Running a Business With Your Spouse


Running a Business With Your Spouse
Tips on handling your work life separate from your married life!

By Nellie Akalp for

How one couple makes it work in a tough economy.

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Throughout the holidays, we all should unplug from our careers to focus on family, friends, and whatever else for which we're thankful. As I reflect, it's easy to focus on my four children, including my 6 month-old daughter, who bring purpose and meaning to my life.

And I'm so thankful that my husband and I, as two young law school students (several years ago!), decided to take the plunge and launch our own business. We've actually started two companies. We had the good fortune to sell our first business to Intuit back in 2005, then realized entrepreneurship was our passion and started all over again with our current business,, in 2009.

Related: How Women Compete With Men in the Workplace

I'll be honest, though. Running our business these past few years has proved to be more challenging than our first time around. The good news:all the ups and downs in this tough economy have actually brought my husband Phil and I closer together, as business owners and as husband and wife.

When things are tough, we need to be there for each other. I know I couldn't run this business without Phil, and vice versa. There are days when I look at Phil and I want to do better…to give it all I have to close a sale, help a customer, or dream up a new advertising campaign. I believe our love motivates us to do better at work, and the challenges at work give us newfound appreciation for each other's strengths and tenacity.

I know we're lucky. Financial stress and an economic downturn can wreak havoc on a marriage. But somehow, we've managed to not only keep our sanity, but strengthen our commitment to one another along the way. Here are a few techniques we've learned to strike the right balance between being healthy, happy marital partners as well as business partners:

1. Respect each other no matter what: I may not always agree with Phil (and vice versa!), but I always respect him. I understand we each bring our unique talents and strengths to the business. Believe me, I voice my opinion and stand my ground when needed, but I also recognize that there are times when I just need to trust where Phil is headed.

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2. Put your ego aside: In the office (well, at home too), it's critical to put your ego aside and do what's best for the situation. Adding your pride to the equation is a recipe for disaster…for both your career and relationship.

3. Leave business behind at the dinner table: This is the one time during the day where we try to make a clean break from being business partners. This simple rule helps us stay healthy and multi-faceted both as individuals and as a couple. Of course, with four young children, it would be practically impossible to discuss business at the table anyway!

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