Just over 18 months ago I walked away from my business and left it in my husband’s hands.
At the time I was so burnt out I didn’t care who was in charge of things as long as it wasn’t me. I was also humouring my hubby. I thought it would take about six months for him to work out that running a busy design business with 3.5 staff, two contractors and over 200 active clients was too much hard work. I figured by the end of the year we’d either be selling the business or winding it up.
You can see what’s coming can’t you? In my absence the business started to thrive.
Um … awkward!
After about a year I finally became un-burnt out. And I started coming back into the office.
And that’s when we started to fight. A lot. And I started to think oh my god, we’re going to have to sell our (now) very profitable business just to save our marriage!
Luckily I decided to try out these marriage saving tips about working with one’s husband before taking THAT drastic step!
1. Who’s the boss
So I knew I wasn’t the boss when I went back in the office. But I was still kind of the boss right? After all I had built the business doing things my way. So it was perfectly valid for me to express concerns about things that weren’t being done my way. Right?
Erm – wrong. Doing things my way certainly helped build the business. But ‘my way’ was also the reason I got so burnt out and found myself running a business rapidly approaching ‘unviable’. So when I came back to the office I had to understand that Ant (husband) was the boss and we were now doing things his way.
2. Save the power struggles for home
The problem was, it took a while for me to understand the above. And there was a lot I didn’t like. And quite often I would raise my concerns at the office, in front of our staff. This made things uncomfortable for well, everyone.
I had to learn to bite my tongue, trust in Ant’s methods and if I still had concerns, then they were to be raised at home – not in office. And certainly not in front of the staff!
3. The rules are the same for you as for everyone else
The major thing that Ant (logical and analytical mind) brought to the business that I (big-picture, creative mind) couldn’t, was a set of systems. And I really struggled to fall in line with these new systems when I came back. I also didn’t feel I needed to fall in with anything because I figured I was above the rules.
But of course no-one in an organisation is above the rules. And when one person tries to operate above the rules it is hugely de-stabilising. And when it is your husband who has created the rules and you try to flaunt them because that’s what wives do, then your husband is probably going to get a bit … annoyed with you.
4. Stick to what you do best
Generally speaking, if you’re married to someone, you have complementary personalities. In other words, you’re good at different things. And if this is good for a marriage, it’s bloody brilliant for a business – so long as each person sticks to what they do best.
It has become abundantly clear to me that Ant is very well suited to the operational side of a business. Not only is he good at it, he likes doing it. Where I get exhausted from too much human interaction, he likes the challenge of managing staff and clients, dealing with figures and creating systems.
Conversely, Ant has zero interest in social media and blogging and everything that goes hand-in-hand with marketing and positioning a business these days. Naturally, this is where I come in as I love all that stuff.
So having both of us doing what we do best is very good for business.
And setting the above boundaries when it comes to our business is very good for our relationship!