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Among the most recurrent wishes of people who work, is to be able to spend more time with the family, and specifically, with their partners.
Not having to resign yourself to only seeing each other after six or seven at night for dinner after a tiring day, but seeing each other all day from morning to night, eating together, planning, deciding on what and how to spend together and on brief: work together.
Does it seem too much? Nightmare or dream? How mentally healthy is it to share this with our partners?
For more than six years I have been working in the world of digital entrepreneurship, and every time I know more cases of couples working together in their businesses. This caught my attention because I am one of these ranks: I work full-time in my company with my partner.
Although for centuries many love relationships have emerged in the workplace, meeting your one and only in a start-up, or rather, in your start-up, is another story, because entrepreneurship is like getting on a full roller coaster of surprises and challenges. All the opposite of a hierarchical and hyper organized work.
Working and partnering with your partner in your own business is literal, the epitome of entrepreneurship: “starting a work, a business, an endeavor, especially if they involve difficulty and danger” … How romantic, right?
If we add the gender factor to the entrepreneurial couple equation, the result can be a wonderful but highly damaging bomb if we do not understand it in depth as a complex and increasingly recurring phenomenon.
Digital ventures favor the work and association of couples because they allow a communion between professional goals and the possibility of spending quality time in different environments, not being subject to a physical office. But above all, they favor this phenomenon because undertaking is an act of faith, passion and idealism. And who doesn’t want to share all this with the person they love?
Undertake together or separately? That is the question. Entrepreneurship with your partner is not for everyone. If things were black and white, the world of entrepreneurship could be divided into two camps:
1.Those who firmly believe that a reasonable distance must be maintained between family and partner life, with business
2.Those who firmly believe that there is no better business than one that is shared and extended to the family
Both positions are valid, however, when the conditions are favorable and a professional-loving-family union is achieved, the benefits can multiply in a very profitable way for both parties.
It requires precise technique and a lot of practice. If you are thinking of starting with your partner or if you already have, these five strategies to start with your partner and not die trying will help you:
1. Align the races. It is normal that you and your partner have different backgrounds, interests, experiences and resumes, even if they are dedicated to working in the same niche. In order to carry out a business between the two, it is necessary to be clear about the real objectives and goals of each one.
It is not enough to have common tastes or similar experiences. It is required that the vision and the way to achieve the goals is common and congruent for both parties.
2. Change work styles. One of the most recurrent conflicts and one of the most common causes why couples who work together fail, is the difference between work styles. You are organized and your partner works well under pressure; you are a leader and your partner is interested in the results. An effective communication is necessary to be able to exploit the particular potential of each one and not to die on the battlefield.
If you are better at communication and marketing and he or she is better in the administrative and intellectual field, take advantage of it instead of fighting for it. I recommend opening yourself up to the possibility of working with a coach or therapist for this, since it sounds easier than it is.
3. Define the boundaries between home and work. It is a myth that “dividing your professional life from your personal one” by 100%, establishing tangible and measurable limits is a strategy that can, in a certain way, guarantee a more harmonious and effective coexistence between you and your partner.
Women are almost always the ones who carry the most workload, since on average they do more housework and parenting tasks than men. They also carry an important symbolic load: to make a general management of the home organization on top of all work responsibilities. Establish limits, schedules and a clear and specific division of tasks both in the professional and private fields.
4. Maintain your identity. It is difficult to keep your identity intact when having a partner and even more so when sharing 90% of your daily life with that person. However, another of the most frequent causes why partner partners fail is due to the generation of frustration in one of the parties, since sometimes the balance of interests is difficult to achieve.
Something that you must be very clear about is why you are undertaking and why you are doing it with your partner. It is important not to do it for the wrong causes and to know what moves you, what hurts you, what problem you want to solve in the world. And if all that lines up with what your partner is looking for: voila!
5. Shared finances. Many recommend that couples have financial freedom. This in the field of business is impossible, since the two people are forming and representing a society. The key to financial success and peace for the couple, inside and outside the business, is that one person is capable of carrying out the administrative and financial execution of the decisions made by both parties.
Budgets, control of expenses and cuts will be the daily bread, but with order and respect for the work of both roles, they can reach a point where this area ceases to be a problem and becomes an area of impulse and of ambition.
My golden advice is: get evaluated every six months . Performance, goals achieved, challenges, growth, to know and be clear about what is not working and what the other person thinks is not working. Just as large corporations carry out periodic evaluations of their employees.
Both hard facts and perception are key to developing a partnership sown in trust, support and self-fulfillment.
Working with your partner and especially if it is an undertaking, is not something to be taken lightly. It should be viewed from two angles: the professional and the personal. As well as making the decisions that are the most appropriate for both parties.
Consensus is possible, and when it is achieved, the magnification of learning and also of money are very considerable and beneficial, in addition to reinforcing the couple’s relationship, mutual knowledge, and respect and admiration. Entrepreneurship involves sacrifices but if you manage to align your goals and values with those of your partner, go ahead!
Maria Gargari. Writer and Speaker. Master in Gender Studies from FLACSO Argentina. Curator of TEDxWomenMexicoCity and Founder of Conferencistas de Elite Mujeres