8 Reasons To Never Work With Your Partner

Catharine Pitt
Mark Davis

Starting a business with your partner is a topic that divides opinions with surprisingly little effort. While it might seem like a great idea, for some it's a recipe for disaster. Here are 8 truths that might have you reaching for your CV.

1. YOUr roles MERGE

Having clearly defined roles is great advice and probably the best way to avoid conflict... But in our experience, you can’t always be bound by fixed responsibilities when you’re a small team. You do whatever is necessary to get the job done.

Our advice is to play to your strengths.
Discuss what you each enjoy.
And talk about the tasks you don’t want to take on.

2. Work / Life Balance?

It's true, everything needs balance. But one huge benefit of working with your partner is the ability to discuss work whenever inspiration strikes.

Oftentimes, the beach walks, or casual chats over wine spark ideas that help shape your business.

It's ok for work conversations to spill into your homelife... as long as you both feel the same way.

3. YOU Don't Always Agree

Whilst you develop a shorthand for communicating, it’s not always plain sailing. Expect the good, the bad, but whatever you do, make the ugly private.

“The unique advantage of a creative partnership is in the focus of two minds conspiring to do all the learning and hard work necessary, without sacrificing play, curiosity and creative fulfilment.”

Mark, Form Play

4. THREE's A crowd

If you want to build a team, consider the dynamics of the studio.

It can be intimidating for a third team member joining a couple, after all it's not easy being the creative gooseberry. Try creating two job opportunities (even part-time) to help maintain balance and normalise the working environment.

5. The Worst Could Happen...

We're huge optimists, but we don't rely on our crystal ball to determine the future.

Relationships don't always last. And while it may seem unnecessary, protect both parties for any eventuality from the start. Discuss scenarios, seek advice and agree on legally-binding contracts.

6. You get Complacent

It’s easy to fall into the busy trap.

Don't forget to take time to acknowledge each other's accomplishments and progress.


It's one of the reasons you quickly reach a deeper understanding of each other’s creative approach. Your strengths, motivations and ambitions.

It’s a working relationship that might otherwise take years to develop, but it's equally important to... (read below)

8. It's easy to LOSE Your Individuality

There's a risk your personal identity can become fused with your professional entity. It's easy to feel stuck in your creative bubble.

Seek out fresh influences and don’t let your individuality get lost.

“Eventually everything connects — people, ideas, objects. The quality of the connections is the key to quality per se.”

Charles Eames