Working With Your Spouse

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Working with your spouse is both challenging and rewarding. In the last few years, Sean and I have completed about 2-3 renovations together annually, either for personal properties or working with clients.

Our marriage story has involved real estate & renovation from the very beginning. We got married on 12/12/15, and 3 days later we closed on our first condo. During our rehearsal dinner, we actually signed the final papers to prepare for the closing of our condo! We were at a lobster restaurant with all of our family, and they had to have us print and sign documents during the speeches.

Two days after we closed on the property, we realized in the midst of all of the craziness that we had forgotten to set up the electrical. Typically this wouldn’t be a big deal (as we weren’t moving in yet), but we were beginning filming the very next day for HGTV House Hunters Renovation. Lighting is an important element needed for filming, to say the least!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; doing this renovation together was MUCH more challenging than planning our wedding! We were still learning each other’s styles, and we both have big opinions, so this forced us to compromise on many items. Shockingly, I think I compromised on more things than Sean, which typically isn’t the way I operate. :)  A full house or condo renovation is a really quick way to learn about how well you can work together. Why? Massive amounts of money are being spent; you are displaced; there are delays, and on top of all that, we had the additional stress of having all our emotions displayed on film for HGTV during the renovation!

When we moved in, we had one working toilet and no running water besides that one toilet. We lived like that for 2 weeks, showering at family and friend’s houses. We were stressed, but we also laughed a lot! These are the moments were lots of memories are made. Ultimately we both realized that we chose to have this problem, and we were grateful it was even an option for us to be able to buy and renovate a condo into a beautiful, new space.

The end result from many sleepless nights, a few arguments, lots of laughs and fun was a beautiful, remodeled condo that we enjoyed together...for a little less than a year. Then we decided to sell and invest in other properties!  

More recently we have been working together in a team setting on a more day to day capacity, which has come with different challenges, both good and bad. Sean realized pretty quickly how overwhelmed I had become with the amount of business I had received at Skelly Home, so I asked him to step in as COO of the company. Not only does he manage the company finances, but he also is a great support to myself and my employees.

At Skelly Home, clients + good quality renovations are our mission, so Sean steps in wherever necessary to fulfill that. The first week that Sean became more involved in Skelly Home, we set up a meeting with a business coach and then had 2 or 3 meetings that followed. I’m sure we will continue to do this in some capacity. Originally, we weren’t working well as a team.  It was difficult to separate work and life together. She helped us pretty quickly with this problem, as we were both very willing to listen and implement. She suggested turning our phones off at a certain time at night (while still difficult, we are improving!), having more patience and grace with each other, and listening to each other’s opinions before talking. We laid down these ground rules and started practicing them on a daily basis.

Ultimately, Sean is my better half (no doubt). He supports me in all ways; he helps me work to find solutions; he always answers the phone or will meet with me/help me when I’m facing a challenge or a great opportunity. He celebrates with me in a big way and supports me when I’ve had a bad day. I couldn’t ask for a better spouse through this crazy + fun life.

What is really wonderful about working together is we understand each other’s industries (real estate for Sean, renovations for myself) extremely well. Instead of just being able to listen to a challenge, we can actually help each other create a solution. We are each other’s soundboards, and there is a deeper understanding and connection between us that comes with working together.

Do you work with your spouse?  Are you considering launching your own business and working more closely in the day to day ops with a spouse or partner?  Feel free to comment below with lessons you’re learning along the way!