My wife Sharon and I made a decision to start a business and run it together. We planned to operate it for five to seven years as a transition from professional careers into retirement (which, for us, involves part-time work and volunteering). We ran a successful service business that produced a steady stream of annual income and we were even able to sell it after about six years.
It turns out that we are part of a growing trend -- boomer couples who work together in their own businesses. As you might expect, living and working with your life partner is definitely not for everyone; it presents special challenges that can test your relationship. In our case, we were confident we could make it work. Why? Because we had already learned a lot about working together in two previous companies. (In fact, we first met when we worked for the same company.)
We discovered that we had "business compatibility." We shared the same values and the same attitude toward operating a quality business and servicing clients, but we had uniquely different, complementary skills. While Sharon was detail-oriented and pragmatic, I was more conceptual and creative. While she was cool and even-tempered, I was hotter and more emotional. We appreciated our differences and used them to our advantage.
After we sold our business, we thought about the many other boomer couples who might want to start a business together, and we wanted to do something to help them. So Sharon and I wrote a book about it called Let's Make Money, Honey: The Couple's Guide to Starting a Service Business.
As much as it is a good story, Let’s Make Money, Honey is also a how-to guide that covers planning, financing, outfitting, and launching a service business, as well as operations, marketing, sales, customer service, and managing growth. Included are useful tools to help couples assess their business interests and compatibility.
Melissa Phipps, retirement planning expert for About.com, says "“This mix of information and specific personal detail involved in getting a business off the ground as a couple makes Let's Make Money, Honey a compelling and useful read." Rick Bava, author of the book, In Search of the Baby Boomer Generation, says Let's Make Money, Honey "is the rare combination of life lessons, business cooperation with your spouse, and a business tutorial."
If you have an interest in owning a business with your spouse, I think you'll find the book inspiring and instructional. It is available now in print and eBook formats from this blog. (Just look for the "Purchase Now" section to the right.) You can read a free chapter from the book at the link below.