Couples Who Work Together, Work Hard

Friday, May 22, 2009 12:00
Posted in category Couples
<div class=\"postavatar\">Couples Who Work Together, Work Hard</div>

Post Written By Rick Doyle

Couples Who Work Together, Work Hard

Couples who work together work hard, then they work harder and finally if all goes well they start to work smarter.  Some things you will probably need on the way to working smarter is a helmet, ear plugs, a referee, a baby sitter, band aids and an icepack with aspirin.  It is not for the weak or faint of heart and it takes more than just a great team of two; it takes a great business idea and resources plus a tremendous amount of patience.  It is possible and can be profitable but it can also devastate a relationship before it gets anywhere near success.  Sacrifice and perseverance are not always without a huge price and some battle scars but when couples work together and make a success of their goal the wounds heal, the scars fade and the rewards of their hard work will pay off!  Couples work relationships also include non-financial jobs such as gardening projects around the house, laundry, dish washing, child rearing and anything that couples work on together as a team will, if it is done right, it will strengthen the relationship.  Money or income doesn’t have to be the end goal or objective.

My wife and I, my in-laws and my parents are three examples of relationships that all worked together as couples and were all successful at the end of the day but probably work or worked too hard. I’ll give you the formula at the end of the three stories.

I’ll start with my parents.  My dad was an attorney when he married my mom.  They were both previously divorced, my dad had a daughter from his first marriage who was in her mother’s custody and my mom had custody of 2 daughters from her first marriage.  In the late 1950’s after many years of practicing law my dad came home early from work with a mop, a bucket and some cleaning supplies (I’m not kidding) and told my mom he wanted to be a janitor.  From lawyer to janitor.  After her initial shock, Mom asked what she could do to help and dad had a plan.  She would sell the cleaning jobs during the day and dad would clean them at night.  His business plan was to do corporate cleaning such as banks, businesses, airports, large places that didn’t want to keep staff and pay benefits but needed regular cleaning, which back in the late 1950’s included a lot of ash trays!  It didn’t take long before they needed to hire additional staff and 28 years and 8,000 employees later my parents had built one of the largest contract cleaning companies in the US.  They worked together as a team to build a secure base then moved it from the house to an office with a warehouse and my dad eventually got out of the restroom and back behind a desk.  Once a few salesmen were working and the business was well established my mom went back to being a housewife and mom.

My in-laws followed a different route but to the same end with a work relationship that spanned many years and several business ventures.  They are an example of a couple who worked hard together and their relationship worked around the work.  My father in-law got out of the military and married my mother in-law in 1961.  In a couple of years they bought a farm and raised crops and livestock during the day while my wife’s father worked nights.  They worked the farm side by side with two small children to tend to and my mother-in-law did everything from running the equipment to tobacco stripping to tending livestock.  In the early 1970s my father-in-law retired from his first job and he and my mother in-law started a furniture refinishing, repair and antique shop.  They worked at it together for a number of years while still farming at the same time.  As the kids grew so did the need for health insurance so my wife’s dad took a job with the post office and my wife’s mother converted the furniture store to a health food store, which was very popular in the late ’70s.  The farm was very hard work that required the whole family working together in addition to their other jobs as well as raising the kids.  Eventually, from all the work from all the sources and working together, whether apart or in the fields and barns, they made it to retirement, travel and raised two great kids in the process.

