My husband Phil and I have been business partners and happily married for over 14 years.
By Nellie Akalp (Co-Founder & CEO, CorpNet)
As a serial entrepreneur, I know all too well the hectic ways of building a business. Smartphones buzzing with emails, non-stop phone calls, brain always in ‘extreme’ mode.
It’s intense. But, it gets a bit more intense when you’re building that business with a spouse.
My husband Phil and I have been business partners and happily married for over 14 years. We sold our first company to Intuit back in 2005 and today we’re running CorpNet, an online document filing service that helps other entrepreneurs start, protect and manage their businesses.
Throughout these 14 years, we’ve struggled to keep our sanity and have some fun along the way.
Here are a few things I’ve learned to keep our lives balanced as husband/wife and business partners:
#1 – Leave business behind at the dinner table
With four young kids, it’s virtually guaranteed that we won’t be discussing company matters over dinner. However, even before our children arrived on the scene, Phil and I worked very hard to refrain from discussing business matters over dinner. It was the one time during the day that we made a clean break from being ‘business partners’. I believe this simple rule helps us stay healthy and multi-faceted, both as individuals and as a couple.
#2 — Mandate date night (just like a business meeting)
When you’re running your own business, specially with your spouse, you’re going to move mountains in order to squeeze in a meeting with an important client. The same should hold true for your spouse. Even to this day, Phil and I try as hard as possible to have our own date night each week. I know that schedules get busy, and it’s all too easy to put off time for yourself ‘just this week.’ But having this special time together is critical to recharging the batteries, both for yourself and your relationship.
#3 – Accept that complete separation is impossible
Separating business and home life is important, but it’s simply not always going to be possible. And that’s okay. From time to time, Phil and I realize that the office is the only time we can discuss important issues free from interruption from the kids.
When we do talk about home life in the office, we make sure to do so only when appropriate. And even more importantly, we try to foster a work culture where our employees also feel comfortable attending to some personal matters in the office when it’s necessary.
Editor’s note: Got a question for our guest blogger? Leave a message in the comments below.
About the guest blogger: Nellie Akalp is co-founder and CEO of CorpNet, an online legal document filing service where she helps entrepreneurs incorporate or form an LLC for their new businesses. She founded her MyCorporation.com with her husband in 1997 (sold to Intuit in 2005). She is a passionate entrepreneur, small business advocate and mother of four. Through their various business ventures together, Nellie has formed more than 100,000 corporations and LLCs across the U.S. Follow her on Twitter at @corpnetnellie.