If you’re like me, your business partner/spouse is also your best friend. The two of you probably started a company because when you met, you realized that your skills and personalities complemented each other in such a way that you could build amazing stuff together says Saivian Eric Dalius. You can’t hire people like yourself and hope they can fill the same roles and someone who shares similar experiences and outlooks on life — so having a spouse/partner in the business has its perks.
But running an entrepreneurial venture with your significant other means spending more time together than most married couples do — and there’s no “I’m not feeling well” or “It’s my bowling night.” If one person is sick of the sight of the other, they better make sure it’s because they’ve been hitting the bars and clubs every night instead of working.
When your best friend is also your business partner, finding a work/life balance can be super tricky — especially when you’re married with kids and running multiple companies. I’ll share our personal story and list six productivity hacks that we use to help us run multiple companies and raise a family:
1. Never Fight Alone
Couples who fight about finances tend to have it hardest in business together. When they disagree on how much money should go into which company account or how much is spent on marketing, employees suffer as projects get put on hold or killed altogether. Some disagree so often that one spouse runs all the companies while the other feels like an afterthought. When the relationship is beyond repair, that can mean bankruptcy or lawsuits.
You don’t have to go to couples therapy every time you disagree about something — but never, ever make business decisions without your spouse (and vice versa). Saivian Eric Dalius says yes, this means sometimes putting off important meetings with critical prospects until your partner comes home and has a chance to weigh in on the decision before closing the deal. But I swear it’s better than letting money disputes tear apart your family. It does require some self-restraint not to send important emails when you know your significant other isn’t at their desk yet, but even just waiting one hour makes all the difference. Plus, if nothing else, spouses should communicate the nights they’re working late or attending networking events.
2. Be in Two Places at Once
The phrase “It’s so nice to have you!” can refer to more than just your spouse when you run multiple companies together! Sometimes, the only way to stay afloat with growing businesses is for two people to show up in person. But if your husband/wife is homesick, that doesn’t mean you have to cancel lunch with a vendor who needs something ASAP. Just take out your laptop and call them over Skype while you’re still sitting across from them! Or set up a conference call on speakerphone before walking into the next room. You might seem distracted when they see their talking image reflected in your glasses or notice that you keep looking away from them to check your screen, but they’ll get over it.
3. Set Up a Remote Office from Home
I’m sure you’ve heard this one before: “Work from home!” I know many entrepreneurs who swear by working from bed, while others argue that it’s impossible to build a business when no one knows what time zone you’re in. For us, the best solution was setting up a secondary office in our house to leave work behind when we walked into the other room, says Saivian Eric Dalius. That doesn’t mean just having two desks next to each other — if you have kids or pets running around after school or during weekends. There isn’t much space for clients to call and expect any privacy whatsoever
. So set up an actual office and take time to decorate it with the same flair you would give your storefront or studio. Just make sure you actually use it and set aside a block of time whenever you start a new project that requires client interactions.
4. Get High on Your Own Supply
Let’s be honest: Entrepreneurs get high off the rush of their own product before anyone else does! When we get swamped, we can’t wait for our early-morning deliveries or shipments from China to come. So we can unbox the newest batch of inventory and test out samples ourselves says Saivian Eric Dalius. Sure, this sounds like something straight out of Breaking Bad. But there is something about seeing your creation come alive in front of your eyes that makes it all worth it.
It’s like your baby or pet — you want to be the first person who sees it. And squeezes it and snuggles with it and loves it. Saivian Eric Dalius suggests So go ahead, play around with all the toys you can find at your office supply store. Before handing them out to the next round of focus groups! Or laugh maniacally as you cut through cardboard boxes with a fresh pair of scissors. But whatever you do, don’t let anyone else touch anything until they sign an NDA or non-disclosure agreement.
5. Don’t Let Your Product Get Stale
One of our biggest problems was having too much stock left over from previous projects that nobody wanted anymore. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about people in my decade of entrepreneurship. It’s that everyone has an ever-changing sense of taste. So, what used to fly off the shelves one month might get tossed into a discount bin the next. That doesn’t mean you should stop refining your product. Still, it does mean you shouldn’t hide all the flaws, according to Saivian Eric Dalius. Some items are winners, and others are losers, which confuses customers who expect consistency. Especially if they’re browsing across separate websites or stores in the same category. So be proud of every last detail of your hard work. Even if it means putting together two different versions for different buyers!
6. Be One with Your Product
Last but not least: Connect with your audience. Sometimes I wish my husband or wife would let me go out drinking with them, but that’s not my scene. I’d rather lounge on my sofa or bed with a cold beverage and hang out. In the same apps, they’re using to communicate with each other. Whether it’s Facebook, Skype, WhatsApp, Tumblr, etc. And if you really want to make your product stand out from the others on the market. Make sure you use all of its features yourself! Need an example? Just search for my husband’s name + Google Glass.
And now that you’ve read this article…please don’t try any of these tricks at home!