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Ep. 54 Working Together – How Spouses Can Make it Work

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work with spouse

Working Together – How Spouses Can Make it Work

We have people all the time ask us how we can work together every single day, so many saying they could never work with their spouse.

Torie Mathis and her co-host Sean talk about strategies and tips to working together and staying a team through business ups and downs.

If you’re working with your spouse, this episode is a must.

Get SMART AF resources and tools to grow your business at besmartaf.com

Listen or watch the full episode below:



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(transcription is auto-generated)

SAF 54

[00:00:00] Torie: And every once in a while I stick my head in and you know what Sean has it covered and it doesn’t matter how he does it. Because he’s got it covered.

Hey, Hey, welcome to Smart AF I’m your host Torie Mathis. We have got a great show for you today, so let’s get started. Hey everybody. Welcome to this show it’s Torie Mathis, your host, and I’m here with the husband. Sean Mathis Hi Sean 

[00:00:31] Sean: Hey! 

[00:00:32] Torie: So Sean and I have been working together at our marketing agency.

[00:00:39] Sean: Hm officially, or since you started. 

[00:00:43] Torie: Well, I’ve been doing this for like 15 years, so probably the last five years Sean stopped working corporate and finally came and started working for me. Then he had the fantastic opportunity to start the Miles Through Time Automotive Museum. And so now he splits time between those two things. 

[00:01:03] Sean: But now I get to spend a lot more time with you. 

[00:01:06] Torie: Yes. Every day.

[00:01:09] Sean: Back this whole year has been. I think the most that we’ve worked together since we’ve worked together because there’s only, it wasn’t even a year and then all of a sudden Miles Through time started quick. 

[00:01:23] Torie: So when Sean first started miles, your time, he was gone Wednesday through Saturday, half the day. So, you know, he was gone for a little bit and then we still work together during that time. 

[00:01:34] Sean: And it was so slow for the first couple of years. I’m still working with you just remotely. Yeah. 

[00:01:41] Torie: Yeah. But you know, a lot of people are like, ah, I could never work with my spouse or how do you work together? I know some people like couldn’t do it. Sean doesn’t seem to have too much of a problem. 

[00:01:53] Sean: Yeah. I’ve heard it come out of a few people’s mouths. They’re like, I couldn’t do that. I think what it is is that their personalities may not allow that to happen. 

[00:02:05] Torie: Sometimes these people, their personalities, like, I don’t even know how they stay married.

[00:02:08] Sean: Right? 

[00:02:09] Torie: Yeah. Like they don’t want to spend time with each other either like you and I could spend all this time. Like, I don’t get tired of you. 

[00:02:14] Sean: We’ll see and it helps that like some, some people like guys specifically they’re like, now I gotta go, I gotta make the money. I gotta put the roof over our house. I got to do all this. Torie works and make all the money she wants. She can pay all the bills. I don’t care. Right. So that’s how, I mean that that’s a part of it that I have zero ego when it comes to, you know, the household and, and our relationship. There’s, there’s no set rules for anything. 

[00:02:41] Torie: This is true.

[00:02:42] Sean: Other than. You’re going to make me better food. 

[00:02:48] Torie: This is true. Well, I think in some of those, we have very traditional roles with, you know, cooking or stuff like that. But other stuff, you know, you take the trash out. I don’t like. But other than that, I think where it’s, it’s like you do what you do. And I do what I do, and I think we’re pretty good at maneuvering around each other. Rather than trying to take over at all. And I think that’s really helpful. 

[00:03:11] Sean: And I’ve seen other relationships without naming names again, that where they have certain expectations of the other person there. They’re like, I’m not going to do it. Cause that’s something they should be doing. Right. Where like, all that’s going to do is cause it had it issues instead of just, you know, getting yourself off the couch and doing the dishes rather than expecting it to be the other person, you know, that that’s not, that’s not healthy because then it just feeds resentment. Where again, I don’t care. I’ll get up and do whatever it needs to be done. And so, well, you. 

