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Working with your partner - the basics (Working together, sleeping together)
by Startacus Admin
Krisi Smith, one half of the dynamic partnership that established Bluebird Tea Co., explores the pros and cons, and offers some top tips to successfully working alongside someone you love.
Most days I wake up thinking I am incredibly lucky to not only be working for myself, doing something I love and creating a worthwhile business, but I also get to do it with my partner Mike. Although, I do get told a lot that this is most people’s idea of their worst nightmare!
I would be lying if I said it isn’t hard at times, sometimes infuriating, but I must admit we are lucky that we make such a good team. While I play to my strengths in the creative design areas he looks after the financial planning and strategy.
One of the massive bonuses, and thing I like most, about working with someone you love is that when you have to face something new it is exciting rather than frightening. When we try something new with Bluebird I know that Mike is there by my side trying it with me. We are in it together, making it twice as likely to succeed. And if something goes wrong there are two of us to face it.
It is also interesting and invigorating to find out that some of the things that can be challenging in our personal relationship, for example our completely different outlook on absolutely everything is actually a massive positive for our business. The classic cliché of two heads being better than one is definitely true if you can work constructively together.
I have heard people say not to get into business with friends or loved ones and although I can see how these types of business relationships can become emotionally weighed, it is undoubtedly useful having someone like minded and on your side to sound out your thoughts to.
Something you have to be careful about is getting so far into the woods that you can’t see the trees. When there are two of you investing so much into your business idea, it can become difficult to gain perspective and you can end up fuelling each others, potentially bad, ideas and decisions because of it. You must take a step back and figure out if you do honestly make a good team and be brave enough to call it a day if you don’t.
I think one of the biggest problems can be that you end up spending all of your time together. Especially with a new start up, you end up pulling long hours and spending all day every day with your partner. It’s important for your relationship (and your sanity) that you make time to do your own thing. Go for dinner with your mum, go to yoga, go on girl’s weekends away, whatever you like doing, make sure you make time to do it without your partner! Absence makes the heart grow fonder after all. (That was the last clichés I promise!)
The other biggy is being able to keep a clear head about what is business and what is personal. You must try really hard not to let these overlap. Making time to have a social and personal relationship where you put twitter down for the evening and talk about anything but your business is essential! As is putting down whatever is going on in your personal life when it’s time to sit down to business.
The most important lesson we are quickly learning is that although there are two of us invested in Bluebird, two people halving the work load and doubling the efforts, there are also two of us that Bluebird has to support. Bluebird has to be able to fund both of our rent and put food on the table. So we are now working to our advantages by splitting up as much as possible so we can go to two events rather than both being at one and training others to serve our teas so that we can utilise our strengths and be where we need to be for Bluebird to grow.
Overall, working with your partner, family member or friend can be a fulfilling and successful adventure at its best but at its worse it can be damaging for your business if you don’t work well together and leave personal matters at home. You must create the right balance of work and play to be both successful partners and business partners.