How to Work with Your Spouse July 09, 2015 08:45

And other imperfect sciences...


Magú and I on a normal work day back in 2006.

My husband Magú and I have been married since 1997, and we have working together as Transient Books since 2001. Being self-employed, and working with family members, is fraught with advantages (tremendous freedom)...and terrifying unknowns. Here are a few tips that have helped us stay on track throughout the years.

1. Keep that sense of humor. It's all about perspective. (I'm the first to admit we're not perfect at this!) But it's what we aspire to. Deadlines, client satisfaction, sales, product design, that d***m printer, not enough hours in the day...I mean, in the end, when we're 80 and looking back, it's not what we'll remember. We'll remember the kids growing up with us here, we'll remember those special clients, we'll remember getting to take those Tuesday afternoons off just because, we'll remember that getting to make books for humans all over the planet was the best job ever.


(This is Carolina Herrán, our right hand here in the studio for the last 4 years. If there's anyone who gets to see the joys and struggles of working with your spouse, it's her! But she keeps coming back, so what she's seen here in the studio can't be all bad...)

(What we'll remember most: the little things.)

 

2. Work is work, home life is home life. Try to keep them separate. Talk about work things at work. Talk about home things at home. This is actually easier to do than I would have thought. It allows our kids to experience other things besides Transient Books. It allows Magú and I to enjoy each other as husband and wife, and not only as business partners. It even allows for a surprising amount of mental clarity.


(My daughter and I up in the house on a regular day in 2010.)

 

3. Don't ever hesitate to admit to your spouse: YOU'RE RIGHT! It untangles 90% of the knots. 

 
(Magú was right!)

 

 

4. Know each others' specialties. Celebrate them and allow for expansion.


(Magú is great cutting and constructing boxes. He takes care of those big tight backs. I'm the organizer, the one who talks to clients. I design the book covers, cover the clam shell boxes. And so on...)

 

5. Be flexible. Be willing to redefine the structure as needed. Go with the flow, go with the punches. Hang tight, have faith.


(Magú watching the World Cup, working on a set of books, and getting our daughter to nap...all at once. Flexibility, multi tasking, it's all there. 2006.)

 

6. TALK IT OUT. Dive into the messy areas of your work day, and clean them up before they become the only areas. This is a fancy way of saying:  Communication is key. Sometimes it's the most time consuming part of working together, but it's always worth it. If you don't get it right the first time, keep trying. Eventually, it works. I swear.

 
The Appellas - Transient Books July 2015
Sierras de Córdoba, Argentina