"It's Just Business:" Tips on Balancing Business and Love
"Nothing personal" and "no offense" seem to be the way I begin my sentences these days. I recently launched the web startup, WorkoutSpots.com, an app to help streamline the way people search and register for fitness classes in their area, with my long time boyfriend Mike Stefanello, and separating business and love has not been easy.
Our business partnership happened unsurprisingly. Mike is a web developer and I am a sales person both with an entrepreneurial spirit so our desire to start a business was natural. We would constantly bounce ideas off of each other and think of ways to take everyday actions and bring them online. Workout Spots was born out of my frustration towards how antiquated my gym was, and Mike quickly brought the idea to fruition. Who wouldn't want to build something great with someone you love.
Although things came together perfectly, it has been a struggle to not take things personally. Rejection has been the hardest thing to deal with. Giving an opinion or idea and having him tell me "no." I constantly repeat "it's just business" in my head. I think that the best thing when working with one another is talking it out. If you have an idea than be confident and sell it, and your partner should give you their full attention and listen, but that doesn't always mean they are going to agree. And on the other hand if an idea is thrown around that you don't like then stand up for what you believe and respectfully contest it. It is all about communication. Don't passively agree to something because than you become bitter, and bitterness leads to failure when dealing with business and personal relationships.
Knowing when to turn business mode off has been a challenge as well. We eat, breathe, and sleep Workout Spots, constantly going back to the drawing board and working on new features and modules, but when is it okay to shut down the computer and go out to dinner or snuggle up with a movie? Learning how to balance love and business is the key. It is important to turn off the computer once in a while, shut down Google Analytics, and spend time with each other outside of the office.
I would encourage you to start a business with your husband, wife, girlfriend, boyfriend, partner, or whoever it is that you love and trust because it is a journey, and there is no one better to embark on it with than someone that you adore. Keep it simple and honest. Always address issues when they happen and try and put your feelings aside. What works for me is after we shut work down is to laugh with each other. Every day we talk about how lucky we are to be working on something so great with one another. We hope that Workout Spots will help other people's lives and be the go to tool for booking a yoga class or finding a nearby gym, and keeping the end goal in sight while holding each other's hand is what makes us a great team.
Danielle Tousignant is the co-founder of WorkoutSpots.com. http://workoutspots.com/