In 2016 I launched a business called Pink Callers and it was just me, 1 laptop, and 1 employee.
I think we did $4,000 in revenue that final quarter of 2016. Each morning my husband, Doug, got up in the dark of the early morning for his 1+ hour commute, and every afternoon he did the same 1+ hour return.
At this time, Doug had a good career and all the comforts of the corporate world, but the commute was sucking the life out of him.
And every day I would sit at my laptop knowing if I just kept working, someday we would be able to support our family and get Doug out of that commute.
Working together as a couple and growing a new business
Fast forward to October 2017, and we were able to grow the business to fully support our family.
I don’t think either of us will forget that final week Doug worked at his corporate job. We made a fun countdown where every morning he would take a selfie with the number of days he had left. We could not believe the day had finally come.
On day 1, we sat down and wrote job descriptions. We identified our strengths and weaknesses, not only in ourselves but for each other, and this was a game changer.
Our plan was that Doug would take over sales and I would continue in operations.
This process may seem formal to some, but it helped us stay focused on our goals and it worked. At least, it worked for the time being while our business was still in its infancy. But things were about to change...
Working with your spouse and navigating change in the business
We are now 2 years in, working together every single day, and I can tell you it has been the best decision we have ever made.
But! I can also promise you, it hasn’t been perfect.
For instance, we are total opposites in business and we even have the data to support it. We have taken a number of personality tests; Kolbe, Disc and Meyers Briggs - all with completely opposing results.
At first, I thought this would put additional strain on us both at home and in the business, but it has been the most interesting part of working with one another.
Most everyone will agree that business is always changing.
We have experienced powerful growth, and with that growth we have realized that some changes need to be made.
The roles that we once thought were best suited to our strengths have exposed some weaknesses, and when you find a weakness, a change must be made to survive. Here’s how we’re navigating this change:
1. To work with your spouse means knowing and playing to each others strengths (and weaknesses)
Relying on the test data, specifically the Kolbe A test, and its detailed interpretation and explanation by Jason Cupp, we are completely swapping roles over the coming winter months.
This will allow Doug to work closer with our staff and lead the operations of our team, and will allow me some additional freedom to explore the business development part that we need to grow and scale the business.
As the visionary, and “Quick Start/High D” that I am, I am better suited to the ebb and flow of sales, marketing, and keeping our amazing business owners happy!
While Doug, with the “Follow Thru/High S” that he is, he excels at staying on task and getting the job done.
Even though some would say that a complete role reversal would be a disaster, we are 100% confident that this is the best decision for our growing business.
2. Our business is our baby, and we think of it as family
We both speak about our business in “family” terms.
We see that in a lot of ways we are ‘raising’ our business together, just like we are raising our family. As most parents would agree, your parenting style changes as your child ages, and we see the business much the same way.
The decisions we made or the approach we took at the beginning, may now have to pivot because the business is more mature.
We are different leaders today than we were last year, and that’s okay, because that change means there is growth happening, and when we grow, our family grows, our team grows, and our business grows.
Is there ever a guarantee that a change will work?
But recently, when I was having a tough day, weighed down with operational “stuff, I wanted to be the “Quick Start” that I am and go start another “fire” for the business. I wanted to do something exciting! I turned to Doug and he calmly said, “Go set it on fire - I’ve got the extinguisher”.
That was my guarantee that this change, and the way we work together was going to be just fine.
Working together as husband and wife - still the best decision we’ve ever made for the business
Many people ask the usual question once they find out what we do, “How do you work with your spouse every day?”.
For me, that question is easily answered: It’s rewarding to watch each other thrive and know that we both contribute equally to the success of each other and our team.
About the author: Michelle is the founder and CEO of Pink Callers, which provides trained, skilled and focused team members administering both front and back office support. Michelle works along side of her husband Doug Myers in rural Virginia. Doug & Michelle are parents to 3 kids, 3 dogs and 4 chickens.