[00:03:47] Torie: Fill in where we need it. Expected, you know, I think one of the things too, that I think has worked really well is that I try to give you things that are your strengths, like things that get need to get done really quick, little things, repeatable things like whatever, like these things that you’re like, I can do that. Like this is yours. And so I fig trying to figure out what would be best to give to you. You know what I mean? And so I try to, to give you what you’d be good at doing all that, like not scraps, but it’s busy work. And you’re like, if I do give you design, you’re like, don’t give me that. You know, every once in a while, I try to give you stuff like that.

And you’re like, no. 

[00:04:30] Sean: I’m not. Not you, right? They’re like, we’re not two designers in the same industry that are trying to do something together. Cause I think that could wind up being issues for people if if we were to have the same. Right? Yeah. And I, I joke about it all the time. Like you are Batman and I am Robin.

Like that’s, that’s how it is. Any, any other combination you can think of? Or it’s like one person and then the other like make no mistakes. This is Torie’s company. And I, I am here to do whatever I can to make her life better. And I mean, that, that is the role that I, I personally I want in, in this business is. So if I can take all these things off of her plate to that, or, you know, quick, easy and when I say quick, easy, it’s like a stupid shit that I do, but it’s not it’s that. 

[00:05:23] Torie: It’s a lot of stuff. 

[00:05:25] Sean: I like being able to do something and having it done, like check box. I get it. It’s done even when I was working for Pepsi and going and, doing service calls. It was like, I was racing myself to get, you know, each call done and do everything that I could on that one. And I S I, I do the same thing here is it’s, you know if you’re telling me I’ve got to do 15 booklets, you know, right. I’m going to sit there and I’m going to do. I’m going to do them as efficiently as I possibly can.

Right. And I think that I’ve kind of learned what level I need to get it to you to set you up so that, you know, you are comfortable and cool with doing 15 booklets or, you know, whatever it is, you know, helping we produce podcasts for clients. And I got it to the point where like, I. Exactly how it goes, and then I showed you how to do it.

And then now it’s yours. And I think you’ve done a great job of taking on those things so that, you know, it takes some of those repeatable tasks and things like that. Like I’m good at setting it up and getting it like exactly how it should be, but then I shouldn’t be the one to keep doing it where you’re like the perfect one to see.

And that’s where, you know, your design skills are so high up there, especially compared to me, like, it makes zero sense for me to have to go and try to do any kind of design because. You’re still going to, didn’t have to redo it. It’s not going to be up to your level. And again, this is your company, so it needs to be at your level.

And you know, if I had gone to school to be a designer and learned all these kinds of things, and that’s something I wanted to continue to get better at specifically, it’d be. But we can hire another designer that works for you to fill that role. Like that’s not the role that I want. 

[00:07:07] Torie: Right. Right. And, and I like, if I did do that to you, like, it would be so unfair, like, right. Like you feel like crap, like, no, don’t give me stuff. That’s not in my wheelhouse. Like, and that’s not. 

[00:07:19] Sean: And you’ve taught me a lot. A lot, like, I’m about as good as, you know, somebody’s niece, that’s a graphic designer. 

[00:07:27] Torie: But there’s stuff that you’re like, but I don’t know how to do that. And I have to say, I didn’t know how to do that either. Like some of the stuff like you just kind of figure out. And I think that you’ve done a really good job of taking on some of those things. Like, like the hosting and stuff like that. Like I used to manage all of our hosting and all of our clients’ domains and all of this kind of stuff. It’s not designed stuff.

It doesn’t take somebody to have like, You know, a design training to do it. It’s just something I had to figure out. Like anybody can figure it out. And because you’re good at managing that kind of stuff, like you did have to figure it out. Like I could show you what I know, but now, you know, so much of it. Like I have dumped all of that, you know, like, I don’t even know how to do it anymore. Like it’s yours, and now, you know, you do a great job of managing that kind of stuff. Stuff. 

[00:08:14] Sean: That’s like, there’s, there’s YouTube videos on it and it’s stuff that’s easily doable, but like, yeah, I can go and do that. And then like, even when we’ve, when, when SSL started to become more relevant, like websites should have SSL certificates on them. Like we didn’t do that before, but you know, all of a sudden climate changes and we, that’s something we need to provide for our clients. So, you know, we’re not going to be like, well go somewhere else that offers it. Now we’re going to figure out how to do it. And that’s, you know what I did because That has nothing to do with design. So, you know, if I’m going to pull my weight in here, that’s not something that Tori needs to work on. That’s something I can do. 

