Do you ever wonder if you and your spouse could pull off building a business together?
We are living in an incredible time. The ability to build and grow a business online is amazing. I could build something by hand in my garage and sell it to someone in Paris, France. Kind of wild right? But totally do-able.
Three years ago I started to share some ideas on a blog. In the beginning, there wasn't any goal for monetization. For me, blogging was a place to sharpen my saw (thank you Stephen R. Covey). I started to get the opportunity to travel and share my ideas to groups of people. At that time I started to get paid to do it! The more I traveled I decided to separate this revenue from my revenue in my every day job and Brad Voigt Consulting was born. I continued to write, to speak, and then I started getting the opportunity to build websites for people. I coached them on what I was learning simply by pursuing these things for myself.
About a year ago, I began to recognize my business had gaps. As my business developed and grew, I started to feel the weight of carrying tasks I didn't necessarily feel gifted to do. I discovered that when I ran into these gaps I sought out the advice of my wife Melissa, who has a business degree and has been employed by her Dad's business since she was 14 years old.
I can't remember the specific time where the idea hit me, I realized this thought, "What in the world am I doing, Melissa should be leading this business." I'm not saying I wasn't able, but I'm creative and big vision person - Melissa on the other hand is detailed and structured. I knew right away that if we wanted the business to grow, Melissa needed to manage the business.
Shortly after this, we began to meet for about an hour once a week. We'd both jump on our laptops, open up Asana, and I say, "What do we need to do?" Like riding a bike Melissa would start listing the tasks that needed to be done for continued business growth. I don't mean to make it sound like I was now simply receiving directions on what to do. I was still doing what I was best at - coming up with ideas, creating vision, networking, marketing and selling. Melissa could see the gaps and create a plan to fill them. Ultimately, we became a better business with Melissa's best gifts now being used.
As we continue to partner in this way, we've been discovering signs in our story that have helped us navigate working together to start a business and we'd love to share them with you. Are you ready, because here we go!
1. You see your spouse has unique abilities - I've always been impressed with Melissa's ability to follow through. There's nothing she can't do when she sets her mind to it. Plus, I'm blown away by her business knowledge - I don't know too many 16 year olds that were balancing check ledgers, invoicing clients, and helping take inventory but Melissa was. In the same way, Melissa leans on me when there needs to be an idea or something creative. In new experiences, she lets me lead. What do you see as your spouses unique abilities?
2. You like to dream out loud together - I can't think of a time I've shared a dream with Melissa where she has looked at me and said, "Gosh, that sounds stupid." I'm not going to paint you a false reality, we have certainly had our bad seasons where there isn't any dreaming out loud together. When dreams do get shared there is an environment of encouragement and right now there's more dreaming together than ever before.
3. You practice good communication - I think people would be surprised by how many late night conversations we have. These times are where 90% of our business growth comes from. We often talk about what one of us read on entrefamily.com or what we heard on Dan Miller's Podcast or The Business Brilliant Moms Podcast (98% of the time, Melissa is referencing this podcast). But business conversations are only a quarter of the conversations, more than likely we are talking about what's coming up on the calendar, what's happening with one of our kids, or how we're currently feeling.
4. You have complimentary gifts - We knew this way before we got married. I'm not going to say this is absolutely necessary, but it sure is helpful when Melissa wants to take the lead on doing the end of the year accounting so taxes are done right. If I were to take on this task it would be the next years taxes before they were done. Just this evening I asked her advice on quoting a potential client. We had a conversation about it and eventually she said, "You know what to do better than I do, go with your gut." It's not about being critical of ourselves, it's about honoring the unique gift each other brings.
5. You already share goals - If you're going to start a business it has to have a backbone to work. What's your why for starting a business? On the days there's conflict or you're lacking motivation what's going to push you through. But if you already have established a pattern of setting up goals together, you already have one leg up on someone else wanting to start a similar business. Have you had a goal of going on specific vacation together? Have you had the goal of updating the space you live in? Have you ever had to scrimp and save to hit a financial goal? If you've been successful at these things, you probably could be successful setting business goals as well.
6. People think you're weird - Are you already a little weird in how you spend your time together? A friend asked me yesterday, "How are you guys doing this? How do you have time for that?" I said, "We really don't watch T.V." We spend more time working on projects around the house or doing something creatively together than we do sitting and being entertained. I'm realizing this isn't the norm for a lot of people. Are you and your spouse weird when it comes to doing productive or creative things in your free time? Sounds like a start to a business.
7. You don't take life too seriously - Failure is not a bad word in our business. Actually, it's one of the best ways to gain clarity towards the direction we should go. We screw things up, we laugh about it. This is the best part of the business not being our full time thing, if we blow it up in our spare time it's not like we no longer have an income.
8. You speak well of each other in public - If you're critical of your spouse when they are not around, then you are not going to be able to handle the passionate conversations that occur within running a business together without causing some wounds. In our case, we never know who might be a potential client for our services. If we bash on each other in public when the other is not around, we begin to eliminate our potential client base. And no, I don't mean this is only a business tactic but I do think it's an indicator if you can work together in candor because you verbally honor each other when you're not together.
9. You have previous victories - It's really hard to know what a win look likes if you've never had one together. This part of our story comes out of a season where there were no wins, it was a pretty dark season. Mel would say one decision started to move us forward and you can read about that here. But it's important you know how to set goals together, how to work together to accomplish a goal, and MOST OF ALL, you know how to celebrate together.
10. You pick each other up - (Mel breaks into her best Josh Groban) If we had a dollar for every time we've questioned if we should quit, we would probably match our revenue in the business. Starting something from nothing in a limited amount of time is really hard. Everything we do doesn't always work. Every idea doesn't equate to business growth. But it sure does help to have a someone who can remind me the "why" we're doing this and who better to communicate that than your spouse. Nobody can tell me I need to get back up and get to work in a better way than Mel.
Because of these 10 characteristics The Factory Media Network was born. We long to help people to move towards developing a business that helps them reach their dreams. We want to help you navigate the "in-between" season of life like we are, working full time but taking actions steps to making the leap to your own business full time. We're growing this network of creative people who are helping each other as much as we are serving them. Is it time for you to start? Does your relationship with your spouse have these characteristics? Maybe its time for you two to start working together and enjoy the challenge of building something together? If this is you, we'd love for you to join The Factory Family!