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How to make marriage work in the workplace: advice from Padgett firm owners

For some people, working with a significant other sounds like a nightmare, and it’s certainly true that it doesn’t come without its obstacles. But many couples find that the best business partner is also their life partner—as is the case for many Padgett owners across the country. Here’s their advice for making business co-ownership work as a married couple. 

Dan & Carmen Hoefs

Dan and Carmen have been married for 35 years and have worked together for 15 at Padgett Business Services of Fargo. “I started the practice in 2006,” Dan says, “and Carmen came on board in 2007.”  

It hasn’t always been easy, but Dan is thankful to have his wife by his side and to get to spend time together. “The biggest challenge is establishing and honoring boundaries between work and a personal life,” he says. “But the biggest blessing is working closely with someone you can completely trust and rely on.” 

Their biggest piece of advice? “Do your best not to be consumed by the business,” Dan says. “The stressful times are stressful for both of you at the same time and that makes having an outlet difficult.  You can’t complain about how hard it is at work when your spouse is experiencing the same thing.” 

Craig & Ronya Simmons

Craig and Ronya, owners of Padgett Business Services of Panama City Beach, have worked together for more than half of their married life. “Craig & I have been married for almost 42 years and have been working together for 27 years at Padgett,” Ronya says. “It has been a blessing to be able to spend time together building something good.”  

Keeping work and home life from being too mingled is always a challenge. But despite the difficulties, working together has opened new opportunities for Craig and Ronya. “[Working together] made it so we could travel and spend time with our children.” 

For Ronya, the key to their success is communication. “The number one piece of advice I would give to other couples about making it work is to define job duties and responsibilities, and to communicate well.” 

John & Piper Livernois

As the owners of Padgett Business Services of Chico, John and Piper have been married for 26 years. “We’ve been working together since 2006,” Piper says. 

For John and Piper, the challenges and benefits of working together often overlap. “We work at home now, so I’d say being around each other 24/7 is the biggest challenge,” Piper says. “But being around each other 24/7 is also the biggest blessing.” 

Recognizing their different skills and focusing on what they each do best has been instrumental to their success together. “We have different roles within our practice and believe in each other’s ability to get the job done and make decisions,” Piper says. “So, I would say trust your partner, respect their abilities, and empower them to do a good job for your firm and for your clients. And of course, make time for yourself.” 

Phil & Beth Patterson

Phil and Beth Patterson have worked together as the owners of Padgett Business Services of Nashville for 34 years out of their 48 years of marriage.  

Their time working in partnership hasn’t been without its difficulties. According to Phil, it can be a challenge for them when they have different opinions on how things should be done—such as with pricing. “It’s a challenge convincing Phil we need to charge more for our services and making sure it is collected,” Beth says. 

But both are thankful for the flexibility and time working together has given them with their children—and now grandchildren. “It was a blessing that I was able to work from home when the kids were growing up,” Beth says. “Marketing conventions could turn into family vacations.”  

Their challenges have helped them learn how to succeed. “Beth does the pricing because I have the best relationship with the client, and I would give it away because I have too generous of a heart,” Phil says. “So separate responsibilities based upon strengths and weakness.” 

 “Know who is the one making decisions with the client at the beginning, and do not have same responsibilities,” Beth says. “This works well for us.” 

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