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4 Life Lessons I’ve Learned Starting a Business with my Wife

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Kate and I have now married for the last 7 years (together for almost 12 years), and let me tell you, learning how to run a business as a married couple has been a challenge to say the least. 


 It keeps you up late at night, wakes you up early in the morning, and demands more physical, mental, and emotional energy then you thought you could ever have. 


We took on the task of running a business together at a young age, and this tested our relationship. By getting through some of the hardest tests and challenges together, we’ve developed some skills that have helped strengthen our relationship and have even made the transition to parenting as smooth as I can imagine it could be. 


Here are a few things that running a business as a married couple have taught me. As I chat here you’ll see the similarities between running a business and raising children. 

1. There’s more than one way to solve a problem


Starting a business is a stressful and emotional event. Being responsible for your income (and now our entire staff) is a pressure you can only understand if you’ve been there before. Your job is now to solve problems, and the stakes couldn’t be higher- solve the problems or go out of business. 


Though this whole thing was my idea, Kate cares about our business just as much (if not more) than I do. When two people care about something and want what’s best for it, odds are you’re going to come up with different ideas to improve the business, and solutions to the problems that come up. 


When you care about something at such a high level it’s hard not to be emotional about it. It has taken a lot of practice for me to let go and understand that my ideas are not always the best, and that there are going to be solutions to problems that are better than mine. I do my best to apply this principle to our relationship, to my role as a parent, and to my role as a leader/business owner. 


2. Communicate EVERYTHING. Assume nothing


Running a business as a married couple has taught me how important communication really is. We run into issues when we assume the other person knows what we’re thinking or how to do a task. This usually happens when whatever we’re thinking of is simple or obvious to us. What we’re not realizing is that the other person has a thousand things going on in their head as well, so odds are what you’re thinking about isn’t on the other person’s radar at all. 


When the other person doesn’t complete the task the way we wanted them to or have the slightest clue of what we’re talking about, this can cause frustration and resentment that can and will build over time. 


Kate and I have learned to communicate everything, regardless of how simple or obvious the task may seem to us. This is a skill we take very seriously, and we know is something we’ll always be able to improve on. We know that when our communication level is high in our relationship, our role as parents and as business owners/leaders, everything heads in the right direction, and the attitude and energy of everyone involved is usually at its best. 


3. If you have an issue, talk about it now. 


This is something Kate and her family have taught me. Early in our relationship I was caught off guard when she would confront me without hesitation on anything that was bothering her. 


This is always uncomfortable in the moment, but everything is always so much better afterward. This has taken me practice, but by not taking things personal and listening to what the problem is, I’m able to learn and improve so that the same issue doesn’t keep happening. 


I’ve also learned to do the same thing on my end. Rather than let something that’s bothering me stew and build up over time (and eventually explode), I do my best to bring it up as soon as possible. 


Kate and I practice this in our relationship and as parents, and we also do our best to create an environment with our team so they feel comfortable talking to us about anything that may be bothering them. 


4. Our health and relationship is most important


Building our relationship and physical health are the most important things Kate and I can do for our role as parents and business owners. Our relationship has had its ups and downs over the years just like anyone else’s, and this whole thing has been a journey to try and figure out. 


After 12 years together and 10 years running a business and going through a LOT along the way, I know that the future for our son and our business is directly correlated with the strength of our relationship and the condition of our health. 


There was a period over the last 10 years where I didn’t take the best care of myself. I put the business first, our relationship second, and my health a distant third. By doing this I was constantly in a reactive state. I would jump from one problem to another, trying to solve them as quickly as possible without having the time to put much thought into it. It took me a long time to realize that because I wasn’t improving myself, my relationship to my wife and my business were both suffering and not close to being on track to hitting their potential. 


After years of struggling in business, I began to resent it, and that resentment poured out into all the areas in my life- and it showed. 


Once I returned to making my health and my relationship to Kate my priority, things began to turn around in our business, and I found myself with a renewed sense of purpose and joy about what I was doing. 


I now apply this principle to my role as a parent. After losing my dad to a slew of preventable health problems when he was only 67 and having parents that were divorced and separated multiple times from a young age, I know very well how important my health and relationship to Kate is for Jaxson and his future. 


I’ve never focused harder on myself and as a result my relationship to Kate has never been better, I am as present as I possibly can be as a father and am enjoying the challenge of running business more than ever. 


The best thing you can do for everyone and everything you care about is to focus on yourself. 


Have a great one!

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