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

Author: Blaine & Honey Parker

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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.
128 Episodes
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This week, a couple who are breaking all kinds of rules. Or making their own, depending on how you look at it. Denis Randal and Jerry Miller have a pandemic-perfect business model. They’re running a mobile optician service. They bring their showroom and optical service to wherever you are—as long as you are in the vicinity of Asbury Park, New Jersey. Yes, greetings from Asbury Park. It’s a business model that’s perfect for the pandemic lifestyle. It’s also a business model that was born of Jerry’s dissatisfaction with his corporate gig, as you heard at the top of the show. His employer was treating the patient as a number, and he thought the patient deserved better. What better reason to start your own business than dissatisfaction with the status quo?
What happens when a CoupleCo splits up for separate projects? Or vanity projects? Is it possible that it’s still a couplepreneur venture, even though only one of them is getting all the glory? It works that way with us. Honey and Blaine abandon the regular CoupleCo format for a whole new chat about crushing it with Honey's new novel, Careful-ish. This is about buying the big lottery ticket, doing what seems like a vanity thing when it’s still a covert joint venture, and being supportive. Or…too supportive? What happens when one partner pushes the other out of the comfort zone in pursuit of fame and fortune through art? Well, fame and fortune can be a slow build…
We’re back with part 2 of Annmarie and Kevin Gianni of Annmarie Skincare. We are revisiting their 2018 interview because these two are brave and brazen entrepreneurs. They do things on their own terms with a 21st century skincare company that pivots and profits. And long before CoupleCo was on the road recording interviews, they were doing it in a different business venture. They also learned some life lessons of couplepreneurism that are unique to living and working out of a motorhome. They’re fun, funny, and you’ll love them as much as we do…
These two have done it all on their own terms, they’ve evolved, adapted, survived and adapted some more. They’re smart, unafraid to pivot, and they’re committed to their cause. This is Annmarie and Kevin Gianni of Annmarie Skincare. We are revisiting their 2018 interview, which is one of our favorites ever. And not in the least because she’s not afraid to back up a big RV. These two went on the road with an RV long before we did it, and they conducted interviews all over the country. Hear about their choices, their pivots, and their organic health & beauty empire…
We’re back with Chuck and Coleen, the professional couple who are helping start a business that’s kind of a dream gig—and one in which they have no experience. It’s a high-end, nose-to-tail butcher shop with a limited menu and delivery. Didn’t anyone tell them that starting a food service operation during COVID-19 comes with a high degree of angst? Why have they found the pandemic so good for them? And despite the fact they’re experiencing setbacks in a business that has yet to launch, they remain optimistic and philosophical. That’s probably because, as a serial entrepreneur, he has some of the best business advice ever…
We’re talking to Chuck, a veteran real estate developer, and Colleen, who comes from PR and corporate sales. We’ve been talking to their partners in launching a high-end butcher shop with a limited menu and delivery. Of the three couples involved, only one has food experience. This is daunting, especially when COVID is in the mix. They’re counting on the culinary leadership of Paige and John Courtney (episodes 135 & 136). But none of these people are afraid of hard work—nor setbacks, and they’ve had a few. Their opening has been pushed back to December, so they’re missing some high season in a big-money tourist town. But everyone is pretty philosophical about this. How do you start a business in which you have no experience and not just lose it?
Welcome to the CoupleCo resentment episode. This is the one where we pretend to argue! But seriously, folks: How can you work with your significant other if you harbor resentments? We have no idea. We may not be a model couple, but we seem to have it nailed when it comes to cooperating with each, celebrating one another, and doing what it takes to make it all work for each other.
Suzanne has been quoted in the news stating a belief in miracles—and she has good reason. We’re back with one of our favorite Napa winery couples. Last week, we revisited a 2019 interview with Shane Pavitt and Suzanne Phifer-Pavitt of Phifer Pavitt Winery. Since the Napa fires, their family is fine, their winery is safe, but their home is damaged. They’ve also lost a vineyard of cabernet sauvignon--but two weeks before, it had given them the first harvest. Wine Spectator magazine reports that first harvest was 10 years in the making. They got the grapes, and we hope they get to make a wine that has a story. These two are an inspirational pairing...
We are revisiting these two winemakers because they’re an inspirational pairing. Shane Pavitt and Suzanne Phifer-Pavitt moved to Calistoga with some serious business chops and a fondness for libations. Their Phifer Pavitt Winery makes the nationally famous and hard to get Date Night wines. As CFO, Shane had to come to grips with the idea of pouring capital into a business with no product to sell for years. He was also influential in one of the brand’s most important marketing decisions--proving you never know where the brand thinking is going to come from. Unfortunately, as we are presenting this, fire is ravaging Napa Valley. At last word, Shane and Suzanne’s home had sustained significant fire damage, they’d lost their Estate Vineyard, but their winery was still intact. Our hearts are with Shane and Suzanne during this, and we’re keeping our fingers crossed for them.  
Want to start your own business together? These two left New York and Los Angeles behind, moved to the country, built a miniature empire, picked up national business, raised a family, and have avoided many of the stumbling blocks faced by a married couple in business together. Here in part two of our first CoupleCo convo, hard-charging A-types Robin and Jim Whitney of Whitney Advertising tell their story—including what it’s like running an all-consuming business while raising two kids...
