Dynamic duos – partners in business and life

Dynamic duo - partners in business and life

The experiences of three partners in business and life, who have excelled their business, reveal how other couples can make their business relationship grow

Mixing business with pleasure can be a hard task when striving for a solid work-life balance, however more couples are taking their commitment one step further and working alongside their significant other in owning and running their own small business.

The experiences of three couple entrepreneurs, who have taken this plunge and have since excelled their business, reveal how other couples can make their business relationship grow.

Rob Parcell, Managing Director Optus Small Business, says that SMEs are the backbone of the economy, which makes it an exciting time to be a SME owner in Australia, and there is nobody better to have by your side in your business journey than your partner.

Work to your strengths and split the workload

New to working mixing business with pleasure are the owners of Sydney Flower Social, husband and wife team Shaun and Kerryn Mathieson, who started their business four months ago. Though they have been together for six years, they’ve had to quickly learn and understand their differences in a business sense and play on their strengths in a work environment.

‘We’re both very hands on,’, says Shaun. ‘There’s only two of us so we both muck in and do a bit of everything. When it comes to the actual events, Kerryn is the florist so naturally she runs the workshops. I’m a keen photographer so when our guests want a memento of the day, we offer a photo shoot which I will then manage.’

Michael and Karen Martin, owners of MM Photos in Randwick and NSW winners of Optus’ Big Ups small business awards, work the same way. ‘We play to our strengths and leave each other to get on with our own workload,’ said Michael.

Karen added, ‘Michael is the creative person in the relationship which I let him get on with and then, with my business experience, I work in the back office managing accounts and invoices, so in that sense it’s easy to share the workload. Our roles and responsibilities are clearly defined.’

Differentiate work and play

To boost productivity and keep sane, it’s important to find a balance between work and play.

Morgwn Wilkie and Georgina Goddard of WorkShop Objects make a point of getting away from the workshop together so they don’t spend all their time working on the business, getting away for weekends on a farm stay or heading down the coast to Byron Bay for a catch up with friends and family every couple of months.

Karen stresses the importance of differentiating between the two, shutting the door at work and then ensuring work is left there and not taken home. More important still, she says, is making sure you still organise dates with your partner.

Ensure your relationship keeps working

Georgia underlines the importance of communicating and staying connected with one another. She says that before you embark on working together, you need to make sure you have a strong base for your relationship and are accepting of change.

Kerryn says, ‘If you both have the drive and passion just get stuck in and enjoy it! We’re just getting started ourselves but we’re making it up as we go along and it’s good fun.’

Michael says that he and Karen always have a holiday booked in to look forward to, and that they make a conscious effort to keep work and home life separated.

Karen concludes that, at the end of the day, the reason many people have their own business is to have more control on their work/life balance, so they should always bear that in mind.