By Christian Denmon, an Octane blog contributor and founding business partner at Denmon & Denmon Trial Lawyers
Some people might cringe at the thought of living with their coworkers, but for couples in a family business, that’s just a regular day. Working with your spouse can have its difficulties, but it can also be incredibly rewarding. When my wife, Nicole, and I decided to start our law practice together, we knew we were about to begin one of the most challenging and exciting points in our lives.
From the daily commute to scheduling a vacation, here are a few ways in which working with your significant other can be your best (or worst) career choice.
Maintaining a Work-Life Balance
If your business is facing a particularly difficult challenge, it can be a relief to have someone at home who understands the stresses of work. After all, as your business partner, they are facing the very same issues. Conveying your frustrations isn’t nearly as difficult because of these shared experiences; however, there is a drawback. Within a family business, work-life balance often turns into work-life integration. Leaving work and its problems at the office is harder to maintain with your spouse – and co-worker – close by. This isn’t always a bad thing, but if you are the type of person who likes to keep the office and living room separate, this situation might be frustrating.
When you and your partner run a business, it might be a simple task to block off a weekend and just take off– no waiting on the boss to sign off, and no worrying about finding mutual free-time. From an outsider’s perspective, this would seem an ideal situation. And maybe this is the case for some couples. However, for the rest of us, it isn’t that easy. Who will take care of the business while you’re away? Many family businesses go to great lengths to plan and arrange vacation time, making sure someone is there to run things while they’re away. This can be a very difficult process, and as a result, many self-employed families rarely take vacations.
Little Things Add Up
As a business power-couple, blending personal and professional experience, additional moments together can greatly benefit your well-being and bottom line. You two might brainstorm solutions to a challenging project over breakfast and have ten new ideas before 8:00 a.m. You could commute to work together and save tons of gas. Moreover, if you’re having a tough day at the office, having someone you love ready with a smile can make a huge difference in your day. But, other realities pop up, too. If your business partner has an annoying habit that gets under your skin, being around him or her all day can drive you crazy. Similarly, if an aspect of their work performance annoys you, it would be tempting to bring it up at home, which isn’t the right place for a professional skirmish.
A Deepening Relationship
Working with a loved one means they see you at your best – professionally, as well as personally. When you make the tough calls at work, your partner understands why you have to make those decisions and supports your choices. But your biggest fan is also your toughest critic. They know you better than anyone else at the company, and they can see when you aren’t giving your all. They will expect more of you and will challenge you to deliver. While this can be stressful for your business and your relationship, it’s how you, your partner and your business will grow.
There are many challenges that come with working in a family business. However, for my wife and I, the benefits of working together make everything well worth it. After more than five years since we started our practice together, heading into the office with my life and business partner every morning is still one of my favorite parts of the day.
Christian Denmon is a founding business partner at Denmon & Denmon Trial Lawyers with his partner, Nicole Denmon. Christian is the recipient of AVVO Clients’ Choice award for family law and articles published in various law publications, including the Law Street Journal and Huffington Post. He aims to educate and inform future and present divorcees. Visit Denmon & Denmon Trial Lawyers, or connect with Christian on Google Plus