Last night, my husband and I were guests on SmallBizChat, co-hosted by Melinda Emerson and Cathy Larkin. SmallBizChat is an interactive forum using Twitter to help emerging entrepreneurs be successful in business. For an hour, Melinda and her colleagues and guests grilled us on the practicalities of co-leading a business together as we also co-parent our children, ages 5 and 7.
I have blogged about my family business on many occasions, including here and here. Because we are passionate about empowering other couplepreneurs to tap into their talents and gifts to create a business that gives them the freedom we enjoy to be with our children and generate income on our own terms, we were happy to accept Melinda's invitation to share our experiences. In addition to the tips and insights we shared, lots of other people shared their experiences working with others, sometimes as spouses and sometimes just as business partners. Here are some highlights.
- On Quitting. In response to a question about whether we ever wanted to quit working together, Caroline Di Diego replied that quitting has never been an option in the business she has co-owned with her business partner for 19 years. She said, “Quitting was never an option. Going on vacation or out to dinner was.” I loved that, and my husband and I will keep it in mind if we ever think of throwing in the towel.
- On Disagreements. June Mattiza of Media Collective said that disagreements are a part of life. She said that differences of opinions and ideas is a reality, and that you have to listen to each other's points of view, mirror what is said, and then compromise or split test your ideas and options. That's good advice!
- Nothing Is Set In Stone. Amy Blake of Blake Group said that she and her husband launched a business together in 1983, and that, while they are still together, they have separate careers now. She didn't explain why (who could in 140 characters??!), but it points out that we all have to do what works for us. If something's not working or if something else seems like it might work better for one person or both, then an adjustment has to be made. Sometimes that adjustment is to do something differently. As I said last night, combining marriage and business requires heaping doses of patience and forgiveness, and a whole of fluidity and flexibility.
You Can Be On Small Biz Chat Too!
You can read the transcript from last night's SmallBiz Chat at this link. If you have expertise or experience in a certain field that would be beneficial for small business owners between the ages of 25 and 54, who have fewer than 20 employees, I encourage you to connect with Melinda. You can find her on Twitter here and at her website. The instructions for offering yourself as a guest on SmallBizChat can be found here.
Question: Do you work with your spouse or significant other/companion? What tips can you share? Also, if you think you might enjoy being a guest on SmallBizChat, go for it!! Let me know if you pitch yourself as a guest, and if you are accepted, I'd love to join and support you at the event.