How do you take time off when it means both people in charge are gone at the same time?
Blaine and I have never said, “Gee, we need a vacation…you first.” Crazy but true, we like to vacation together…as do most couples in business together. But clearing the decks to make it happen is a challenge. And all too often, couples who don’t have someone to step in aren’t giving themselves the downtime together that’s required to recharge and remind themselves why they’re together in the first place. Not good.
Please, please, please, avoid the trap of saying, “We’ll take a great vacation next year.” It’s just too easy for next year to turn into the year after that and the year after that. Have you ever heard people say, “If you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of other people?” Taking care of your union is as important as taking care of yourself.
Yes, getting away from work is work. But it’s a job worth taking on. I was inspired to write this blog entry when I saw a post from Cherie Ve Ard of Technomadia & the Mobile Internet Resource Center (episode #41). She said that she and Chris worked around the clock for two weeks. Why? They bundled all the work that had to be done currently—as well as for a stretch of time after that—so they could enjoy taking time off for an upcoming visit from family.
That’s exactly how we play it. Blaine and I go over everything that might come up during our time away, then do it ahead of time. It does make for some long days. Then, once it’s done, we schedule its release throughout the time we’re away. Yes, we have had to put out unexpected fires while away, but we try to not get sucked back into the trap labeled, “Our Clients Need Us!”
It’s too easy for your marital relationship to turn into an officemates relationship. Part of the work of working together is creating time for not working together.
Hope that helps.
Is it a fine way to lose friends & family?
When a small business is looking for help, it’s so easy to turn to the people closest to us. A friend, a sibling, an old college roommate. But…are we talking about the best person for the job? That question doesn’t get asked nearly enough. What people do tend to focus on is, “Who’s close by?” Or, “I know So-And-So isn’t working right now.” Hey, your cousin may be the perfect person to do your books, but did you look around? Yes, it can work. Dale & Mark Shaw of Ultratech in Jacksonville Florida (episode #64) hired their son to do the company’s marketing. And as people who’ve spent our careers in advertising, we think he’s doing an outstanding job.
Sadly, that seems to be an exception and not the rule.
Not only might your family member not do the job to the level you require, there’s every chance they’re going to dredge up old family issues and drama. If so, you’re going to face the unenviable task of figuring out how to let them go without causing a family feud. When it was time to take their business to the next level, Alicia & Oscar Gonzalez of The Media Relations Group in Miami (episode #62) were faced with having to let family go. Unpleasant indeed. And it makes for a challenging Thanksgiving. Joseph & LeAnn Jackson of LeAnn’s Cheesecakes (episode #73) learned the hard way after hiring a friend. They went through a tight financial patch, and hard feelings came into play. It was the end of a long friendship.
Bottom line, it’s like we all learned by watching The Godfather: “This is business. It’s not personal.” The problem is, as soon as you hire friends and family, it’s personal.
Hope that helps.
Is this phrase getting in the way of your progress?
It occasionally gets in the way of ours. In fact, “You’re not hearing me” is the phrase that finally kicked off our blog posting.
We’d repeatedly talked about blogging, but it just wasn’t happening. Why? Because any time I’d talk about my starting the blog, Mr. Parker would have objections and parameters. It turns out, the real challenge was twofold: 1) I wasn’t understanding what his points really were; 2) He wasn’t understanding what I wanted to blog about.
We finally sat down and calmly, academically, discussed it. What we really discussed was, “I don’t think you’re hearing me. Why not?” It came down to this: We often tell each other things while the other one is sitting at the computer. Sitting at the computer means split focus. And split focus is really no focus. Also, while we always assume we understand what the other one wants, we don’t confirm it and proceed with a misunderstanding.
The solution was sitting down, away from our computers, and discussing the blog. And something interesting happened. To make sure we were each “hearing” the other, we played back to each other what the other one had said. It sounds so simple. It’s also so easy to not take the time. But we took the time, and were able to come to an accord on how to move forward. And it happened in short order. Surprise bonus feature? We felt closer as a couple.
Hope that helps.
Are Blaine & Honey Parker Relationship Experts?
Hardly. And does the world really need more of those? Instead, we are a couple who have worked together for over 20 years. We've learned a few things along the way. And now, we're traveling the nation interviewing other couples in business together. Join us for the ups, downs, ins, outs, laughs, tears (even though Honey believes Blaine has no tear ducts), and the inevitable, practical insights into being a better couple--in life, business and everything.