99 Ways To Build A Successful Husband And Wife Business Partnership

Published by Mike Michalowicz (Google+)

How To Become An Entrepreneur

1. Split Assignments

A husband/wife team works well when the expectations and responsibilities are clearly outlined. My wife works on interviewing candidates, preparing students for interviews, and brainstorming marketing ideas, while I work on tutoring and counseling students, and managing my tutors.

We perform the tasks that cater to our strengths, and barely have to step on one another's toes.
Thanks to: Alexis Avila of Prepped & Polished.

2. Be Respectful

I've worked professionally with my spouse for over 10 years. It does have it's challenges. One thing I try to remember, especially when we disagree, which you're bound to, is to treat him (the spouse) with respect. Try to be understanding of their position and be willing to talk through your differences. And don't take work related differences personally.
Thanks to: Barbara Doran of Kuffco, LLC.

3. Honesty In The Work Marriage

An entrepreneurial partnership is your work marriage. Once you pick the right partner(s) - & have a STRONG partnership agreement - it's easy to get caught up in the excitement of starting up...or the headaches of every day existence. HONESTY in all phases is key. Set up regular "talk times" to air grievances, share successes & evaluate where you are vs. where you want to be. Some discussions will never be easy to have, but avoiding them can be the death knell of an otherwise "good thing."
Thanks to: Denise McVey of S3 {advertising, marketing & PR} .

4. Be Honest, Not Mean

Being married to your business partner can be one of the strongest leadership tools your company have. First of all, the level of honesty and trust is second to none and the ideas always flowing- both in and out of the office. The important thing to remember is when you have a disagreement, don’t get personal.
Thanks to: Jacqui Pini of Museum Way Pearls.

5. Get It In Writing

A Partnership is like a marriage without the fringe benefits. You really have to anticipate not only what it would be like to grow together but think about what might break you apart and plan for that, as to an exit strategy, getting everything in writing even if you are best friends, and anticipate change.
Thanks to: David Goldstein of TeamBonding.

6. Separate Offices

It is imperative for my partner and I to have separate offices in the house. We start work after our morning exercise and breakfast, do a run down of the days work, and then go our own offices. We don't shout back and forth, but use Skype to chat when we need to. We come together again at lunchtime, do a little pool time together to chat about the morning and go over what's on tap for the afternoon and then back to our respective offices. This routine helps keep us focused on our own tasks.
Thanks to: Jan Schwartz of Education and Training Solutions.

7. Divide and Conquer

IN 1991 I started a company,in 2008 after 10 years of marriage and 2 kids, my husband joined the company. What has worked well for us is to have clear job descriptions and concise goals for each of our roles. We meet periodically to be sure we're hitting our goals, enjoying our work and not letting work interfere with family. Today, we share running the company and raising the kids 50/50; it's a great arrangement if you can make it work!
Thanks to: Gabrielle Melchionda of Mad Gab's Inc..

8. I'm Da Boss

My husband and I have worked together for over 20 years. The single best thing we ever did to promote a long-term, healthy business partnership was giving each of us "our" area of being "boss." This definition of leadership let us quickly work through who got the last say on any decision based upon our strengths. We divided up the business areas into which one of us had the last say on any decision. Our major discussions now focus on areas of vision for the company rather than details.
Thanks to: Janine Bolon of SmartCents.

9. Get Fired Up

My wife loves it when I Get Fired Up about what she's currently doing in her business - She loves when I make Efforts to Motivate her and I list all of her Talents and Gifts!

She really appreciates that I see her as a Talented Leader and Business owner because she knows when I share that I am not just trying to Hype "Fluffy" Praises - Rather I am REASSURING My Bride that she has Everything She Needs to Succeed!
Thanks to: Tommy Pavia of Thirty One Gifts.

10. Honey, YOU Are Right!

#1 Rule is to understand your partner will make mistakes (as you do). EXPECT mistakes and be cool when they happen. Mistakes are part of the learning process.

#2 YOU are normally the problem. When you feel like he/she doesn't "get what you are saying," you are correct - which means YOUR EXPLANATION is the problem - NOT them.

#3 LISTEN. Partners are fantastic at seeing what we are doing from a different viewpoint. Hear him/her out!
Thanks to: Mike Domitrz of The Date Safe Project Inc.

11. A Promise to K.I.S.S.

Like your personal relationship, your business is a partnership. So use a modified version of the K.I.S.S. method. Keep It Separate, Stupid!

Keep a clear line between what's business and what's personal and agree to stick to it. Don't take business disagreements into the bedroom, and likewise don't scream at each other in the office over one of you not taking out the trash.

You wouldn't mix your biz and personal bank accounts (I hope!) so why muddle the waters of your relationship?
Thanks to: Cori Padgett of Big Girl Branding.

12. Mutual Respect

I think to make a marriage business partnership work, we need mutual respect for each other in our abilities - strengths and weaknesses - our personalities, thoughts and opinions. If there is no respect, then the relationship really isn't good to begin with. It is the respect for each other that allows us to give up our right for the other person or to feel confident enough to voice our opinions that may conflict with our partner/spouse in the decision making process necessary in business.

Thanks to: Theresa Gould of RobnT Business Solutions.

13. Don't Sweat The Small Stuff

I've worked with my spouse in the same office every day for almost two years now. While many people might think this is sure-fire way to end your marriage, it's done nothing but strengthen ours. The trick is to not stress over the unimportant things. Different people have different interests. If my wife wants to spend 20 minutes talking about a cute kitten video she just watched on YouTube - it's not the end of the world. That's what makes her who she is.
Thanks to: Shareef Defrawi of Zizinya Web Solutions.

