The Pros and Cons of Launching a Startup with Your Significant Other

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One founder launched her startup with her boyfriend. This is why she recommends you do the same.

By Nicoletta Donadio (Founder, Fanchimp)

I didn’t decide to launch a startup with my boyfriend. It just happened. We met at the university and because we were both developers, creating websites and apps, we started thinking about ideas to implement.

Our first startup was born after a chat between students and the next thing we knew, we were working together on it as a couple. Six years later we’re still working together, even after two failed startups.

I recently wrote an article on Medium about my story. It got a bit of attention and other women like myself sent me tweets and emails so I decided to write a little more about being an entrepreneurial couple.

These are the pros and cons of my experience.

You Can Be Brutally Honest

The thing that I appreciate more about having my boyfriend as co-founder is the sincerity that we share. If I think he is doing something wrong, I don’t hesitate and just tell him right then and there and he does the same with me. It isn’t always easy to have someone tell you that you’re not doing things properly. But it will certainly help you to become a better entrepreneur.

I’m sure someone else will probably consider this a con, but I feel it’s better to have a little fight over something small rather than exploding after a long time of having tried to avoid a conflict.

Your Partner "Gets" Your Job

Having a startup takes a lot of hours from your day and and can sometimes make you feel like you don’t have any free time. If your partner is involved, things get even more complicated. On the one hand, he completely understands why are you working until late or during the weekend. But on the other hand, your relationship always comes second.

You Already Know How You Balance Each Other

If you’ve been through the test of time and have worked together as a couple for some years before, then this will show that your relationship is stable. This bond will probably make you feel even stronger as a team.

On the other hand, if you’re a new couple or it’s the first time you’ve work together, then you have to prove that you’re able to survive and strive with the challenges that this situation creates.

You Already Understand Each Other's Strengths and Weaknesses

You know you can trust the other person. I think it’s similar to starting a company with a childhood friend. You know how that person thinks, what his priorities are, how he acts under pressure and if he compliments you.

What to Do When the Going Gets Rough

There are times in the life of a startup when things can go pretty bad. No customers, no money, no growth. You name it, anything -- and everything -- can go wrong. Your moral is low and you get very frustrated, you want to close the company and go find a normal job.

In those moments, my boyfriend Claudio is usually very supportive and determined to help me get my passion back my and to continue working on the company. I do the same with him when I see that he’s not happy and focused.

Be Prepared for Relationship Crossover

If you create a company with your partner, you need to have a dual relationship: a professional one and a personal one. But in most cases it’s not that simple. In time, you will get used to the blending betweenen your professional and personal relationship. But it will never be perfect. In the worst case scenario, you may break up as a couple simply because it’s difficult to maintain a professional relationship.

Better Things Are Accomplished As a Team

In the early days of your startup, you’ll soon understand that you won’t have the resources to hire an entire team to build your product. You will have to be frugal and resourceful. This means that you will probably have to wear many hats: become a technician, a salesman, a marketer.

When you work solo, you can create excuses for yourself and believe in them. But when you’re working together as a team, you cannot hide behind your excuses. This will push you much further, close to the edge, to learn things outside of your comfort zone and get stuff done, no matter what.

At the end of the day, I’m really happy to be in partnership with my boyfriend, mainly because it works. But, honestly, it really depends on each person. The most important thing that I want to tell you is to always be an independent person, never completely count on the other person.

Have you launched a startup with your significant other? Would you advise for or against it?


About the guest blogger: Nicoletta Donadio and her boyfriend founded Fanchimp, a company that helps small and medium business manage their social media. She designed the service and is in charge of customer support. Drop her a message at nicoletta@fanchimp.com. Nicoletta lives in London and is passionate about baking and crafts.