Learning how to work with your spouse

Mandee and I have been in business with each other for 10+ years.  We’ve learned a lot.  We value our personal relationship above any business venture that we embark upon.  

Listen in this episode as we talk about being in business with each other and things that we do to make our working relationship the best that it can be.



Hey, guys, I’m Brooks and I’m Mandee. So we’re husband and wife, entrepreneurs. And we believe that life and business are a giant adventure, and we want to live it with you guys.


So let’s get to it.


Guys, Hey, welcome back to the podcast. It’s Brooks, Mandee. And so we’re relaxing here at home, we’ve got our dog that’s having a nice nap on the couch over there snore. And so if you hear him anyways, that’s what that that’s what that is in the background. So, hey, look, so we wanted to talk to you guys about working with your spouse. So in business together, we just want to be real and authentic. And maybe not kind of just before we hit record, we kind of went over a few thoughts and notes. And I was like, Man, this is, this is a really good therapy for us to actually sit down and, and talk about this, I know, just to give everyone feedback or thoughts, like, I know that our over arching response I know is like we enjoy being in business together. And I think we make a good team. So I’ll go ahead and lead with that and say that, but this will be really good to kind of talk through some of this stuff. So if you out there either a, you already work with your spouse, I mean, we’d love for you to, like give us feedback and, and your thoughts on like things that you guys do. And we could probably learn from you guys, you know, this is a two way street. And then on the second hand, I’d say if you’re thinking of going into business with your spouse, or working with your spouse, then um, you know, you may just want to just listen to set this in can take some notes of what kind of me and Mandee have gone through and what we go through and kind of how we operate. And we’ll just kind of just kind of talk it through. Yeah, what do you think? Sounds great. Alright, cool. Let’s do it. So I thought what we do first, Mandee is just kind of first just kind of go through, like some of the businesses that we started and how you’ve, you know, just how we’ve worked together just in general. So kind of like an overview of that. And then, you know, if we just if we just dive in and make notes as we go, I mean, that’s perfectly fine. But like, so we our story is funny, because we actually started a business together before we got married. Right, right. Right, right. Real Estate like so we started a brokerage together. Well, you


Could actually even backtrack before that. Okay, before, whenever you had just come back to the States, and you had just gotten into real estate. I had my real estate license, and you were giving me leads.


Totally true. So yeah, working together


In that capacity for the first six months. Good point. Yeah,


Business relationship started there. Actually, that’s a great point. So I was giving you Yep, providing the real estate leads. And then we later went to the same brokerage together, I ended up getting a real estate license myself. We went to a broker courage. So if you have a real estate license, you have to hold it with a broker and maybe not worked with the same broker, the brokerage. While there, we made the decision, hey, we could do this. Yeah, this is not hard. This is not we could totally handle this, what’s the difference? Other than, like, you know, we’re just we form our own, you know, former company and the company has a license. And so we did that. Um, which I like looking back, I love the trajectory that I’ve been on in my life from being real. I mean, I think it’s been a really cool trajectory. And I learned a lot. I think that was a great experience. We still I mean, we still own that company today, like the entity. We own it today. And this is like six years later, something because that


Song was 10. Okay. 10. Yeah.


So notes, anyone listening? I’m not gonna date set, throw out stuff. And then Monday is my incredible calendar that can like really give me more accurate within I’m usually off about a couple of years. So maybe, Penny always great. So, yeah, so that entity still exists today. And we do now, like investment type property, I guess, is kind of the best way to say it, but in the entity, but that was our real estate brokerage that we started together. And I’m to what was your I mean, like, what’s your take? Like? How do you think we we’ve worked together in that business? Like, what


Actually like I’m real estate, the difference with real estate is you’re very self-motivated, and real estate, and we had a brokerage, but we didn’t have any agents underneath us. And so there wasn’t any managing of other people, we were, we were literally just managing ourselves. And Brooks was working with a couple of, you know, investors, and I was doing, you know, property manager or property evaluations for banks. So we really didn’t have to divide labor on that business too much, because he kind of did his thing. And I kind of did mine. So that was probably not the best example of how we can have we work together, we did have a business together, but we didn’t have to come together to manage anyone else. Do you know?


