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Starting a business with your partner – 5 Tips to working and living together successfully

Sarah Marín Miller
June 2nd, 2020 · 3 min read

The outbreak of COVID-19 and the subsequent national lockdown certainly took us all by surprise. I like to refer to it as a form of house arrest; 1 hour of daily outdoor exercise and no socialising with others outwith your household. At least people under house arrest had an end date… So what’s one to do - for us it was start a business.

Kerr and I have never worked together before. Kerr works as an iOS consultant for a large luxury brand, and I’m a Sales and Marketing Manager for the family flooring business. So when we decided to make a real go at Heavenly Organised (HO), we felt pretty confident that with our different skill set, we could do this together. What we didn’t really think about is how we would navigate working together as a couple.

In this blog, we wanted to share our 5 top tips to successfully working and living together.

1. Be honest with each other and yourself

You might have different ways of working, and that’s OK. For example, Kerr is extremely focused and tends to work on one thing at a time. I like to chop and change between different tasks. There will be days where you are struggling to motivate yourself, but your other half is extremely focused and gets loads done, and then you feel guilty that you haven’t done your bit that day. Give yourself a break, we all have those days. Be honest with your partner when you feel like that, talk to them, and you might be able to brainstorm some ideas to get you fired up and stuck into something else. Often, when you have a lack of motivation it is because you are roadblocked by something but you don’t know what it is until you talk it through. Funny fact, Kerr works from home and when I’m not around he uses our dog Summer to explain the problems he has in the code he writes… he says it helps! Apparently it’s called “rubber ducking” 🤷‍♀️.

2. Give yourself space to work alone

We found working in separate rooms really helpful. Find a space that you both feel happy working in and respect each other’s uninterrupted time. We use Slack to communicate on all HO things instead of talking about our questions. Of course, a lot of conversations are better in person, so organise a specific time for an in person catch up and try to keep on topic (not veer off discussing dinner, for example).

3. Be nice to each other

This one might appear easy, but it can be difficult to separate work and love. Often ‘work you’ isn’t as easy going as ‘home you’. You will have hard days, you will get frustrated, but remember you have someone beside you on this journey that will always be rooting for you to succeed. Try and remember that when they snapped at you earlier that was them in ‘work mode’ not who they really are when they are with you. After all, this is someone you love! Make them a cup of coffee, tell them they are doing a fantastic job and be patient with each other.

4. You won’t get everything right

Unless you have started a business together before, this will be a completely new and scary journey. Spoiler alert: You will wing it. One day you will be walking the dog discussing that the pressing priority is defining your mission statement, and then when you return from said walk, you realise that the priority isn’t that at all. It’s easy to look back and think, we should have done that in this order, but ultimately as long as you are passionate about what you do and get the work done, that’s all you can ask for from each other.

5. Enjoy it

Allow yourself to have fun during this journey. Remember, you are working with your best friend (sorry a bit soppy, but true). Have those G&Ts in the sunshine while brainstorming ideas. Celebrate the big and the small wins together. Explore and discuss the work you are doing together, have a giggle about it, and share learnings.

Of course, the above points are our experience and they might not suit everyone. However, we hope that they might help a little with your new and exciting journey together.

Do you have any other great insights for couples starting out a small business together? Tweet us!

Sarah x

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