[00:08:58] Torie: Yeah. Do you know what I was thinking of? So when I first started working in magazine publishing, I worked with this couple and I always thought it was really awesome that he had the stable corporate job. Right. And then she did her like whatever it is she was working on, she did. Design stuff. She was doing publishing like there. So she was the one that was kind of out there. Doing things that weren’t a steady income, like it was a, what would you call that? Like not that it was like an experiment, but like she didn’t know she was going to be successful.

So his job was like the steady one. Does that make sense? Right. So I think for a long time, like when I first started my business, it’s like, I didn’t have a steady income either. Like it took a long time to figure this out and build a clients and like do all these things and build up these processes. And that was like way before you came on.

And so you had the steady corporate job, right? While I was building my stuff up, well, now I’ve gotten to this point where you finally quit your corporate job. And then now mine is like the steady thing, so that you could go and do jobs that like, you don’t know if they’re going to be successful. And so you’ve been able to do pay it all.

[00:10:04] Sean: Like, I don’t know why I keep getting into all this nonprofit. 

[00:10:08] Torie: All right. So miles your time, you know, didn’t make any money for a really, really long time. Like it still doesn’t make that much money, but it’s getting to that point. But I was able to get my business to a point where I was able to then turn around and be that person for you. So now that you’re the one now that gets to figure this stuff out and play and, you know, build up your stuff. And I think that that’s kind of cool that we were able to switch roles like that for the other one. Because there’s some stuff like having that one steady person, I guess. And maybe we even held onto that too long with the damn health insurance.

Like I think that was like the biggest struggle. 

[00:10:42] Sean: With the kids being that young and then, you know, obviously two of them getting born while you had your business. And the only two we had, it was a weird way to phrase it. Yeah, it’s, it’s easy to, I mean, should we saw that bill? We didn’t have insurance just for the pregnancy. And then you get VA anyways. So I kind of threw all that out the window. 

[00:11:04] Torie: Right? Well, but that’s not like if kids broke legs or like anything like that. So I think it’s hard to figure out like where you’re going to align up those two things. And I don’t know how many other couples have two that are entrepreneurs, but I know that that opens up all kinds of, yeah. Issues or, you know, things to figure out. I don’t even want to call them issues because I mean, it’s always going to be something to figure out. And so I know like figuring out that kind of stuff to allow us to like get to this point, I think was huge. 

[00:11:36] Sean: It definitely changed our lifestyle. When a live lifestyle was never like this. I mean, it never could be like this. 

[00:11:42] Torie: Well, you know, we lived on the west coast and Sean was still in the military. And so we were stuck there because we had to be near the base. So once that stopped we were a little bit more free that we could move wherever we needed to, man, once you, yeah. Once you finally. Like, and we’ve told this, like, literally we looked at it like Sean, over, like, let’s just live on a lake somewhere. Where are we go with? Like, let’s try this. Like, and we went and visited a few lakes and we moved into the Moonies onto a lake somewhere. We had never been before because we could, kids were little, it didn’t really matter for schools and stuff like that.

Like the freedom that it brought to us. Crazy. 

[00:12:27] Sean: The house was awesome. The lake was awesome. It was just, it was so, I mean, if we were retired and didn’t have kids in school, it would have been completely different. 

[00:12:36] Torie: So I think it’s one of those, like we talked about this, like, you don’t know until. Like, I thought that we could live in a small town. You guys, I can’t. 

[00:12:44] Sean: It wasn’t until you went back and visited your family in California, you’re like, yeah, we can’t stay here anymore. 

[00:12:50] Torie: That’s right. Huh. That is really what did it, so, you know, we’d been living for almost two years and the small town, the lake was beautiful. The house was the nicest house we’ve ever, ever lived in. It was, so it was pretty amazing. But I went back to Sacramento and visited my family. And I’m like, there’s people out there all over the place doing stuff like we’re at home because we have to be there. It’s like, it’s a long drive to get to anything. And we realized like.

[00:13:16] Sean: As 30 minutes, one way to get to the grocery store, you, you make it home and you realize, you forgot the butter. There’s another hour gone. 

