When we meet readers in person one of the most recurring questions we get is some version of: “How on earth do you work with your husband all day, everyday? If I had to do that with my husband, we’d kill each other!” While we aren’t perfect and it’s not easy by any means, we have never questioned our business partnership or wanted to spend less time together. In fact, on the rare occasion that we aren’t in the same room, we miss each other even if it’s for an hour or two. After wrapping up another photoshoot for Gal Meets Glam Collection on Sunday, our incredible Art Director for these shoots, Jen Kay, had mentioned multiple times about how great she thought our work ethic and partnership was as a couple. In the past two months, she has had the unique perspective of working in between us, which really shows how we work together. So on the drive home from Savannah to Charleston, that caused us to reflect on what we love about working together, why we think it works for us and some tips for couples that want to work or collaborate better together in business or life.
What We Love About Working Together
We Get To Spend So Much Time Together- Thomas and I genuinely love spending time together. Even if we aren’t in conversation together, the physical proximity is comfort enough. We’re best friends, in both our personal and work life. I know it’s silly to say, but we hardly get sick of being around the other person- we picked each other as partners for a reason. With that being said, we both appreciate some quality time apart, with friends, or by ourselves, which we think is necessary in any relationship.
We Have Something We Are Building Together- There’s something so special about having a business that you both have worked so hard to build and grow. In our partnership, it’s strengthening to know that we have someone that always has our back. We also both put in the extra effort to make sure that we are successful.
We See Each Others Finest Moments and Personal Growth- There have been many times that we’ve been fascinated or learned something new about the other person while seeing them in their element. That’s because we are there to witness most of each other’s finest moments. We also both love what we do so it brings us joy to see each other loving our work.
Why Our Partnership Works
Our Love For Each Other Is Stronger Than Anything Else- No matter what, at the core of our relationship is the love that we have for each other. This grounds us and serves as a reminder for us to reflect on when facing intense times with our work relationship. It makes us quick to apologize if we were in the wrong and quick to forgive if we were on the receiving end.
We Have Aligned Goals For The Business- Thomas is always asked by people if he wishes he could do more “manly” things with his career. In addition to taking slight offense to these types of questions, he always responds by saying that, “There’s nothing more I could ever had dreamt for in a career. We have an avenue for creation under our distinguished brand, a business that we get to mold how we want, careers with a clear mission and purpose and a large supportive audience to engage with everyday.” He’s also just as passionate as I am about the mission that we’ve set out on. We have the unique opportunity to impact the lives of hundreds of thousands to millions of women and we both take that responsibility seriously. We feel that our purpose only becomes more important with the launch of Gal Meets Glam Collection. Every 6 months we repeat an exercise that helps us communicate our goals for the business to see where we are aligned and where we are misaligned and we talk out those differences until we have both reached an agreement that we are comfortable with.
We Have Defined Specialties- Thomas and I have very different skill sets and we have learned that they are surprisingly complementary to each other. Early on when we were trying to figure out what we were doing with GMG, our differences frustrated us, but we’ve discovered by embracing our specialties we round each other out to create an even better team. We’ve also been great teachers to each other. One of Thomas’ favorite things is when I quote some of the business books or references he has shared with me. While at times we have both wished we could help with the heavy lifting that we have to take on for our specialties, we know that we are more productive overall.
We Are In A True Partnership- In business you need a partner that you can share everything with, without a filter. Being an entrepreneur is hardly as glamorous as it often seems. That’s because when telling our founding stories, the successes, breakthroughs and other big moments are the most inspiring, but that’s only the highlight reel. Building a successful business is really, really hard and especially when it’s your first time. That’s why without each other and our freedom to speak candidly with each other, we don’t believe we could have had the success we’ve had.
Getting Started Tips For Working Better Together
Communicate Your Desires Ahead Of Time- The number one recipe for disaster and resentment is not clearly communicating what you’d like to get out of expanding your relationship into working closer together. While having one party support the other strictly out of love for them, is a fine way to start, it’s not a winning strategy long term. Rewind back to the first two years of our work relationship and Thomas would agree that his participation on GMG was mostly out of love for me and wanting to support. When having Thomas join me full time became an inevitable decision, the number one thing we had to do was accommodate Thomas’ desires for the business and his role.
Start Small- I’m sure working together isn’t meant for every couple. So try to start with a small project to test your compatibility as a team before diving in head first in a major business or long term commitment. If it goes well, try another project to test further.
Pick Your Battles Wisely- When the work gets bigger and more stressful, I can all but guarantee you there will be disagreements that turn ugly, especially since you’re already so close to that person. The problem is we can get too loose with our emotions as the line between professional and personal begins to blur. The best way to combat this is to try and be cognizant of how you want to behave vs. how you should behave. If you notice things going south, take a walk to blow off some steam or take some deep breaths before continuing. It’s important to realize you have to pick your battles wisely, otherwise you can have more frequent episodes which lose their effectiveness when you are trying to be heard.
Do any of you work with your significant other, a close friend or family? What are some of the things you’ve learned during your partnership?