What I mean? But being in business together, and then managing of others, like other people, that’s it, those are to me, those are different topics is different conversation. So while we had different jobs, I mean, you still have functions of a business that someone has to do. Right. So you have bookkeeping you have, you know, tax you have? I mean, there’s just, I mean, you know, figuring out the division of labor, I mean, even though we kind of did that, um, I would just say, and, you know, and the not pivot, but we adjusted strategies and stuff over the years through that company. And I guess, because we’re not thinking of, we can’t think of negative examples, or really great examples, positive examples. I mean, I would say its like, it worked out. But anyways, so that entity still goes, we’re going to move to the next one, just because we have a couple of examples. Right. So there’s another company we bought from France called the ticket action. Bottega. So women’s clothing boutique. Clearly everyone out there is thinking like, okay, it’s obviously it’s your wife’s business. Not at all. Yeah. Which I’d say like, I would say, looking. And so now, so disclosure, we don’t own the business anymore. We have, like, we’ve sold the business and we had a fashion truck, and we sold that fashion truck. And so we can now look backwards on this business. And say, like, okay, like, looking back, you know, how do we work together and all that. And so, um, it was interesting, like you and so, you know, one of my strengths, I would say, is kind of, you know, marketing and some online stuff. You involve me in that aspect, when we decided that we that was the fashion truck some idea that like have to achieve, or is that something that we I don’t I don’t remember, I don’t know if that’s


You had seen it online. Okay, you came across one online, it was very kind of early. This is about five years ago. So it was kind of early in the world of not early in the world of food trucks. But early on world of fashion trucks you saw on you’re like, hey, there’s nothing like this in our area, we should totally do it. Gotcha. And we went from


There. So Bruce Kunkel crazy ideas, as I always have, I have a list of like 1000


people like, not every idea that makes it to the top, you know, not everything reaches the top but every now and you an idea you always say I’m crazy at first, I’ve come to learn this is we’ve been married six years. That is kind of like a standard thing. Like you. I’ve learned this about you. It’s really interesting. You think every time I give you an idea. I mean, you may say it’s a good idea. But a lot of times the best idea you don’t like right? The ones that actually end up being good ideas. Like we should totally pursue this. You don’t like them at first. And I’ve learned that about you have to kind of like slowly kind of keep kind of pitching you and keep not selling you hard, but like just kind of Yeah, just kind of keep going. What do you like, what about this? And like, but what about?


Like, how would How could this work?


And so I feel like that was one of those? Um, yes, the truck I think was a great idea. Like for that business. There’s a lot of fun. Right, thanks. We drove over to Louisiana we ended up buying wasn’t a Mac tools. Yeah. So it was an old they call them step bands are like, you know, bread trucks. You see, this was a Mac tools truck. We bought it in Louisiana. I drove it back. I was terrified. Like I’ve never driven anything that big before. So it’s pretty wild. But drove it back literally renovated it just like we would have a home. Right. So installed AC installed. Interior lighting, got it the whole thing. Started dressing room racks, all that stuff, and right? Yeah, every flooring. Yeah, literally a boutique on wheels. And that was a cool project. And obviously, I was heavily involved in the renovation aspect of that, but not just the trucks. Okay, so on the idea Phase I kind of talked to it, and can we do it? Um, you know, fast forward, obviously, obviously, we sold when we realized that, like nights and weekends is the only time to operate that business. After about a year, we were like, this is not like, this is not good just for our like, for our family. For us, like our goals, what we want as a family like we wanted, we wanted some time together, right, like as a fam. And so, you know, we made the decision to sell that. But you involved me also in the buying process of your inventory for the most part,


Right? Yeah, before we even had the truck. So we had a standalone retail space for the company. And so we had to purchase and a lot of times I would purchase my clothing online, but it was really fun for us to go to market together. And Brooks even being a guy has a great eye. And so he gave me yeses and noes on things that I should buy for the boutique. And he was on he was inspired on with everything that he picked out. So that was a huge help. And you did he kind of ran the numbers for that. He did the you were the financing end of that.


