Commonly, when we meet new people, they are amazed that we have owned a business for 13 years, working side-by-side in the daily activities of what that brings, all while being married to each other.
Searching for help didn’t always yield real results, because we are in a somewhat unique situation for most marriage counselors.
And it wasn’t like we were fighting all the time (well ok, we seemed to fight a lot), but we just couldn’t seem to agree on anything of substance. We especially couldn’t agree on what the OTHER PERSON should be doing.
Our business started primarily as a business computer networking company in 2005. We lived in a rural area where several small towns had small and medium-sized businesses. Marc had a knack for computer stuff, having been involved with printing for 22 years. He just ‘knew’ how to hook things up and make them work for everyone. And he is a quiet personable person, who didn’t look like the typical computer nerd.
However, I did the scheduling of appointments, answered the phone and determined what his days should look like.
And he and I didn’t always agree on those schedules.
I dictated and he rebelled. I scheduled and he rescheduled.
I promised and he rearranged those promises to meet his needs.
Unlike what we should have done (and what advice we would give to you now), we never really sat down and had a Visioning session to determine what our goals and vision for our business. We didn’t make big pro/con lists of why we might be successful in business.
It was simply, “I’m tired of working for other people, and I think we can make this work.” And off we went. I don’t recommend this as a strategy, but I get the sense that a lot of businesses start like this.
Thankfully, we have long since worked through these issues, and our business has morphed several times over the years. We no longer do work that requires wrestling with anyone else’s schedules, and we have spent time Visioning as our business has changed.
A couple we interviewed when asked how they decided to buy the business they have owned for 48 years, said, “I went in to order business cards and the woman indicated she didn’t know how long it would take as her husband was ill. I joked that they should just sell me the business and I would print my own cards. Later that night, the man showed up at my doorstep in his pajamas, and we hammered out an owner-financed buyout.” It wasn’t a long, arduous negotiation, just two guys passing the business torch from one to another.
His wife became the bookkeeper, even though she kept her other job full-time (which seems to be a common theme in many small, couple-owned businesses), and they continue to work in the business today, even though they are now in their 80’s.
Anyway, we didn’t think much about the beginning of our business. We just wanted to do it and decided to take the plunge and learn along the way. Now, you can have the benefit of the mistakes and suggestions of many people, including us, who are living and working together!