Working with your partner: Feel like you’re on a rollercoaster?

Written by Angela Smith

People will call you crazy for working with your partner. The struggle is real if you’re a tradie wife (or partner), who has left behind a career to transition into your hubby’s trade business. You’ve not only sacrificed your financial independence, the lines between work and home life is now blurred. Mostly, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

Can you survive and thrive being in each other’s pockets 24/7? Andy and I have been working together for more than 20 years in our trade business, Dr. DRiP Plumbing, and Lifestyle Tradie.  We’ve had our ups and downs – and fair share of heated moments! Still, we’ve managed to navigate our way through, focusing on our strengths and weaknesses.

Yes, it can be one hell of a rollercoaster!

In this article, let’s see how some high-profile couples who work together have survived and thrived. Firstly, here’s what we can learn from the research about working with your partner, if you need a little pick-me-up right now:

  • Creating shared business and family goals lead directly to greater happiness.
  • Positive outcomes actually result from sharing both the good the bad regarding the business.
  • Entrepreneurs need to be on the same team.
  • Showing gratitude and being loving, fun, intelligent and honest are important.

Basically, the magic happens when you and your partner bring your best selves together to form a team.

Let’s see how others make it work.

The Block couples

Image credit: Homes to Love

As tradies in business, you can probably relate to the pressure-cooker situation of The Block, where long-time couples compete against each other to refurbish a home and sell it at auction for the highest price. This has become a test of human endurance, not just a renovation show.

It’s interesting to watch how different couples work together when the stress of relentless room-reveal deadlines, sleep deprivation and personalities come together. While it’s entertaining, even frustrating, there are things we can learn from these interactions.

       1. When one is down, one steps up

On The Block, like in real life, there’s tears, tantrums – and sometimes, couples are just plain over it. The important lesson is this: the couples who work as a cohesive team and rally when the chips are down, are the ones that typically go on to smash goals in life and business.

       2. Watch your words

Words have impact. Tempers fray. S*it hits the fan. Setting boundaries with your partner – about what is acceptable and what is not – will create a good foundation. Resentment is a killer. Survive and thrive as a husband-and-wife team in business by watching our words.

Married at First Sight couples

Image credit: Daily Mail

From one reality television show to another, and Married at First Sight may not be everyone’s cup of tea – it’s not necessarily mine – but this social experiment is mostly insightful in not what to as a couple. However, Jules and Cam, from last season, defies this stereotype.

While they don’t strictly work together, we’ve included them here because they were thrown in an unfamiliar environment where they would sink or swim as a couple, depending on how they handled it. Under the strain of it all, they were kind to each other.

Unlike their counterparts on the show, who were mostly cringe-worthy to watch, Jules and Cam were respectful, thoughtful and nice. When you’re in the trenches with your partner at work, do you behave in a way that’s conducive to getting the best out of each other?

Reality TV to real life

While you’re not a contestant on a reality TV show, there’ll be certain little people watching your every move. Yes, your children. Working with your partner has a profound effect on them – the tension, long hours, unfiltered comments and concerns about cash flow.

You’re both important role models. Your behaviour sets an example. You also want to spend quality time together as a family, without discussing the ins and outs of your trade business at the dinner table. The reality is, you kids are probably over hearing about the business.

Finally, working with your partner will never be a walk-in-the-park. Some days will be better than others. It’s up to you two to find your groove to harness the power you bring to the plate as the perfect pair. Ultimately, you can survive and thrive if you’re willing to make it work.

Want to get on the same page as trade business partners?

     What’s next?

  1. Join our Kick-Ass Tradies Facebook Group, for access to trade business specific conversations, tips and resources, plus a like-minded community of tradies.
  2. Book a 15-minute Game Plan Call with Andy, owner of Dr. DRiP plumbing and co-founder of Lifestyle Tradie, to clarify your priorities and get clear action steps.