We've been married for 5 years, and we had an agreement that I would hold down steady jobs while she could explore her entrepreneurial side.
5 years of experimentation and I feel like she's really struck gold - found her Ikigai - and I am in complete awe of her doing SO MUCH as a solopreneur.
So we finally decided to join forces and go all in towards building our family business. If you're in the same boat, here's how it's been for us so far:
for reference, the business is part service (B2C lead generation agency) and part educational products (courses teaching online advertising)
1. Know Thyself
She's a creator (zero to one), I'm an improver (scale one to n).
She's a marketing genius, I'm a sales machine.
She moves fast, I'm quite deliberate. She's unorganized. I'm over-organized (Notion all the way).
I'm quite an operational mind and systems thinker. She's a lot more scrappy and highly efficient without a map.
We knew we were Ying and Yang. Have to act accordingly.
2. Know Your Areas
Once she started making over $10k in monthly retainer fees, the business had to do some adulting. I had the time to step back and take a 50-ft view of the 'Areas' of the business (made popular by the P.A.R.A method).
We started to distinguish and drawing lines between the type of work we would do together. Here are the areas:
Clients - Admin/Finance - Marketing - Products - Outsourcing/HR - Biz Dev - Upskilling - Strategy/Reflection
Every item in our task list (and every project) must correspond to an area's goals. If not, we drop it, or leave it in an incubator.
3. Work Life Balance
What life? We haven't cracked this one yet...we are always in a mood to talk shop.
4. Turning Insecurity into Strength
The business is her baby, it's heavily marketing focused - and my experience is far lower than hers in this arena. This initially was an insecurity of mine - will I be able to create value to our advertising agency?
I'm starting to flip that thought - what can a sales guy add to marketing, as an outsider? If she's strong at acquisition, what if I focus on conversion strategy?
The result is adding my flavour to the service offering - experiment in progress, but the the first prototype seems to work, with more lined up.
This itself could almost double the retainer we can charge each client, and the value to client increases ten-fold.
5. Verbalize everthing
If it's just the two of us, we have to constantly make an effort to articulate what we are thinking and what we are up to. It's a bit different for her - as a solopreneur, it was all in her had and notepad.
This obviously comes at the expense of time (more chats, more digressions, more fear sometimes) but also has benefits we can reap (making idea babies, sharing workload, getting systems in place)
6. Two mouths to feed, move fast
It's uncertain times and the business now has to feed both of us. We must focus on growth and retention. We're pushing each other to not let our ideas stay in the 'incubation' phase.
We must not expect better results by continuing to do what worked. This has been unsettling for her at first, but energizing once we mapped out the possibilities.
7. The ultimate goal
The ultimate goal is not to make tons of money (that's a big part of it) - the ultimate goal is to live life on our terms. We've been co-operating on our 5pm-9pm life, now we'll be co-operating on the 9-5 so we can live without permission.
Freedom to do what we want, how we want, when we want, where we want to do it from.
It's going be a long journey from where we are, but we are now on the road.
If there's more couple businesses in here, would love to hear/read your story!
We've got the red car syndrome - now we see husband-wife businesses ever where we look and it's awesome to see!
Good luck to us all :)