When we buy a home, I hope we find one with a double-sink/vanity. It’s silly, I know, but I just want my own sink space for once! I’m pretty certain this desire stems from the fact that my husband and I spend every waking moment together. Deciding to start a small business together was not an easy decision. Before we made the first move, we had a long talk about how this was going to work and whether it would be wise to become business partners.
Our days are pretty crazy. We get up early (when the kids get up), I make breakfast and pack school lunches, while Mark gets the kids dressed and ready for school. We wolf down breakfast and run out the door. Mark and I take turns dropping the kids off at school, so one of us is able to start the work day by 8 am. Our office is in our attic, so we make the ridiculously nice commute upstairs, and start pounding away at all things Lollacup/Lollaland. Before you know it, one of us has to pick the kids up from school, make/buy dinner, play with the girls for a little bit, and get them ready for bed. After we put them down for the evening, we’re back upstairs at work. Having a home office is great for so many reasons, but it makes it impossible to stop working.
Each day feels much too short and chaos abounds, but here are the 5 things we focus on in order to make things work in Lollaland:
- Communication Skills – Mark and I have been “dating” since the 7th grade, so we’ve had a lifetime to work on our communication skills, and this is our biggest asset as a husband-wife team. We have learned the importance of being direct, up-front, and clear with one another. A smidgen of kindness in the tone helps too!
- Shared Vision/Goals – We are constantly reminding ourselves why we decided to start this company. Without common goals, we’d probably have given up a long time ago.
- Defined Roles – Mark and I had many meetings early on to clearly define our roles in the company. Although we are always backing each other up, we stay sane by “knowing our places/roles.”
- Commitment – Obviously, if you marry someone, you are committing yourself to him/her, but working together on a business is another level of commitment. Wedding vows come to mind – “in good times and in bad, and in joy as well as in sorrow.” Any entrepreneur can tell you what a wild ride this is – sleepless nights, many bumps in the road, and feeling constantly over-worked. We work hard, but always put our marriage/family first. We make time to go on dates, and we try our best to laugh often and enjoy the ride.
- Encouragement – We celebrate every little “victory” and power through each and every hiccup. We both have our “off” days, but we try and maintain a positive outlook and attitude. I know it sounds obvious, but sometimes, all it takes is a little encouragement. Literally, hearing Mark say, “You’re handling all the stress so gracefully,” makes my entire week and encourages me to work even harder.