One of the most rewarding parts of achieving a lifestyle with financial flexibility is spending more time with one’s family and significant other. But the transition to entrepreneurial success and financial independence doesn’t come without challenges to a relationship as it takes a lot of hard work, personal growth, and overcoming life circumstances together.
Jono and Kirsty Rowe have been working as a team since day one of their marriage for over a decade. They own and operate a host of successful businesses and investments under their holding company, The TJKR Group, and enjoy the fruit of their many years of hard work by spending quality time with their children. They also host a successful podcast and blog, and they continue to make time to mentor other couples in NZ and Australia on achieving their own financial independence.
Here’s what Jono and Kirsty Rowe learned from their experience working together to build a successful business and achieve financial independence.
The Gift of Growing Together
Growing together is a challenge for most couples. They’re often limited to a small list of opportunities in which they can align their beliefs. Most couples spend their days on completely different career paths. Over time, they may grow apart simply because they don’t realize that they are diverging in different directions.
By working together, spouses have the opportunity to align their motivations and grow together on the same path. Research has found that this brings couples closer over time.
At the start, working together may expose differences and cause conflict. But resolving these issues and making adjustments leads to a singular path in business and relationships. When a couple grows together, they celebrate success and learn from failures together. They also have a deeper understanding of, and greater appreciation for, each other’s strengths.
“It’s been incredible to have a front-row seat to Jono’s growth over the past years,” Kirsty says. “We’ve learned so much about one another. I can hardly recognize the couple we were before.”
Building Bonds through Common Goals
One of the most important parts of maintaining a relationship is to develop mutual goals. Studies have actually found that couples that share more common goals are happier and more likely to stay together.
Common interests and common goals allow both partners to work towards an end that benefits them individually and as a couple.
Starting a business with a partner provides so many opportunities to set mutual goals, big and small. These goals may relate to business targets but also to personal growth. For example, if Kirsty wanted to attend a design seminar, Jono would take a personal interest in her success and the doors it may open for them both in the future. If he still worked as an accountant, he may support Kirsty in her interests, but he would be more detached from her goals, successes and failures as a creative person.
Every goal met as a couple, from a productive lunch meeting to the major financial milestone, deepens their bonds on a psychological level.
Complementing Each Other’s Skills
Most couples know that they’re a good fit in one way or another. Working together allows them to explore this bond even further by learning each other’s skills and strengths and exploring how to combine them.
One reason that Jono and Kirsty Rowe have been able to achieve so much is that they recognize each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Jono is a financial guru and a visionary, while Kirsty is a creative type and excellent connector of people. By combining these strengths, they’ve achieved massive success in just a short time.
But combining strengths is only half the battle. Each partner must also be able to allow the other to take charge when their skill is needed. That leads to the next challenge: setting boundaries.
Developing Healthy Boundaries
Setting boundaries is one of the most difficult tasks for spouses who work together, but it is a critical part of a healthy relationship. Boundaries can be physical, such as establishing separate workspaces in the house. They can also be practical, such as determining who takes the lead in a meeting.
For example, Kirsty knows that Jono is likely best to spearhead a presentation or conversation when it comes to financial literacy and investment strategy. Jono creates space for Kirsty when it comes to marketing and design or typically anything related to sleep training with infants.
Boundaries can also be emotional. Couples need to establish when “work mode” starts and ends. Acting like business partners 24/7 can be detrimental to a relationship and also cloud expectations. This has been one of the key growth areas for Jono & Kirsty since retiring their time from day jobs and being full-time husband and wife. Learning to create boundaries around their time has been a key life adjustment.
The key to developing boundaries is honest conversation. It’s not always easy for a spouse to say they prefer to work alone when the other likes to stay close. But these hard truths lead to a more successful business and a closer relationship.
Holding Each Other Accountable
Spouses working together don’t have quarterly performance reviews, and they won’t be fired for clocking in a few hours late. The only way they can keep their goals on track is to hold each other accountable. This isn’t easy, because accountability often involves conflict and confrontation.
Spouses need to be able to confront each other when they feel someone is not following the plan or getting a bit lazy. There is nothing more damaging to long-term relationship success than whinging to your girlfriends about how lazy your husband is at home when you’re not willing to communicate with him about various expectations.
“Arguments can happen when there is a misunderstanding, with us it’s always been when there is a gap between expectation and reality,” says Jono. “But if we are open to constant communication and approach with a loving tone, tact, and demeanor, accountability then becomes productive and effective. We all need a kick in the pants once and a while!”
One of the ways Jono & Kirsty have approached this area successfully is through effective mentoring relationships outside of their own family. Trusted advisors and friends who know their values and know-how they operate.
Building a Life Together
It comes as no surprise to Jono and Kirsty Rowe that couples who build something together have a more flourishing relationship. Coming together to tackle the challenges of a business and a family builds bonds that are not easily broken. While it is a tough path, the rewards are worth the ride. Jono and Kirsty now enjoy financial flexibility with options, more time with their children and a relationship that’s stronger than ever.