Friday, May 15, 2009

"I Do" Now Sign the DBA

A compelling article appeared on the front page of MSN today entitled, "Should You Work with Your Spouse?"

This is something I know a great deal about. Though I originally started our business through being on my own at first, the original business morphed into another business, which 18 months after its inception allowed my husband to leave his job in corporate America and at the end of this summer, I'm happy to say, it's been six years of togetherness.

Has it been sunshine and roses and a piece of cake every day?

Certainly not.

But, with diligence and commitment to our cause (okay, I couldn't ever work for someone else and now, neither could he, so you see we don't really have a choice) we have worked through our early difficulties and have struck a good albeit, delicate balance.

This is not always the case.

Eve Tahmincioglu, in her article asserts, "Working together had a negative impact on our marriage."

She goes on to say:
"The main reason: The business became the focus of their lives."

I am not sure at what point Entrepreneur Chick and spouse noticed, but slowly and subtly, the business, in fact, did rule.

We have often made the comment, "Our business and our marriage run parallel."

If the business is good, our marriage is good.
If the business is having problems~ our marriage, low and behold, is having problems.

Now let me tell you the main reason.

Is it the business that's causing problems? Really?


It's the money that's causing problems, really.

Cash flow and lack thereof equals one thing.

And fear can make people tense, nervous, cranky, and irrational.
The fear is- we will not have enough.

Our pastor commented a few Sundays ago as to why husbands and wives fight and said, "Now wouldn't it be something if the wife turned to her husband and said, Wow, we have all this money. What should we do with this big pile of money?"
"I don't care- whatever you want to do with this big pile of money is fine with me."

Money is one- employees are another. Clients, still another.

My personal style is to tend to throw it all on the wall, devil-may-care, and see what sticks.

My spouse is more thoughtful and tentative.
My spouse also is usually right.
He has a saying, "Brotha can't be right, brotha can't be right." He's black. I'm not.

This has caused many a fight~me plowing ahead, see if I care, and he waiting until he gathers more information to make an informed choice.

He calls me his "Anny Oakley". Just shootin' up a storm. Surely she'll hit something.

After all, even a blind squirrel lucks up on a nut now and then.

So I'd say there's 5 main reasons for Conflict:

1. Business can rule your life, which is irritating.
2. Cash flow is irritating sometimes
3. Employees are irritating sometimes.
4. Clients are irritating sometimes.
5. You both can have very different management styles, which is irritating sometimes.

Once, we were doing a two day event for Texas Instruments with about 1,500 people each day.

I had the cordless mic and was about a quarter of a football field away from my husband addressing the crowd.

"Hey! Some thing's wrong with my mic!" I turned and shouted at the top of my lungs, wildly waving my arms to get his attention.

"No. Nothing's wrong with your mic. I turned you off." said spouse.

Spouse must die.

Spouse must die now!

Ha, ha, ha. Very funny. It's funny now- but then.... not so much.

So, you're going to be irritated, that's not an "if" it's a "when".

This is what we do though, that helps create a very good balance and does not let our business rule or run our lives:

1. We don't talk about business ever on Sundays. This is refreshingly important and is an excellent mental break. If one of us inadvertantly starts business talk, the other gently reminds, "It's Sunday. Sorry."

2. We spend time with family.

3. We spend time doing something that's important to us- like non-profit work.
My husband is on the Board of Directors for our Chamber of Commerce and we both served on the Board of Directors for Friends of the Library, as an example.

4. We often ask ourselves, "What do you want to do for fun today?"

5. We drink. (I'm just making sure you're paying attention.)

All work and no play makes Johnny a Dull Boy and also can wreck a relationship- just have a strategy to combat this sticky mud hole tailored to your unique needs as a couple, and, ever the optimist, Entrepreneur Chick thinks you'll be just fine.
P.S. I tried to find a graphic of an interracial couple arguing but apparently they never argue because I couldn't find one. It's not P.C. you know. 'M bad.


  1. Great post. Funny, about your husband calling you Annie Oakley. Although we do not own a business together, my husband often calls me Action Aly. Leaping before I look, I suppose.

  2. Action Aly,
    Truly a girl after my own heart who knows that
    judiciousness is highly overrated. And boring.
    And it takes longer.
    P.S. Wanted to tell you that I saw a t-shirt at that says, "I think that's my stapler", I thought of you!

  3. Ha--very funny post! But you never told us why he turned your mic off. Must know!

  4. Okay, Mr. Entrepreneur has his version and I have mine.
    HIs version goes something like this- "Well, honey, I'm sorry but you were just going on and on~ I had to stop you."
    My version goes something like this- "No, see? I was letting them know valuable information and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah."
    Robin, you've known me for 12 years.
    I wouldn't blame you if you went with Tony on this one. *******me