The Pitfalls And Pluses Of Working With Your Life Partner

Many married couples have long established and successfully run family owned businesses. But can partners in life always translate into partners at work or is there a certain formula for success? Let’s get a better understanding of the pros and cons of pairing up in the business world and how best to manage this over time.

Some couples rarely get to spend quality time with each other between different work schedules, time spent commuting, at events, as well as doing personal chores. Working together means spending more time with each other and even though it may be a different type of being together, couples who enjoy each other’s company will certainly enjoy the benefit of more time.

However, like two sides of a coin, a commitment to working together translates into spending up to an extra 40 hours a week or more with your partner. For some this may cross the line and not give them enough time apart. Separate offices or working in different departments can often be a filter to prevent too much time overlap but still give couples added time to spend with each other.

If you’re starting a business with your partner and have found yourself spending 24 hours a day together for weeks on end, take some time alone on weekends or evenings where possible to engage in personal interests and activities to give each other some breathing room. If you have children, alternate the time you spend with them to give each of you some individual down time.

Working with partners also lets you see a whole other side of them, both at their best and worst. This will often help develop your understanding of them and build more respect and appreciation of their merits outside your relationship. Of course it’s important for both of you to commence business with a power-sharing agreement defined by cooperation and consultation, rather than one-sided authority. There are bound to be times when you disagree on business decisions, and it is important here not to let human egos get in the way but rather resolve matters by clearly defined roles and responsibilities that play to each other’s strengths.

Financially, it can be a risk working together if you are putting all your eggs in one basket. This risk is amplified if you are starting a new business together, so it’s important to develop avenues to handle any setbacks. Having a savings fund or a line of credit can give you peace of mind, and a backup plan in case your business plans don’t come to fruition.

Separating work and play is difficult enough for us as individuals, so it’s very important to keep your ability to switch between business and personal atmospheres with your partner. Talking about work at home can often turn your marriage or life partnership into a ‘business agreement’ type of relationship. Learn to switch off and avoid overlap. If you’re annoyed with your partner for not doing a particular chore, that should have no impact on your work relationship. Similarly, agree that you won’t discuss business at home and make an effort to be intimate – a short weekend getaway or a night out every now and again will do wonders for both your relationship and the business.

Above all, remember that your relationship comes first, so if working together is not working for you despite all of the above strategies, one of you may have to consider stepping out in an effort to preserve your relationship, as well as protect your business.

Developing A Leadership Mindset

We know that the quality of leadership along with the decisions you make, can determine the success of your team or organisation – for better or for worse.  But have you given much thought to your leadership mindset and how it can affect your organisation?

What is a leadership mindset?

As you know, your mindset is your mental attitude which in turn determines your overall behaviour.  There are two kinds of mindsets – one which prevents growth while the other allows you and your organisation to succeed and prosper.  But which one are you?

Leaders with a fixed mindset

  • Do you tend to avoid challenges?
  • Are you more concerned with how you come across to others than making mistakes?
  • Do you feel threatened by your more successful colleagues or counterparts?

If this sounds like you, then chances are you are inhibiting yourself and your success in some way, as well as limiting the progress and the achievements of others.  Attaining less than your full potential is not beneficial when it comes to being a strong leader.

Leaders with a growth mindset

  • Do you love a challenge?
  • Are you willing to make mistakes in order to learn and grow?
  • Do you learn from the successes of others?

If this sounds like you then you have the ability to advance and achieve great victories.  Those under you will find you motivational and can learn a lot from the way in which you run your business.

Being able to lead, even without knowing all the answers is a win-win for all.  Often as a leader we are learning on the spot and the need to embrace a challenge, while often difficult, is beneficial.

What is missing in your leadership mindset?

What is missing in your mindset?  Are you really able to lead?  Do you have the ability to take ownership of your position without any apology and be ready to take the lead when difficulties arise?  If you are afraid of being judged and constantly evaluated on your actions, then maybe this is an area which could do with more work.  You want to aim to be an authentic leader who can be a role model to others when the going gets tough.

Do you have a leader’s mindset or just a mindset about leading?

Too often leaders, when they get to the top, stop learning and the growth mindset shuts down reverting to a fixed mindset.  They stop wanting to learn how to become better leaders and are threatened by negative feedback.  The desire to be a leader is just not enough particularly in the changeable and often unpredictable business environment in which we work.

Are you excelling in your skills and giving away your weaknesses?  If so, give yourself a pat on the back.  If not, then you will need to work more on these skills and apply a bit more of an effort to do just that.

Great leaders are not necessarily born, they can be made.  Knowing this, is half the battle.


Ricky Nowak is a high energy and dynamic Certified Corporate Trainer, Workplace Assessor and Behind Closed Doors Facilitator whose 25 years of corporate experience makes training sessions come alive with real learning. She is passionate about developing authentic business leaders and inspires the participants to contribute comfortably as she connects and communicates naturally with them.

Facing Challenges As A Young Female Entrepreneur

Being an entrepreneur can be a tough gig, but in a business sphere that still largely caters to men over women, it can be particularly daunting for a young woman to break into the market. Here are some tips that will help any young female entrepreneur knock hurdles out of her way and successfully launch a business:

Prepare for the market before you begin

Do your market research before starting your business. Being passionate about the product or service you’re offering is great, but it won’t verify your business strategy.  You need to find out what people want and what they’re willing to pay for it.

Business Plan

Develop a one page business plan that clearly outlines your vision, business objectives and purpose for being in business. Identify your target market, how you are going to promote your product or service and revenue targets.

Cash is King

Engage an accountant who can advise you on the most effective way to set up your business and a business banker who can advise on your banking needs. If you don’t have financial skills, get some education! Most businesses fail because of lack of financial management.

Project what you want others to see

You only get one chance at a first impression so make it count! When meeting customers or joint venture partners for the first time, remember that these people don’t know you. Customers will become clients if they like you, so create a memorable first impression, both in personality and appearance.

Stay true to your concept

Everyone fears criticism and skepticism when starting a business, but younger women can often take criticism personally and start doubting their plans. Don’t let your critics sidetrack you; stay true to your concept and listen to what their experiences can teach you to enhance your good idea(s).

Build Relationships

Be outgoing. Be confident and show a positive and outgoing attitude, demonstrating credibility and experience.  Engage in conversations, listen and share relatable experiences.  Add value!

Meet expectations

Your focus needs to be on gaining respect for your sense of business and expertise as well as delivering on what you say you will do. Never over promise and under deliver.

Engage a mentor

Connect with other entrepreneurs who have successfully built businesses and find a mentor who understands your vision and is willing to be your sounding board.  They will challenge your thinking and keep you accountable. A good mentor can provide a powerful boost to the success of you and your business.