We're Erica + Jon, professional photographers, Mr + Mrs and Mom + Dad. We like to share insights into our industry, behind the scenes and stories about our life and chips + salsa obsession.
Today, we’re diving into a subject that we get questions about a LOT! Whether you are in the photography business or any other industry, working with your spouse has a unique set of advantages and challenges. So many people find it really surprising that we can maintain a balance between the two. While we realize that it may not be the right step for everyone, we made the jump ourselves for a very specific reason – to create a better situation for our family. Jon left his comfy corporate job because he was tired of not seeing Erica and the kids every day. He realized he was missing out on important moments and feeling tied to the office all of the time. It was time for a change!
That said, we’d be lying if we said working together as a married couple didn’t make us feel a little bit like Leslie Knope and Ben Wyatt, standing in the City Hall fountain, trying to establish a balance between work and home life. However, we’ve learned a few lessons over the years and want to offer our tips for running a business as a husband and wife team! Ready? Here we go!
We hear so much talk about separating the “work” and “life” relationships, but for us, we’ve found it to be almost impossible! Working and living together means that we’re with each other a LOT, and because we’re juggling so much, we often have to multitask. We could be cooking dinner and talking through next week’s social media content plan at the same time. Sometimes, we’re tag-teaming so that one of us can help the kids with homework while the other edits a gallery. Our main advice: We learned to look at everything that life entails as a comprehensive picture instead of individual categories. It keeps us flexible and allows us to flow from task to task a lot easier.
Being a husband and wife team doesn’t mean that you both need to touch every part of the business! Pick a lane and stay in it. This is HUGE in helping you to not step on each other’s toes and allows you to develop your own unique skill sets to bring to the business. For example, Erica handles all of our post-processing and social media content, while Jon takes care of our CRM management and email marketing. If you’re just starting out, a good way to divide responsibilities is to ask yourselves a few questions like these:
In a corporate setting, micromanaging from a boss or coworker is annoying. In marriage? It feels personal. It can be hard when you want to make sure everything in your business is done just right, but trusting each other with the responsibilities you’ve divided up is so important! No team will work efficiently without this, especially a husband and wife team. If you can get this right, it will be SOOOO much easier to reach out to each other on the occasions that you do need some extra help. You won’t feel like the other person is already breathing down your neck and vice versa! In our business, we found a consistent workflow to be the cure for micromanaging. If you already have key tasks and timelines mapped out ahead of time, there’s no need to bug the other person about what’s getting done when.
For us, we’ve found that setting a routine is the best way to keep our communication consistent. We typically get up ahead of the kids in the morning and spend some quiet time together with our first cup of coffee. Once we’ve had our time to read, sip, and just wake up a little in general, we talk through our priorities for the day. Sometimes our goals are different, and this is where we try to be sensitive to each other’s needs. Just because your spouse’s priorities for the day are different doesn’t mean they aren’t important! If we don’t have time to accomplish every item that day, we usually ask ourselves one question: Which thing will move our business forward the most today? (The answer to this question typically equates to the item that will create revenue the fastest.)
You’ve probably heard it a million times before, but we promise, we wouldn’t bring it up if it didn’t work! We’ll admit, we were not great at this at first. Between the business, home life, kids’ activities, and church responsibilities, there was a time when we were working 7 days a week with almost no breaks. We finally decided that we were going to take Fridays off to focus on spending time with each other. Now, we look forward to it more than any other day of the week! Yes, being intentional about “date days” means that we don’t get anything done for the business on Fridays. But we’ve learned that the refreshment and refueling we gain from focusing on the important things means we actually get way more done the other 6 days of the week!
Those are our top tips for successfully navigating work and life as a husband and wife team! We hope this helps you today, friends! We’re cheering for you and your business this week!