Having a business partner is not easy. Your have to give and take, combine your goals, and join in the success and failure that comes with business. Doing it with your spouse can be even harder. Feelings get involved. It can be both rewarding and stressful, and you can’t leave it at the office.

My wife, Sharon and I started our business, Creative Memories Inc, a cake shop, 23 years ago. We have enjoyed the growth of our business, and our lives together more than I can put into words. We have had good times and bad tiimes, but always, we were in it together. Most people spend their young lives looking for the one to spend the rest of it with. When they find that person, they settle into a life where they spend more time away from each other than together. You work separate, develop separate friends, interests, and often have to be at different places at the same time. This works well for many, not so much for others.

Sharon and I came from retail backgrounds, that is where we met. We decided to open our cake shop when there were not that many around. People thought we were crazy. Cakes were all we wanted to do, and so many thought we would fail. We looked at it in a different light, everyone has a birthday, most people get married, almost everyone celebrates someone at one time or another. Maybe they would need a cake. This was before all the cake shows on television, made cake decorating the fad it is now.

Sharon had the skills to create wonderful centerpieces for those celebrations, she is an exceptional decorator with an eye for her work. I had the skills to run a successful operation. By marrying these skills we thought we could have a profitable business. We were just partners in the beginning, not getting married until we were in our second year of business. Our passion for our work brought us closer and at the end of the day, we still wanted to be with each other, so we got married. Being married things changed, we could no longer leave work at work, it just naturally went home with us.

Together we put a plan in place that has worked for 23 years, very successfully. We each have our areas of responsibility and we stay out of the others area as best we can. Sure we occasionally cross over, and conflicts arise. We have even had some heated arguments that lasted longer than couples who don’t work together might have. But in the end we always realized, we both wanted the same thing, and we worked them out and got better both at home and work.

The key to working with your spouse, know your area, know theirs, trust them to do what they do. If they ask for your opinion, think first, then give it honestly without being argumentative. They are asking because you are their go to person, respond like it. You won’t always agree, but learn to compromise. The good thing about owning your own business, if you don’t like the results you can always change it again. Don’t take it personal when your spouse does not see it your way, you could be wrong to begin with. Learn to trust them not only as your spouse, but as your business partner as well.

Along the way you will make bad decisions, mistakes, all business owners do. Your spouse/partner can make you feel better about them much quicker than your friend/partner can. They are already your biggest fan and supporter. Think before you offer advice, and make sure it is advice, not criticism. The last thing either of you needs is the most important person in your life beating you down. Be the cheerleader they are looking for, they will in turn be yours.

Most of all enjoy your time together, make each other smile and laugh often. Sharon makes me smile even when she does not know it. Work should be fun, life is hard enough with out having fun. Your business will grow, your relationship both professional and private will both be enhanced if you do not forget at the end of the day, your going home together.

So to recap, and be successful.
1. Do something you both love, together you can CREATE MEMORIES
2. Have fun, enjoy your time together, your lucky to have it.
3. Have separate areas of responsibility.
4. Trust your partner to have your best interest at heart.
5. Be the second most important partner.
6. Remember your going home together at the end of the day.
7. Have your Cake and Eat it too.

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