How to survive working with your partner

It’s no secret the majority of small businesses are run by husband/wife/partner teams, trade businesses included! There are plenty of benefits to working with your partner (as you may know yourself). You both already know you get along, and you 100 per cent know you’ll have each other’s back.

But it’s not always smooth sailing.

At points there will be challenges (and arguments) that you’ll come across and need to overcome. Some days, you may honestly feel like it’s over between the two of you. It’s these times that truly test your relationship.

You and your husband/wife/partner can get survive the hardships of working together 24/7. You’ll need to build an understanding for each other and be committed to making it work. Here are key tips:

1. Never bring your work to your home

Neither of you should discuss work when you’re at your home. Your home is a place where you should de-stress and spend quality with your family. Work-related stuff should be left at your office (or if your office is at home, during business hours). It can be difficult to adjust when you’re first starting but just give it time.

If your partner starts to talk about work, politely say, “I’ll talk to you about it tomorrow during business hours”.

Business owners (out of habit) also are constantly checking their phones and work emails, even when they’re at home! If this is a habit for you and your partner, minimise or eliminate it as soon as possible.

2. Separate your workstations

Being with someone 24/7 can be exhausting, even if it’s your partner. Having different workstations or work areas can help keep distance between you and your partner. This is a great way to give other space and avoid the problem of being with each other all the time. Plus, it helps create a professional atmosphere instead of another ‘home’ environment.

3. Communicate effectively

Things won’t run smoothly for you and your partner if you’re not communicating effectively. After all, communication is key to any relationship.

Make sure both of you understand what needs to be done during work so that you can accomplish a lot of things. If there are any concerns or problems, be sure to tell each other so that it can be dealt with early on. Don’t wait for problems to become worse, feel free to talk with your partner.

4. Set specific roles for each other

You and your spouse are both equal and crucial for the success of your business. However, it’s important to set roles for each other. This avoids confusion among employees, suppliers, and customers.

Setting roles can also help you and your partner stay focused on particular responsibilities. For example, if it is set in stone that your partner is responsible for incoming phone calls from customers, it is their responsibility to answer the phone and there will be no “do you want to answer it this time?” being asked!

5. Don’t forget to celebrate successes and accomplishments

Even with your busy schedule, you both need to appreciate the achievements that come along the way. Celebrating your accomplishments helps you and your partner become more motivated and ready to take on new challenges.

6. Identify each other’s strengths and weaknesses

By knowing each of your strengths and weaknesses, you’ll have an easier time adjusting and helping each other out. You can also support each other to work with each one’s weaknesses and further improve your strengths.

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.