True. I was I guess I was a spreadsheet guy. Right? Like I was a guy looking at the cost of Okay, I remember that every time we would like we had this formula that we ran through. Yeah, I can’t remember what it was, but for our products. Um, I was like, trying to remember what the question was. Okay, like, like, Yeah, I would say yes. And so all the yeses, we’ve kind of having a Paul and I just hold it up. Like we’d say the cost, it costs us it was 15 bucks apiece, I’m like, can we sell it for 45? Like, right? And you will say yes or no, right? The answer was yes. Then it would it would make it if the answer was no or not sure, it would go out. And if Mandee didn’t have me there, I feel like for that aspect, you know that that additional question that may or may not have gotten asked or figured out or whatever. But that’s what we had to do to look at our margins, our margins to make sure that we’re making enough margin so that if we had to event which you did, you know, have sales like, welcome to the Welcome to the retail industry, right, right. Like when you have sales that you’re not going that you’re you know, that you’re still going to be profitable when you mark when you mark items down towards the end of season and all that kind of stuff.


So you are a huge help


On that end. True. Yeah, I kind of want to back I’m like, Yeah, but then like at the store downtown, you handled all inventory. You know, I would help you down there physically to load on load items in and stuff. But you would manage all that like putting those items in spreadsheets when they needed those items you did that you placed I feel like online orders. I feel like you didn’t ask me for that. You just sat down and spent hours and you may reviewed. Yeah, you may have asked. But yeah, yes. My opinion on some stuff. Yeah, you know, but like, ultimately, that was kind of your kind of your gig is like you places online orders. Because we found a few like trusted online vendors that we liked their style, and it kind of matched our brand. So


Yeah, so I mean,


Yeah, I ran the kind of day to day, parts of it. And Brooks was more of the, like big picture financials, numbers future of it. So


Yeah, I would agree with that. I would, I would say as a partnership like business partners and husband wife partnership, I, I give it a plus, like personally, like I feel like we had a good experience. I can’t rewind back remembering. This is a bad idea. Or like, I can’t believe we got into this or man, you’re not a good partner, or I personally don’t have any of those views or thoughts. Memories. It was a great partnership. Okay. Yeah. Yeah. So cool. So star rating on the ticket collection, to women on say, we’ll talk about one more business that we’re currently involved in, called the mobile rundown, which is local media company in our in our community in Mobile, Alabama. So no matter where you’re listening, but it’s I did not start that business with you. But we are now business partners. Right, right. So I started the business with a friend of mine in our community. We began the business, his wife came on board to help us because we were a couple of guys that were kind of doing the side hustle gig she came on was a huge help. And then at some point, I guess you started helping or something anyways, we had discussions of buying them out. They were like, Yeah, no, we’re happy if y’all want to take it over, whatever.


So for the first three years, I wouldn’t say that it was a full on business. For the first three years of that business. It was more of a service to our city, just kind of a community service project for getting out. So your party wanted


It to be a business. Yeah, but it just wasn’t right. You know,


We were running bodega, and we were running for front and the partners that you have they had their own businesses, doctors and lawyers. And yeah, so we, we didn’t have a lot of time to put towards it. And so it was kind of just kind of something that just got done every week. And then when we got married as when we bought them out NL came on board. Yeah.


