Business, fashion, relationships, money, partner, ideas, girlfriend, ego and conflict. These are all concepts I've been both thinking about and facing recently. Individually they are routine topics that come up in daily life, but bring them together and it gets interesting.
Why are these concepts merging together you ask? Because I'm about to open a fashion boutique (Peachy Keen) with my girlfriend, and in the process take on all the challenges that come with not only running a business but working with your partner. I've started and run my own businesses before and obviously had past relationships but never merged both! In isolation they can be among the hardest challenges in life, but combine them? And well, we've all heard the horror stories of conflict, bankruptcies and nightmare breakups.
The whole process is a little daunting but I've thought long and hard about the guiding principles behind a successful team and the types of things to avoid when working with your partner.
Which is why with the opening of our store Peachy Keen on the horizon, I thought I'd pop together a list of guidelines to consider for anybody that is thinking of starting a business with their other half:
- Be clear about each person's role and expectations upfront. Don't assume the other can read your mind or that it's obvious one of you will be picking up certain responsibilities.
- Don't take the feelings and emotions of a work day home. For example It's ok to discuss the business while cooking dinner but try not to bring the negative energy or frustrations of the day constantly into your personal space.
- Have clear non-work periods of quality time together. Set aside dedicated blocks where you don't discuss anything business related. It can be surprisingly hard but it can't all be about business can it?!
- Consider your partner's working rhythm and provide time plus space for them to operate effectively. What does this mean?? You might be an early morning person while they might be a night owl. Or you might like to make decisive decisions quickly while they like to think things over and with more information. Don't let different styles create friction and accept that this is part of each person's nature. You'll most likely be spending a lot more time with your partner too, so be conscious of creating space when needed...distance and space can be good for the mind and the soul.
- Be open, honest and flexible in your approach. You won't always get your way and at times you'll have to move forward on ideas you don't agree on 100%. This is exactly how any business relationship works! Having a girlfriend or wife on the other end of those decisions shouldn't change your thinking on finding middle ground or flexing towards someone.
- Have faith! You've made the decision to go into business with someone else. Hopefully this means they're a strong business partner, so be confident in their abilities and show them this confidence.
- Respect the relationship and the process. Things won't always be 'Peachy' and you need to be ready for this. Don't let business challenges lead to getting personal and being nasty. Respect each other always and understand that adversity is part of the process.
Ultimately the way I think about it is this: work hard, be open to ideas, dedicate time for yourself as well as together and move forward with a common goal. Being compatible outside of work life is a huge bonus and will flow through into how you operate together in the business world. I've been blessed in this way, which makes working alongside Alicia all the more enjoyable and sets us up for success but also some fun along the way.
Hope you'll come along for the ride and check in on our progress as we combine our talents to create Peachy Keen!
Images: Pinterest Words: Jordan Momtazi
Tell us, have you ever had to work with a partner before?