My wife and I are, in every sense of the word, working together all day everyday and we can tell you that couples who work together work hard and sometimes harder than they should.  The first few years of our marriage we lived in the city.  We had a big house with an in-ground pool, lots of close friends and the toughest decisions we made were which restaurant to hit or what movie to go to that weekend.  We bought the farm adjoining my in-laws and made plans to build a new house out in the country (way, way, way out in the country-read the Citiot/Hillbilly post).  We first built the road and a barn and to keep us busy we decided to open a retail business out of the barn.  We were literally in the middle of a field and since we knew that walk-in traffic was never going to happen we started building a website.  What we soon discovered was that my wife was a wizard at the website and I was a wizard at selling and writing descriptions.  (Well to be honest, I wrote what I knew then she corrected it and I became very adept at search engine optimization).   We went from zero to hero very fast.  Business built to a gigantic volume and grew at a ridiculous rate.  Initially I was driving 100 miles per day to work alone 5 days a week until the surge hit.  Then we had to hire people as we were mailing up to 600 packages a month with 6 digit revenues a month.  I won’t go into the ugly details but 3 years later very bad things happened and while we were in the right the lawyers and people who we were doing business with got it all.  Due to some bad luck and trusting the wrong people who eventually cost us everything, we ended up on the farm in a single wide trailer with two toddlers.  Broke,far from a job and overwhelmed with the loss of the business was nearly our demise.  All of our money went to proving the truth and we worked for 3 years to do the right by our customers when we could have quit and kept everything.  We did the right thing but it cost us nearly everything we had.  As a couple we still had each other as well as our skills, our principles, our health, our children, a roof over our head and a family that loves us.  We knew that we had to start over but a couple that far down usually doesn’t get back up.  Together we have a lot of skills and we really like to help people.  We signed up for some free software, WordPress, dusted off some of my old articles, we owned Date Smart! free and clear and with my co-writers blessings here you are reading the results.  Advertising, classifieds and discounts and some good advice for folks with regards to Relationships, an Ask Rickhead column and business is doubling monthly at no cost to anyone.  This time around is much harder as we work together as a couple 24/7.  We share an office all day and we share a house all night.  We are pretty isolated, our friends live at least 50 miles away and the country is not exactly packed with people our age with younger kids.  My wife is a genius at rewriting my garble and can make anything look and sound good.  On the other hand I used to rely solely on her to get everything on the website but now I run the admin, as with poverty your options are limited to freeware and shareware.  When you have the funds you can use expensive point and click software but when you’re poor you have to use the programs that have no support and are so complex that 4 PhDs in engineering and math couldn’t help you figure them out.  The hardest part is that while each of us brings a major piece to the project sometimes ideas and communication are very far apart.  We both tend to be on the strong willed side which makes for a couple in a power struggle from time to time.  Throw in a couple of very energetic 4 year olds and very cramped quarters and tempers get a bit frayed at times.  However with no jobs anywhere close we do get some perks as a couple that works hard together.  We set our own hours, which at times is both a blessing and a curse.  We can stop to smell the roses, take the kids out to the fields to run it off or if it’s a hot summer day we can watch them play in their little swimming pool.  We aren’t under anyone’s thumb (except each other’s) but, like the dreaded boss, to work together and be your own boss requires a tremendous amount of discipline, focus, drive and the mindset that to move forward you are only limited by your own efforts. In other words if one or more in the couple is either lazy, a procrastinator, can rarely meet a deadline or is easily distracted it makes getting anything done very hard or at the very least makes work very tense, especially if one person relies on the other to complete a project or task and they don’t make it a priority.  Rules, at least for us, do NOT work but goals do.  We want a brick and mortar house with a real basement where we can go to get away from the real tornados and bad weather since trailers rock and roll in the wind.  We like our toys and we love to travel and as a couple who has worked together thru thick and thin we’ve had, and will have, the goodies again someday.  In our case greed is good.  We are almost always united in our goals but thorough discussion of how to get there is the only way to travel.  Dictatorships in the decision making, unless someone says “you do it how you want to”, can end up getting a lot of nothing done and a couple of day’s worth of hurt feelings. I will say, as a couple who’ve been married almost a decade, even if we are working from dead scratch we’re working hard as a couple and it’s been worth it. I have the greatest job and partner in the world and I love her.  She can be tough, tough to work with, tough to work for but as a team we put out a lot of good work and we accomplish what we set our sights on.  I defer to the boss, and she to me, on our strengths as a couple.  Even though times are tough and some days it seems as if it would be easier to go get a Mcjob that pays poorly and split shifts, most days with my partner are pretty cool. This couple works hard because the hard work gives us control over our destiny.  The sacrifices are 5-10 years of really hard work versus 20 years of monotony to retire from an average job in order to have an average life. We are both more creative and driven than that which is why as a couple of hard workers we keep at it; we want more and as a team we’ll get more.  The best advice is to treat each other as equals, listen, have fun, have goals and let go of what does NOT work, complement each other and know that if you have a good business plan, can make it thru the rough patches and work hard to achieve it quickly then vacation, play time and rewards will be abundant for you both as a couple and as a business.  I say go for it!

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

23 Responses to “Couples Who Work Together, Work Hard”

  1. barron says:

    July 28th, 2010 at 5:29 am

    Very informative post. Thanks for taking the time to share your view with us.

  2. Glinkerman9123 says:

    July 25th, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    I will take it, thanks a lot!

  3. Rieder says:

    July 18th, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    We admire your valuable information and facts you offer in your articles. We will bookmark your website and have my children check up here often. My spouse and I am quite sure they will learn lots of new stuff here than anybody else!

Leave a Reply