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The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Running a Business as a Couple

Running a business with your significant other can be an amazing experience, but it can also be the source of several arguments. There are many good reasons to work with your partner, but you should know about some potential disadvantages, so you’re prepared to handle them when they come up.

One of the biggest myths around starting a business with your significant other is that it will not work out. People tell you to keep your personal and business lives separate, but if you love each other, it’s inevitable that both will come together in some way. And when they do, things can get ugly, which is why we’re tackling the good, the bad, and the ugly of running a business with your significant other so that you can spot problems before they happen.

The Benefits

Working with your significant other has its benefits. For one thing, the brains behind the company will be two, working together and having the determination to succeed as a couple. Many benefits of running a business with your significant other could make you happier than dealing with annoying office gossip or frustrating meetings—or making small talk at networking events. Working alongside someone you love can provide new perspectives on your work and give you opportunities to build skills in areas where they may be stronger.

The Challenges

In many ways, running a business together is no different from any other close relationship: It’s all about communication. It applies to everything from how you handle conflicts to how you divide work responsibilities within your business. Ultimately, it will come down to how well you can argue.

Many people do great together in relationships but feel awkward in business situations because they don’t want to fight or feel like they should walk on eggshells around each other at work. These issues aren’t peculiar to couples; by talking about them openly before getting into business together, you might be able to avoid some common pitfalls of working closely with a loved one. If you have trouble talking openly or honestly, consider seeking counseling before going into business so that either partner isn’t caught off guard by issues that could arise later.

Figure Your Matrimonial Regime

Before entering business together as a couple, you must consider which legal structure is most advantageous for your situation. In other words, decide whether to operate your business as a corporation or partnership. Once you’ve made that decision, establish your matrimonial regime. Remember: assets—including assets owned by one spouse—are community property unless otherwise established in writing. Talking through legal issues and expectations before tying the knot can help keep your business together after marriage.

If you want to settle things better or put agreements on paper, you can always hire an attorney. A family lawyer can explain which documents will help define your business structure and protect your shared assets.

couple doing business

Preemptive Solutions

As an entrepreneur, it’s not always easy to separate your personal life from your professional one. Sometimes things happen in your relationship that directly affect your business, such as moving in together or getting married. Determine early on whether you both see eye-to-eye when it comes to running a business as a couple. If you don’t, there could be big problems down the road—and if these problems aren’t addressed head-on early on, they will only get worse.

Take Time Apart When Conflict Arises

It’s always best to face problems head-on. But don’t expect that you’ll be able to do it every single time; there will be times when you can’t talk things out—when one or both of you will get so frustrated that you need space to cool off. In these cases, take steps to protect your business from unnecessary damage: set ground rules for how long each person gets away and what each person needs to accomplish during their break.

Being in Balance Is Better Than Being Right

One reason partnerships fail is that one thinks they know better than their significant other. When you’re in love, it’s hard to hear yourself objectively. It’s even harder to listen to your partner when you can see their point but have already made up your mind about what should be next. Sometimes it takes multiple people—each seeing things from a different perspective—to get to an answer that works for everyone involved.

The key here is not who has more experience or has more years under their belt; it’s to be open-minded enough to say, You might be right. What do we need to do differently? And maybe most importantly, remember that compromise doesn’t mean giving up what you believe in; it means being flexible enough to explore new possibilities together.

When you enter business with your significant other, it can be good, bad, or ugly. Sometimes you have to let one go to save both of your businesses. It all depends on your strength to work together. Hopefully, we will see more success stories of businesses run by couples instead of just one person doing everything alone.

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