The American economy is dominated by small businesses. Based on 2011-12 U.S. Census Bureau data, 98% of employers had fewer than 20 workers. Many of these businesses, including within the Real Property Management system, are owned by married couples. We asked 5 married couples in business together about their challenges and how they make it work.
What is best about working together?
Mike and Vickie Smitha, Real Property Management Metro Detroit in Troy, MI: We get to spend time together, and with our family, working on a common goal of building our business.
Marcus and Emily Phillips, Real Property Management Palm Beach County in West Palm Beach, FL: We make good decisions together and share the same commitment to the business. It is easy for us to communicate with each other without the stress of office politics.
Rob and Tara Child, Real Property Management Sapphire in Hamilton, MT: We love working together! It is wonderful to share successes and strategize together, and we benefit greatly from having each other to discuss challenges, act as sounding boards and offer support for occasional difficult situations. It is so rewarding to grow this together!
Kevin and Dana Clausing, Real Property Management Coastal VA in Newport News, VA: We make our own decisions and we enjoy growing the business and developing the work flow process.
Matt and Betty Foulkrod, Real Property Management Three Rivers in Wexford, PA: We celebrate our successes every day, and also discuss our failures. We can provide instant feedback and help each other to grow in the roles that we are filling.
What is most challenging?
Matt and Betty: Our greatest challenge right now is growing pains, but we have our goals and can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Rob and Tara Child: Work-life balance. We have young kids and many outside obligations so it’s difficult to balance our business and professional lives with all our other responsibilities.
Marcus and Emily: Learning to shut off running the business during family times can be challenging.
What advice do you have for couples considering working together?
Kevin and Dana: They need to be very good friends; if not, it can put a strain on the marriage. You have to know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and honor and respect each other.
Matt and Betty: Make sure to divide the work load evenly. It is imperative that each person has a clearly defined role and sticks to it.
Mike and Vickie: It is important to determine roles and responsibilities very early on to utilize skillsets and avoid conflicts.
Thinking about becoming self employed or going into business with your spouse?
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