Featured Vendor: Frosted Pumpkin
Tips on managing a business as a couple
January 26, 2024 | Features, Tips & Tricks
Last week, we sat down with the power couple behind Frosted Pumpkin Wedding Cakes. Jeff and Karyn Schwerzler have been running Frosted Pumpkin at their home kitchen for over 30 years and they have become the premiere wedding cake company in Atlanta; garnering awards from Wedding Wire and TheKnot since 2008.
We were very curious about how they made it work for over 3 decades - they're married, they live where they work and they have kids. Most businesses (and people we know) would dread the day they had to work with their significant others and Jeff and Karyn are pulling it off everyday.
So, we asked them for tips on how they manage their business, marriage, kids and life all at the same time. Which in turn provided great insights that we'll be sharing with you in this article.
You'll read this a lot of times in this article, it's the most important tip you'll find when it comes to running a business with your significant other. Everything from financials to major decisions need to be discussed together. Finding out later is not an option and will potentially lead to big arguments that will hurt both your business and your relationship.
Have Different Responsibilities
Your responsibilities can overlap at times but it's better to play to your strengths. Like Jeff, for example, is better at doing the business side of things like finances, logistics, schedules and Karyn is better at being creative and cleaning. It's all about respecting each other's opinions - being there for each other while still sticking to your responsibilities. One of the things Karyn said stuck to us the most when it comes to having different responsibilities: "Stay in your lane but be creative and helpful when the other person needs you."
Set a Schedule
Setting a schedule for business and personal matters is a great help to keeping things in place. Jeff & Karyn make it a point to set a day and time for baking, working, major discussions and rest days - rest days include date nights and time with the family. Going back to open communication, letting each other know when the schedule doesn't work for you and compromising and communicating to make it work.
Respecting each other's space and time is also important. Each one needs to understand that a strict schedule will not always work, especially when it comes to creative work - and we get this the most; cause you can't force your brain to be creative at a specific time. So compromises to the schedule to make it a bit loose for creativity is important also.
Don't be selfish. The schedule can't be just for you. Thinking about business and personal - it has to work for everyone and everything involved.
We hear this phrase everywhere, not just with businesses managed by couples - that's how crucial it is. When your work where you live and with your significant other, it's a bit hard to achieve work-life balance. That's why it's important to set a schedule and stick to it. At the end of the day, when work is over, stop talking about work and be a couple (be a dad or a mom). A good tip for this from Karyn is to make notes on your phone for the next work discussion instead of bringing it up after work - and they're strict about this rule. They allow each other to cut off the work topic when it's not time for work.
Have other interests. You don't have to constantly be with each other. You need to have things you do together and things you do with other people - that doesn't mean that you're being excluded; it's just healthy that way.
Don't keep it all business all the time. Jeff and Karyn have what they call, "hug breaks", scattered throughout the day. There are times when they work in different parts of the house but when they pass by each other, they show affection. When they're at the kitchen, they play fun music so that it's not too serious all the time.
Keeping the sense of humor. It's critical. Learning to laugh about things instead of crying about them as well as learning to not get stressed about certain things and just dealing with it.
Enjoy and Love What You Do
Last, but definitely not the least, you need to enjoy and love what you do. At the end of the day, if you hate what you do, it's not gonna be good for anybody.
It may be hard to manage a business with your significant other but Jeff & Karyn are living proof that it's possible.
One of the best things that came out of this feature is this quote by Jeff:
I don't work for her and she doesn't work for me. We're both together in this.
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