That makes sense. So that’s when that’s when it got us want to get serious. That’s what


I got. Well, yeah,


Because we got well, and so you came on board. Okay, so that’s close to six years, we’ve been operating that. And but I would say for the last approximately two years, is that right? That we’ve kind of been like, focus most of your energy. Yeah, like, you know, 90% of your working energies going towards the mobile rundown, right? And so we’ve expanded into, we have a quarterly print magazine, we have another specialty magazine, we’ve now expanded into event production, because leave it to Brooks, again, Brooks is like, Hey, we’re telling the community every week, like what’s going on, here’s cool stuff happening. Why don’t we make cool stuff happen, right, and we have a marketing arm that we can like, expand that to people, we can produce our own fun, cool events, for the writing for the city have fun, you know, even make money for our family.


And so that


Is really interesting. So I’ll get I’ll also segue, it’s all related. But so that’s led to a few other partnerships. So one of the big events that we’re producing is called the king cake off, which is related to Mardi Gras. And you are my business partner in that. And we have two other business managers. And then another event that I have a business partner with, but you are helping me tremendously. It’s called the Gulf Coast biz con, which is like a seminar weekend event. Well, it’s a day event for entrepreneurs, anyone that relates to the term of an entrepreneur, and so you helped me tremendously with that. So what is your life? How do you feel working with me, at the Medical run down? And all this madness that I put us through here?


I think it’s great. I mean, I think that it says same thing, kind of was thinking about it, while you were talking, we have had a lot of businesses and we have actually the same roles in those businesses, you are more focused on the future, the financials, the bigger picture, and I am more like the day to day make it happen, admin kind of things. And so I think its great partnership, the way that we work with that business as well.


How do we say this is really funny, because we just we literally had a meeting last night. So we have two events that are coming up. And we literally have a meeting, we dropped our son off to soccer practice. And we have it on our calendar. This is really funny. It’s not weird for me, but people listen, this may be like, what Yeah, what a meeting at seven o’clock at night from seven 830. Yeah, or like, what, like, what are you talking about. But if you are in if you’re in business with your spouse, like you have to find time when you’re together. And you’re also mentally prepared and good to like, talk about an item. So we have two events coming up. And we decided to every Monday evening, we would discuss this right until, till we get there that’s like our meeting time to talk plan and have like action items or whatever, right? And that’s happened. That’s actually worked pretty well. Like last week, a week ago, when we dropped them off. We went over to the coffee shop, and we like nailed our meeting. I mean, we just go and add it like hardcore with the mean stuff that we had to do.


It was crazy.


Yeah, very productive.


Yeah, like really productive. And so. Um, yeah, I would say that works really well for us how I mean, how do you? Here’s a question that I thought of, and I’m like, I don’t know if we asked each other this, but I think it’s kind of important. I don’t know the answer. But like, do we have a process for accountability? Like, you know, this is what you do? This is what I do? Are you getting it done? Am I getting it done? I think


we both know, we see each other enough to know that we’re both working on whatever it is, like things are getting done, things aren’t not happening. So I think we’re both aware that the other person is pulling their weight, or


I think so too. And you know what, in, like, if one of us is like, dude, I am exhausted, right? I need it, I need a nap, or whatever. Yeah, I feel like we’re pretty gracious about me, like, take it, like do it. Because, you know, you may be you may, I may need an that I may need a net later and be down or sick. Both of us has been sick in the last couple of weeks, in our in our family live, right. So it’s like, I feel like we’re pretty, we don’t hold grudges for that kind of stuff. I feel like we’re pretty open and get it like each of us. At the end of the day, we’re both affected by the businesses, right? Like if the businesses do well, and this is whatever, whatever effect that is, whether it’s, you know, its financial well, growth, well, something, you know, it’s our branding, you know, whatever it is, it’s like, it speaks to us as business partners, it’s kind of like us. And so, you know, we want it to do well and both of us are on I know, we’re on the same page, right. And so we just know that each other is looking out for the team or for the brand, or for the business, whatever. Um, and so I know, it’s important to both of us, I feel like we do a good job there. Um,


well, our entire life, our entire, like, our days are work, you know, and so if we don’t take those times, and we don’t, you know, take a rest or go for a walk or get in or exercise or do things for ourselves that we need to, you know, things kind of start slowly falling apart. So I think we both understand that as well.


