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How To Work Effectively With Your Spouse Or Relative In A Small Business

Previously, Jessie explained what you need to be doing to make sure that your small business office is truly yours.

In the post, Jessie explained that her husband and herself both run small businesses from their home offices and going by the lack of any type of negative remark in her post on the topic, it would seem that Jessie and her husband can both operate their businesses perfectly fine together from home.

Something that many people think would be a dream come true, working with your spouse or relative in a small business can in fact be really difficult and lead to no end of problems within your relationship.

If you’re considering working with your spouse or a close relative in a small business – or you’re doing it now and it’s not working out – take a look through the following points to ensure your working relationship doesn’t affect your personal one.

Don’t work on top of each other

One of the most important points to keep in mind when working with a spouse or relative is that you’ll find it a whole lot easier if you’ve each got your own work area, as well as your own designated role.

There’s of course going to be some overlapping, but if everyone knows where they should be working and what they should be doing, it simply makes everyone happier and more relaxed.


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Make sure you have enough time apart

As much as you might love spending time with the person you’re working with, when you’re working with them for eight hours a day and are then spending your evenings and mornings with them, chances are there’ll be some tension developing.

You don’t have to spend weeks apart from each other, just make sure that everyone has enough time to do what they want and need to do by themselves, both in and out of work.

Try and refrain from one person being the obvious manager

In any business, someone always needs to take control, but when you’re running a small business with your spouse or a relative, it’s important that unless it’s absolutely necessary, no one takes the dominant stance as a manager.

It might go against your natural working role, but by being laid back and properly delegating and organizing work, you can ensure your equal personal partnership is taken forward into your work partnership.

Remember that you’re related

Looking at the business arrangement you have with your relative, at the end of the day your partnership with them is more important than any business partnership.

Things are likely to get fraught at times and it wouldn’t be a working environment if you didn’t have the occasional argument.

As long as you ensure it stays like this – occasional and work related – there’s no reason why the business partnership can’t succeed.

Once things start to get personal and your own lives are beginning to be affected, that’s when you need to start reviewing your roles within the business.

Working with a spouse or relative can be fantastic and a real dream for some people.  If it’s not handled properly and you try and treat your business life like your personal life, however, it’s highly likely that you’ll soon be facing problems both at work and at home.

This post was originally featured on January 25, 2011.

1 Comment

  1. Jess Haynes

    Dan, thanks for the shoutout. My husband is still employed by the Army, so during the day I’m working in our home office and he’s off at Army 😉 but when we are working in the same office, everything works very well.

    We have our own supplies, our own files, our own businesses–but we collaborate on near everything, like the ebook we’ll be releasing on one of our joint blogs, for example. My husband is also a writer and a blogger and web developer like myself, in addition to also publishing his own ebooks and games like I do…it definitely helps that we are facing a great deal of the same goals.

    Even if you find yourself in a totally separate situation with your spouse, the key has to be to always have very clear boundaries, and to respect those boundaries 🙂

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