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Should You Start a Cleaning Business with Your Spouse?

Should you start a cleaning business with your spouse? Angela Brown, The House Cleaning Guru shares pros and cons. Anytime you go in business with your spouse, you challenge your marriage.

You sign a prenup when you get married and should have prenup agreements in place with your spouse as business partner.

When you start a cleaning business you need moral support and a business plan. And if you add business partner to the list to spin #businessideas you also need boundaries or you could be facing a divorce.

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Hey there, I’m Angela Brown, and this is Ask a House Cleaner. This is a show where you get to ask a house cleaning question, and I get to help you find an answer. You can find this and 400 other answered questions in this series on our YouTube channel.

Should You Start a House Cleaning Business with Your Spouse?

In Business With Your Spouse, Woman ThinkingThe short answer is, “No.”

If you’re just getting started in the house cleaning business, and you have to ask, the answer is no. Marriage is really hard even on a great day. It’s a challenging thing just to make it work. It’s also challenging to make a business work. So, if you’re going to compound those two, you’re asking for trouble.

Of course, there are a lot of teams of married couples that work together in a house cleaning business. They do a fantastic job and get along just fine. Maybe they are very confident and think, “Hey, no matter what, my spouse and I are good. We have this figured out. We can do this.” In that case, you would not need to ask this question.

Cover Yourself, Even When You’re in Love

In Business With Your Spouse, Man Serving Breakfast in Bed to WomanWhen people get married, they’re all in love and smiling. Everything is charming, but they still sign a prenup. This is in the event that something goes awry and we’re not best friends one day. The prenup tells us what happens and who gets what. It sets specific expectations and boundaries.

And that happens when you’re in love, right? “Hey, we’re in love. I’ll give you everything.” Well, the day comes when the divorce happens. The marriage busts apart and you have to decide what are you going to do now. Well, what you’re going to do now is exactly what the prenup says.

Be Smart

In Business With Your Spouse, Man and Woman House CleanersSo, if you’re going to go into business with your spouse, you have to have a business prenup. It is a breakup agreement that says, “If we have to split this business, then you get half of everything.”

It’s important to make these agreements when you are in love. “In love” means when the business is going well. The day will come when things are not going so well. As business partners, you’ll have a fallout and there will be hate and anger. That’s how life works. And then you’re going to look at the business and you’re going to have to make a choice. Is it going to be my business or is it going to be my spouse?

Know Your Priorities from the Start

In Business With Your Spouse, Happy Man on his ComputerYou have to decide from day one which you would choose between your spouse and your business. Is your spouse the priority or is your business more important? Be clear about the decision that you make.

You may love your business and the income from it and helping people. But, if your relationship is your priority, you still need to be prepared to walk away from it all if you ever have to choose between the two.

So, on days where you’re working late and they say something like, “Turn out the lights. It’s time to quit. It’s time to call it a day. You’re done for the day,” you’ll think, “No, I’m not. I’ve got deadlines. I’ve got stuff I need to get done.” Go ahead and make that choice to stop for the night. Remember you have chosen your relationship over your business.

Be Clear About Your Reasons Why

In Business With Your Spouse, Man and Woman Cleaning KitchenYou have to be crystal clear about the reasons why you start a business.

Is it because you need to generate money? There are things you have to do to pay your dues and get your business up and off the ground. If your spouse is willing to come along with you for the ride, that’s fantastic, right?

But if your business partner is your spouse and your solo income comes from your business, there will be frustrations. It will be tempting at times for one of you to go out and get a real job.

And it will be tempting at times to throw in the towel and call it quits. If you both agree to the business together, you have to be willing to pay your dues and make it work even when the going gets tough.

The Importance of an Exit Strategy

In Business With Your Spouse, Man and Woman Arguing on CouchThere are a lot of people who build a cleaning business that start with their spouses when they are in love. But they have no exit strategy. And so when it’s time to make a decision, they don’t know which to choose.

Both fall apart because there are no agreements in place. They can’t choose their spouse and they can’t choose the business. Both are intertwined with no plans in place. And all decisions get tangled up in the emotions of disarray.

 

Choose a Boss

In Business With Your Spouse, Man with Suitcase and Woman ArguingLet’s back up a step. One of the two of you needs to be in charge. Because you may think you’re in charge. Then, your spouse starts making decisions about finances, hiring, or clients. If you both have different ideas of how the business should operate, it’s going to be terrible. The worst thing is to have a spouse that disagrees with you in business.

That is why it isn’t recommended to go into business with your spouse. You need to be supportive of the decisions you each make. Business partnership means collaboration.

And usually, the only way to make this work is to choose a boss. Let one person make the final decision.

You can split up the decisions. One of you gets the final say on hiring. One of you gets the final say on clients you agree to work with or fire. One of you gets agreements on advertising, the types of detergents, solutions, and equipment you use, etc.

If you are married to your business partner, you have to decide upfront what to do when things get sticky. And you have to have a plan in place.

Make Big Decisions Without Emotion

In Business With Your Spouse, Man and Woman CleaneringSo, when you make those decisions, make them early, not when you’re in an emotional state.  HALT. Don’t make big business decisions when you’re Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired.

If your spouse supports you but they are not too involved in your business, your business can survive. And if you have a business that’s struggling and you need new ideas, it’s great to have a fresh point of view.

You need somebody that’s not right in it who doesn’t know the customers and details of what happened. They’re a removed third party. They can give you a broader view outside your own perspective.

When In Doubt

In Business With Your Spouse, Woman and Man Holding HandsThese are some reasons to keep your business and your marriage separate. If at a later date, your business is thriving and you want to bring your spouse in, you can make that choice.

You’re the business owner. But if you’re just getting started and you’re not sure, don’t do it. It’s too much stress on the marriage and it’s too much stress on your business.

So,  from a place of love … people are able to make a business partnership and marriage work. They’re married for 10,15, 20 years. These are people that know how to work through and navigate weird, tough situations. But if you are unsure, save your marriage and your business and don’t go into business with your spouse.

Until we meet again, leave the world a cleaner place than when you found it.

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Resources

Boundaries in Marriage – https://amzn.to/2Oipasu

The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country’s Foremost Relationship Expert – https://amzn.to/2YeR50P

In Bed with The Business: An Entrepreneurial Spouse’s Survival Guide – https://amzn.to/2HzDNXG

You & Your Partner, Inc.: Entrepreneurial Couples Succeeding in Business, Life and Love – https://amzn.to/2YdneGj

The Accidental Entrepreneur: The 50 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me About Starting – https://amzn.to/2CzcXLj

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