As two people who live and work together, we frequently get asked how things are going? What is it like to work as a married couple? We decided to take some of the most common questions and give you the answers!
Matt and I have been living and working together since we first met, so it is possible that we had an easier transition than most people. On the other hand, working together in an office is incredibly different from working as equal partners in a business. As co-owners we not only invest all of our time and talent, but the outcome of our business literally determines whether or not we can continue to keep a roof over our heads.
"We are 100% honest with each other and we aren't afraid to hurt the other person's feelings. This allows us to say exactly what is on our mind while moving on quickly even if we feel anger or disagree with the other person."
So when we were asked how often we fight we had to laugh. We fight constantly! But how we "fight" may not exactly be what you are thinking. We tend to think of them more as "heated disagreements". We are 100% honest with each other and we aren't afraid to hurt the other person's feelings. This allows us to say exactly what is on our mind while moving on quickly even if we feel anger or disagree with the other person.
The people who are close to us understand that we can readily forgive any disagreement, but what tends to escape most people is how we avoid bickering over everything work related in the first place. As noted in the video, this has evolved over time. We started our business because we could not find jobs- not because we created a business plan and decided on our approach. That meant we were thrown in head-first without any sort of direction. That caused a lot of strain on us. Looking back on it, maybe the fact that we had no friends or family to lean on really helped us. Even though we were always so stressed, learning as we went and worrying about money at every turn, we had no one but each other.
"It truly has been the little things that have made the most change."
Over the last two years we have developed many ways of staying organized that also makes for less arguing. For example, we have a folder system that allows my orders and Matt's orders to be separate. We then have another folder for orders ready to ship, and we even have a system in place where if the paper is turned a certain way we know whether or not it has been packaged. We also have a dry-erase board where I can write notes to Matt about the canvases I need made or the supplies we need to order. This allows a visual cue that removes the need for constant verbal reminders (aka lots of nagging). It truly has been the little things that have made the most change.
With so much time together, how do we find time for our relationship outside of work? Or more importantly, find time to be alone?
Matt and I are lucky in that we really are not bothered by how much we are together, mostly because our "alone" time doesn't necessarily mean we are apart. For example, even in the tiny house we were able to feel alone if I was downstairs reading a book while Matt was upstairs playing a game on the computer. Having uninterrupted time is really the priority for us and we are both respectful of the other person's need for it.
"Simply Pallets is everything to us. It is so intertwined in our lives that it is rare we can go more than a couple hours without talking about a project, working on an order, or just answering a customer's inquiry."
In terms of finding time to be a couple rather than the owners of Simply Pallets, that is actually a little more difficult. Simply Pallets is everything to us. It is so intertwined in our lives that it is rare we can go more than a couple hours without talking about a project, working on an order, or just answering a customer's inquiry. With that in mind we find time to just be a couple by hiking, camping, or traveling, but I would be lying if I said that we avoid work completely even while doing those activities.
Would we recommend starting a business with your partner?
The short answer is yes. If you and your partner can work together to create a business then why not give it a try? We may have jumped in full-time right away, but that is not typical. Take your shared hobby and start doing it more on the weekends. The first big hurdle is to find out if you even want to turn your talent into a career. Painting is one of my favorite things to do, but sometimes I do not like a custom order I have to create. Even harder- putting a cost to something you enjoy doing. Being a painter and being an entrepreneur are two very different things so you have to be prepared. The reality though, is that you will probably never be full prepared. Starting a business of any kind requires sacrifices, dedication, and a whole lot of trial and error. That being said, if your relationship is strong, you have honest communication, and you can move on after an argument- you may be ready to get started!
Have more questions about being a married team? Contact Matt and Alyssa at SimplyPallets@gmail.