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Could You Work with Your Spouse?

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on November 5, 2007

We can’t make any promises about the ultimate success of your husband- and wife-run business—or your marriage. But we can tell you that so far our marriage and our business are both infinitely stronger. Here’s a quick quiz to help you gauge your work compatibility.

1. Does business travel with your spouse sound like a mini-vacation or your worst nightmare? Spending this much time with anyone is unnatural! You have to really look forward to being with each other.

2. Did you marry yourself or did you marry your opposite? Understanding the other person’s strengths can let you split responsibilities so you’re not in each other’s hair all the time.

3. Can you present a united front? Even if you disagree, be sure that your internal and external partners view you as respectful and supportive of each other.

4. Do you have some eggs not in that one basket? Your financial situation needs to be secure enough that regardless of what happens to the business, your family finances will be O.K. Set your limits for financial risk, and don’t go beyond them.

5. Can what happens in the office stay in the office? The benefits for a company are that the founders are on it—24/7. But your relationship needs to last past the years you’re working together. Have "no business" family dinners and weekends.

Would love to hear from spouses who are working together or plan to.

Daphne Kwon, CEO, and her husband, Bill Hildebolt, president
New York

Reader Comments

Jayne Goddard

November 6, 2007 12:01 PM

Three years ago I married my boss. We had already been working successfully together for five years before that. In that eight years we have both been promoted on several occasions and our department has grown by in excess of 100% (we now run it). From experience I would say that we are the exception. Most people just couldn't get the balance right and would probably kill each other just before one or both got sacked! Our company gets more than its pound of flesh from us as we do talk about work at home, but that's not to say that we don't occasionally discuss the shopping list in the office.

Daphne Hildebolt

December 13, 2007 5:35 PM

Jayne, great story! I totally agree that I think most marriages couldn't get the balance right. How your relationship works can be as important as how strong it is.

P Holley

April 11, 2009 1:30 AM

For a wife to join her husband in the insurance business selling property and casualty insurance and them still have some of their own space at the same office what do you suggest?

Laurie Bixler

November 5, 2009 3:03 PM

I have a blog about my life with my husband called: Since we have nearly 20 years of experience working and living, loving and hating together, I thought I would write about our experiences. Look into my blog and follow along as I “tell all”. Thanks for reading my blog.

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