14. Communication Is Key!

In any relationship communication is the first and best way to connect. This is true in a marriage, and definitely true when that relationship continues on into work.
Be clear with each other what roles and expectations are. Talk about what you want from each other. And clear the air before you "leave" work so you can have a great time "home."
May you create a great rewarding relationship in both places!
Thanks to: Kim Leatherdale of Creating Rewarding Relationships.

15. Channel Jerry Lewis Daily!

Humor (and a separate workspace) is key! It helps to be a bit silly, especially on those high level stress days. Humor is way to blow off frustration, so you need to find as many reasons to laugh as possible. Of course that doesn't always work, so it's good that we're both expressive people that can explode (politely, of course) and get it out of our systems quickly and move on.
In the end, we have control over our day and we work for two really nice people, so we are grateful.
Thanks to: Lee Sequeira of Sparkle Plenty Designs.

16. Communication and Separation

Working with my spouse is, frankly, a bittersweet relationship. I try to keep business matters completely separate from personal matters so that we can focus on priorities for both. As a dual creative team, we each have our own ideas and methods for every project/client and creative collaboration is key for execution. Communicate with clear intention and respect each other (refrain from bringing 'dirty laundry' to the office or in our case the studio).
Thanks to: Joann Sondy of Creative Aces Corp..

17. His and Her Offices

My husband and I have separate offices and this is what keeps us sane! Yes we do call each other by cell, instant message or email from time to time but the nice part is we can think and work in our own space! Putting the work hat on and leaving it at the desk has helped us grow a partnership in business! We've recently committed to one business lunch out once a week away from our home offices and this allows for "fun" communication in a different setting and too add spice I may tweet him later!
Thanks to: Danna Crawford of PowerSellingMom.com.

18. Respect The Space

What makes our marriage so effortless is that my husband and I mesh so well in many areas. When it comes to business, we have different styles of working and must have separate offices. Due to proximity and familiarity, we must make a concerted effort to respect the space so that we can continue to work harmoniously together.
Thanks to: Lisa Stewart of ECStewart Designs, Inc..

19. Know Each Other

In this type of partnership you have the opportunity to deeply and intimately know each others strengths and weaknesses. Sit down together, and write a list of the skills/talents/abilities that each person can contribute and those areas where each person is not as effective. Delegate clearly defined tasks and roles based on this.

In the best marriages and business partnerships the pairing supports each others weaknesses and utilizes each others strengths to maximize success
Thanks to: Laura Petrolino of Flying Pig Communications.

20. Engage Patience And Understand

Working together requires meshing of styles, responsibilities and language used. Take time to learn what they do and gain an appreciation of this. Then give them praise in positive language that they appreciate. Then your words and meanings will be kind. Your customers can tell.
Thanks to: Jeffrey Schoener of Neuro-Enhancement Strategies.

21. Yin And Yang

The number one solution to making a business partnership work with your spouse is acknowledging his/her strengths & recognizing your own weaknesses so the two of you can compliment each other in the various aspects of your company. For instance,I am in charge of PR and marketing because I am tenacious & outgoing. My husband, on the other hand, is VERY detail oriented and the number cruncher. He works behind the scene making sure the money works. Perfect yin & yang!
Thanks to: Christine Holland of Drinkmarx.

22. Boundaries Or Bust

When working with a spouse, you need to create boundaries. Boundaries at work, as in who does what, who is calling the shots, etc. Also, boundaries outside of work, so you can have a (somewhat) separate home life. Never bring the stress of business home.
Thanks to: Bradford Shimp of All Business Answers.

23. Earphones

Seriously. Plugging in gives us a sense of space from each other even though we are only 5 feet apart.
Thanks to: Doris Tamminga of Memolio.

24. Ya Gotta Have A System!

A wife/husband partnership changes lives. Business & personal lives become one. Structure & strategic systems are mandatory. To maintain a cooperative, amicable, and smooth-running business, goals and mutually-agreeable systems must be identified and followed. The partners gain a sense of confidence and satisfaction from their guidelines & expectations. Clients appreciate the fact that your company is well organized, which leads to trust as well as repeat and referral business.
Thanks to: Vicki Lynne Morgan of Russmor Marketing Group.

25. Divided We Stand

My wife and I have been involved in numerous business partnerships. Each and every time we start off by sitting down together and clearly defining our individual roles. Two reasons for this.

First, we don't one or the other putting blame on things that fall through the cracks.

Secondly, we know that there will be times when we don't agree and someone needs to have to 'final decision' authority.

Always remember, the relationship comes before the business. Leave the work at the office.
Thanks to: Joe Randeen of 3 Penguins Design.

26. Enjoy Each Other

I have the great advantage of working with my spouse, and it is truly one of the most uplifting working situations I have ever experienced.

The key to our great working relationship is that we truly enjoy each other. That said, we ensure that we make a point of enjoying the whole of our time together - and we make a point of laughing a great deal, both at ourselves, and each other. If you can't laugh... what's the point?!
Thanks to: Kim Chandler McDonald of KimmiC.

27. Treat Them With Respect

Working with a spouse has its special challenges. Avoid arguments by listening to each other and being respectful of each others opinions. Treat your spouse with the same level of respect and courtesy you would treat any co-worker. And remember you many not always see eye to eye on everything, but being respectful of each others opinions will help when you disagree.
Thanks to: Sheena Edwards of Lizzie Lou Shoes.

