For Richer, For Poorer: 1.4 Million Couples Run Businesses Together in the UK

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, it’s clear that Brits have no problem mixing business with pleasure. Of the 4.7 million ‘family owned’ businesses in the UK, it is estimated that 1.4 million of these are run by couples.


This is a figure which is likely to increase, as a recent survey commissioned by award-winning cloud accounting software provider FreeAgent revealed that 11% of working Brits intend to start their own business within the year, some of which will likely be with their partners.


Research from the Harvard Business Review, detailed that on average, women earned 27% less before going into business with their other halves. In relationships where only one partner was an entrepreneur, women also earned 33% less than those in business with their other half.




Three Micro-Businesses Reveal What It’s Really Like to Work With Your Partner


Three FreeAgent customers, Shrimpy, Petalon, and Glassraven detail what it is actually like to go into business with your other half.. Download images here.


1. Shrimpy – A seafood themed pop-up in London, started with just £1,000 in savings

Miranda Roberts and Stefan Buschbeck have been together 5 and a half years and run Shrimpy, a seafood themed pop-up with just £1,000 in savings to follow their dream.


Miranda said:


“The benefits are that you get to work with your best friend every day, so we have such a laugh. The challenges are that it can take over your entire relationship, it’s like your baby so, if you’re not careful, it’s all you talk about and it’s all you do. We’re now much better at switching off and focusing on other things in our spare time.”


For Valentine’s Day it’ll be business as usual. We will probably have a nice dinner somewhere but nothing too exciting!”


2. Petalon – Delivers flower bouquets by bicycle across London

Florence and James Kennedy have been together for 8 years both run their individual businesses, but both are heavily involved in each others. This is because James runs Kennedy City Bicycles, a bike maker, founded in 2012, while Florence runs Petalon, which delivers beautiful flowers to Londoners by bicycle.


Florence said:


“As we both have our own business that is ours, but are heavily involved in the other’s it’s a really nice mix. James’s strengths are my weaknesses and visa versa so I think we both feel supported in our work without conflict of ideas or similar.”


“Valentine’s Day is a bit of a non event in our personal lives and a logistical masterpiece for work! We will celebrate once all ordered have been completed and we are sure all the deliveries have been successfully delivered, but whether that’s a celebration that we survived or something more romantic is pretty blurry.”


3. Glassraven – A web design company, based in Cornwall

Justin and Sadie married in 2003 and have 2 children. They live and work from home near picturesque Sennen, Cornwall. Sadie setup Glassraven in 2002 in order to combine her passion for the web with the demands of having a young family. Justin then joined in 2007 after years working for a software development company and they relocated to Sennen in 2010.


Sadie says:


“Working together and running our own web-based company from home has given us massive flexibility – both in terms of where we live and also with our family life. We’re no longer restricted to just a few weeks of set holiday time for our family because we can take our laptop away with us to work, and that means we can do things like taking a five-week family camping trip around Europe, which we did a few summers ago. With mobile roaming, it’s easy for us to keep in touch with our customers and work on any support issues that come in whilst we’re away!”  


Ed Molyneux, CEO and co-founder of FreeAgent, said:


“Starting your own business can be an extremely rewarding, if daunting, move for people to make with their career. Whether its choosing to go solo or go into business with a partner, it’s clear from our research that a significant number of working Brits are considering taking this leap into self-employment in 2018.


“Running a business together is potentially a great move for couples to make with their careers. It offers people the flexibility to co-ordinate work around family commitments, share their passion with their other half and have all of your household and business finances in one place.


“Of course, it’s not a decision to jump into lightly and there are some who will always prefer to keep their careers and their personal lives separate. But for open-minded couples looking to make a change this year, you could enjoy significant benefits from starting a business with your partner.” 

Author: Editor

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