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11 Tips for How to Run a Freelance Business With Your Partner

Updated: May 21, 2019

“Let there be spaces in your togetherness” -Kahlil Gibran

Long before Alexander and I got engaged, he told me that he wanted to run a business with his future spouse. I remember having a strong reaction,

“What a TERRIBLE idea. I would never do that.”

I had the impression that working with your spouse would be suffocating. How could we have a healthy relationship if we shared everything all the time? I didn’t have any good models for what it would be like.

Fortunately, I changed my mind.

By the time Alexander invited me to quit the corporate world and work with him, I was 100% open to the idea. The day we got married is essentially the day we started running our freelance writing business together.

After our honeymoon, we wrote our way through Central America and then Western Europe — getting paid to do it. Now we’ve settled back home in Austin, Texas.

*As a brief disclaimer, we’ve only been married since August 2017, so we don’t want to come across as “marriage-advice gurus.” We're not experts. This blog reflects what we've learned in our first year of being in business together. It's been a steep learning curve, one that we're still on.

Finding Meaningful Work With Your Spouse

Most days pass quite peaceably and we go to sleep after a great day of work, wondering how we struck gold. There’s a deep joy in what we’re creating together.

Then there are occasional days that feel really confusing — when communication breaks down, when the distribution of labor feels unfair, or when one of us is being a grump.

But the difficult days seem to provide the best opportunity for understanding ourselves and our business better.

And the truth is, for us, all of this has been infinitely worth it.

Like most of life, there are pros and cons to sharing a partnership in both life and work.

Here are 11 things we’ve learned in the past year that might be useful to those who are considering starting a business with their partner:

1. Make time to cultivate your own inner life (for the good of your relationship)

If you go into business with your partner, be prepared to spend all your time together. Sure, this all depends on your line of work and your family life (kids, no kids, etc.) but for our freelance copywriting business, we sit next to each other all day, every day.

Esther Perel, a Belgian psychotherapist and expert in modern relationships, writes about the preconditions for mutual desire and love: our conflicting human needs for both mystery and deep knowing. She writes,

Our need for togetherness exists alongside our need for