How to be both romantic and a business partner with someone, without causing any undue stress!

As more and more people realise the benefits of being self-employed, it is not unusual to see romantic relationships between freelancers, often in similar industries. It can also be common to see a relationship where one half becomes their own boss, and the other sees the benefits and follows suit.

With all these households featuring multiple freelancers, it is not surprising that many of them have gone into business together, setting up limited companies. You might even be thinking of doing something similar. However, it could seem like a scary prospect.

Running a business with your significant other means spending 24 hours a day with them and could add a whole load of stresses to your relationship. You might also be worried that it is not the right financial decision for you. If this is the case, don’t worry! There are easy ways of getting around these potential problems.

Check your finances

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There are quite a few financial benefits to setting up a business with your partner. You will probably be used to splitting things like bills and insurance with them, so you will know how this can save you money. The same principle applies to running a business, as several expenses can be shared between you.

For example, you might find that you are able to get certain items that you need for your business – such as computers or vehicles – insured on the same company policy, or you could even share these devices. You can also split the cost of office space when you are working from home, as you will be sharing the cost of bills. A key benefit, therefore, is the centralised administration of costs.

Of course, before you gain a business partner you need to make sure there is enough work out there for both of you. If you are in a position where you are having to turn down jobs, then getting your partner involved is obviously a very good idea. However, in other situations you may have to make concrete plans to market your business in order to make enough money for both of you.

There are a lot of monetary issues you will need to think about, and it might be a good idea to get some help to ensure you don’t miss anything. Brookson provides specialist accountancy services for freelancers and small businesses that could be extremely helpful in this situation.

Diverse business partner

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If you are going to be setting up a limited company with your significant other, you might assume you both will be doing the same work. If you are operating within the same industry, albeit within different roles, there will be complementary aspects that both of you can bring to the table as your trading activity will broadly be the same.

In many cases, therefore, it is better for you each to specialise in a different areas within  your business, to provide a rounded service to potential clients.

If you are not married or in a civil partnership, you should consider the legal and accounting ramifications of running your company together.

We would always suggest you consider drawing up a directors’ agreement (covering duties, responsibilities and remuneration, for example) and/or a shareholders agreement. At the very least you should consider the points within a standard agreement that you may wish to formalise or discuss between yourselves, before you form your company.

The advantages of this are numerous. First of all, it helps to prevent tension between you, as you have both agreed how you wish to operate going forward. If you are both responsible for the same areas of your business, it can be easy to tread on each other’s toes and disagree with your significant other’s approaches.

If you recognise that each of you have specialisms, then you each have control over different areas of the business. This will prevent conflict and  the risk of  storing problems for the future.

The other advantage is that this approach can be a lot more efficient. Rather than switching between different areas of the business, you can each focus on your specialist areas. Dedicating your time to a single aspect of your workload can be much more efficient than the alternative.

Set your values before you start

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Finally, before your significant other becomes your business partner it is a good idea to make sure your goals align and that you have the same ideas about how working together will function. This might seem like the sort of thing you work out as you go, but it would be a mistake to rely on this method. After all, you never know when you will come up against an issue that the two of you can’t agree on.

It is a good idea to come up with a set of values to start your business, to make sure you and your business partner are on the same page and iron out any kinks before they get out of control. One of the most important is whether you should put your business or your relationship first, for example.

It is also a good idea to have a method of breaking any deadlocks you have, if you cannot agree on a solution to a problem. This can be as simple as flipping a coin, as long as it is set in stone so that you both know what to do if you end up disagreeing. Having a shareholders agreement in place formalises an ‘exit strategy’, just in case things go awry.

By sticking to these values, you will find it is a lot easier to run a limited company with your significant other. This will let you mix business with pleasure, as you find success working with the person you love.

If you’re looking to go into business with your significant other, Brookson’s specialist accounting services will ensure you get up and running quickly and will help you make the most of your finances.