How to Run a Business With Your Spouse Without Killing Each Other

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How to Run a Business With Your Spouse Without Killing Each Other

I realize that this has NOTHING to do with food, but I wanted to share with you what I learned during a marketing class I took with my husband the other weekend. You see, we are starting invest in real estate and we are busy taking classes and learning all kinds of amazing things. Of course, we still have our day jobs, our kids, my blog and the other stresses and responsibilities we had before we went down this path. We must be crazy adding more to our plate!

The hubby and I have two very different approaches to getting things done, like most partners. He’s a methodical engineer, so you can guess what that means. I am NOT a methodical engineer, and you can guess how that goes! It’s like when we get a new computer program. He wants to read the instructions and take the tutorials. I like to just dive right in and figure it out on my own.

While we are learning the world of real estate and taking our courses, we are doing a lot of reading and dividing of assignments. We have bickered and stumbled along while we work ahead. Some days are definitely easier than others.

But a real light bulb moment occurred the other weekend during our marketing class. It had nothing to do specifically with real estate or marketing, but you could see all the light bulbs turning on in class.

Most of us are working with a partner in our endeavors. And for many of us, it’s our spouse. The type of business doesn’t matter, but the key is how to work together without fighting with each other. You could argue that this is a day-to-day goal of marriage even without a business, but I won’t go there.

So, how do you run a business with your spouse without killing each other? By assigning roles, of course.

What our instructor, Travis (aka The Real Estate Nerd), told us was that one of us is the “Starter” and the other the “Finisher.”

HUH?!

How to Run a Business With Your Spouse Without Killing Each Other

The Starter starts the projects, is the creative force behind the project and usually takes the lead in the project. But, the Starter tends to lose steam and interest and doesn’t always finish what he/she started.

That’s where the Finisher comes in. The Finisher doesn’t know where or how to start a project. The Starter gives the Finisher a list of jobs to do in order to get the  project done.

Each plays a vital role in the partnership. If you have two Starter personalities as partners, then nothing will get finished. And if you have two finishers, perhaps you have rocky or unfocused projects.

When we heard this simple explanation, my husband and I looked at each other with a little more understanding.

But, who was what?

We realized that for many projects I was the Starter and for other projects he was. But, it made so much sense to me because my husband is always telling me, “Just tell me what you want and I’ll do it!”

And I fight it because well, sometimes I don’t know what I want or I don’t want to make the first decision. But, more often then not, I find myself knee deep in a project without much motivation to finish it. And then here comes my hubby, pushing me and helping me along.

Like my cookbook. I’m halfway through it and I stopped because it seemed like an endless project. Hubby gave me a pep talk and a schedule. He can’t finish the cookbook for me, but he gave me his love and support (and a swift kick in the tush) to get me on the finishing track.

It’s not that bad being the lead of a project. The upside to the Starter role is I get to tell my husband what to do! I’m the BOSS!

No, not really. We are partners. Today, I am the Starter and he is the Finisher. Another project, we will switch roles. It is how we will make our business relationship (and our personal relationship) work.

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3 Responses to How to Run a Business With Your Spouse Without Killing Each Other

  1. RedKathy at #

    He Laura,

    Hubby and I have worked together for over 20 years. Yep we argue about some things but it works just as you describe. Divide the tasks, know and accept each others strengths and weaknesses, and ALWAYS know when to close the office door and mute the ringer!

    Best of luck to you.

  2. Interesting insight. And one that I think is largely true, particularly the part that sometimes you switch roles between starter and finisher. Good luck with that new biz! But do finish your cookbook. Please. ;-)

  3. I love this post! We work together on our blog and there are times that our ideas conflict each others. I want to wish you the best wishes for your real state business. One day when we have more time we catch up! ;)

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