28. Alone Time-Away From The Other

When you work with your spouse there can be a tendency to be together, and to talk about business 24x7. This can be very detrimental to your personal non-business relationship! In my situation I encourage my wife to have lunch with her friends and to plan other activities that do not include me. As for discussing business, over time we have learned that we need a break from that as well. Usually we make dinner a "business free discussion zone" unless we are celebrating another business win :)
Thanks to: Scott Gingold of Powerfeedback.


Letting go of our egos creates a stronger sense of teamwork with trust, generates higher level of productivity, nurtures positive energy, and heightens focus in our business. Because we both fully understand our end goal - to provide a quality life for our mentally handicapped child long after we're gone, we believe there's no room or time for power struggles. She deserves the best from both of us.
Thanks to: Ros Guerrero of Ficklets, LLC.

30. Leave Dirty Laundry at Home

I worked with my husband (now my ex-husband) on Wall Street for 20 years. He was the institutional trader and I was an institutional salesperson. Our business relationship worked very well because as a team we were in sync-we were business partners first and a married couple second. When working together remember business is business not personal. Keep your emotions and personal issues out of any decision-making process.
Thanks to: Hollis Colquhoun of 2WomenEmpoweringThemselves, LLC.

31. Find A Middle Ground

The same ingredients for a successful husband-wife business team relationship apply to the personal relationship: trust, honesty, respect, and love. You both want and need the "union" to succeed, so finding the middle ground for you both is important. My wife maintains the business/financial records and is a great proofreader for my books and workshop materials. I've learned to be a better keeper of receipts to prevent her from quitting every day, and in turn she lets me be right on my birthday.
Thanks to: J.T. Kirk of J.T. Kirk.

32. Communicate and Compromise

I know therapists whose whole practices are families in business together. Have a good mediator who can help you get out of the stalemates you are sure to get into. Family dynamics are hard enough, but when you add business to those dynamics, you'd better be prepared to enlist a neutral 3rd party for help.
Thanks to: Marjorie Rand of PhD.

33. Work is Work, Home is Home

When you work with your spouse you have to have clearly defined roles in the work relationship so you don't impact your defined roles in your personal relationship. Keep work matters at work and keep personal matters at home. You have to separate work from home so you don't damage your relationship with each other. Learning to keep these separate has helped us be productive at work with work stuff and productive at home in strengthening our relationship.
Thanks to: Matt Wegner of Matt Wegner Financial Coaching.

34. Check The Egos At The Door

When we both have a common goal, are able to leave the egos at the door and both accept equal responsibility for the project, it goes smoothly.

No "Credit and Blame" action. We assign tasks, time lines and then meet periodically on phone or online to review progress and make any adjustments, offer help and share successes.
Thanks to: Susan Finch of Susan Finch Web Solutions.

35. Keep Firm Boundaries

Business issues and family time are best kept separate. Have set meeting times where you make it clear it is a business meeting and use an agenda keeping notes. Then do not intrude on family times with business discussions. If issues arise add them to your agenda. The responsibility of running a business can weigh heavily on a relationship and crowd out romance. Keep firm boundaries.
Thanks to: Marilyn Barnicke Belleghem M.Ed. of Marilyn Belleghem Consulting Inc. .

36. Create a Parking Lot

In the early 80s I worked with my husband in a public affairs shop. We made it work by strictly keeping marital and personal relationship issues off the table. We created a virtual "parking lot" for issues that arose that were not work related. So, when a non-work issue came up, we acknowledged it and added it to the parking lot list to be addressed when we got home. When at home, we parked work issues as well, keeping a list of items that came up to be sure we took care of them the next day.
Thanks to: CJ Scarlet of Roving Coach International.

37. Have Your Own Zones

My husband and I tried for 3 years to work together in my business and it didn't work for these two reasons: our level of passion for the business was not the same and we didn't have clearly defined areas of responsibility. If you both have the same drive for success AND you don't step on each others toes AND you communicate constantly, you have a good chance of your partnership surviving both in and out of the board room. Good luck!
Thanks to: Tracy True Dismukes of Consignment Chic.

38. Divide Home & Work

When you work with your spouse, work can easily bleed into your home life, especially when you're home-based. Be kind & respectful to each other at work so you don't bring home any negativity, but keep in mind that work & home are separate dynamics. Be ready to put on a different "hat" when you get home.

Also, while sharing an office with your loved one might seem like a good idea, you can have too much of a good thing. Make sure you have your own offices so you get enough personal space.
Thanks to: Susan Baroncini-Moe of Business in Blue Jeans.

39. Professional Civility

I've been working from home since our oldest daughter was born in 1987. In 2004, Sam joined me. I can honestly say that I absolutely love working with him every day. Our 25th anniversary is only two months away and I can't wait for 25 more.

My best tip for working together is to marry a really amazing person. That helps tremendously! But after that, I'd say that treating each other kindly and with civility is way up there on the list of requirements. Be professional — even with your spouse.
Thanks to: Alison Moore Smith of LonTalk Routers.

40. Compromise

It isn't always going to go your way so you have to compromise with each other about how to run the business. My husband and I love working together because we know that we are both able to meet in the middle on ideas we disagree about and find a new solution together. This way both partners feel comfortable and respected.If you are constantly arguing with each other your business cannot move forward and grow.
Thanks to: Anna Eves of DigiPix.Us.


