4 Ways to Make it Work as a Married Couple and Business Partners

4 Ways to Make it Work

as a Married Couple and Business Partners

My husband and I were married for seven years when we started Jonas Paul Eyewear in 2013. When we started our life together, we never imagined going down this path – growing together as wedding photographers to starting a business in the medical field without having any experience in optometry was a huge leap with no shortage of long nights and unwelcomed lessons learned.

I very clearly remember the first conversations with friends and family about our idea of launching Jonas Paul Eyewear. Of course, everyone thought we were in over our heads. Not only did it seem like a large undertaking, but we had just given birth to our son Jonas, who was born with a rare disorder that causes blindness. Needless to say, we had our hands full – constantly in and out of the hospital for 21 eye surgeries that helped Jonas achieve low vision – but amidst it all, we remained devoted to finding a way to make our dreams of launching this business together work.

While the thought of spending literally all your time together may be daunting to some, there are so many unique advantages to tackling business with your life partner that outweigh this silly fear. After all, you go into a marriage knowing you’ll be each other’s rock – the one who your partner will lean on and come to at life’s most trying moments.

If you are able to conquer your days in this way, imagine the power you can harness when applied to your business! Ben and I take pride in our ability to balance our marriage with our business, and oftentimes find  ourselves sharing our experiences with others looking to do the same. 

Not a day goes by without learning something new, these are the ways we’ve been able to make loving, working, and living all work.

Define your roles and set boundaries.

Couples have a tendency to micromanage in marriages, so give each other ownership of certain roles from the start, and trust that you’ll both do awesome. Early on in our working relationship we sat down and had a heart to heart as we knew we needed to define our roles and responsibilities, we would often find ourselves stepping on each other’s toes and questioning one another’s work. Once we did this and identified the areas that each of us are strong in, we could then confidently trust the other person and know that the jobs would be completed without having to micromanage one another.

Keep the communication lines open.

We know, this is the opposite of what most say – but it’s okay to talk about business on date night! We used to keep it off-limits but it was inevitable, kind of like talking about your child. If you embrace it, you remove the stress of trying to avoid it. We are currently training for a half marathon and we’ve also found that on our runs we are having our business strategy meetings. An unexpected place and time to talk about business, but it has worked out well. We are exercising while getting work done at the same time. So now we know three mornings a week we have a dedicated time to training and getting some work done. It’s a win-win in our book!

Compliments are key

Complementing one another regarding work can be a hard one, as it is easier to encourage our team and the work that they are doing rather than each other. But thankfully, we do try really hard to encourage one another on the work that they are doing as everyone likes to be praised in some way. I truly believe that encouraging your partner (whether at home or work) is extremely important. And for us, sometimes the best time of day to do this is when we get home from the office and are pouring a glass of wine and cooking dinner as our kids are running around the house.

It’s OK to vent

Being able to vent to one another and know that you aren’t going to upset the other person is really helpful when growing a business. This is unique because as business partners, you share the same stressors at work. It’s helpful because you can actually relate to these joys and frustrations, whereas couples working in different industries may experience a disconnect. There is no one else that better understands what the other person is going through in our situation, and we’ve always looked at that as a good thing. Being able to relate on this level, while growing a business has brought us so much closer in our marriage.  

So, who says married couples can’t make a successful business team? Yes, having a happy marriage alone takes work from both sides – and starting a business together does add to that. It can be hard, it will be hard, but it is amazing what you can accomplish when you work towards a shared mission together. As you take a step back and reflect on the journey, the unparalleled joy you will share with your partner as you fulfill your dreams together will make it all worth it.

Laura Harrison

Laura founded Jonas Paul Eyewear with her husband Ben in 2013 shortly after her first child, Jonas, was born with a rare-eye condition (Jonas has had a total of 21 eye surgeries). Laura decided to leave her career to launch Jonas Paul Eyewear with the mission of helping children feel beautiful in their glasses while at the same time providing sight to children in need with every purchase. Since its founding, the company has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, and NBC Today Show, and has garnered numerous awards for its social responsibility and design. Laura is a dedicated wife and mother to Jonas (5 yrs) and Sophie (3 yrs) and lives in Grand Rapids, MI. When she's not innovating for Jonas Paul Eyewear, she enjoys being active, Netflix bingeing, cooking, and participating in her multiple clubs (book, podcast and dinner)!

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