While on the surface it may seem like a good idea, if not approached properly, working at home with your spouse could be a decision that you’ll eventually regret. Sure, it can mean significant savings to the family budget, cutting down on things like gasoline, clothing and meals, however, being married can be tough enough without spending all day . . . everyday . . . and night together.
I had a much easier adjustment than my wife. After being on the road six days a week for eight years, working at home felt like a never-ending summer vacation. My wife on the other hand has been telecommuting from home for seven years and was used to the peace and quiet of being home alone. Now, all of a sudden, the tranquil surroundings that allowed her to concentrate on tedious projects was interrupted by the crunch of cereal as I peered over her shoulder and questioned her about her work. She also didn’t seem to appreciate being presented with a daily list of assignments – lovingly prioritized – to move our home business forward. No matter how gently I tried to explain to her that I was now in a position to be her “coach” and “Sensei,” she just wouldn’t accept my new role.
All the little “adjustments” can be endured as long as both of you have a clear understanding of the goals you want to achieve in your business. You may learn that your expectations of the business and those of your partner are very different. It’s best to write your goals down and revisit them often as you move your business forward. Clearly agreeing on defined goals will go a long way toward ensuring you are both playing in the same game. Unfortunately, if your goals are not aligned, your business will fail and your marriage could suffer irreversible damage.
In any kind of business it’s also very important to have clear roles. This is especially true when building a home-based business with your spouse. Jointly decide who will own the role of CEO (sales and marketing) and who will own the role of CFO (accountant and bookkeeper). The CEO spends to generate income while the CFO pays the company’s bills and is very aware of the bottom line. It’s best to look at each other’s skills and plan individual roles that best compliment the strengths of each partner; however, a word of caution is in order. Just because one partner may have stronger skills or more experience in a particular area doesn’t necessarily mean that he or she wants to own those responsibilities. The spouse taking on the role must be willing to do so.
The decision-making role – like CEO – must be handled by one of the spouses, but there are others – like bookkeeping – that can be easily outsourced. Service providers for practically any type of work are plentiful and hungry for your business.
Isn’t one of the reasons you’re building a home-based business so you can do what you want, when you want and how you want? Forcing an unwanted task on an unwilling partner is asking for trouble. Spend the money . . . save the marriage!
Can you feel the storm brewing without clearly defined goals that will lead to miscommunication?
By all means, stay away from the “I’m the boss” mentality. I’ve tried it and failed miserably!
Try to avoid mixing work and family issues when on the job. It can be a great thief of time and focus. It’s best to set a schedule for work with time to relax and play. Go out on a date every now and then. It will do both of you some good – the business and your relationship.
While all this may sound somewhat like a tirade, I surely don’t mean it to be. These are just a few things to think about before jumping overboard and trying to tread water in a new environment, no matter how familiar. I absolutely love working from home with my wife (besides – she’s the smart one) and would never want to go back on the cold lonely road again.
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