It can be challenging to keep our personal and professional lives on the right track simultaneously. Often, one will spill over onto the other, causing an imbalance.
Being involved in a relationship adds an additional level of complication as your time and attention need to include your partner….and their opinions.
Having a family further complicates matters with children’s needs (and stages!) to consider as well.
If the thought of these scenarios is not enough cause your stress level to rise, imagine working with your spouse and having children!
Here’s the million- dollar question: Is it really possible to have a successful marriage and business relationship?
On paper it can look like the perfect union, but what does it look like in real life?
Jeff and Nicole Musgrave
Jeff Musgrave started in real estate in 2010 and learned the ropes at the tail end of the worst market in US history. Jeff trained under one of the most successful real estate brokers in Central Florida, Stuart Hurry but quickly broke away, hoping to make a name for himself.
The Musgrave Group was born.
Lightening struck in 2013 when Jeff met Nicole who was new to the Tampa area.
Jeff suggested that Nicole obtain her real estate license and within 12 months she was licensed, trained and engaging with clients.
Together they developed a proprietary training program called “The Musgrave Method” which has helped countless agents become more successful.
They worked well together and even thrived from the partnership.
A New Chapter
Working together as a couple can provide the opportunity to spend more time together and become closer. It can also mean the death of the relationship if the couple fails to learn how to cooperate and communicate.
The relationship between Nicole and Jeff grew and they decided to tie the knot. They married in 2016. Their 2-week honeymoon was a mix of spending time enjoying each other and lounging by the pool and closing 3 business deals!
Starting a company can be all consuming in the beginning, and when you work with your spouse it is easy to get into the habit of talking about work all the time. Burn out is a real possibility.
Like most entrepreneurs, the Musgraves work more than typical 8-hour day, usually 9am to 9pm. However, according to Nicole, they have managed to carve out certain routines throughout the day that is just “their” time. She adds that often their business is very social so and meetings and dinners with clients give the couple a chance to spend time together and have a little fun as well.
Nicole says that “there are no definite lines of separation between work and personal life”. However, being in the real estate business does lend some flexibility to help them to juggle all the balls. “We generally meet with clients when they are off work so typically outside of the 9a-5p work day. That gives us the 9-5 timeframe to do all the back-end work and carve out some time for themselves”.
When it works, merging marriage and work can be wonderful, business trips double as getaways, and late nights are a shared burden rather than a source of bitterness.
Navigating the challenges
As with any new relationship, there were challenges for Jeff and Nicole in the beginning.
Arguments ensued while the couple figured out each other’s strengths and shortcomings -both personal and business. Fortunately, the couple knew the importance of taking time to decide what and how to delegate and how to not step on toes.
Overcoming ego and realizing that your partner is a valuable business contributor is crucial a key to success. When employees have a disagreement at work, it doesn’t continue into their home. Couples who have an argument at work can also clash at home because of it. Without communication and collaboration, working together may strain the personal relationship and the business.
The Musgraves soon figured out what worked best for them and the business (and their marriage) thrived.
Baby on Board
With all the pieces falling into place, a new challenge presented itself when Nicole became pregnant with their first child!
“Working together as newlyweds was a breeze. Working together pregnant and then with a newborn was a whole different story” Nicole admits.
She explains “You can’t always time when you are going to get a phone call from a new or existing client and a lot of times it happens to be the exact same time as the baby having a breakdown in the back seat”.
The hardest part of marriage is communication. And the hardest part of getting along well at work is communication. Put the two together–and there is potential for disaster!
Nicole explains how they navigate communication challenges “It’s almost like a dance we do- if Jeff is getting a phone call, he will give me the signal to take the baby to another room. I swoop the baby up and go to another room until the call is done”.
Sky’s the Limit
When it works well, husband-wife business partnerships are in sync and have such an intimate relationship that they can accomplish amazing things. The Musgraves are the perfect example of this.
2017 was a busy year for Jeff and Nicole.
Jeff was accepted into a 6- month business leadership program by Key Person of Influence, where he gained valuable experience in scaling their business.
Jeff and Nicole started writing a book sharing insights of future development, transportation and infrastructure projects which are (in their opinion) currently positioning the Tampa Bay area to become one of the hottest economy in the US over the next 24 months. The book published in April of 2018, is titled “A Greater Tampa Bay: Building the Fastest Growing City in America”.
The Musgraves also joined forces with CTV Capital to head up their new construction division. Since the partnership, they have already launched two new communities and plan to break ground on over two hundred units by 2019.
What is the secret to their successful marriage/business partnership?
Nicole says, “Every day is a learning process for us on how to better work together more efficiently”.
Maybe you can have it all!