How do you work with your husband, you ask?
One of the number one things I hear from people is “How in the world do you work with your husband?” and I totally get why this is a big question. It is not always easy, but once you figure out how to make it work, it is so fun. It takes both of us to make it work well, but when we are both sticking to the below principles, life is well…pretty awesome. Here are a few principles that we have learned over the years as we navigate this crazy life of having kids and starting a business together.
Know each other’s strength and weaknesses
Know each other and what they are good at. I know what he is great at and I know what he struggles with. Joe is not great at email, but he is amazing at systems and getting people excited, among many other things. I am not amazing at systems and following them, but I am great with communication and getting better at managing a team. We try our best to put each other in roles where we will succeed. Sometimes there are tasks though that neither of us especially like or are good at, but someones got to do it. That is when we find ourselves bickering the most as we tend to be critical of each other when it is middle ground work. That is when we need to put into practice some of the other things we have learned along the way, which you will read below.
Pull out the gold in each other
This has been a saying that Joe says since we got married. His love language is words of affirmation and he spreads his love language to everyone he knows. Everyone who knows Joe, loves Joe. He is positive and joyful and mostly sees the best in everyone. We really try to do this towards each other too. We complement each other and our staff constantly and make everyone on our team feel valued, including each other. We try to balance challenging each other to do better in our areas of strength, while also being the first to complement when we achieve that challenge.
Don’t sweat the small stuff…and everything is small
Oh man, this is a big one. There are so many problems that you face every single day of owning a business. Whether a customer is unhappy, you just caught an employee doing drugs on the job, the sales are not where they should be or something broke. We have literally faced the full monty of problems in our 4.5 short years of owning MegMade. After two years of letting every problem feel like a mountain, we just made the decision to full trust God that He is in control and we can’t are not. We try now to hear or see the problem, take a moment and then work on a solution. Focusing on all of the problems will not only make you a miserable person to be around, but you will also lose all passion for what you are doing very quickly.
Lately some of our friends have asked us why we are so happy all the time and how we don’t stress out about the ups and downs of owning your own business. We don’t really have an explanation for them except that God put us on this earth to do what we are doing and we trust that it will work out. I am super grateful that both of us have the same mentality when it comes to this.
Joe and I had an investor the first year of our business. There are some major benefits that came from it and we learned to be better business people. The major down side and the ultimate reason why we bought him out 12 months later is that he would always try to pin us against each other. We were always fighting and really were the closest to calling it quits as we have ever been. We decided that once we bought him out that we were only going to be as successful as our marriage was. We started going to a counselor weekly who really helped us realize how some of our issues were stemming from our different childhoods, our different personalities and also our different ways of handling situations. We grew so much during that time. We are so grateful that we invested the money and time into our marriage because it has made us better spouses, parents and business owners. I am very open about my love for counseling as I know so many people could benefit from a counselor or life couch. Here is an interview on The Lively Show where I talk more about how it helped us.
Put yourself in the other’s shoes
Our counselor always talked about it as a tower. How each of our lives and our personalities has led us to have a certain world view and we see everything through that window in our tower. He talked about how we need to take ourselves out of our tower and climb into the others and see how they see the world. Once we stopped trying to force the other to see our view, things improved incredibly. We also know that we are for each other and want each other to be successful so if we say something or hear the other say something or do something, we try to put the lens on of how did he/she mean that to come off instead of how I immediately felt it or heard it. This is so hugely helpful when talking to customers and friends too.
Don’t bring work home
Joe loves to talk about work at all times, adnosium (sp?)! As for me, I only like to talk about work when I am working. I can quickly turn it off. When we get home and are with the kids, I don’t allow us to talk about it. They understand how hard mommy and daddy work and I am glad that they are learning what entrepreneurship looks like, but I do believe that we are gone so much of the day that it is important for us to be focused on the kiddos when we are home! Once they go to bed, we sometimes work a little, but I really try to keep work at work to maintain that healthy life-work balance. The minute I let it creep into my every moment, it takes over my life and that is just not healthy for me, our family or our marriage.
Agree on the big picture of the company
Thankfully, Joe and I have always been on the same page for the goal of where we are headed and why we are doing what we do. This allows us to trust each other in the the decisions we individually make each day.