Sep 24, 2020
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5 Reasons To Start A Business With Your Spouse

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By Barry Silverstein Next Avenue Contributor If you re transitioning from full-time employment to retirement but still want to bring in some income why not consider starting a business with your spouse or life partner? My wife Sharon and I launched a small service business in our mid-50s ran it together for over six years and then sold it

 

For us working side-by-side was a way to combine co-owning a business with spending time together. It was also a natural way to exit our professional careers in marketing and sales and move directly to the next phase of our lives. Here are five reasons why starting a business with your spouse or partner could work for you: 1

 

You Can Share A Passion If you two like a similar things you may be able to translate them into a viable business idea. In our case a shared passion for helping animals changed into a mobile dog-grooming business. Sharon was already a certified groomer. In our business she groomed dogs in a specially outfitted van we purchased; I ran the business operations and did the marketing

 

Maybe you both share an interest in animals a concern for our environment or something else. Or even both of you like to serve clients to the finest of your abilities. Your business might be more successful if you share a fondness — as long as you re sure that what you like to do could be changed into a sustainable business

 

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You Can Complement Each Other Sharon and I were fortunate because we d worked together previously in two business settings. So we already knew one another s working styles and our strengths and weaknesses. We complemented one another well because one of us was detail-oriented meticulous and pragmatic (Sharon) while any other was more conceptual creative and free-wheeling (me)

 

It might be easy for these contrasting qualities to cause friction but we achieved work compatibility by accepting one another s differences and collaborating. If you can learn how to catch up on one another s weaknesses leverage one another s strengths and interact in a spirit of cooperation your business will benefit — and so will your own relationship

 

3. You Can Work Toward Common Goals Our goal was to run a business together that could help dog owners and their pets and operate it at a high level of personalized service. We also started the business with an end goal in mind: to run it for 5 to seven years as a transition into retirement

 

Sharon and I set more targeted goals as we went along such as the variety of clients we needed to obtain and the amount of income we needed to achieve each year. By setting both broad and specific goals for the business together we always shared a similar perspective. Our common goals helped us stay on track and visualize our success

 

(More: Busting the Myths About Work in Retirement) 4. You Can Learn New Things One of the really interesting challenges in operating a small service business is getting to do everything yourself. Some things you already know how to do but others you must learn. In our case Sharon was proficient at grooming and my past experience running my own service business was invaluable at the operations side

 

Still neither folks knew anything about maintaining all the equipment and systems in the grooming van we purchased. We sure learned about that during a hurry — sometimes by trial and error. I also had to how to manage the financial details of the business. But we looked at everything as a learning experience and sought help from outside experts if we couldn t solve problems ourselves

 

5. You Can Deepen Your Relationship Working as a team and growing a business together may have a very positive impact on either one of you. Done right it can actually contribute to growing and deepening your relationship. Of course you’ll face challenges and you’ll be under business stresses that may add complexity for your daily lives

 

Now both your livelihoods depends on the success of a single business and that may be too big a risk for some couples. It will become vital for either one of you to preserve your perspective and stay grounded so running a business doesn’t detract from your own lives. A Final Thought Obviously co-owning a business is not for each couple

 

It requires blending your business and personal lives equally sharing power and setting reasonable boundaries so you never let a business dispute become a personal one. But Sharon and I found that for us at least the positives outweighed the negatives. To aid other couples who want to pursue working together we wrote a book about our experience: Let s Make Money Honey: The Couple s Guide to Starting a Service Business

 

Maybe it will help you and your husband or wife do what we ve done and transition to the next great chapter of your lives

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