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How Do You Run a Business Successfully With Your Spouse?

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Executive Search Cannabis Industry Recruitment

I get this question all the time. Many people who know Bryan and I know us individually. So they’re always curious about what working with your spouse is really like behind the scenes.

Bryan and I run our executive cannabis recruiting firm from home, full-time. And, now, with covid, we’re also homeschooling our kids. If I looked at us from the outside, I might wonder how we do it too.

The truth is: We’ve created this life and we love it — we’re living our dream. But this life is not for everyone. People assume we must set boundaries to successfully work together and live happily married. But when asked about what kind of boundaries we set to make our life work, I usually laugh and say, “What boundaries?”

Our “work-life balance” looks different than what modern self-development gurus would consider ideal. Because our work lives and home lives are fully-integrated, all the time. It’s the way we designed it. And it’s what makes us successful.

We live a full work-life integration

The pace at which we work means no breaks. We run a full-service, white-glove recruiting firm. So we’re always available to our clients. “White-glove” means we’re obsessed with the details and are meticulous in making sure everything is always right. Our clients are always on our minds, whether we’re eating, sleeping, or walking on the beach. It’s both our motivator and obsession.

Naturally, this affects our kids. But this is a family business which means our kids are a part of it too. They’re always here while we are talking with clients and candidates. Or they’re helping us analyze collateral that someone created. From our perspective, they’re getting an amazing education! How many kids get first-hand executive business experience during elementary school? 

The key is that Bryan and I work together to make our business work for our family. With covid, the boys don’t have sports or friends to play with. So I take them to the park every afternoon which gives us some time out, and Bryan time to focus. On the weekends, Bryan takes them out so I can have time to focus.

Our “work-life balance” looks like constant communication, collaboration, and full partnership.

Be nimble, flexible, and balanced.

Of course, when you’re always working, something has to give. Most days, we’re up at 4am and work past 7pm. But on Fridays, we try to cut it short whenever possible. When you’re working around the clock, at some point, your brain isn’t working right… So we must know when it’s time to shut off. Overworking does not bring results.

We run a tight ship, but we’re always ready to pivot during our day. If our boys are extra rambunctious one morning — which can cause the whole family to be unfocused — we know it’s time to bring them outside and help get the wiggles out. Instead of trying to make everyone “push through”, Bryan or I will bring them outside to move our bodies as we say, and then they’re almost always ready to get back to their school work and let us focus.

Our lifestyle is not for everyone. But it works for us — at least for right now. Sometimes we wonder when will we take our foot off the gas? We don’t see that happening any time soon. But, realistically, we know we’ll have to slow down at some point.

Benefits of Running a Business with Your Husband

When I tell people I run a business with my husband, many people say things like I could never do that or how can you be together all the time and still get along? 

And sure, there are some negatives. It’s really hard to find balance. We do get on each other’s nerves. We wake up at 4am. There are times when the to-do list is too long. And there are times when we don’t want to talk. So I understand how it can seem unimaginable to have a husband and wife with lives so integrated.

But we’re a true partnership and we always have each other’s backs. We focus on the positives of working with your spouse. Because the benefits absolutely outweigh the negatives. We have constant moral support, strong communication, compassion, and deep cannabis industry insights.

Moral support

We’re always by each other’s side to provide moral support and real-time feedback. If Bryan’s on a call with a new client, I’ll critique him and tell him how he can improve for future calls. For me, Bryan’s usually helping to push me out of my comfort zone. While regular feedback can certainly be uncomfortable, it’s so critical to our success. Our goal is to continually improve. So being each other’s number one supporter is incredibly valuable.

We know what makes each other tick and what sets each other off… So when one of us is having a bad day, we don’t take it personally. We know when it’s time to give the other space and when it’s time to jump in with compassionate support.

Compassion

We get a level of compassion that you don’t get with typical coworkers. If I make a mistake and am beating myself up over it, Bryan cares and wants to see me move past it. He’s there to tell me, “It happened, it’s done, move on, it will be fine.” Typical coworkers often don’t care enough to take the time to help you through internal conflict. But when you work with your life partner, he or she knows what you need to hear to help get you through a hard situation.

Compassion and empathy are at the core of our values. The compassion we have for each other extends to the compassion and empathy we have for our clients and candidates. 

Bringing circles together

The cannabis industry is a small industry — at least it feels small. And since we’re both a part of it, it truly feels like a community. We both have our own separate connections within the industry, but there’s a lot of overlap and we’re constantly realizing we know the same people.

We visualize our connections like a Venn diagram. We each have our own circles that overlap — the overlap contains the people we both know. We’re always adding people to our overlap — or “shared connections” — and piecing the industry together. So we have a deep understanding of who knows who. This gives us an advantage in the industry and at home.

In terms of better understanding the cannabis industry, putting our circles together helps us facilitate creating stronger connections within the industry. It gives us deeper industry insights in regards to who is doing “good” in cannabis. In terms of our home life, we almost always know what the other person is trying to explain about our individual workday.

For spouses who don’t work together, your spouse usually doesn’t really know what you’re talking about — it’s hard to explain all the small details of your workday over dinner. 

But since we’re always peaking over each other’s shoulders throughout the day, we easily understand what the other person is talking about. And we can more easily give each other constructive and valuable feedback since we are both so integrated with the same industry.

Communication 

Our communication skills have become incredibly strong. Improved communication skills are both a benefit of working together and the key to working together. We’ve had no choice but to improve our communication skills.

Our philosophy is to always over-communicate — it’s better to give too much information than too little. We lay everything out and present all the facts so we can make informed decisions, together. Frankly, we don’t have the time to play games or connect the dots within our relationship. For us, it’s a waste of time to not lay everything out and over-communicate. 

Communication is the key to success in both our business and relationship.

Working with your spouse takes commitment

First and foremost, we’re committed to each other and our family. And our commitment to our family involves being committed to Hunter + Esquire. Because Hunter + Esquire is us. Hunter + Esquire is a part of our family, it’s what provides for our family, and it’s providing our future.

We share the same vision for both our family and our business. We set goals for Hunter + Esquire with our family in mind. And we set goals for our family with Hunter + Esquire in mind. We’re committed to those goals because we’re devoted to our vision.

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