Enjoy more flexibility and design the life brand you want, says Patricia Bacon of networking site Couplepreneurs
Some of our most successful companies, including Go Ape! and Eventbrite, have been founded by husband and wife teams. I am interviewing more and more couples who live together and run a business that sells around the world. You only need to look at businesses like Desmond & Dempsey, Grab A Gardener, The Cheeky Panda and Digme Fitness, to see examples of these. Let’s have a look at why we are indeed witnessing this growth.
You’re stronger together
As I spend time interviewing so-called “couplepreneurs”, the trust, openness, honesty and commitment which exists between them is inspiring. Couples know each other intimately; they understand one another’s strengths and weaknesses. When asked if they would have done this alone, there is a unanimous view that they are stronger together. They share a passion to make a great success of the business together. Couplepreneurs love what they do together and couldn’t imagine doing it with anyone else. Chris Forbes, who runs The Cheeky Panda with his partner Julie Chen, says: “We are stronger together, we pitch better together, we like networking, we don’t argue and being a couple has had a positive impact”.
Design the life you want
So many couples are designing the life they want by setting up a business together. Some have fallen in to it through an interest or passion they have wanted to turn in to a business, while others have had an idea and researched it further to discover if there is indeed demand. And some have sat down strategically and thought through the business and what they want to do right through to the exit plan. There are often seminal moments of change in some couples’ lives, with trauma often a driver. What is very clear is how driven the couples are.
Enjoy more flexibility and control
The linear career progression we once knew has changed and people no longer have or even want a job for life. Nick Cooper established food, drink and travel marketing agency Salt Media 15 years ago with his wife Jo Rees in Barnstaple, Devon. Says Nick: “You’re taught that you go to university, get a job, work your way up the ladder, take out a huge mortgage only to sell once you retire and move to Devon for a quieter life. We just thought, why not cut out the middle bit and move to Devon and start our own business?”
Couples who run businesses together are, to a large extent, more in control of their time, manage their days and have more flexibility together. Wendy Shand, who runs child-friendly travel agency Tots to Travel with her husband Rob, says: “I feel blessed to be working with Rob each other every day and that I have found somebody who is prepared to be on a slightly bonkers journey.”
Play to your strengths
Couples bring a different and complementary skillset and recognise the strength in working together on the business. And it is a potent combination when they are looking out for each other. Jonathan Shine, who runs kid’s party invitation company Mini-Epic with his wife Ashley, says: “We find having clearly defined roles and tasks helps to keep the working relationship professional. We’re both aiming for the same goal, so that’s never in doubt, but knowing what is expected of each other cuts through any emotion and keeps everything about the work not the relationship.”
Design your own life brand
Many couplepreneurs tell me they have a better balance after they have set up a business together compared to their life before. Although the business can be all encompassing and switching off totally can be a challenge, they are achieving greater happiness in designing their own “life brand.”
Patricia Bacon is a business growth consultant and founder of Couplepreneurs, a global network for couples running businesses together