Surviving in a home-based business with your partner

My husband and I celebrated our 30th year in a home-based, tourism business in 2020 and up until this year I did not know why people thought that was any great achievement. It has always seemed simple to me, this is our life, and it’s just what we do.

That is until Coronavirus knocked, sealed all the doors and borders shut and he was “in” the house with me. Yes, we have been in business together but he was riding his motorcycle and guiding tours in Cape York, for 250 days a year on average and I was running the business from home. So, in reality, of the 10,950 days, we’ve only been IN business together for nine years. Boy, don’t I have a new appreciation for those who really truly live and work together. Those boys eat three times a day, every day – in my kitchen!

1. Define your role

It’s made me think about how we’ve done it and what the seriously important things that helped us are. I guess the first one was to have clearly defined roles! My husband goes out on the bike with the guides and support vehicle so he takes control of that part. We labelled his role as operations and I take control of everything that is based at home, administration. We each own the voting rights of our own role – no argument. The business part was easy the housework part was not but I won’t beat down that path here.

2. Trust your partner and communicate

Once the roles are defined you have to communicate with and trust your partner to make those decisions, don’t micromanage or undermine your partner. Just think if you were in an office with “Jim” sitting in a separate cubicle for nine years would you be asking him the same question in the same manner? Be professional when it’s about business.

3. Make a commitment to do a work week

When you are at home it is super easy to get distracted and so I make a conscious decision and commitment to show up for work each week. I am committed to working eight hours a day for five days a week in the business and I literally keep track of them as if I were a paid employee. I do overtime only when it is crucial to my job and that means always keeping the customer happy in a timely manner. If it can wait, it does!

Now the beauty of being at home is; today I showed up at 2 am to do five hours work in my pyjama’s, then I’m going to play with my grandson for three hours, have lunch and a nap before doing my last three hours and I’m done and I’m proud of myself and I’m grateful to be so spoiled!

My husband is on a different schedule, he’s a night owl and usually starts work after 10 am and so it’s important that we set time to cross-check our directions to make sure we are on the same track, we’ve been doing this for a while so it only takes 10 minutes about five times a week to stay organised and then we head off into our different roles again.

Renae Kunda, Co-founder and Director, Cape York Motorcycle Adventures