Let’s Make Money, Honey: the Couple’s Guide to Starting a Service Business
Author: Barry Silverstein and Sharon Wood
Reviewed for the NABBW by: Anne Holmes

If you and your Baby Boomer aged spouse or significant other have ever given any thought to owning a business together, this is the book you need to read first.

LMMH book cover-jpgI speak from some experience, as like the authors, my husband and I have worked together – both in a traditional office setting and in our current home-based business setting – for over 20 years. Authors Barry Silverstein and Sharon Wood have us beat however; they have worked together in one capacity or another for over three decades – and they’ve been married to each other for nearly that long.

No doubt incredulous people – especially couples – on learning that Barry and Sharon purposefully started and successfully ran a service business together, pepper them with questions and comments such as:

  • OMG! 24/7/365 togetherness: How can you possibly spend so much time together without ending up wanting to kill each other?
  • How do you decide who is the boss?
  • Don’t you end up talking business in the bedroom? 
  • What if one of you wants to hire an employee or make a significant business investment and the other one thinks it’s a majorly bad move? Who has final say on spending our jointly earned money?
  • What about dealing with differing work styles? For example: I’m a “pack rat” and my spouse is a “neatnick.” No matter what, one of us is going to be personally uncomfortable… 
  • We wouldn’t want to own a business together, because we’d be worried that if one of us made a huge mistake that hurt the business, the other one would never totally forgive or forget.
  • What if one of the partners doesn’t pull his or her own weight at work? Won’t the personal relationship suffer? 
  • How do you plan to handle the “dismount?” Say, one partner gets sick and can’t work anymore? Or one receives the “offer of a lifetime” to take a different job, possibly in another part of the country? What happens then?

As you read the book, you realize these are but a few of the questions a couple needs to think about before deciding to go to work together. In fact, Barry and Sharon advise that couples need to soul search – thinking long and hard before deciding to go into business together.

They write that in order to successfully work together, couples need to have a foundation of mutual trust. They also advocate learning how to make objective decisions together without emotional entanglements. Mutual trust, honesty and openness are also critically important.

barry and sharonIf you are a Baby Boomer couple thinking about owning a service business, Barry and Sharon – and their excellent book — are here to share with, and encourage you. In the book, they discuss everything from writing a business plan, considering funding options or franchising, business structure and operations, to managing growth, narrowing your client base and creating an exit strategy.

It offers how-to advice and – perhaps more importantly – compatibility tools, checklists and a lengthy resource guide.

Told as they do, with their own mobile dog grooming business as a model, this book is a fascinating personal story of what it took to start-up, grow, and eventually sell their own business. A frank, compelling and useful read. The book is available in Kindle and paperback formats. Download a free chapter here.