According to the Wall Street Journal, about a third of family businesses are operated by husband-and-wife teams. North Dakota State University researcher Glenn Muske dubs these couples “copreneurs“ and believes those numbers are rising.
Maybe you’re one of them, or perhaps you’re considering joining their ranks. If you’re thinking about taking the leap, what should you consider when it comes to partnering with your life partner?
THE JOYS OF WORKING WITH YOUR SPOUSE: Sandra Guynes is a portrait photographer who runs Charlotte, N.C.-based Hip Chick Photography with her husband, Odell Guynes, also a photographer. “We are best friends,“ Sandra Guynes said. “Sounds cliche, but we love spending time with each other, which is a must for working together. We also are very different. . Odell is a calm, ’go with the flow’ type of person, whereas I’m a more Type A personality.“
Having run a company with my husband for more than six years, I would echo Sandra Guynes’ sentiments about spending time with your best friend. Of course, conflicts and arguments do happen, but we always remind ourselves that couples who work together have to keep the ratio of positives to negatives in mind given how much more interaction we have compared with “regular“ couples.
DON’T LET WORK TAKE OVER YOUR HOME LIFE: Another common theme expressed by copreneur couples is the blurred line between work and personal life. Ruben Gutierrez, founder of VRG Components in Charlotte, talks about maintaining boundaries while working with his wife and operations manager, Verena Martin. “We try not to let business talk take over family life but rather make specific times to discuss business matters at home. Otherwise a relationship can easily become transactional. Family still is more important than business, and we don’t want our new baby to grow up feeling business was more important than him.“