Mixing business and relationships used to be known as a recipe for disaster. People think that an entrepreneur who wants to start a business with his or her partner is stepping into unstable ground that could lead to clouded decision-making.
Thankfully, power couples nowadays like Kong Wan Sing and his wife Lu Liu, founders of JustCo, or Amanda Wee and her partner Simon Cheng of Pique Tea, or Lynsey Lim and her husband Adi Ong of Handmade Heroes prove that love and business can mix. As if being an entrepreneur were not already exciting enough, why not go for the home run and add your lovelife to the mix?
Being an entrepreneur while being in a romantic relationship at the same time is a lot of work. However if you do it right, you end up getting the best of both worlds. You get to grow and spend a lot of time with your partner, doing the things you’re both passionate about.
Now, if you’re currently considering making this kind of career shift with your partner, this guide can help you transition from employee to entrepreneur.
Let’s take a look at what’s needed to make this setup successful.
Tips on how to balance entrepreneurship and relationship
The relationship comes first
This is considered to be the hardest step to take for an entrepreneur. No matter how demanding the business can get, your relationship should always be the priority.
My partner and I once ran a small-scale restaurant. During the first few months, we almost forgot about each other even though we worked together and saw each other every day. We were so focused on the recipes, menu, costing, and all other details we didn’t make time for dates anymore. It was during one brainstorming session that we just paused and looked at each other. Then I asked him, “When was the last time we went out for a movie?”
Every entrepreneur knows the lure of heading straight on towards your dream. At the same time, it’s essential to never forget that you are reaching for those dreams with someone else.
Find someone who understands both love and business
Combining business and love is best done with someone who shares the same interests and passions as you. Whether field you’re in, everything will be analyzed, planned out and decided more effectively if your minds are similarly programmed.
Understand that you and your partner, as entrepreneurs, will clash, almost daily. There is no such thing as a perfect relationship with no arguments; and now, you just added business matters to the list that could trigger a fight. The key is to be kind, respectful and to fight well. Imagine the sense of accomplishment when the topic you were fighting about gets resolved beautifully alongside things working out for the business.
Designate roles and responsibilities
Having a mind that is geared towards finance, I handled all the costing, budgeting and money matters of the business. My partner was responsible for most of the actual operations. This is how we made the whole system efficient.
Start with pinpointing your strengths and weaknesses. More often than not, you are with your partner because you complement each other. This is the moment for both of your strengths to shine in order to make the business succeed. You’ve got a teammate and a partner you love bundled up into one, isn’t that great?
It’s the goal of every organization to be as transparent as possible. This builds trust between the company and its employees as well as the organization and the community. A relationship that includes business and love will need to function in the same way. We all know that trust is key in making the foundation of a romantic relationship strong and secure. As entrepreneurs, you will need to extend that trust even on business issues.
Transparency extends to honesty and leads to trust. The secret ingredient to make it work is communication. Because now, it is not only the success of your relationship that rests on you and your partner’s shoulders, but your business’s as well. Whether you are completely annoyed at your partner or unsure of the next venture, issues must be communicated.
In a love-with-business relationship, you get to cheer each other on and be vulnerable with each other. This is because you know full well that you’ve got each other’s backs.
Create goals and dreams
It’s time to talk about short-term and long-term goals. As entrepreneurs, your 2-year, 5-year, and 10-year plans need to be plotted out with clear action steps. As romantic partners, the same guidelines apply. My partner and I listed how many brick-and-mortar branches we want, by when and how we’ll get there. We also have a personal bucket list that contains the places we want to visit, things to do, travel dates and costs.
Having your goals written down is a great way to make dreams into reality. This way, you’re holding yourselves accountable to achieving them.
The next step is to believe that together, you can achieve those dreams and goals.
Stick to a schedule
The great thing about being an entrepreneur is owning your time and being your own boss, but it is not always that easy. The first few years or the start-up period will demand a lot of your time and effort. Then there is your partner who you love and cannot disregard. One way in overcoming the hurdle of a hectic schedule is to find a routine that works for you both. Simple things like setting one day every two weeks for grocery, scheduling a cleaning day, date nights, etc. For me and my partner, Tuesdays and Fridays were our marketing days to buy stocks for the restaurant.
If you are a Friendsfan, then you will be very familiar with Monica’s “lists, schedules, and notes addiction.” I’m a Monica and my partner knows to be extra cautious when I have that crazy gleam in my eyes. It means I need to make a list and schedule things out. Find a way to create a routine, establish it, and make it work. This will help lighten the load and lower the chances of things piling up.
The fine line between entrepreneurship and relationship
Merging love and business is a very fulfilling situation to be in, but there are still some fine lines to be aware of. First and foremost is the phrase, “It’s not personal, it’s business.” This is kind of ironic, right, because your romantic partner is also your business partner. But it still holds true for this kind of relationship.
When you and your partner are going through a rough patch personally, you can’t let it affect the business. The same is true the other way around. Keeping the two from getting convoluted, especially when it comes to issues and problems, will help maintain clear decision-making.
Do you create another joint account for the business? Is it wise to avail of a company credit card? Who will handle the finances? How much do you save vs. how much to invest per month? Are you ready to increase salaries? These are some of the questions involving money that must be talked about and put in writing.
Money matters are usually tricky things to tackle but they are critical to the success of your relationship and business.
A money matter that requires special mention is the emergency fund. No matter how young and healthy you are or how stable things are financially, the emergency fund remains a priority. This infographiccould help you jumpstart a more secure financial future.
Maybe you and your partner already have a business together, and you’re feeling a little lost in the mix. Maybe both of you are currently considering this option. I want to tell you, based from the tips above, that mixing love and business does not have to end in disaster. Becoming a successful entrepreneurial power couple is not only possible, it really is very rewarding.
All it takes is some rolling up of your sleeves, with lots of talking and understanding. You’ll find out that what you love with the one you love.Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in Entrepreneurship, Relationships, Life