Yep. Yep. And having like an on off switch. So I made a made a note to talk about that. So we’re always on like, we’re always on kinda like what you just mentioned, like, because we’re in business for ourselves, there’s no really like clocking out or like, Okay, I’m leaving physically leaving work at five, there’s not that. So like, like, he kind of like you were saying, we have to be in control of that. And so if something I know, we’ve had this issue before, if something pops up to my head, and I get all excited.


Yeah, it’s like eight o’clock at night. You know, I’m like, Oh, yeah. What about this? What am I? And sometimes you’re staring at me like, dude, man, I’m done.


Yeah, I’m


Done. And we kind of we kind of made that a, we kind of talked about that and said that, hey, if that happens, like just tell the other person Hey, not right. No, not right. Now. Let’s like, I want to talk about this. But let’s put it aside. Right, you put it on a list. And let’s, let’s bring that back up. Let’s talk about it later. And I feel like we I know we’ve done that a number of times in the last couple years. And I think it’s been good. For the most part, you and I both are interested to talk about all the items because they’re all important, right? Um, but yeah, there are times where we’re like, hey, I want to turn it off. And we respect the other person’s I feel like we’ve done a good job at respecting the other person’s opinion of like, Okay, no problem, right? I can, yeah, let’s, let’s talk about it later. Um, so what would you say? Like, overall? Should people? Should people look at going into business with their spouse?


I think that’s a bigger question. I think you have to look at how you run your family, how you run your home, if you guys work well together, and you divide labor well, between whether it’s kids or pets or whatever that you have, if you are able to balance those things? Well, then yes, I would say, that’s great. I think that you could possibly work well with your spouse. But if those things are not an order, I would say maybe, maybe work on that first, before you try to jump into a business with your spouse, because it all kind of works together. Personal opinion. But


No, I think I think I agree with you. I want to hear what your thoughts were there. I totally agree. I’m sitting here thinking, you know what, it’s probably not for everybody. And it doesn’t mean that you don’t have an excellent relationship and excellent marriage, you know, if you’re married, and it doesn’t mean, that’s not great. If being in business will be bad, right? What I mean? Like it doesn’t, yeah, you don’t have to, oh, you’re great relational partners, therefore, would be great business partners, I think Yeah, I don’t think that’s necessarily a mixer match. And for you and I, we talked about this actually, as another as another kind of final item. Is that, hey, do we spend too much time together? Like we enjoy each other’s company, but we wonder sometimes, like, do we need a bit of a break? Right? It’s almost like healthy for us. Yeah. Like, it’s okay. If we do things separate and take some breaks because we talk about things a lot. We’re with each other a lot, right? Not only in family, but with business. So we don’t get that like work day where we’re with other people, you know, talking about our families to other people. It’s like we’re talking about us to us, like, like all day long. Alright, so, you know, I do think that’s huge to keep to keep in mind as well. Yeah, my the overall is I’ve appreciated being in business with you and I if that doesn’t last forever, our relationship to me comes first. over any of our business relationships or any businesses, but I have enjoyed it thus far. Yeah, it’s been good. And I hope that we can continue to do some because I’ve really enjoyed.




Man, all right, well, let’s let these people go. So I see you guys.

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Brooks Conkle

Brooks is an Entrepreneur, Sponge, Father, Husband, & Follower of the Golden Rule. He has over 15 years of experience as an entrepreneur after graduating with a BSBA in Finance from Auburn University. He’s addicted to growing new business ideas and any food that includes chocolate and peanut butter. Brooks is a firm believer in creating multiple streams of income and creates content here on BrooksConkle.com to help other hustlers in the areas of marketing, online business, personal finance, and real estate.