DiscoverCoupleCo: Working With Your Spouse For Fun & Profit
CoupleCo: Working With Your Spouse For Fun & Profit
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CoupleCo: Working With Your Spouse For Fun & Profit

Author: coupleup@coupleco.com (coupleup@coupleco.com)

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Is building a business with your spouse the best thing ever--or the craziest? Or both? How do other couples do it? We interview successful couples who are crushing it and ask them everything from how they met to how they do it to how they argue. Whether you're working with your significant other, just thinking about it, or just like modeling other successful business owners, welcome to CoupleCo: Working With Your Spouse For Fun & Profit.
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This episode is unusual. Some might argue that these two are not really a CoupleCo. Paul and Laura Whitmore work together in a category with a ragingly high divorce rate: married clergy. The Reverends Whitmore are ministers who run a congregational church in Southport, Connecticut. We’ve interviewed all kinds of people from all kinds of faiths, from faithful evangelicals, to fallen Mormons who follow the Jedi, to atheists who converted to Judaism, to everyday agnostics. Here, it doesn’t matter who or what you believe, as long you are a couple committed to your mission and each other. This is a story about having faith in building something big. What Paul and Laura have done requires entrepreneurial sensibility, intense cooperation, and shared vision. They’ve been building their church since the 1990s. In that time, they’ve roughly quadrupled the congregation and tripled the annual budget. This from two people who swore they would never work together. Not unusual enough? Wait for Paul’s assertion that spirituality and marketing go hand in hand. This is a conversation with parallels and even allegories for all couples in business together.
We’re back with Mike Tuiasoa and Cori Christine, proprietors of an unusual mashup of a comic book store and coffee shop in Salt Lake City. We’ll be talking about the crowdfunding campaign that they used to fund their newer, better location—a campaign that succeeded in part because of national attention from important people. We’re also going to get even more candid. As nerds who were misunderstood and even harassed as kids, they have now found themselves with a business that is a haven for nerds, misfits and the under-represented. We’re going to be talking about their marketing, which shows how you can build a following with media that is cheap or even free. ADVISORY: This episode has some discussion of sexual orientation. It’s neither graphic or explicit, but it is couched in the context of being part of a group that’s misunderstood.
Smart, funny, passionate, committed—this couple has it all. And this conversation is an eye opener into the joys of nerd culture. The business also seems like an obvious mashup—but why didn’t anyone do it sooner? It took Cori Christine and Mike Tuiasoa to put comic books and latté together at Watchtower Coffee & Comics in Salt Lake City. In part, this is about buying an existing business to avoid the pain of breaking in a new boss. This is also a story we’ve heard before: a couple breaks up in the middle of their business. Will they reconcile? There’s also a lesson about the importance of understanding the nature of your trade. It can be hugely profitable—but business owners often don’t grasp it. Plus, there’s a tale about seeing an opening and having the courage to take it—especially if it flies in the face of popular sentiment. And did you know that your business and your life can be informed by The Jedi, the Sith, and power of The Force?
We are back in suburban Chicago with Jon and Beth Van Dyke of Modern Re-Bath in Lake Villa. ReBath is a national franchise operation specializing in quick and easy bathroom remodels. In this episode, we discuss some interesting challenges. What if you’re a CoupleCo—who is essentially taking over a family business from the original CoupleCo? We’ll be talking more about the value of acting with purpose and intent—which plays into different communication styles, and how it’s a challenge when you don’t act with purpose and intent to understand those differences. And why on earth would you have a regular Monday-night date night? (This might be useful if you have a business where Mondays are a challenge. ) And, a bonus: At the end of the episode, a few good laughs with the first-ever multi-generational CoupleCo surprise guests.
We are in suburban Chicago, talking construction. Beth and Jon Van Dyke are crushing it with Re-Bath, the national franchise that specializes in quick and easy bathroom remodels. One reason these two are on this show is they‘re dedicated listeners. They were thrilled to find a resource for couplepreneurs. They’re also big fans (like us) of being purposeful and intentional. So, should you seek counsel about whether you’re doing the right thing for your relationship and business? What if deciding to not bring work home with you can get ugly? What happens when you each manage different departments that often conflict? Or, what if the economy goes off the rails and one of you has to be laid off? Plus, this began as a family business. What happens when you’re the interloper?
We are back in Boca Grande, Florida with Dr. Richard Perry and Dr. Elaine Carlson of Southern Maine Internal Medicine. Their skills at collaboration and cooperation are a lesson for any couple anywhere. Their business together was the result of desiring better quality of life. They left big jobs in the big city to start a little, out-of-the-way non-profit. Today, we look at possibly conflicting working styles, setting goals professionally vs. personally, and how on earth do the two of you go on vacation at the same time? Also, do any of us ever really retire? These two have a holistic approach to medicine—but is that matched by a similar approach to life, family and everything else? And get ready for the best advice ever to couples who think they want to work together.    
Is this good for what ails your marriage, your business, or even your life? Meet Dr. Elaine Carlson and Dr. Richard Perry of Southern Maine Internal Medicine in Kennebunk, Maine. This is the first coupleco we’ve talked to who were married by a sex therapist. (Really.) But more important: their story of leaving big jobs in the big city, and starting over with a small business in a rural setting. In a time when big corporations have changed things—including medicine and job satisfaction—this is a tale of addressing quality of life. And these two describe a collaborative working environment that can be applied across the board. Plus, isn’t it scary to be starting over in your mid-40s, and making less money? How do you compensate for that?
We're back with Dan Hitchcock & Ceci Rodriguez-Hitchcock of Miami Home Centers True Value stores. Bringing her into the business was almost accidental. They doubted it was a good idea. But it’s been great for business—and their relationship. They’ve learned a lot, including how to handle issues at work and home, and how to give each other space. Plus, Dan believes he has discovered the secret for all couples in business together. It involves grudges. And Ceci has learned what to do when Dan is “riding the bull.” It involves a new level of patience that doesn’t come naturally to any of us.
Thieving employees, digital Cyrano, and a huge lesson on disagreement: We’re in Miami for a conversation with a multi-unit retail CoupleCo. Dan Hitchcock and Ceci Rodriguez-Hitchcock of Miami Home Centers own four True Value hardware stores. These two are in business together almost by accident. Really, this story has several happy accidents, including how they met. And when Ceci came into Dan’s business, she was known by a sinister name. Dan sat back and waited on the outcome, which tough, as it’s not how he normally operates. And Ceci learned an important lesson from Dan—which she wants to share with all couples.
We are back with Jill & Spencer Wright of The Pod Mill in Salt Lake City. These two developed a thriving podcast studio and network after Spencer’s business partner ended up in trouble with the law. They admit that don’t know if they could have done this a few years ago. Do you let challenges make you or break you? It helps to be working in a business that can be fun. Still, this business is not all hats and horns. Jill lives with a transplanted heart, and in some ways this is a mission in their work. You have to understand what’s important to each other, and be supportive. It’s also important to be able to say, “No, that’s a bad idea.” But what if the other person isn’t necessarily right about that? They also have some interesting marketing insight for any CoupleCo in the podcasting age.
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