Owning a business is a big feat in itself: Figuring out finiancials, deciding on branding, living the rollercoaster life that comes along with entreprenership. Most people start businesses either alone or with friends or family members but for the select few, the true warriors, deciding to start a business with your partner will be the most rewarding and also most challenging thing you may ever do.
Two years ago, Kris and I were less than eight months into our relationship when we decided to co-found a startup. Since then, he and I have been through so much together, literally holding onto the startup rollercoaster (and our relationship) for dear life. We have won together, we have lost together, we have fought, we have made up and best of all, we have created amazing memories and a thriving business for ourselves. Has it been easy? Not always. Has it been worth it? Definitely.
We feel very lucky to be in this together. We literally spend 24 hours a day, seven days a week together and while we sometimes get on each other’s nerves, overall we genuinely like each other. We never run out of things to talk about and we can spend hours on hours in the car together driving to HUGE meetings, small meetups, or cool events but in the end the five tips below are some of the reasons why we have been successful as dating co-founders.
1. Never Hold a Grudge
If you decide to start a business with your partner you better be ready to let things go. You will spend a lot of time together and it won’t always be flowers and butterflies and cheques on cheques on cheques coming into the bank account. If your partner does something that hurts you or the business, you need to be ready and willing to talk about it and let them know. There are no time for grudges or mumbling under your breath about how annoyed you are.
2. Always Say Sorry
If you screw up, own up to it. Whether you made a business mistake like buying the wrong ink for the printer or maybe it was a relationship mistake that got you in trouble. Providing you’re not making huge mistakes on the daily, whether in business or your relationship, you need to be able to apologize and take responsibility for your mistakes. By letting your partner know that you are sorry and that you feel bad for making the mistake, they’ll appreciate your honesty and it’ll be harder for them to hold a grudge (See Tip#1).
3. Remember the Common Goal
On the toughest days, you need to remember what your goal is. You have created this life together, an actual melting pot of your personal and business lives, and you need to remind yourself and each other constantly of what you’re working towards. There will be shitty days and days that you question everything but fortnately, there’s two of you and it’s important for you both to remember that together you were crazy enough to decide to do this because together you saw the vision. You know this vision better than anyone else and you need to remember it even when the world may be testing you.
4. Laugh Together
This one is big. Don’t forget to laugh. On the good days and on the bad, find things to laugh about and continue to make each other chuckle. Sure, you may be busy as hell and stressed out to the max but when you can find laughter in each other it will help ease the worries that may be weighing on your mind. Life is already too serious so find ways to joke around as much as you can. Your business will thank you because when you can have fun with life, good things will come to all of the other aspects surrounding you.
5. Celebrate the Wins
Listen, you are going to have losses and shit will inevitbaly hit the fan from time to time but you have to remember to find the victories together, even in the smallest wins. Whether it’s a HUGE contract or a serendipitous moment that aligned you with a new mentor, together you and your partner need to celebrate them all. The losses are only there to help you better appreciate the wins, so don’t get so caught up in the business that you forget to buy a cheap bottle of champagne and cheers to good moments from time to time.
At the end of the day, your business is your baby and your partner and you are in for a lot of navigating and finding yourselves as you grow your startup. I am aways so grateful for Kris because together we help push each other, we keep each other on track and we motivate each other when one of us is feeling down. It’s not always easy separating work from your relationship and it’s important to take some time each day to focus on ourselves apart from the business but we both know that the only reason why our startup has gotten this far is because we’re in this together.
We have gotten to experience so many amazing things in these past couple of years and have grown together in ways some couples never will. We are more than just partners; we are best friends, we are teammates. We never take each other or our startup for granted because we know we are doing something that many couples may never get to do and we truly recognize how lucky that makes us.