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Kathy Marshack News

Is It Really A Good Idea To Work With Your Spouse?

Thursday, July 15, 2010


Working with your loved one can be very rewarding. As I have said often, “Who better to trust with your business than your spouse?” However, there is another side that should be looked at if you are considering the entrepreneurial couple life. It is important to think through this decision thoughtfully since whatever you decide will impact your marriage.

Here are some important things to consider:

WILL YOU HAVE TIME FOR ROMANCE? One of the major complaints I hear from practically all entrepreneurial couples is that they no longer have enough quality time together for romance and friendship.

CAN YOU HANDLE COMPETITION IN YOUR MARRIAGE? Another cause for stress with entrepreneurial couples is competition between them. This goes for other family members too. We have a strong need for recognition and approval from our spouses. We also have a strong need to feel like powerful, accomplished adults. But how do you feel about competing with your spouse? Who’s the boss? Who defers to whom? Can you gloat about an accomplishment when you just bested your spouse?

COULD YOU SUFFER FROM A LACK OF CREATIVITY? Many members of family enterprises complain that their world is small. In other words they don’t get out much, especially women. When you work with family members, the only feedback you get is from family and this can be limiting. Working separately enables each partner to learn about the outside world more.

WILL YOU HAVE ENOUGH TIME FOR YOURSELF? As important as it is to reconnect with your loved ones at least once a day, it is also important to have time to yourself. Seldom do I hear entrepreneurial couples complain that they have too much time with their spouses, but they do complain that they have no time to themselves.

My book Entrepreneurial Couples - Making it Work at Home and at Work, discusses the many pitfalls that entrepreneurial couples fall into and offers practical advice on how to deal with them. Or visit Couples at Work and Home on my website.

Entrepreneurs - Tips For Finding An Ideal Employee

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Finding the “ideal” employee can be challenging. As an entrepreneur, you have worked long and hard to make you business a success and whoever you add into the mix can either be for the good or for the bad. Here are a few tips to help you when you are looking to hire a new employee:

1. Ask yourself, have you ever had a terrific employee that you wish you could clone? If so, make a list of that employee’s qualities, from their actual work skills, to personality traits. As you examine the qualities of this ideal employee, you will open your mind to the traits you are looking for in your next hire. Develop a list of the qualities you need to fit your particular setting. From this list, begin drafting questions that will elicit from prospective employees whether they have these qualities.

2. Always use screening tools to search out personality traits, emotional problems and psychological issues that do not surface during an interview. It is probably best to use the services of a psychologist who is expert in interpreting these tests, such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.

3. Ask yourself if your workplace is attractive to the type of employee you want. Do you need to remodel to make the workplace more ergonomic? Is your management progressive? Are there other benefits and perks you can offer? Remember, a healthy, hardworking employee is looking for a good match in an employer too.

4. Realize that all employees have problems in their lives from time to time that will affect their work. After doing a thorough screening, and hiring the very best person for the job, make sure you have a back-up system to deal with problems as they emerge. For example, providing a child care allotment, or flexible scheduling, or some form of employee assistance plan, goes a long way in correcting stress in an employee’s life, so that they can solve life problems as quickly and effectively as possible.

Read more tips on being a successful manager when your run your own business on my website.

Entrepreneurs Find Time To Vacation With Family

Sunday, May 23, 2010


Summer is just around the corner. Have you planned your family’s vacation yet? Maybe you think you’re too busy. One solution is to take a look at ways to integrate your business trip with the family vacation.

It is important to raise children who have a sense of belonging to a family with parents who are professionals. The children see the work as part of who their parents are ... and they are part of it too. Integrating a family/business vacation is much easier now with the help of hotels and resorts who cater to business travelers who wish to bring their children with them. While Mom and Dad are at their business meetings, or downloading their e-mail, the children are able to participate in events sponsored and supervised by hotel staff.

However, there is a potential problem. Workaholics may never learn how to leave work. Combining work and play as I have described above is one alternative, but another is to plan vacations without work in mind at all. Pure family fun is vital for recharging the entire family.

As a family who also happens to be in business together, you have the sophisticated task of integrating the needs of family and the needs of business. If your spouse and your children feel a part of your work, they are in a better position to help with business growth, even if only as interested stakeholders. And if you are willing to take time from your busy schedule to play with your children and family, even at a business conference or trade show, you are sending a very important message. That is, no matter how important the business, no matter how you wish the business to succeed, what’s the point if you cannot share your successes with the ones you love?

What is a Mompreneur?