Our list no particular order:
1. Park "personal" issues outside the door.
2. Don't say "I'll follow up" and then not do it.
3. Don't let "HOT" leads go "cold".
4. No disrespectful speech.
5. No purchases over $200 without input from the other partner.
6. No negative predictions.
7. No hiring/firing decisions without both partner's input/agreement.
8. No commitments that involve other people without consulting that person.
9. No business discussions on Sundays, unless both agree.
Thanks to: Leslie Allison-Seei of Robust Promotions.

42. Nothing Personal

It's important to always be respectful, utilize your partners strengths, and support their weaknesses. Inevitably in business, tough decisions will have to be made and the two of you will not be anywhere near agreement. When those times do arise it is extremely important to remember to make the best business decision possible and make your best effort to remove your emotional personal life from the equation. It also helps to never say I told you so, if you were right and your spouse was wrong.
Thanks to: Chappale Linn Burton of Monday Smiles.

43. Stay In The Arena!

The ARENA is one of 4 Quadrants. This is where Openness, Trust, Building of Relationships, Honesty, Development, Encouragement, etc. takes place. If I fall into one of the other Quads I build walls and cannot funtion in the most important Quad...the ARENA.
Thanks to: Richard R. Eley of The Lamplighter Life Coaching, Inc..

44. Who's The Boss

My husband, the laid off software engineer, came home from a networking and informed me that someone wanted going to pay my husband to make a website for his business. Having my own telemarketing company and doing a lot of networking, I told my husband I always run into companies that need websites. After building our website we set up ground rules. I think the smartest rule we set up was who was going to be the boss. That made it so there were no gray areas when decisions had to be made.
Thanks to: Ceri Ruenheck of Two Cool Cats.

45. Separation For Togetherness

Art and I worked together in a home office in Morgan Hill, CA that I had designed for me. I soon discovered that the space wasn't big enough for two! Not much work was accomplished and our togetherness was not contributing to our outside of work relationsip.
I decided to move my office to an upstairs space and graciously gave him my designer office! The separation helped us be together. To this day, we have continued the separate office space in two moves since our days in Morgan Hill.
Thanks to: Lorraine Lane of Lane Business Consulting, LLC.

46. Don't Take For Granted

Don't take your spouse's ideas and opinions for granted, listen and collaborate. Most of all keep it separate from your personal life.
Thanks to: Devesh Dwivedi of Entrepreneur In Making.

47. Don't Blur the Boundaries

While couples may have defined roles at home, one responsible for the bills, another for chauffeuring the kids around town, etc., distinguishing the roles in an office have different ramifications. As more couples consider entrepreneurship, it becomes apparent that they may be unprepared for the stress business collaboration will cause on their personal relationship. To this end, set boundaries at work, outline the responsibilities, and never bring your work-related issues into the bedroom.
Thanks to: Greg Jenkins of Bravo Productions.

48. Roles and Councils

Growing a business w/ your spouse can be a strength to the marriage or it can destroy it. Jerry & I have worked to grow 2 businesses together in addition to the three that our children are growing. The 2 things that have created the most success are establishing defined roles as well as holding couple & family councils. Establishing rolls keeps us from stepping on each others' toes. Family council helps us stay in the loop as a family while growing businesses in the home. It makes us stronger!
Thanks to: Sarah Cook of Raising CEO Kids.

49. Celebrate Success with Sex

Listen to your spouse's ideas. Build on his concepts. Appreciate his contributions. And celebrate any victories with sex. Woohoo!
Thanks to: Susan Greene of Susan Greene, Freelance Copywriter.

50. Opposites Attract For A Reason

Husband and wife teams work best when each brings to the business skills that the other one does not have. Communication is also key, yet agreed upon guidelines help. For example, are you asking for help or just looking for a sounding board when discussing a business objective? Be clear. It’s a lot like ballroom dancing - great couples know who’s supposed to move how and when. When this happens in business, the results can be beautiful, profitable and rewarding!
Thanks to: Deborah Osgood of BUZGate.org.

51. Take Time Out

If you run a business with a spouse, you should plan a day every week or two where you can get away and do something fun by yourself such as going to the mall, watching a couple of your favourite movies on the couch by yourself or reading a book. It's important to get alone time as you might go crazy having to see each other day and night 7 days a week.
Thanks to: Marc Anderson of TalktoCanada.com.

52. Know the Boundaries!

Working with family is challenging in general, but spouses working together has its unique challenges. The number one thing we recommend to clients in this situation is to define the boundaries. This means making sure each spouse has their own area of focus and expertise. It can even mean making sure they have their own working space. Rather than trying to have both do everything - segregate the areas by interest, experience and aptitude. And then refrain from moving into each other's territory!
Thanks to: Beverly Flaxington of The Collaborative.

53. Who Washes The Dishes?

In your biz partnership you can't just let role definition happen. You must sit down and decide how you will divide up the planning and operational tasks. I recommend a perfect match, almost match and "yuck list" approach. Each partner needs to understand their own talents and skills as well as the essential core of the business. The assumption that the other person will do something, without this discussion, could lead to a sink full of dishes...or lost business opportunities.
Thanks to: Karen Southall Watts of Karen Southall Watts.

