Partners in Life and Partners in Business
Three couples share how they navigate being in business together. Whether or not you and your S/O are in business together, these featured couples have offered some advice for a successful relationship.
David and Kim Putman have been married for 30 years and have been in business together for 14 of those 30 years.
Kim said they did not set out to be in business together and that is just where life took them.
“My husband started an IT company and I left a teacher career to work the business with him. After we sold the IT Company, he became a licensed Health and Life Insurance Agent. I soon followed by getting my license.” Kim said, “For the past two years, David has been an Aflac District Coordinator, and I worked as an agent under him. In January, I took a District Coordinator position too, so now we both serve as Aflac District Coordinators.”
Kim said it was hard in the beginning to separate work from home. She said they had to set boundaries and define the responsibilities for each within the business. Kim said they discovered even more things about one another when they began working together. She offered some advice for couples in business together.
“Look at your strengths and weaknesses, use those to work your business for the best possible outcome. Try to separate personal and work life. It is very difficult because in the beginning your business is your life.” Kim said, “You need family and couple time that isn’t focused on the business. Take time at the first of the year to plan the calendar, set goals, and timelines you both want to achieve.”
Steve and Stephanie Massengale have been married for 19 years and have been in business together for 20 years.
Stephanie said they discovered early on that they worked well together.
“As we volunteered together and dated, I think we learned that we have similar values, expectations, drive and ethics.” Stephanie said, “Steve lured me away from my career to work with him at Advanced Graphix and we have since grown the business together to include our Texas Tech store, The Matador.”
Stephanie said it has been hard for them to turn off work when at home. She said running two businesses together takes up their time, and they often do not get to see each other until the day is done. She said that has been a challenge because they want to “catch up” and tell each other about their day which leads to focusing more on the business. She said they have limited this to just “catching up” during lunch or dinner.
“Steve and I love being small business owners in Lubbock. We get excited about the opportunities that lie ahead and we celebrate our successes.” Stephanie said, “We also have a 15 year old daughter that is learning how to be a business owner and she gives great advice. She has worked at The Matador and helps with designing.”
Preston and Lauren Weems have been married for six years and recently began working together.
“After being in the real estate business for several years Preston and I decided that due to his extensive background in sales that he would also love the real estate world.” Lauren said, “We decided that Preston would earn his real estate license and join me at WestMark Realtors.”
Lauren said she and Preston have very different personalities and opinions on things. She said they have had to learn how to cope with this and use their personalities to the advantage of the business. She offered some advice for couples who work together.
“It is so important that you and your spouse are on the same page with expectations and responsibilities in order to serve the best interests of your clients. Patience is also very important when you are in business with your spouse.” Lauren said, “Having differences of opinion give you and your spouse strength in growing your business. But on those occasions when something doesn’t go as planned it is important to be patient with your spouse and encourage them.”
Lauren said it is important for couples to sit down and set boundaries before going into business together. She said open communication between partners is important for both the marriage and the business.