I often receive questions on how did my husband and I start building an Empire together? Does it affect our personal life? How do we separate the two? Is having my husband as a business partner healthy? I would be lying if I said that from day one starting a business with my husband was easy and didn’t affect our marriage. Marriage alone is hard work and it is just like a business; it is a huge commitment and requires a lot of time and sacrifice. Just like starting a business, marriage is not impossible to manage and to become successful. When my husband and I first started our business it was really rough to define our roles and responsibilities. Many times duties would cross and we would not communicate very well. A huge obstacle we encountered was defining a clear vision for our brand. Just like partnering with anyone in a business you have to be on the same page and come together to create a clear vision. It gets very tricky being at odds with the person you have to sleep next too. There were nights we would not talk to one another. After having about 5 of these nights I knew that immediately we had to do something about it.
The only solution to marital problems is to find a compromise. Giving up on building our empire was just not an option for us. We knew that we wanted to create this brand and we were really passionate about it. We had to find the median to make it work. It did not happen overnight but it happened. Getting on the same page required a lot of communication and planning sessions. There were things we both had to re-think and compromise on. Being in a partnership does not mean you will agree on everything. Not agreeing makes the partnership unique because you are able to bring more creative ideas to the table. Each person has his or her own mind, vision, passion and more importantly strengths. Getting a person to see your vision is very hard because it’s your vision! I also think that if your vision is in an area that your partner is not strong on it can scare them away. They are not able to see how your idea may actually work because they know their roles will be limited due to their lack of expertise in the given area. For example, as The Lucas Brand we are asked to speak often; this is something I am passionate about doing because I love to tell my story and share my advice and experiences. However, my husband is not comfortable with speaking, so getting him to see my vision on this part of our brand was hard. I had to show him how valuable he is in this portion of our business. There were things that he suggested in our brand that I did not feel comfortable in due to some of the same concerns he had.
More importantly than compromise, when it comes to business and marriage, it is important to learn to separate the two. I always say this, “Business is business and relationships or friendships are just that.” After having those nights where we weren’t talking to one another it was very important we learn how to separate the two. We no longer wanted to talk about business during our date nights and allowing our disagreements to affect our personal life. It was also important that we embraced possibility thinking together. John Maxwell said people who embrace this thinking are capable of accomplishing tasks that seem impossible because they believe in solutions. We had to consistently encourage on another and understand that our hard work and sacrifices would eventually pay-off.
So what did we do? How did we separate the two? How did we make this business work for our marriage and our family? The secret to building our empire and being business partners required what I call The 5 Principles of Creating your Empire with your Spouse.
- Communicate- I preach about this all the time no matter what. I feel that no relationship or partnership can work without clear and concise communication. In this instance you also need to learn that Business communication should ALWAYS be separated from personal communication.
- Leave the Business at the Office- Having a cut off time for your business is important. You should make sure you have time outside of business for your spouse and family. You don’t want to bring the business home or vice versa. Your disagreements about your business should never come home with you. You should be able to take the business hat off and put the wife hat on without getting them mixed up.
- Create a Cohesive Vision- Identify together what your Empire will look like. What is the vision for your Empire? Use diagrams to help with creating your vision. Compromise and see how your long-terms goals align with each other’s vision. Creating a cohesive vision also involves making decisions together. When making investments they should align with the vision you both set for your empire. No decision or investment should be made without mutual agreement.
- Set Short-Term and Long-Term Business and Personal Goals- All businesses should have goals and people should have goals as well. Setting these goals together will help you work together to achieve them.
- Define Your Roles-Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses, so not only is it important that you define roles, but define roles that allow each other to use their strengths effectively.
By Lashana Thomas