What It's Like To Run A Business With Your Significant Other
It's February, which means it's the month of love. For Cody and I, we usually celebrate Valentines Day and then a week later we celebrate our anniversary. On February 21st 2016, we've been together 6 years!
I figured that it was the perfect time to write a post about why we started a business together and give you the struggles and highlights of what it's like to run a business with your significant other. I hope you enjoy learning more about us and how we got to the point we are at today.
When Cody and I first met, we were instantly connected by our mutual passion for photography, art, and road trips. Our first date was a 3 hour trip to Seattle, WA. We spent the entire time there taking photos and drawing silly things in sketchbooks.
Over the years, this is how we told our love story; through photography, art, and traveling. When we first got together, Cody was in the Army stationed in Tennessee and I was back in Portland, Oregon working as a waitress and freelance photographer. We were in a 2 year long distance relationship, and we flew back and forth from Tennessee and Portland to spend time with eachtother. We even had date night every Tuesday and we would Skype and watch the same movie at the same time (super cheesy I know).
That first year during Christmas we accidentally bought each other the same exact gift. This gift was a canvas with a map painted on it. We both decided that we each disliked the painting we made for each other, so we went to the art store, bought a 72in canvas and painted a huge map of the world together.
Cody finished the Army, I flew to Tennessee, and then we drove from there all the way back to Portland and both attended Portland State University. He decided to study Film and I decided on Graphic Design. After freelance work, working at internships, and working for different companies I decided that I wanted to do it on my own. So, I started a blog and took on clients for $50 a logo.
It wasn't until I was freelancing for a year that Cody and I sat down and talked about what we wanted to do. We were sitting on our porch drinking IPAs and we decided that we compliment each other so well. Why not start our OWN agency instead of trying to work for one of the hundreds of agencies in Portland. We quickly chose a name, made a business plan, website, portfolio, and a blog. Fast forward 3 years and here we are, full time entrepreneurs that live and work in our Sprinter Van.
REASONS WHY WE COMBINED.
Now that you get the just of how we started, here are the reasons why we started a business together.
We have opposite skill sets.
One of the major reasons why we decided to work together, and why we continue to work together is that we have opposite skill sets. With my background as a waitress, many jobs and internships, and freelance work. I have the communication skills and the experience with running a business, managing my time, and doing all of the 'boring business tasks' I do all of the communicating, invoicing, writing proposals, blogging, and project management. Cody has a very logical way of going about things and he's a little more introverted than I am. He is really good at problem solving. Figuring out everything technical like how to use software, what camera equipment to buy, how to produce quality videos, and animating his illustrations. That stuff goes way over my head.
With our opposite skill sets we were able to combine everything and create a business that is efficient and well run because we have two people with two very different talents and expertise areas.
We both have the drive and passion to be our own boss.
I'm going to be real with you here. I've had close to 20 different jobs working for someone else. After working all of those jobs, I eventually realized I excelled way more when I was able to lead projects, or lead people. I never was happy at any of those jobs because I never did well with people telling me what to do. Ha! I worked better when I was freelancing, working with other people, and deciding what was best for my business. I realized that I never was meant to work for someone else and work my way up the ladder to success. I was meant to create my own path! I struggled my way over the last four years building my freelance business and State of Mind Studio. Cody is determined to make this work as well. While he never had as many jobs as I did, he did serve in the US Army. Which makes him the bravest, strongest person I know! His bravery and strength has supported me when things have gotten so hard and challenging. Being your own boss is not easy. We both support each other and remind ourselves we didn't sign up for this because it was going to be easy.
We work well together.
Cody and I are really compatible, we have a lot of the same beliefs, interests, and because we are just a little bit opposite with our personalities we are able to blend really well together. We each know how the other person works, what makes them tick, and how we like our working environment to be. I think if you are going to work with your significant other, it's important to be compatible. I mean this as in know who they are, know how they work, and know when its time to shut off and separate work and life.
STRUGGLES of working with your significant other.
It's not easy to be your own boss, but to be your own boss with your partner? That's even more challenging. Here are a few of the struggles we've gone through and how we deal with those.
Having different work schedules and styles.
Sometimes we work at a different pace or one of us wants to work, but the other doesn't. Or one of us wants to talk about work, but the other doesn't. Sometimes this can be a struggle, but we've learned to shut off when the other person doesn't want to talk about business related stuff. We try to plan our days around our work styles and plan meetings and conversations about projects on our calendar so that we don't interfere at a time when the other is busy working on something else.
Keeping tabs on the other person.
This is probably the biggest struggle! We are together all the time and sometimes I might be working hard, while Cody is doing something else non-business related and its hard to sometimes not keep tabs on the other person. Which brings me to my next point.
Feeling like you are taking more of the work load.
When you are keeping tabs on the other person, sometimes you'll notice that maybe you are taking on more of the work load. With Cody being the videographer, if we have a lot of video projects then he might be slammed with work and be up all night working on something, while I may not have as much work. This can make it hard to not feel like you are doing everything, but its super important to remember that sometimes the other person works hard and it never is going to be always equally balanced.
highlights of working with your significant other.
Working together has been one of the most rewarding experiences in our life! We wanted to last but not least share the best parts about working with your significant other.
Celebrating Successful Events.
Whenever something awesome happens, like we land that super awesome job we wanted..or we finish a project we've been working on. We can both celebrate together! It's really fun to celebrate milestones in our business even when they are small.
Having a mutual support and consistent business partner.
Having someone that understands the struggles and hardships of being an entrepreneur is extremely rewarding. It can get hard to stay positive especially when things get rough, but having that person there to support you and cheer you up when you are feeling down about something is the best part of working with your significant other. It's like having a business bestie around 24/7!
Seeing the other person thrive and create awesome work.
I love seeing Cody work on projects he loves. I can see it in his eyes when he is really excited about creating something and it's so great to see him happy and enjoying his career. I've seen him grow into a bad ass boss and it's really fun to watch our growth and success as we endure this challenge together.
Well, this post was just for fun so you can get to know us a little more. I hope you enjoyed it! Do any of you work with your partner? We'd love to hear about some of your struggles and highlights! Leave a comment below!