Living together and running a business: Tips for success for couplepreneurs

Living together and running a business: Tips for success for couplepreneurs
Patricia Bacon
Patricia BaconPatricia Bacon Consulting

Posted: Tue 13th Feb 2024

As I interview more and more 'couplepreneurs' – couples who live and run a business together – I realise it is a growing economic force that is evolving, compelling and fascinating all at once.

It is a sector that is under valued, under represented, somewhat undiscovered and unknown. There is a huge set of myths that exist around just how this could possibly work. But it does.

You only need to look at Desmond & Dempsey, Sxollie, Kashing, Pai Skincare, 38 Degrees North and The Cheeky Panda to see that this is happening across all ages, sectors and geographies. So, let's look at some of the tips for couplepreneurs.

Be good planners, resilient and brave – all at once

You need to have great resilience at the beginning, as well as throughout the journey together.

Laura Clacey, who has been running Sxollie Cider with her husband Karol since 2014, confirms just how important it is to know how you are going to fund the business. She said:

"Make sure you have enough financial runway and a very clear agreement on what your expenditure (both business and personal) will look like when you are starting. If there is no external income, it can be very stressful for a couple knowing that there is no plan B."

Jo Rees, who founded Salt Media with her husband Nick Cooper in 2003, reinforced this:

"We've both had to be very resilient, especially in the beginning when it was very tough and then during the recession. You just have to persevere and keep putting one foot in front of the other. You will eventually get somewhere."

Jo also emphasised the importance of good financial planning: "Have a good plan, look at the downsides, be prepared not to make much money at first but don't be fearful; go for it!"

Be prepared to be "all in?" What does this really mean?

Couplepreneurs are inspirational in the strength that they have in running a business together. It is very real, open, honest, fun and genuine.

And whilst there is jubilation in creating your own brand together, it can be lonely too.

Julianne Ponan, who runs Creative Nature with her partner, Matthew Ford, and set up the business when she was 22, said she wasn't ready for the loneliness: "It was very lonely at the beginning. I worked in banking before and we often partied at great venues with colleagues who became friends. I moved then to never going out. I lost lots of friends as I didn't have time to go out and they didn't understand it and that was very hard to live through."

Julianne added how much she enjoys it even though it is all-encompassing: "I love what I do and whilst I am shattered at the end of the day, I love going to work and coming home with Matt. I enjoy it immensely and that's so important."

Surround yourself with people who are better than you

Liz Bingham, who with her husband Phil runs Velo Vixen, a marketplace for women's cycling kits, is passionate about creating a great network. She advised:

"You need to accurately assess what you don't bring to the table and hire staff who can support you as a pair. Objective input is crucial, especially when work and personal life are so linked."

You can buy in expertise in bite-size chunks as you grow.

Be clear about your roles

Ensure you know one another's strengths from the outset and the roles you will play in the business.

Creating job specs and defining the roles is highly recommended. This is a new way of working for so many couples and important to define.

Jonathan Shine, who runs Mini-Epic with his wife Ashley, said: "We find having clearly defined roles and tasks helps to keep the working relationship professional. We're both aiming for the same goal, so that's never in doubt, but knowing what is expected of each other cuts through any emotion and keeps everything about the work, not the relationship."

Support, trust, respect and really listen to each other

Lots of couples have had to learn to adapt to working with their partners.

Cat Benger, who runs ABCpure with her partner, Ben Webeck, gives great advice that you need to "acknowledge and respect each other's opinion. Two heads are often better than one and experience has shown, facilitate the most effective decision making."

Life balance is key. Take time out

Couplepreneurs love what they do and with any growing business, it is all-encompassing and can be all-consuming, particularly with both partners in it. So, it is important to remember to take time to switch off, be a couple and step away from the business.

Ben from ABCpure supported this view: "Have clearly defined work times and try to avoid the temptation of dipping in or out."

Laura from Sxollie added: "The concept of 'work-life balance' does not apply to couples who work together. By starting a business with your spouse, you have committed to sharing life 100% with your other half, whether that means talking about your business over dinner, working all weekend on your business or having to push work aside to deal with family in the middle of the day. It's all part of the greater goal."

Relevant resources

Patricia Bacon
Patricia BaconPatricia Bacon Consulting
  I run my own business helping companies grow and one of the things in developing the business in the last couple of years that has happened is that I am attracting Couple-Owned businesses - Couplepreneurs - which was never intentional but they are finding me, so much so that I am sharing their inspirational and educational stories through the creatiion of a global Couplepreneurs Community.  In my consultancy I work with the CEOs and company owners and some of the areas I focus in on include Sales and Business Development and building the sales engine so it is at the heart of the business and mapping the customer journey. I work with clients to build a great culture and attract and retain exceptional talent. I am an Executive Coach and work with the owners and CEOs/senior team and focus in on the financials to ensure that as the business grows it develops a healthy ebit in addition to growing the top line revenues. You can see more about me at and   

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