Myths and challenges for couples in business together

By Patricia Bacon

So many myths exist around couples that live together and run a business together. I have people become really quite emphatic telling me how they could never work with their partner when I tell them I have worked with very successful Couplepreneur businesses. And that’s ok. But we are witnessing a growing phenomenon and a movement towards more couples choosing to create a life brand with their partner. One of the objectives in setting up Couplepreneurs  – a global community for couple owned businesses to meet, share and inspire their stories and come together to support and be supported through the trusted advisor network within the community – is to dispel the myths around working together. So what are some of these myths?

They are all ‘Mom and Pop’ shops

This couldn’t be further from the truth. Couplepreneurs are all in and stronger together and they are so committed to creating a successful business – it’s as far removed from a little lifestyle brand on the side for extra income as you can get. To dispel this myth you need only take a look at Tots to Travel to see just what Wendy and Rob Shand have created through incredible work over the last 12 years.

They aren’t a viable business opportunity and taken seriously

Couples have told me that they have been asked to say they aren’t a couple when they have asked for funding – quite extraordinary. It’s as if they need to apologise for being all in and stronger together. The determination, focus, drive and shared vision to create a business together need to be given more recognition. We need to start backing them more. In a recent survey 37% of people questioned told us that they felt that they had been taken less seriously by investors, clients or employees because they are a Couplepreneur.

It must only happen at a certain age and in a particular sector

It has made me smile a lot when people tell with such conviction how it must be an ‘empty nestor’ who has a little bit of money and can create a lifestyle business once the kids have left home. That’s not quite right. Couplepreneurs are in fact 20 somethings right through to 70 somethings. You only need to take a look at Creative Nature Superfoods and Julianne Ponan and Matthew Ford who are 29 and 32 and have been running it for seven years already.  Contrary to public belief too it is happening across every sector from tech, food and media through to manufacturing, fitness, finance and property.

It just can’t work – you can’t ever switch off and where is the balance?

We are witnessing so many couples building businesses together that are experiencing a better balance after they run the company together. Whilst managing the life balance can be a huge challenge they get to spend more time together, have very complementary skillsets and enjoy working hard for their shared vision.

It must always be a certain person who sets it up

There are actually a myriad of ways couples come together with setting up their business. This can range from a strategic move from the outset to one partner setting it up and the other joining and everything in between. Example of these include Chris Forbes and Julie Chen met online and within two years had set up The Cheeky Panda while others like Caoimhe Bamber initially set up Digme Fitness with her husband Geoff coming to join later.

Patricia Bacon, pictured above, is an expert business growth consultant and founder of Couplepreneurs, a network for couples running businesses together