When your CEO is your Spouse: 7 Tips for Couple Entrepreneurs Working Together
Updated: Jun 1, 2019
Many of you know that I began our stationery and gift business in 2003, but then it quickly grew. As it grew, I was needing more and more help. The person that I have always talked to since we were teenagers is my husband, Steven. He is such a gem, and he's the last person who would ever realize it or admit it.
Many people, including family, have asked how do y'all work together? Don't you get sick of each other? Or, don't you get on each other's nerves? And the answer is always no. As cheesy as it sounds, we truly love being in the company of each other. We are buds, friends, co-equals. And, that actually may just be one of the most important ingredients of our "secret sauce."
Here are a few things we have learned over the years that have helped us work well and live well together both professionally and personally.
1. We put our #faith first.
Neither of us are perfect, but we decided a long time ago that neither of us was the most important one; #Jesus is. For some that may be where you click off this article, and that's okay. For us, that is who we are.
2. We listen to each other.
No, he doesn't always care about the intricate details of various creative businesses law or intellectual property law. Just like I don't always care about the minute details of music, specifically classical, or architecture and design. HOWEVER, we put our cares aside so the other feels listened to and validated. And, maybe, just maybe, we find we can listen to more of what we thought we couldn't than we first thought.
3. We settle things.
We do not let anger get the best of us. I don't know why; we never have. We just have never allowed ourselves to lash out at one another; it seems so out of place to think of getting that upset over anything in life and especially at one another. There isn't anything that we can't talk through, and so we do.
4. We don't put ridiculous expectations on one another.
When you expect too much, then we will inevitably be disappointed. People are not perfect, so they are going to disappoint at some time. If your spouse hasn't disappointed you yet, you haven't been married very long. Who am I kidding? You're not married! LOL! Seriously, we set ourselves up, don't we? We want our spouse to do this or that, and they don't and then we are mad. The spouse is like, "what in the world?" They don't even know, many times, what they did or didn't do wrong. Because it's all in OUR heads!
5. We give each other space.
Literally we give each other physical space, but also mental/emotional space. What is mental/emotional space? It means a couple of things. First we are tuned into the other person; we study when they seem bummed or excited. So we can take those social cues. We react accordingly. We bear their burden along side them, or we jump for joy at their lasted triumph. We also don't make the other feel like they have to "make us happy." That's too much pressure for any one person, and it's not attainable.
6. We check in.
Personally and professionally, we check in on where the other is in the progress of each project, whether it's dinner, picking up kids, working on an article, designing something new, working on a legal document, or getting ready for a conference. We hold each other accountable, not in a judgmental way, but in a way that encourages and uplifts.
7. We show affection.
We always tell the other we love each other at least once a day, usually more. I know, it's a little Hallmark-esque, but that's what we do. We have inside jokes, and we know stories that no one else knows. We make sure tho other one knows that they are the highest priority, even above children.
Notice that none of the things that are mentioned above really have anything to do with business. They all have to do with how we treat each other. When we elevate the relationship, the behavior follows. When we elevate the behavior, the relationship suffers. Test it out if you don't believe me. It's true not just of marriages but in any relationship.
Of course, there is so much more to this story! Stay tuned for more tales of how I got from there to here along with #wit and #wisdom for #creatives. Until next time, continue to create while seeking #gracious counsel to #bloom and #grow.