54. Don't Let The Snarks In!

My husband and I have been working together for almost as long as we've been married - 20 years now. The number one tip: Don't let the snarks divide you. Trouble arises when people come between the two of you. If you aren't clear about roles and responsibilities, and ultimate goals for your business, you will leave yourself open to those folks who want to come between you. Stay unified. Support each other, especially in front of your team.
Thanks to: Kaira Rouda of Real You.

55. A Little R-e-s-p-e-c-t!

I always think of Aretha Franklin's song when working with my spouse both at home and in the business: "...R-E-S-P-E-C-T - find out what it means to me!" You cannot afford to take anyone for granted or expect to get your way 100% of the time. Sometimes you even have to apologize whether you like it or not. Remaining in love and in business means continually building your relationships based upon respect for one another. We've been married for 35+ years and still have fun together!
Thanks to: Elinor Stutz of Smooth Sale, LLC.

56. Play Fair

My tip to all working couples is to remember to play fair and treat your spouse like you would a co-worker, someone you don’t know as well. It's tempting with family to 'get personal' in a business disagreement. Would you start a conversation with a co-worker with the words, "You always ...." I don't think so. Act amicably and try to forget that you just finished bickering about doing the dishes.
Thanks to: Erin-Marie MacEwen of HMH - Online Home Wedding Registry.

57. Know Your Place

Each person needs to know what their position is. It's not about what you "want" to do, but what you are most adept at doing. The other spouse needs to be willing and able to defer decisions in those areas to the person responsible for those duties.

You both can't drive the same car at the same time. Some needs to focus on the road conditions and drive and someone needs to read the map and provide accurate directions.
Thanks to: A.Michelle Blakeley of Evolve | The Gallery.

58. Remember Why You Love Him!

Working with a spouse CAN be fun, but it can also be frustrating. I have these expectations that my spouse has the same work ethic, skill set, personality I do. Let's see, to remember why I love him--I am hyper, he is calm; I am a workaholic, he is balanced; I push, he pulls. It's one reason I chose to make the big leap again and marry him--he "completed" me, he was yin to my yang. So why when we are working together on a project in my business do I expect anything more? HE'S DIFFERENT!
Thanks to: Sandy Wheeler of Sandy Wheeler Travel Specialties.

59. Know When To Walk Away

I am smiling, because having a partner that is sincerely committed to your success, how great is that! Think before you do anything, do not react, respect their differences and really just walk away and come back later it will look different, believe me.
Thanks to: Jerry Pollio of CMT Creative Marketing.

60. Don't Make A Move Without Me!

The best way to work together as a team is to make COMMUNICATION between you a top priority! Have a "meeting" every day to discuss exactly what needs to be done, what each person is planning on doing that day, & run any changes that you want to make in the business-be it changing the website, contacting potential vendors, etc.-by the other person BEFORE you actually do it. That way, there are less miscommunications and disagreements popping up that can damage your business AND your marriage!
Thanks to: Deena Ravella of KYSS Bags.

61. Divide Ideas And Tasks

It helps to have different areas of expertize but the key to working together is a division of responsibilities. Be clear, agree to deadlines and leave it at that.
Thanks to: Tracy Young of A Little Indulgence.

62. Learning the Hard Way

I shared a small office with my husband for two years--learning things about my spouse that I didn’t need to know. (“Could you be any louder on the phone?” “Garlic for lunch – again?” “Please don’t call me ‘bunny-boo’ in the office.”) My first piece of advice is never share a small enclosed physical space. It’s too cruel. Even if they’re in the cube three feet away – it’s still better as they transform into "co-worker" instead of "spouse."
Thanks to: Karen Howe of Mindbloom.

63. Make A New Plan, Stan!

Create a plan for how you will work together. Have regular check-ins with one another to keep each other up to date and make sure things are working. If something goes wrong, it's not his fault. It's not her fault. It's the plan's fault. Understand why the plan failed and adjust the plan. It's only when you blame each other that things start to fall apart.
Thanks to: Stephen Balzac of 7 Steps Ahead, LLC.

64. 6" Of Concrete Between You!

No, seriously - my husband and I have been equal partners for over 18 years and we find that not only is it extremeley important to have your own 'space' but that task and role seperation within the business are key to your mental health and business success. If you can differentiate what each of you excel at, you will thrive. Cheers and good luck!
Thanks to: Donna Barlett of ViewIT Technologies Inc..

65. Share, Separate and Meet

You came together likely for two reasons. You shared the same values, and you had separate attributes that helped each other.

If you are going into business together, follow this rule of 3: Share, Separate and Meet. You share the same values and 'the why' behind your business. Enter on that common ground, then separate by focusing on your distinct skills. Finally, meet--share what you are working on and how you can become better.

To stay together and thrive, share, separate and meet.
Thanks to: Pamela Hawley of UniversalGiving.

66. No Biz Talk During Family Time

Frankly, it' just doesn't work to try to talk business in front of the kids. The kids don't understand or enjoy it and we cannot be coherent with them chattering in the background. We try to find time to discuss business topics outside of "family time."
Thanks to: Barbara Schantz of Baby Dipper, LLC.

67. Daily Private Time Together

If there are more than the two of you in the business, you act formally together all day. This puts a strain on the relationship. At home, the same thing happens if you have children. My wife and I worked together for over 20 years, and we arranged to have an hour a day together with no colleagues or family members present. That gave us a chance to be relaxed with one another, smooth out any problems in how we had treated one another, and to candidly discuss what the business and family needed.
Thanks to: Donald Mitchell of The Four Hundred Year Project.

