They say romance is dead, but despite Valentine’s Day being firmly behind us, it’s still clear that us Brits have no problem mixing business with pleasure. The UK boasts 4.7 million ‘family owned’ businesses and, out of this amount, it is estimated that couples run 1.4 million businesses together in Britain. And it seems that becoming business partners with our life partners could be particularly beneficial to women.
A recent survey, commissioned by cloud accounting software provider FreeAgent, also revealed that one in 10 working Brits plan to start their own business within the year, some of which will undoubtedly be with their partners.
Research from the Harvard Business Review detailed that on average, women in ‘copreneur’ couples earned 27% less before taking the plunge and pairing up with their one true love. In relationships where only one partner was an entrepreneur, women also earned 33% less than copreneurs.
We talked to two London micro-business owners to see what working with your partner is really like…
Petalon – Flower deliveries by bike across London
Florence and James Kennedy have been together for 8 years and both run their individual businesses, but are heavily involved in each others. This is because James runs Kennedy City Bicycles, a bike maker, founded in 2012, while Florence runs Petalon, which delivers beautiful flowers to Londoners by bicycle.
Florence told Belle About Town: “I know it might sound strange, but living and working together has never been an issue. We had a period of about eight months when our workshops were separate and it just wasn’t nearly as fun. Now we are back in the same workshop, with a small team and it works really well. James works on his bikes up on the mezzanine and me and the petalon team are on the ground floor.
“Valentine’s Day is a bit of a non event in our personal lives and a logistical masterpiece for work! We celebrate once all our orders have been completed and we are sure all the deliveries have been successfully received, but whether that’s a celebration that we survived or something more romantic is pretty blurry!”
Shrimpy – A seafood themed pop-up in London, started with just £1,000 in savings
Miranda Roberts and Stefan Buschbeck have been together 5 and a half years and run Shrimpy, a seafood themed pop-up with just £1,000 in savings to follow their dream.
Miranda said: “We’ve had a wonderful experience with it so far! But I know other couples where it hasn’t worked. I think it’s really important that you both bring different skills to the table otherwise you end up competing with each other. After that it’s all just about respect for each other, making one another laugh in difficult situations is a must too!”
“On Valentine’s Day it was business as usual really. We did go for dinner in the evening but it was nothing too exciting!”
Ed Molyneux, CEO and co-founder of FreeAgent, told Belle About Town that more and more Brits are taking the plunge and starting their own businesses. “Going it alone can be an extremely rewarding, if daunting, move for people to make with their career – and it’s clear from our research that a significant number of working Brits are considering taking this leap into self-employment in 2017,” he said.
“While many will choose to go solo, we believe that there will be a significant number who decide to team up with their partner to start and run a business together. That’s because it’s a potentially great move for couples to make with their careers – as you’ll be able to co-ordinate your work around your family commitments, share your passion with your soul-mate and have all of your household and business finances in one place.”
Starting your own business is never going to be a decision to take lightly, and there are some who will always prefer to keep their careers and their personal lives separate. But for open-minded couples looking to make a change this year, becoming co-preneurs could be the way forward.
What do you think? We’d love to hear your experiences of mixing business with pleasure, whatever the outcome!