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Entrepreneur

How Will Owning a Small Business Impact My Marriage?

By Tom Irmen

In a nutshell, if you’ve got a rock solid marriage, owning a small business will probably strengthen your relationship. If you have a lousy marriage, owning a small business will likely expedite your trip to court.


Judy and I are often asked how our marriage has survived 33 years of self-employment. Not to say that we haven’t disagreed at times, we truly believe that working together has actually improved our relationship.

Before we entered the world of self-employment, we each had separate careers. I was employed in industrial sales, and Judy worked in research and development for a large pharmaceutical company. Every morning, five days a week, we got into our separate vehicles and headed in separate directions.


The major difference between being an employee and self-employment is that we face each new day as a team. One row boat and two rowers, rowing in the same direction. Our self-employment experience provides us with us with a completely different perspective on life as we work as a team toward our shared objectives. We win together and support each other when things don’t go as well as we might hope.


But you need to make some adjustments in thinking if you hope to be successful in business as a couple.
» Park your ego. Edify both your spouse and your team for their successes.
» Abandon the blame game. Mistakes are inevitable. Focus on solutions. Succeed and admit your shortcomings as a team.
» Divide responsibilities between you and your spouse based on your skill sets.
» If your spouse stumbles, give them the freedom to discover their own solutions. When asked for assistance, offer help with a servant’s attitude.
» Be slow to criticize. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot by shooting your life partner.

Owning a small business will reveal a great many things about each of you. How you choose to respond to what you learn will determine the success of both your business and your marriage.

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