68. Keep It Separate!

My wife and I own a large employment screening company with over 6000 clients in 13 countries. We have worked together for 24 years. The main things we have learned is to NOT take work home, to make sure our staff knows that work is work and our relationship makes no difference to them, that we can agree to disagree at work, but one must be able to be "The Boss" and have the final say when push comes to shove.

We have made this work very well.
Thanks to: Larry Lambeth of Employment Screening Services, Inc..

69. Draw A Line In The Sand

My best tip on how to create a successful husband/wife business: Identify each of your strengths and weaknesses, what you like and dislike doing and establish specific roles and responsibilities. By “drawing lines in the sand”, it avoids conflict and frustration and allows you to effectively grow the business. It becomes even more critical as you hire employees and expand.
Thanks to: Maureen Borzacchiello of Creative Display Solutions, Inc..

70. I have My Job, He has His

Have individual job titles/tasks/responsibilities.

My husband and I work well together because we don’t do the same services/jobs for our clients. If we did, there would be a lot of conflict as our work styles vary greatly. Play to your strengths and differentiate duties. Don't try to both do sales or service, etc. because you're bound to fight over who's doing it, how it's being done and why.
Thanks to: Samantha Scott of Pushing the Envelope, Inc..

71. Tweet Your Spouse!

"Have separate offices/work spaces if possible and use e-mail or Twitter direct messages to schedule business appointments with one another."

In other words, treat your company like a true business, even if you are running it out of your own home.

Thanks to: Ed Mayuga of AMM Communications.

72. Lovey-Dovey Couples Only

Our one tip would be to not do it at all unless you are the type of couple that always prefers to be in each others’ company (and usually annoys others). If you aren’t that type but do it anyway, then make sure you schedule time to do things separately whether it is out of work of during the business day.

Thanks to: Nick Labadie of Elemental Therapy Group.

73. Sound-Separated Offices

Have separate offices where you can't hear each other!

If my wife and I can hear each other doing our respective parts of the business, it's WAY too likely that one of us will barge into the other's office with a, oh, let's just call it a "suggestion."

When we can't hear each other, and when we communicate through Instant Message, everything's a LOT smoother.
Thanks to: Steven Sashen of InvisibleShoe.com.

74. Equal It Out

My husband & I have been in business 17 yrs. We started it before we were even married. My tips are
1. Do very different things. While we make big decisions together our day to day responsibilities don’t overlap. On the rare occasion they do we invariably disagree and usually, loudly.
2. Get paid the same. We are both highly motivated & driven. We both have the same risk & ‘skin in the game’. So there is never a discussion on who gets what. It is exactly equal.Ownership is 50-50 too
Thanks to: Stephanie Henley of Beasley & Henley Interior Design.

75. Therapy

Once a month we go to a couples therapist to work through any issues we have. Usually it’s communication/work style issues. It’s good to have an impartial mediator there so you can get all your grievances out on the table without it having to be a big fight at home.
Thanks to: Michelle Madhok of SheFinds Media.

76. Know Your Place

When in business with your spouse, it's best to have specific separate jobs. When your spouse makes a decision, large or small, you must respect it. Keep the communication doors open, but if it's their job, let it be their final say.

My husband and I naturally did this, but now we realize how important it was for our sanity after the fact.
Thanks to: Leigh Slingluff of The Slingluff Gallery.

77. Set Boundaries

It doesn't matter if it's spouses, siblings, relatives, friends, or non-related partners, the issues are still the same set boundaries of who is responsible for what, and put it in writing. A partner agreement is crucial it spells out what decisions or responsibilities each person has & what is shared. The agreement reduces the feeling that one is usurping the authority of the other & creates a more equal & productive environment. This saves relationships & I can teach you how to write it.
Thanks to: Harriet Cohen of Training Solutions.

78. Leave the Marriage at Home

I met my future wife at work in 1979. We've been working together ever since. We were married in 1984 and merged our businesses in 1996. My best advice is to leave the marriage at home. We have been successful because we treat and respect each other as professionals who are very good at what we do. We have a business plan and we work hard every day on its implemantation.
Thanks to: John Kelsey of WIlson Kelsey Design.

79. Working Together and Surviving

It is no secret that if you follow your passion, the money will catch up with you. My partner and I have a passion for each other and our work.Each morning we have coffee together and discuss our goals for the day. During the day we meet at break time and lunch to spur each other on to greatness. Each evening, after we have dinner with our daughter we discuss long term plans over a cocktail.It is our passion for each other and our business that causes our business and relationship to thrive.
Thanks to: William Michael of Vallarta Escapes.

80. One True Leader

My best tip for a successful husband/ wife business is that someone has to be the true leader and decision maker. It is a great partnership and joint effort, but only one person can really be in charge.
Thanks to: Jennifer Hoxsie of Greenhaven Landscapes Inc.

81. When Is It Time To Work?

My husband and I have found that designating times we discuss work and times that are off limits really helps both our business and our personal life. It is easy to think of something work related during personal times and want to discuss it right then. We have found business can take over our lives if we don't' set boundaries. If it's personal time wait until the next time we are "on the clock". This gives us balance and results in a better business and personal relationship.
Thanks to: Leslie Thacker of Business Finance Solutions.

82. Success Starts with RESPECT!

Regardless of what the relationship is outside of the business, inside the business, husband and wife must think of and treat each other as equal business partners. This means that they must always communicate and strive to be on the same page. No clamming up when one or the other disagrees. Disagree behind closed doors, negotiate an outcome you can both live with and present a united front to customers, suppliers and employees. Be 100% aligned on mission, vision, values and goals.

