I’ve built. He came home in August, right before we took off for 2 weeks in New York.

We came home from New York excited and got right to work. We lasted 10 days. Yes, 10 full days before we made the official call that Matt would be going back to work outside the home. I’m glad we tried it – even though the transition has left us with a bit of a headache. Have you ever attempted to work with your spouse or partner? Some people have great success with it. We did not. However, we did learn a few things along the way that I’d love to share with you.

1) Know what you need

When we talked about Matt coming home, a big part of our decision was to lessen my work load. I had visions of Young House Love style: sharing the work, sharing the love. The difference for us is that instead of my craft being bathroom renovations and sledge hammer heavy redesigns, I do a lot of confetti cutting and garland making. My guy is much more fond of hammers than the scissors! We decided that what I actually needed was an assistant to cut confetti all day long, and a husband to be at work.

2) Know your roles well

Adjusting to new schedules will always put a kink in the way a home functions. In our case, it completely threw our normal routines and roles into question. All of a sudden Matt was running to go grocery shopping and attempting to braid our daughters hair, while I was taking on more time in front of the computer. There are many couples who find an arrangement like this fitting – we are not one of them. I quickly realized how important  certain roles in my life had become, and now have great clarity as to what I am, and am not willing to give up.

3) Define your plate size

I once heard an analogy about each persons capacity in life related to a dinner plate. Some people have plates that could hold an entire turkey, while others have salad plates that cannot hold a lot. To find one’s own balance, it’s important to know our individual plate size and fill it accordingly. This enables us not to get overloaded on our daily activities and to not judge each other on what we can fit on our own plates.

4) Separate the handshake and the hug

An important piece to working with your spouse is figuring out how to separate business from marriage. It is tricky and I don’t think we ever fully got the hang of it. Honestly, this was probably the biggest factor in us deciding to have Matt go back to work. We REALLY love each other. We hated being so stressed out that it affected our other time together. Or as Matt so eloquently put it, “I want to complain to you about an issue I’m having with a co-worker, the only problem is that the co-worker is you.” He said it jokingly, and we had a good laugh, and then decided to stop working together.

This post is part of a business series where I’m sharing glimpses of my life/business and tips I’ve learned about freelance and blogging. Hope you like it. xoxo

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  1. As much as I love my fiance, I definitely think we would only last 10 days working together! On vacation we do just fine with being together 24/7, but when it comes to business professional, it is just hard to seperate it1 Great tips if attempting it!

  2. I love that plate analogy!

    My husband does all of my billing and ‘collections’ in addition to his regular job. Honestly, it’s a double-edged sword. He loves knowing exactly what’s going on with the finances and is so good at it (and I’m so bad about that stuff), but my biggest client is always late with their payments and it makes him so stressed out and upset. So many times I wonder if it’s worth keeping the client and having that kind of stress in our home, but I’m not yet in a position to fire the client -or the bookkeeper, lol!

  3. At least you gave it a shot!! And now you know your relationship limits haha I don’t know how well Jake and I would work together. We have such…different work styles. I like clutter, creative clutter. I like my pictures and books and music and comfy areas. He’re more of a clean cut kinda guy, with his desk organizers, quiet work time etc. I think if we were to work together, we’d have to have defined separate spaces. Also, he’s not used to work girlfriend, he’s use to loving girlfriend. I can be cut throat when I want to be! Well as cutthroat as a girl who works at a dance studio can be!

  4. thanks for this! my partner is really great at stuff i have no idea about (like making videos) but i know that we couldn’t work 100% with one another. i would like to try some collaborations though. he would film a diy video with me, and i could help him design his website… that’s i think as much as we could take.

  5. I am so seriously laughing right there with you. My husband and I are together about 21/7… occasionally I kick him out of the house and tell him to go have coffee with someone without me. LOL! It has always been especially hard on us when we study a language together (hello, third language!) It has also made us a lot stronger and with some time we have figured out how to make it work, but everyone always told us we were super clingy so maybe that has been what has kept us from killing each other! LOL! I wish I lived closer to you, though. I would love to come cut confetti with you all day!

  6. This is one amazing post. I relate to it personally as my guy and I could perfectly work together, but I need to change a few working habits before that (little odd things I even do when I work alone). Going through all your points make me consider it more deeply and a trial time would be perfect to find out if it is good for us or just a battle of the knights :)

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