Hey, all! I know it’s been forever since I’ve posted anything, but I have been slammed with new clients and lots of work (yay! And boooooo! But mostly yay!) over the last year.
Meet my guest poster, Ivy Boudreau. She’s a writer friend who’s breaking into the competitive writing field, and she is very talented. She generously offered to write me a guest post and I highly recommend taking a peek.
5 Tips for When Your Business Partner is Your Life Partner
By Ivy Boudreau
Working from home as a self-employed freelancer or business owner is the goal for many of us, but what happens when this goal is shared with your significant other?
Sharing a life with someone who also possesses this core part of your values can be delightful and building a business together can be even better. As wonderful as it is, however, it brings its own set of challenges, and things can become even trickier if you share a home as well.
My partner of three years and I live and work together. We’re both building our freelance businesses (he does videography and I write), and we’re also creating a business that brings Pilates and wellness videos to anyone, anywhere through an online subscription service.
I love the fact that we have such similar desires for our lives but navigating personal and business when they so easily become intertwined has required a lot of evaluation, trial, and error.
These are a few of the strategies we’ve figured out that help us work together happily and productively and our businesses running smoothly without taking over the rest of our lives.
Keep your living and working spaces separate.
There’s nothing like getting home at the end of a long day at work to breathe, relax, and enjoy the company of your loved ones.
Unless – oh wait! – you’ve already been home all day trying to tune out your loved ones as you tackle whatever the workday brings.
To preserve the peace of your home and the productivity of your workspace, keep your living and working areas separate whenever possible.
Depending on your situation, you can try working alone or separately at a cafe, a coworking space, or even in a common area of your apartment building.
No worries if you need to stay home – you can designate a specific corner of the kitchen or living room as the “office” and confine all work conversation to that area.
Doing this was a huge breakthrough for us. By confining work conversations to a different physical space, we no longer felt suffocated by talk of our businesses threatening to creep into every conversation.
Our home could once again be a space for us to just relax and retreat from the pressures of the world, and we also began to approach our business meetings in a more professional manner.
Have clearly defined roles and communicate them.
A lot of our business-related arguments have stemmed from the fact that we assumed we could read each other’s minds and were on the same page with the same priorities. Listen, even if you feel that you have a soul-mate level connection with your significant other, you still have to approach your business as a business and thoroughly discuss every decision and every marketing plan to ensure nothing is falling through the cracks.
Clearly designate your roles so that you understand who is taking care of social media marketing, who is handling accounting, and when you need to clarify future plans.
Communicating will also streamline your process because it ensures that you won’t both be needlessly working on the same thing.
Give each other alone time to really focus on work.
This might sound like a no-brainer, but on a slow morning it can be tempting to just pull out your laptops and work side-by-side on the couch. If you’re able to do this without immediately getting distracted, kudos to you, but I know that in our experience, working in the same space inevitably leads to deep-dives down philosophical conversation wormholes and anime show binges.
Working in different rooms, different locations, or even wearing noise-canceling headphones in another corner of the room can mean all the difference between a semi-productive session and full, fruitful concentration.
Create a shared schedule.
Similar to tip number 3, schedules help you make sure that you’re on track with business goals and that you’re avoiding double-booking. Buy a big wall calendar, hang it in a central location, and plan out your days, or use a joint calendar app if you prefer tracking your days electronically.
Not only does sharing a schedule help you increase productivity in your work, but it also allows you to coordinate other aspects of your life for maximum efficiency.
For example, my partner and I both have part-time jobs at which we work on weekends, which gives us lots of time throughout the week to concentrate on our businesses.
We also try to coordinate our schedules to give each person at least one day at home alone each week to rest, recharge, and work on personal projects uninterrupted.
Make time to just be a couple.
I’m going to be realistic – you’re going to be putting in a lot of long days (and nights!) in the early days of a business, and that doesn’t leave much time for dates or weekend outings.
However, even though long hours are unavoidable, at least at first, it’s so important to make time every now and again to see each other through the lens of life partners, not just business partners.
This could be as simple as having breakfast together and chatting about non-work-related topics before a long day or taking a walk after dinner once or twice a week.
Your business is important, but so is your relationship, and you’ll come away from these experiences feeling even more connected and ready to take on any challenges together, whether in business or in life.
Working with your significant other can have its difficulties, but it’s ultimately very rewarding. Communicate, be respectful of each other’s time, and remember to keep business and personal separate, and you’ll be well on your way to experiencing a productive and fulfilling new facet of your relationship.
Ivy Boudreau is a professional blogger specializing in sustainable living and brands. When she’s not writing copy to help eco-conscious brands save the planet, you can find her knitting, going on adventures with her partner and their cats, working out, or making art. Find her online at her website boudreauivy.wixsite.com/ivybwrites, her Medium page @boudreauivy, or her online Pilates business align247.vhx.tv.