Thanks to: Ken Halkin of Kenneth C. Halkin Mgmt. Consulting.

83. Different Strengths

The H/W partnerships I've seen work are those where each spouse has different strengths, and values those strengths. (using the ideas from "start with why", a "why" spouse with a "how" spouse would generally be a great combo.
Thanks to: Ilene Davis of Financial Independence Services.

84. Partners..In More Ways Than 1

Mark and Claudine Rubin are Washington, DC area entrepreneurs who operate 3 businesses together. With different professional backgrounds, they keep their focus on the things they do best. Mark handles operations and finance. Claudine sticks with Marketing and PR. Mark and Claudine enjoy knowing the details of the business and discussing them in and out of the office. Their joint involvement enables them to spend more time together, which they both enjoy.
Thanks to: Claudine Rubin of 1-800-GOT-JUNK?.

85. Turn It Off

Working with your spouse has lots of advantages and disadvantages. The biggest advantage is that you get to share in the special moments that come with running a company. You also understand the stresses that you are both under.
However, it is difficult to "turn off" and actually talk about personal things instead of business. Finding time to actually get away and NOT think about the business.
Thanks to: Bonnie Dewkett of The Joyful Organizer.

86. Key 2 Success: Communication

Balancing a business and a marriage requires communication scheduling to make the time spent together and apart as efficient as possible always with an emphasis that the other person is both appreciated and the most important part of the dual relationship (business/marriage).
Thanks to: Matthew R. Kamula of Kamula Law Group.

87. Keep Feelings Out Of It

As difficult as it may seem, keep personal feelings & emotions out of all business interactions. Feel defensive about how a client treats your spouse? Tell your Mother or best friend, take it out on a punching bag, but don't let your feelings interfere with the resolution of real or perceived client issues. Dislike a business decision your partner made? Discuss & solve it in the office. Don't take it home. Not sure if you're acting like a spouse or a business partner? Review objectively.
Thanks to: Dale Little of Business Strategist, Dale Little.

88. Share That Calendar

My husband and I both work from home and share one office and one outgoing phone line (thankfully NOT one computer). This means at all times, we need to be aware of the other's schedule. If we happen to double-book the phone one of us will either need to reschedule our call or go out to the car and call from the cell - and yes, this has happened more than once! It also helps with knowing when you're both free and can maybe sneak away from the office for a matinee or lunch out from time to time.
Thanks to: Katy Tafoya of KatyTafoya.com.

89. You're Not The Boss Of Me

The one main rule that my husband and I have in running our business is:

Neither of us is the boss/manager of the other

We know that when we work together, that work doesn't always stay at work. So if either of us were the boss of the other, there is always that danger of that dynamic coming home with us. Instead, we make sure to maintain a dynamic of a true partnership.
Thanks to: Jennifer Lachtara of Lach Arts.

90. Keep It Fun

Your Spouse is not like any other worker. They are your lover. It's totally cool to work together, but do keep it fun. Sure, work has to get done. But this is not just another employee: it is someone you deeply love and share your life with. Find ways to keep it juicy throughout the day. Go out to lunch, take a walk, eat chocolate!, etc. It cannot just be all business or that relationship will dry up from being together so often. Learn to enjoy this extra precious time together.
Thanks to: craig wolfe of CelebriDucks.

91. Check Your Ego @ The Door

No matter who gets what, we both win…nobody wins unless everyone wins. In other words, when in business with a spouse it is critical to check you ego at the door. Make it safe to give and receive feedback from each other (check your ego at the door).

Bonus tip:
Stop talking about business after business is over (OK we still do a little). To aid us we engaged our children who were able to fine us $1.00 each time we spoke about business during family time.

Thanks to: Ed Cohen of Nelson Cohen Global Consulting.

92. The Bedroom Isnt The Boardroom

When your husband and wife business is located in the home it is essential to create clear boundaries between work partnership and romantic relationship. To keep your marriage healthy and your business booming, keep your workspace and your “play” space separate. Establish rules like, “No work talk in the bedroom.” The bedroom should be the place for letting loose, relaxing, and reconnecting, not working. Keep the boardroom out of the bedroom.
Thanks to: Laura Cannon of Divine Transformation.com.

93. Attorney Husband/Wife Duo

The ONE best tip as to how we balance marriage and business together would be: Respecting each other’s boundaries in business and separating home life from our business life; when the business day is over, we leave business stuff at the office and come home and focus on our marriage and family no matter how stressful or challenging the day has been at the business. We have been following this path for the last 10 years in working together as a husband and wife team and its worked for us.
Thanks to: Nellie Akalp of CorpNet.com.

94. Trust The Leader

I am learning to respect his expertise the more I submit to his authority. He does EVERYTHING the opposite of me. But after 20-years of marriage we don't butt head's anymore. I think in random patterns and he's overly logical. But when I follow his lead he not only balances my extremes, together our outcomes are changing the course of history and getting us to our goal line faster than my one woman show ever did! I want to marry him all over again!
Thanks to: Adelaide Zindler of HomeOfficeMommyMagazine.com.

