• 10-07-2009: Entrepreneurial Fuel Newsletter


    10-07-2009-Entrepreneurial Fuel Newsletter

    Alumni Spotlight

    By Zeynep Ilgaz,


    San Diego State University MBA, 2000

    Confirm BioSciences.


    Five Rules for Balancing Work and Home

    How to successfully juggle the demands of both the home and family business

    My husband and I have known each other for 18 years, been happily married for over a decade and business partners for more than six years. Any couple will tell you that balancing this is no small feat.

    We've successfully juggled all these roles without driving each other crazy by following five "golden rules." I'd recommend them highly for any family, but especially when spouses are in business together.

    Rule # 1: What happens at work stays at work, what happens at home stays at home

    One of the most important things my husband and I do is make sure that business issues stay at work and family issues stay at home. We might have a disagreement at home in the morning, but when we arrive at work it's like nothing has happened. We'll return back to our discussion when we get back home

    Rule # 2: Establish clear job roles at home and work.

    When we started working together, my husband and I looked at each other's strengths and weaknesses in similar fashion to a SWOT (strength, weakness, opportunity, threat) analysis for business. From that exercise, we decided that I should be the CEO and my husband act in a CFO capacity. He has a strong financial background, while I'm more the outgoing person who likes to get deals done and execute on them. We have defined our business roles and responsibilities as a result. The same goes at home. I take care of all the grocery shopping as well as cleaning and cooking while my husband does all the finances, car maintenance and yard work. In both instances, we wrote down all our roles to the smallest details. I can't tell you how many arguments this has saved us.

    Rule # 3: Mom is the boss at home, period

    Someone has to be the arbitrator; there are just some instances where you can't reach consensus. In those cases, Mom gets to make the call, but does so with the understanding that she's accountable for it.

    Rule # 4: Family is always first

    Regardless of what goes on at work, family is always first. For example, we avoid work on weekends to make sure we do activities together as a family. If weekend work must be done, it is conducted only after our son goes to bed.

    Rule # 5: Dedicated time with our son

    While I do work a lot of hours, I take time out three days a week to pick up my son from school and spend the rest of the afternoon with him. My husband does the same thing the other two days of the work week. It's great to be able to rely on each other to make sure that business gets done while still taking time out for what's most important.

    Choose your partner wisely.

    My husband and I were able to make these "rules" official for our family by writing them down on paper and signing on it. We now hold each other accountable for our actions. Most of the time, actually, we make fun of each other and turn it into a fun process for us.

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