Thursday, April 08, 2010


The term "mompreneur" has been popping up everywhere. What does it mean? Entrepreneur.com defines "mompreneur" as, "a female business owner who is actively balancing the role of mom and the role of entrepreneur." According to the Center for Women's Business Research, in 2008 "10.1 million firms are owned by women, employing more than 13 million people, and generating $1.9 trillion in sales." No wonder mompreneur has become a popular term – they are everywhere.

Being a mother and a business owner is no easy task. But when done right, both areas can be a success. Here are a few things to help keep a mompreneur in balance:

1. Stick to a schedule. Scheduling will help you stay focused on the most important tasks without getting distracted with nonessentials

2. Get the family on board. A supportive spouse is key to running a successful business. Also, involve the kids when appropriate. They can help you with things around the house or even get involved with some of the business aspects.

3. Take time for self-care. If you don't take care of yourself first, you can't take care of your family or your business. Take a few moments everyday to relax whether that means exercising, reading, or chatting with a friend on the phone.

I have written many articles about women business owners over the years as part of my Families In Business column. I invite you to learn more about how to be a successful business woman leader.

Are Family Businesses Really Different?

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Many people who work in family-owned businesses, or family firms, have never stopped to think of the concerns that are unique to family businesses. While about half of the gross national product comes from family owned businesses, and roughly half of America's workers are employed in family firms, the family business is seldom seen as having issues of any significant difference than other sole proprietorships, partnerships or corporations.

Inc. Magazine decided it was time to dig deeper into family business issues. Author, Christine Lagorio recently posted the article entitled, How to Run a Family Business, which discusses how to run your family business the right way. She interviewed experts on this topic asking them to share their advice and lessons learned. Since I’m a Family Business Coach and the author of, Entrepreneurial Couples - Making it Work at Work and at Home, I was able to share some practical tips for family businesses. I discussed the value of determining what your family style is and working that into your business, as well as the importance of writing a formal business-partnership agreement. Click here to read the article in its entirety.

If you would like to learn more about family business or being an entrepreneurial couple, please visit the Entrepreneurial Life section of my website.

Entrepreneurial Couples - Can Competition At Work Cost You Your Marriage?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


When a couple works together both at home and at work, they can become confused about the roles they should play in both of these worlds. Often the aggressive pull of success and the push of competition eradicate the more subtle pull of love.

Bringing competition home is probably the worst thing you can do for a marriage. Keep competition and achievement needs at work. When you work with your spouse in your own enterprise, keep in mind that you will be crossing the competition barrier daily. It is hard to stay kind and loving with the one you are competing with. We tend to take competition personally.

The following are some ways to diffuse the tension of competition between spouses:

· Set up separate work areas within the business.

· Reward each other often for your individual successes.

· Take breaks from each other often.

· Make a clean break from work at the end of the day.

This latter recommendation is vital. Do not discuss work at all at home if your business requires that both spouses be leaders and you are both highly independent and headstrong (sound like anyone you know?).

The most important thing to remember when you work together is why you chose your spouse in the first place. This is someone you love and trust and want to spend the rest of your life with. These qualities aren’t bad either for the kind of person you want to help you build your dream business.

For a more detailed discussion on this topic, read my article, Can Competition At Work Cost You Your Marriage? If you are an entrepreneurial couple, please sign up for my free monthly Entrepreneurial Couples Newsletter for sound business and relationship tips to show you how to make it work at work and at home.

Adjust your attitude about the upcoming New Year

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


The New Year is in just a few days! The arrival of the New Year can bring additional stress to overachievers. Instead of thinking about the negative, think of January as time to recoup and restore your energy and peace of mind. January is also a time to build a foundation for the goals you want to accomplish this year.

Because January brings us the opportunity to make New Year's Resolutions, I think it is about time to start a new tradition, that of appreciating ourselves for who we are. As one bumper sticker proclaims, "God doesn't make junk." Let your New Year's Resolution this year be - "I will accept myself totally and unconditionally and be the best I can be this year."

If you can appreciate who you are, that each and every day you are making a valuable contribution to your community by just doing your everyday thing (not overachieving), then you will have a much more prosperous New Year.

You will notice your talents more and strengthen them. You will notice your flaws more too, but you can build a plan to correct them. If you have been successful accomplishing other people's goals, think how much you can really accomplish if you lead your own life.

This year focus on self acceptance and you will benefit. For suggestions on how to change your paradigm for the year, read my article - Entrepreneurs should tackle the New Year with new priorities.