95. Couple Rewards Maintain Sanity

Promise yourselves a reward together! Make a date for an after-work swim, bike ride, movie, stroll or cocktails with friends once or twice a week. Just for fun. No business talk. Hold hands, laugh about a client, gaze into each other's eyes. Plan a get-away in a month or two. Small yet frequent rewards go a long way toward reinforcing your relationship and reminding you about why you're together -- despite all the day-to-day craziness you're both dealing with!
Thanks to: Rosalind Sedacca of Child-Centered Divorce.

96. The Other Person Isn't You

My wife and I have an understanding that each of us has different needs, wants and desires. You can always get into trouble when you forget that the other person is not you. He/she does not necessarily feel or think the way you do about your business. When you remember this, then you will always keep the lines of communication open. You will also avoid conflict that comes from assuming you know what the other person wants instead of just checking with him/her first. Don't assume-communicate
Thanks to: Matthew Walters of Creating Love On Person.

97. Leave Work At Work

When working with a spouse, it is very tempting to want to talk shop during your personal time with your spouse outside of work. This can put a huge drain and strain on your marriage. I have discovered that it is best to only discuss work with your spouse during normal business hours and don't bring shop talk in the home. This keeps harmony in your marriage, maintains the partnership relationship, and helps create a good work/life balance between you and your spouse.
Thanks to: Lisa Sims of Stretching Your Cash.

98. One Boss

There needs to be an agreement before going into the partnership as to the roles and responsibilities for each person. If you can not agree before hand, don't do it!
Thanks to: Carl Forsell of Connections Planet.

99. Respect Boundaries

One key to a successful Husband and Wife team business is to divide responsibilities and stay out of each others way! Allow for the other person to call the shots on their end, even if you don’t agree.

Thanks to: Maria Vizzi of Indoor Environmental Solutions, Inc.


Compiled by Mike Michalowicz, Author of The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur

Category: Managing Focus, Recommendations, Skill Toolbox, The Back Office, The Right Actions, Video
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  • http://www.queenbeeconsulting.com Danelle Brown

    Great blog article! I am currently writing a book on this subject that will be out in November. These are couple are so right! Listen to their wisdom and you will succeed. I am glad I am not the only one spreading the message!

    • http://www.ToiletPaperEntrepreneur.com Mike Michalowicz

      @Danelle – Best of luck with your book.

  • http://bcoelho2000.blogspot.com Bruno Coelho


    This blog post is absolutely priceless! Me and my wife are launching a new business together so learning from other couple’s experiences is great!

    We also created a LinkedIn group where married business couples can share their experiences on how they successfully manage a business and a marriage. You’re all invited to join!


    Best regards,
    Bruno Coelho

    • http://www.ToiletPaperEntrepreneur.com Mike Michalowicz

      @Bruno – good luck with the new business.

  • http://bcoelho2000.blogspot.com Bruno Coelho

    Thank you @Mike!

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  • Friz

    Thank you, Good learning experience,

  • Stu

    There are some very VERY brave people listed here! I wouldn’t have the guts to do this! But the tips are great. Like most relationships, it comes down to communication.
    Any marriage counsellors recommend working with The Other Half?

  • ToughStuff2Fix

    This is fabulous!  I made the mistake of inviting my husband to be the co-artistic director of my dance company a year and a half ago and it has nearly devastated our relationship.   I drew a boundary and expressed I can’t do this any more – that I need a break and am researching to figure out what has gone so miserably wrong.  We’ve been together 20 years, been through a lot and had come to a place that  “life is bliss.”  As soon as he became a member of the team the nightmare began.  Nothing is worth losing someone you love more than anything in life.  Reading this I can see all of the areas we made mistakes.  We never discussed roles and responsibilities, we never identified strengths and weaknesses, we never discussed the systems and processes I’d established, we weren’t able to find time to sit down daily to discuss the days activities, we didn’t separate work from home, our egos got in the way, we became competitors, we could never agree on anything, it was a NIGHTMARE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  If you are thinking about inviting a loved one to be a part of something you are really passionate about. G O   S L O W!  I just hope we can repair our relationship.

  • kimora

     Hi My name is “kimora” just want to share my experience with the world
    on how i got my love back and saved my marriage… I was married for
    7years with 2kids and we lived happily until things started getting ugly
    and we had fights and arguments almost every time… it got worse at a
    point that he filed for divorce… I tried my best to make him change
    his mind & stay with me cause i loved him with all my heart and
    didn’t want to loose him but everything just didn’t work out… he moved
    out of the house and still went ahead to file for divorce… I pleaded
    and tried everything but still nothing worked. The breakthrough came
    when someone introduced me to this wonderful, great spell caster who
    eventually helped me out… I have never been a fan of things like this
    but just decided to try reluctantly cause I was desperate and left with
    no choice… He did special prayers and used roots and herbs… Within 7
    days he called me and was sorry for all the emotional trauma he had
    cost me, moved back to the house and we continue to live happily, the
    kids are happy too and we are expecting our third child… I have
    introduced him to a lot of couples with problems across the world and
    they have had good news… Just thought I should share my experience
    cause I strongly believe someone out there need’s it… You can email
    him on great_olokun@priest.com get the spell caster’s
    contact… Don’t give up just yet, the different between “Ordinary”
    & “Extra-Ordinary” is the “Extra” so make extra effort to save your
    marriage/relationship if it’s truly worth it. again his email contact
    is great_olokun@priest.com

    • Gdanquah

      is this absolutely fabulous kimora ?

  • Kmsedward

    This is some Great stuff it super information that couples in business need success is important but not alone. The journey of becoming successful is always sweeter when you have someone to share it with.