They’ve built a little local empire of their own. They’ve picked up national business from a virtual cow town. In the middle of it all, they’ve raised a family. And in the process, they have vaulted over many of the hurdles faced by a married couple in business together. Would you consider moving your family and going into business with your spouse? It’s happening all over, so it seemed like a good time to revisit an important conversation. This the first-ever CoupleCo interview newly improved, and it is one of the most significant. Hard-charging A-types Robin & Jim Whitney of Whitney Advertising left the big city for rural living—and have lived to tel the story...
When should you push your partner out of the comfort zone? How do you tell the difference between basic nerves and real dread? Want to learn how to deal with fear and get past it? And where does improv comedy fit in all this? Especially today, in times like these, the conversation about fear is an important one. Dr. Rachna Jain is a listener favorite. We are revisiting dealing with fear and finding the courage for CoupleCos. For the married couple in business, fear can run amok. It can even prevent you from starting a business together. It can prevent you from taking necessary risks. But fear is also informative. Where are you flexible and what your deal-breakers?
What happens to your business if life gets in the way? Who owns the business? Who runs the business? Could you suddenly find yourself in business with an in-law you don’t like? What if you wanted to just take off six months to recover from the grief of losing a partner? There are all kinds of issues that CoupleCos might not think about because they’re deep in the day-to-day of running the business. But sometimes life smacks you in the face. And life-planning with legal insights is smart. Shreya and Colin Ley, the Lawyer Humans at Lay Roots in Seattle, talk to us about putting these things down on paper and getting them off your mind.
Chop Shop is a high-end butcher shop with table service. It’s also a passion project for the three couples doing it together. We’re talking to each couple separately about the journey. Dan and Courtnay have an unusual story. They knew they’d be getting married by the end of the first date. And Dan was part of a small military unit. He was often leaving home for months at a time, which created stress. But these two don’t mess around. They get down to business and call ‘em like they see ‘em. So, what’s it like plunging headlong into a new business during COVID 19? It could be a dangerous dream filled with fire and knives—but probably no live fire with automatic weapons. Life or death experience leads to perspective. It also makes complaints about the meal pale by comparison.
We are revisiting the danger of working around fire and knives—this time with people who have never before done it. But she trains enormous and potentially dangerous animals, and he is good with firearms. Daniel Ibach and Courtnay Scott Gray are part of the team of couples opening gourmet butcher business Chop Shop Park City. They’re working with Paige and John Courtney. John’s a Chopped Champion, and she’s been a front-of-house manager and sommelier for some amazing restaurants. Dan and Courtnay have no food service experience, and are launching a gourmet food business in a big-money resort town during COVID. Maybe we mark this down as crazy? Dunno. You’re going to find these two no-nonsense, quick-as-lightning decision makers…
You’d think it might be a battle of wills. Who sees this coming? But a Julliard-trained ballerina and pageant queen marries an MBA with entrepreneurial tendencies, and they start a family farm. This is the story of Hannah and Daniel Neeleman, who moved from New York to rural Utah. They now raise Angus cattle and Berkshire pigs, and send their pastured products to meat lovers nationwide. We start this episode where we left off last time, about to find out how having agricultural entrepreneur parents affects their five young kids (soon to be six).
She’s a Julliard-trained ballerina who has worn the crown of Miss New York City. He’s a history major with an MBA and an entrepreneur bent. Hannah and Daniel Neeleman are former inhabitants of New York and Connecticut, respectively. Now they live in rural Utah, where they raise Angus cattle and Berkshire pigs. If you like meat, this is a big deal. If you’re vegan, we’re sorry. At least you get to know that these are pastured animals who lead a lovely life until the day of reckoning. And they taste amazing. This is the episode with happy pigs and cows, the MBA and the Ballerina, and some seriously tasty meat. (It’s safe to say that after you hear this, you may want to sign up for their home meat delivery club.)
If you're a couple in business together, chances are good you haven’t done any of these things. They’re simple, useful, can cover your butt and save your bacon. What happens to the business if something happens to one of you? With luck, very little—if you have laid some simple groundwork. But, without paying attention to these simple tips, you could lose everything…
This is the conversation for anyone who’s ever fantasized about crushing it by opening a food business—and considered going into business with a spouse in a high-stress, all-consuming career. We’re back with Chop Shop “power couple” Paige and John Courtney. With careers spent in big restaurants, they’re now in the resort town of Park City, Utah, preparing to open a nose-to-tail butcher shop. Besides dry-aged beef and the meat of lovingly raised animals, they’re planning to sell and deliver prepared foods and serve a limited menu. They’re also launching during a pandemic, and they’re in business with two other couples who’ve never been in food service. Not awe inspiring enough? John is also a Chopped Champion. His career working with fire and knives has been crowned with the $10,000 grand prize of Food Network throwdown shows. Paige jokes that her fame is in being John Courtney’s wife. But she has had her own stellar career as a front-of-house manager and a sommelier for some amazing restaurants.
Ever fantasize about having a restaurant? Or starting a business in which you have no experience? Or wonder, “Are we just crazy?” Here's your show. Like food and cooking? Even better. Chop Shop Park City is not yet open. Bonus: launching during a pandemic. The Las Vegas Review Journal called Paige and John Courtney a “power couple.” With careers in big restaurants, they're now dancing with danger. John is a Chopped Champion. Paige has worked for famous names of the Las Vegas strip, and been a front-of-house manager and sommelier for some amazing restaurants. Now, they’re launching a gourmet food biz in a big-money resort town with partners inexperienced in restaurants. Fun ensues...
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