Is running a business with your spouse really a smart idea?

They are already your life partner. But is making them your business partner healthy for your relationship?

When it comes to running a company with your life partner, people have different opinions. 

Some might say that mixing business with pleasure only leads to problems. Others might say that it couldn’t have been easier to have someone you already trust working with you. 

Well, both are true to some extent.

There are definitely risks and perks involved. It all comes down to how well you and your spouse communicate with each other.

At worst, couples could face ruining both their marriage and business. But successful execution of a plan would mean a lifetime of happiness and wealth. 

That’s something most people question about Dan Lok’s marriage, too. We all know that he focuses a lot on his businesses. But how is he able to balance marriage with his work life and maintain a healthy relationship?

That’s what we’ll be diving into in this article. We will share the do’s and don’ts of running a business with your significant other. So if you’re already working with your spouse or thinking about it, this will be a good read for you.

Setting Your Expectations

Before you even think about running a business with your spouse, ask yourself this:

  • Am I happily married?
  • Are we financially stable?
  • Do we agree with each other’s work ethic?

These simple questions will help you determine whether you’re fit to run a business with your spouse. And if you answered “no,” you’ll need to focus on fixing that part of your relationship first.

It’s not ideal for you to start a business if you know that there will be many problems along the way. Especially if you’re broke – money fights are the second leading cause of divorce.

To make sure you have the right start, you and your spouse will need to set some expectations. Both of you will need to plan out the pros and cons of working together before setting some ground rules.

Once the expectations are in place, there will be less uncertainty and more success.

DO: Share The Same Goals

Committing to running a business together is another significant step in your marriage. That’s why it’s important to share the same goals, vision, and drive. 

When you’re both on the same page, you’ll be able to do things independently of one another. You’ll learn to give each other personal space and to support one another. 

If you want your business and marriage to run smoothly, you’ll need a 50/50 mindset. That doesn’t mean both partners will have to do equal work for the business: it means having equal responsibilities in all other things as well. This could be caring for your family, cleaning, or cooking. 

When you split responsibilities 50/50, it’ll make you stronger as a team. You’ll understand your spouse better knowing what they’re going through. 

Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships. – Michael Jordan Click To Tweet

The benefits of using two heads instead of one are rewarding. You’ll become more grateful for the other person and won’t waste any precious couple-time once you have it.

But when things get tough, always remind yourself why you started a business in the first place. Refer to your goals with your spouse and stay passionate about them.

DON’T: Treat Each Other As Non-Professionals

You may be used to treating your spouse a certain way, but you’ll need to treat each other like professionals.

When you have professional boundaries with your spouse, you speak to each other at a higher level. You’ll have more respect for one another as both of you have the role of a leader. 

But if you treat your spouse more like your spouse, it’ll increase work pressure.

For example, a husband shouldn’t assume that his wife should spend more time with their kids while he works. That might make the wife feel more like a personal assistant instead of a leader in the business. Both partners have to become their own leaders and take charge of their own life.

Even when mistakes occur, be considerate and treat your spouse like a business partner. You’ll need to give them some space to work things out for the better.

And if you want to have peace of mind, you can always legalize your business arrangement. That way, each partner will sign a business agreement to protect the business’s interests.

Understanding Your Roles

Knowing what your roles are and what you’re responsible for is crucial to success. That’s how you stay focused and avoid any roadblocks with your spouse.

If both of you are all over the place, it’ll be difficult to get anything done. So what you need to do is divide the work. 

There could be some responsibilities you’d be better at than your spouse – and vice versa. 

DO: Determine Strengths And Weaknesses

When you both have clear duties, you’ll be able to trust your spouse with decision-making. 

When starting a business, you’ll need to know your strengths and weaknesses. 

If your spouse can’t do the majority of the tasks, the responsibilities don’t match up. This imbalance comes with negative consequences. 

For example: if you’re an extrovert, you’ll probably want to be the face of the company and to generate content. If your spouse prefers to be more of a designer, he or she can focus on the company’s branding. 

Determining your strengths and weaknesses ahead of time can set you up for success. This holds true outside of business as well. 

If the husband is better at cooking and the wife is better at cleaning, you can be sure that all the jobs will be done.

When you both hold each other accountable, you’ll each become experts. 

DON’T: Combine Spaces

Don’t think that working side-by-side with your spouse is always a good idea. When you share the same space and common tasks, it’ll take you longer to excel. 

You might have the same strengths and weaknesses as your spouse. If that’s the case, you’ll need to rely on each other to acquire new skill sets. Then, you can divide tasks and get more done. 

Either you acquire more skills or hire external help: you can look to expand your team or hire contractors to do the work you can’t. 

There will always be enough work to go around. So if your skills are too similar to your spouse’s, you can nourish different interests and talents instead. 

Develop Effective Communication

According to Harvard Business Review, 37% of managers said they’re uncomfortable giving direct feedback on their employees’ performance if they think they could react negatively.

The same goes for working with your spouse. 

Running a business with your spouse could include difficult conversations. You might not want to upset them if their performance isn’t as good, or there could be bad news you’re afraid to reveal to your partner.