Entrepreneurs – Be Prepared for Winter Conditions

Monday, November 09, 2009


The days of winter are upon us. With the busy schedules of entrepreneurial couples, a dangerous weather situation can occur before we even realize it, and we find ourselves not only unprepared in our personal surroundings, but also our work environment. Here are some reminders from FEMA that will provide protection at home and at work:

Basic home and/or office checklist:


· Prepare an alternative heat source.

· Check your roof for leaks, and nearby trees for branches that could fall on the house.

· Protect your pipes by insulating them, and keep those faucets dripping during extreme temperatures.

· Know where the water valves are and how to shut them off.

· Have fire extinguishers available along with the knowledge of how to use them.

· Think ahead to how you can help disabled friends and elderly ones. Include clients who have special needs.

Basic car preparations:

· Check antifreeze levels, battery, brakes, heater and defroster, lights, oil, thermostat, and wipers.

· Make sure that your tires are in good working order.

· Keep at least a half-tank of gas in the car.

· Have a winter emergency kit in the car, which includes: a shovel, scraper and broom, flashlight, battery powered radio, water, snack food, matches, extra warm clothing, first aid kit with a pocket knife, blankets, medications, booster cables, flares, fluorescent distress flag, tow rope, and road salt and sand.

These guidelines not only protect you and your family, but they can assist others. In addition, being prepared means you save time and money. In the end, you can continue your business with less interruption and the ability to be available when perhaps the unprepared competitors are not.


Do you want to be an entrepreneur

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


I hear people speak of their dreams of becoming an entrepreneur and owning their own successful business. It sounds like an exciting and challenging new adventure. Making this type of decision is very serious.  Before deciding to take the big plunge, there are a few important things to consider to see if the entrepreneurial life will suit you.

1. If you want to be an entrepreneur you must think like an entrepreneur. In other words you must have a vision that is bigger even than your business idea. Your business is a part of your life, just like your marriage and your children. An entrepreneurial venture is a reflection of you, your values, your beliefs, your strengths and your faults. You must live and breathe the business, day and night, week in and week out.

 2. Recognize the commitment. With a hectic schedule, sometimes there is little time for personal relationships or their own health. But if kept in perspective the entrepreneur can find tremendous satisfaction in working at something he or she has created. Watching this creation grow, seeing it benefit his or her family, achieving a long dreamed of goal . . . all of this can be quite thrilling.

3. A supportive spouse is a MUST! The most successful entrepreneurs frequently have glowing praise for their spouses, the people without whom they could never have succeeded. So not only do you have to think like an entrepreneur, but your spouse needs to think like one too, or at least be open to supporting your vision.

4. Entrepreneurship is not for the feint of heart. It is a tremendous responsibility to recognize that every action you take is related to the business and to the people who depend upon that business, such as you, your family, your employees and customers. Decisions must be weighed very carefully and every move must be analyzed  to reduce the risk as much as possible.

If you believe you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur, ask yourself if you can do the tedious work of integrating your every move and decision into the template of a business venture. True entrepreneurs don't even realize that they think this way. It is just natural for them to be whole-brained thinkers, with their heads in the future, but their feet firmly planted in the present. Visit my website for more information on the Entrepreneurial Life.

Why Women in Business Are Frequently Misunderstood

Saturday, September 19, 2009


With the changes in the economy, more and more women are going back to work and many of them are starting their own businesses. At times women are not always taken seriously when it comes to running a business. I don't think that people are discriminating because of gender necessarily. It's probably more because they don't know how to relate to women business owners. Women have different values and these values are showing up in how women design their businesses. Women business owners are more likely to be in tune with the challenge of juggling work and family. A lot of women business owners work from home, which allows them to be available for work and family. While this sounds ideal for a woman, it can sometimes cause a problem. The problem is invisibility. For example, I lost a contract to provide certain psychological services because my office is at home. I was told that home offices are not professional enough. However, I always thought I was clever to find a way to be with my family and still develop my career interests. Obviously this is not a value shared by the contractor. So, how can a woman overcome the challenge of invisibility? Simply put, they need to be bold and speak up. They need to educate lenders and others about the values of blending family and work life. Learn to be clear, assertive, and decisive. Just think of the example that these working mothers are teaching their daughters. They are teaching them how to be true to their feminine spirit and yet develop their creative side through career, professional and business. This is extremely valuable since it is most likely that these young women will grow up and be in the working world. If you are a working woman or are married to one, I recommend reading my article Balancing Life as a Dual-Career Couple. Understanding one another better in your different roles will lead to harmony within the family arrangement.


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