5 Ways To Achieve Work-Life Balance When You're In Business With Your Spouse

Photo: courtesy of the authors
work-life balance
Love, Self

Is it possible to work with your spouse?

When running a business, there are many obstacles you face along the way. Between hiring team members, expanding locations and staying on a budget, an added challenge can be achieving work-life balance, especially if you’re in business with your spouse.

When we decided to open up a fitness studio in 2016 and run the business together — after Sebastien had been doing it on his own for almost two decades — we knew there would be challenges. But the rewards both personally and professionally have far outweighed any challenges. In fact, we have a newfound admiration and respect for each other.

Bringing Dede on as a partner has re-energized both of us to look at the business in completely new ways. As a result, we have taken it to new heights with a new studio, another on the way, an apparel line, at-home workout videos, and more planned for later this year. 

RELATED: What It's Like Running A Business With My Spouse (Plus: 5 Rules For Success)

Working so closely together, we know very well that, at times, when you’re trying to keep things romantic in a marriage, bringing work into the equation can feel like a conflict of interest. Fortunately, if you adopt a few key standards, working with your romantic partner can actually serve your business, as well as enhance your relationship. 

Here are five ways we’ve discovered that a married couple can have a successful working relationship, all while keeping the love alive.

1. Stick to your side of the bed.

When you're working with your spouse, it's easy to want to overcompensate, do too much, or take on too large of a role. A key element of working with a romantic partner is sticking to your specific skill set and role, and allowing your wife or husband to do the same. In the same way that each partner serves a different role in a relationship, clearly define the roles each partner serves in a business.

When we are at work, we each have different roles. Dede runs and operates the studio and manages the sale of branded apparel, while Sebastien is responsible for the sale and licensing of the method and equipment. This division of labor plays to each specific skillsets and abilities.

When you're working with your spouse, know what your skills are, what your realm is, and try not to steal the covers.

2. Know your management style.

In business, there are different management styles. While some people are more directive, others operate off of a participative style. While working with your partner, it's important to have complimentary management styles and know what those styles are.

While Dede has a team-building approach to leadership, Sebastien has a coaching and directive leadership style. When working together, we each bring something different to the table when it comes to decision-making, getting input, and managing a team.

Whatever your style is, recognize yours and your partner's so you can collaborate and be on the same page when dealing with your employees and your clients.

RELATED: The 15 "Golden Rules" For An Everlasting Marriage

3. Shoot for the same basket.

One of the most important aspects of a successful marriage is having a shared goal for your relationship and future. Having a shared objective is just as important for a shared business. As a couple, you might have a plan for family, retirement and where you're going to live. In business, it's important to share similar mileage markers.

While we share a common mindset on where we hang our hat and where we're going to vacation next, we also strategize when we're going to launch/release new products and expand our reach. By sharing the same goals and vision for the future of the business and “shooting for the same basket,” we can best achieve our business goals.

4. Know when to turn off the "all business" attitude.

When you're running a business, it's important to be clear on your priorities. When you're in business with your spouse, your first priority needs to be your relationship.

While clients, work opportunities, and your team are important, your greatest asset is your partner. That means sometimes, you need to turn off the phone, unplug and spend time with each other instead of spending time working.

Have a ritual you observe together every day that is outside of the business. As a couple, we like to travel several times a year and share a passion for scuba diving. By taking time to nurture our romantic connection, go on adventures and invest in our relationship as well as our business, we can keep our business growing along with our marriage.

5. Keep an open dialogue.

For any partnership to work, communication is key. Sometimes in a relationship, you bank on your partner just knowing what you're thinking. While you may feel that you're psychically connected or completely aligned, that doesn't always translate in business.

Even though we can often tell what the other is thinking and finish each other's sentences, be sure you continue to communicate and not rely on “just knowing.” While it might be difficult to break some disappointing news about a client or a product, don't try to spare feelings. By being upfront and direct, we can overcome challenges and celebrate successes together as a team.

Married since 2013, Sebastien and Dede Lagree are a husband and wife duo who have both trained celebrity A-listers, from Sofia Vergara to Rihanna to Jennifer Aniston. Book a class with them at Lagree Fitness Studio and follow them on Instagram