3 Things I Learned Working with My Mate

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Earlier this month, I accepted a freelance writing project from the Hubby. For years I’d been saying we should work together, let me work for you, how can I help you in your entrepreneurial endeavors – and none of those things panned out. However, this time, what he needed was exactly in my wheelhouse. Before I continue, let me put a few things out there: 1- I KNOW he’s an incredible business man (he closes million-dollar deals regularly); 2- Both of us have Masters in Business so we know our stuff; 3 – Our perspectives on business are very much shaped by our own personal experiences (me – education, arts, nonprofit; him – entertainment, corporate). In all of that, I still learned a few things in my encounter with him.

1.       Setting clear expectations to begin with eliminates heartache. In working with my spouse I think the pressure was on to perform well. That’s hard when it’s arbitrary. We started our work together with clear expectations on the project.  Some of the language that was used in our conversations:

a.       This is what needs to be done by this particular date.

b.       When it is completed, I expect the finished product to be…

c.       I will provide updates on the project at the following intervals...

d.       I need your attention to the following details for finalization…

And it worked! Yes, it was formal, but it worked so much better that way. It really was black and white for us.

2.       I am worth my rate. He asked me how much the project would be up front. I told him my typical rate and payment terms, and he didn’t bat an eye. He didn’t ask for a family discount or payment plan. In his eyes, business is business. That spoke volumes to me! Moreover, when the project was completed, I didn’t have to resend an invoice, ask or throw hints. He paid me!

3.       I have to know and respect my limitations. At the end of the project potential for more work came through him. However, that next project would have demanded more of my attention and require us to work a little more closely with him and his client. I had to respectfully decline the offer and provide an alternative resource for him to consider. Guess what? That worked too! There were no hard feelings and more work will come.

Now these may not seem like big deals to you, but they were major to me. It allowed me to see my spouse in the way that others see him. As well, it allowed him to see the back and front end of the way that I do business. As a result, I think that we have better understanding of one another. I can appreciate the work he does from another angle and vice versa.

Have you worked with your spouse or another close family member? What was your experience?

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