How starting a business with your spouse is like having kids

It’s a big decision to make and a huge milestone in your life. A leap of faith. It’s the logical next step for two people so passionate about each other. A husband and wife come together and choose to create something bigger than themselves.

And that’s how a business is born!

Oh, and kids. That’s how kids are born, too (more steps involved, different blog).

Much like raising a family, you’re making a bet on yourself in starting a business. You hope that you get to share a piece of yourself with the world and (in this case) make a little money in the process.

I say “in this case” because if you have kids, you know that they do the absolute opposite of make you money. But that’s the major departure between these two ideas.

The concepts themselves aren’t the only similarities; many of the underlying principles behind each of these are also very similar.


You will each need to adopt roles

With our business, much like with raising our kids, Alex and I have adopted specific roles to divide up the work.

Someone will need to take care of finances, advertising and client relations, communicating with and wrangling vendors, inventory management, and then all of the fun tax and compliance issues need to be addressed on a yearly basis.

Play to your strengths whenever possible.

If you’re already doing the finances and budgeting for the family, it’s not much of a leap to do it for the business as well!

If you’ve always been a people person, maybe you should be the face of the company fielding orders and questions with clients.

If you hate life and want to drain what little spirit you have left in your soul, then taxes and yearly compliance filings are right up your alley!


The direction may not always be clear

Everyone seems to have “read the books” on having kids. Similarly, there are plenty of how-to business success books and academies out there for folks to waste their money on before they even start.

Sometimes, however, you just have to dive in and adjust fire as you go. That’s my approach to both parenting and to operating our business.

Being prepared is very important, don’t get me wrong! But each business out there, however similar to others in their industry, is unique and will come with its own set of custom issues and circumstances.

Don’t kill yourself over-preparing…no one is going to be an expert parent to your kids or expert owner of your business but you.


Mix business with pleasure

As with creating and maintaining offspring, you and your spouse should enjoy every step of creating and maintaining your business.

You love each other (presumably), and you love what you’re doing (again, a presumption), so stay passionate about what you’re doing. Make this business something you can enjoy doing together.

Don’t get wrapped up in the processes and in the roller coaster ride that comes with running a business. It’s going to happen, so lean into the valleys and enjoy the hills.