Whatever it is, you need to develop effective leadership communication with your spouse. This has to occur both in personal and business life.

If you aren’t clear with each other, you could be held back from success. 

Communicating with your spouse helps you handle problems in the long run. It could also help strengthen your relationship at home, too.

A lack of communication leads to a lack of commitment.

DO: Have Mutual Trust And Respect

Your relationship is your biggest priority; it comes before your business. If you don’t have mutual trust and respect, your business won’t work.

Figuring out when to draw the line in your relationship is crucial. You have to show respect and to have trust in each other. If you’re confident about this, then doing business together will be more suitable.

You need to maintain a healthy communication by being open with your spouse. You’ll need to talk about everything that goes on – in life and in business. Assuming that other people should know what we’re thinking about almost never goes right. 

Instead of assuming, it’s better to make sure. Being honest and transparent will help you become more productive. 

Choosing to avoid difficult conversations leads to disagreements afterward. 

You’ll need to actively listen to your partner and make it a habit to compromise. You can check up on each other regularly and offer better solutions. That way, you’ll also know where they are with their tasks and see if your progress aligns with your business’s goals.

DON’T: Avoid Difficult Conversations

You wouldn’t want to be those couples who fight a lot, would you?

When you fight with your spouse, the worst thing for your business is to give each other the silent treatment. Being silent with one another will destroy productivity and support. 

Your focus isn’t clear when either one of you is too upset to work on anything. 

Most of the time, fights arise because of a miscommunication. Even if you didn’t say anything – saying nothing could also be the wrong thing to do. 

It’s completely fine to disagree with your spouse. These disagreements could lead to a new perspective your spouse might agree on. It’s a way to be creative with your ideas.

Don’t miss out on an opportunity to innovate when you and your spouse disagree on something. It could turn into your next breakthrough.

Without each other’s input on decisions, there will be no feedback. This could lead to costly mistakes down the road. It’s better to have different opinions to help with each other’s ideas.

I like criticism. It makes you strong. - LeBron James Click To Tweet

You’ll have to be open to criticism to learn and grow. 

To make sure you and your spouse are always up to date, you could communicate through set meetings. These meetings can address any concerns or be a place to review your goals.

Achieving A Work-Life Balance

If you know how to balance both work and personal life, your overall life will actually become easier than most couples.

Working together will be a breeze if you know how to balance and build boundaries.

Once your business becomes a success, you will get to enjoy the benefits. How does traveling the world together after hiring a team to work for you sound? 

To do that, you’ll need to understand how to keep your roles as a spouse and business partner separate. 

DO: Build Better Boundaries

Running a business with your spouse during the early stages can be tough and time-consuming. 

Depending on your situation, both of you will need to divide your time between work and family. When you’re with family, you should devote 100% of your time to them. When you’re working, you should also devote 100% to your business. 

These are the kind of boundaries you need to build for yourself. If you mix family with work time, you’ll build up stress. 

Giving 100% attention to each area will make you grow as a spouse and business executive. 

You’ll need to find a routine that works for you and your spouse – such as determining how many hours you should work. 

Most couples who succeed in business together know how to control their emotions. They separate work from personal life so that nothing gets in their way. 

DON’T: Bring Home The Stress

The worst thing you could do is to bring your work stress back home. The same goes for bringing arguments from home to work, too.

Being at home should be a time for you to relax and refresh your mind. But if you bring the stress home, it’ll just be never-ending work stress for you.

According to The American Institute of Stress, 83% of US employees deal with work-related stress.

You might forget to take care of your health. Or you could lose your identity by spending too much time away from enjoying your hobbies.

Allowing this to happen might pose serious health risks like anxiety or depression.

So when you find free-time, don’t be afraid to use that as a couple time. You and your spouse could go on a vacation or take a break from working all the time.

It’s essential to spend quality time with your spouse because you’ll need to refocus and avoid feeling burnout

Even when you think you’re already spending a lot of time together, you may not be giving enough attention to each other. So the least you can do is go catch a movie at night.

Maintain A Healthy Relationship While Running A Business With Your Spouse

Dan Lok always says, “Behind every successful man is a smarter woman.”

The smarter woman he’s referring to is his wife, Jennie. He knows he owes a big part of his success to his supportive spouse.

Sometimes, your spouse is the only person you’re willing to listen to. That’s the case for Dan – because he has built that trust in his relationship.

And he would not be able to run his businesses without the help of his wife. 

So if you plan on running a business with your spouse, you must maintain a healthy relationship. That requires trust, respect, communication, and more.

If you or your spouse lack any of those areas, challenges will persist when you work together. 

Running a business, in general, is never easy. That’s why you have to be smart about who you choose as your business partner. And if that’s your spouse, the reward will be high when your business becomes a success. 

You can take it from Dan Lok himself. After working hard at the beginning of his career, he’s now about to spend time doing what he enjoys. He can travel anywhere he wants with his wife while he has a team working for him.

That’s the beauty of running a business with your spouse. Together, you’re partners in everything.