So, You Want to Go Into Business With Your Spouse...
Create a shared goal with your spouse
Play to your individual strengths
Endurance and grittiness are key
“What is it like being Jeremy’s assistant?”… is one of the most abhorrent questions Kathryn is asked on a regular basis. We tell people that we own a business and people assume that I am “in-charge”, “steer the ship”, and “run the show”. The truth of the matter is that my wonderful wife, Kathryn, is as much a leader if not more.
When we decided to go into business as partners it became evident that our relationship would have to change if we were to be successful. Don’t get me wrong, there were some long nights and heated arguments. But working together and being married has been incredible for the business and for our marriage.
Here are some tips that will help you if you want to go into private practice with your spouse.
1. Shared Goal
The cornerstone to going into business with your spouse is a shared goal, a common objective. Often times this means having a passion that is shared. Kathryn and I not only share a passion for billing but we care about mental health practitioners and making their life easier.
It is our common interests that drive our business relationship, and it is our common values that has impacted how we grow and scale. When we hire staff, work alongside vendors, develop the business, and make decisions we do so understanding that we want to genuinely help and provide value.
A shared goal and common passion was not something that we talked about and planned. It was just there. It was like two people staring at a great work of art and sharing the same appreciation. You don’t fabricate it, it is just there.
2. Different Strengths
“That is great, you share a passion/commitment, blah blah blah, but HOW does it work?”. Great question! It works through trial and error. We have learned through a series of experiments where each of us fits in our role based on our strengths. It was hard but now that we know this dance it is much easier.
Because people think in terms of hierarchy (understandably so), Kathryn would fit a CEO role. This role can be best compared to the role of the conductor. She makes the orchestra sound great. She plays this role well. She can see the big picture and just knows how to get to our objectives. I play a role that focuses on execution of a plan. We have only found where we fit based on clear communication and trial and error.
3. Equal Grittiness
Finally, if you want to go into business with your spouse you need to have a fair bit of grit. Kathryn and I never give up on a goal and we hold one another accountable to accomplish those goals. Even when things get hard we don’t give up on the goal and we don’t give up on each other.
Don’t get me wrong we need consistent breaks and need to slow down from time to time. But we keep chipping away at the goal. We want to see each other utilize our potential, our staff’s potential, and our company’s potential.
We understand that going into business with your spouse is not for everyone, and we respect that decision. We also know that working together and living together can be challenging. But ultimately I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Our company, our marriage, and I wouldn’t be the same if we weren’t in this together.