[00:13:24] Torie: You know but we didn’t really know that, but I think we both worked so well with that kind of stuff. We’re super flexible and willing to take a chance. Like why not? Like even with Miles Through Time. 

[00:13:38] Sean: There’d be no Miles Through Time. If we went, we didn’t go and just make that leap to live on the lake. You know? So, you know, there’s nothing that says we had to stay there, but it led to something much larger than either one of us could have ever met. 

[00:13:52] Torie: But both of us are like, why not try? Like, why not try? What’s going to what’s the worst that could happen. Like, it doesn’t work out like who cares? Like, let’s try something else. Then the same thing with the world record, like Sean, said, only 445 Tesla. I’m like, let’s do it. Why not do it? Like, why would you want to? 

[00:14:14] Sean: And the thing is, is like, even thinking back on that for the Guinness record, like, it’s almost crazy to think, like knowing what we know now, how much was involved in that, like, we didn’t have the tools right. To pull that off. There is no way that just you and I were going to be able to do that, but yeah, we would have stopped and thought like that we would have never done it. 

[00:14:41] Torie: I think it’s good that we’re both like, we’re both. We’re not like gambling type people. Like we’re not going to lose our shirt with some of the things that we do, but it is a lot, like, I don’t realize the chances we take until I talk to somebody and their eyes get all big. And they’re like, you guys did what? Like you moved across the country and you did the, you move a bit like, and then I’m like, oh, maybe it is bigger than I think it is. But like, it’s just our life. So it’s like, it, it doesn’t seem like a really big deal. I see the wide-eyed and really got to go. Yes. So one thing that I noticed, and this is super big with husbands and wives, and I’ve seen this, I see this with people that are close to us is that the one person doesn’t let the other person do something because they don’t do it the same way they would. And so you, I think that’s one thing that both of us are able to do is just like to let go of how it’s done.

And I think when you work together and maybe this is like, cause we don’t have a lot of employees, maybe this is just like part of that also having an employee, like you cannot be attached to the process. Does that make sense? Like for example, making lunch sean makes the kids’ lunches. Well, really eats at school now, but Sean makes lunches like he’ll you always have like, you’re the one that gets up and does that part of it.

And Sean does not make lunches like I would make lunches, but I have to like, not think about like, you do it. Like, if I’m in there, I’m like, this is really everyone’s role. I’m like, this is how to get any complaints, but I’m like, everyone’s on like what? This is, this is really hot. I’m like, okay, I got to step back. The guy he chose. Got it. Handled. I don’t need to be involved. Right? 

[00:16:33] Sean: Well, no damn kids are so picky that it’s easy to sometimes to look at it and be like, really that’s, but I hadn’t stuff where I’ve tried to branch out and shit comes back or I’m like, she’s not going to eat it. 

[00:16:47] Torie: So I have to, and every once in a while I stick my head in and, you know, Sean has it covered and it doesn’t matter how he does it because he’s got it covered. And I think that that could be a huge problem with husbands and wives working together is, you know, not don’t get in the other person’s way. Like let them do what they need to do because they’re doing, what’s supposed to be done. It’s not like they’re going to go and do a shitty job. You know, I never thought.

Oh, Sean, I do a shitty job. I should go back and check or like, no, Sean’s got it handled. I know it’s going to get done. And it does, you know, you gotta stay out of the way of the other person and let them do what they need to do. What other problems do you think people have working together? 

[00:17:30] Sean: I think that part comes easy for us. Just, I mean, I don’t know. For some reason it feels natural. Yeah, I think the. The biggest issue that that couples have, or are pretty much in line with what you just said. It’s just stepping on each other’s toes. I mean when somebody else, you know, the other one can do, you know, they’re, they’re fine doing it just because it’s different than how you’d want it.

There’s no good outcome for that kind of stuff. So if I think if a couple cannot let that part go, like if you sit down before you even start a business together and be like, you know, are you capable of just letting the other person do whatever it is that they can do? And if not, like, honestly, You probably shouldn’t do it. I mean that that’s going to cause issues. 

[00:18:26] Torie: You have to a hundred percent trust that whatever it is they’re doing like you got to let them do what they’re going to do and you have to do what you’re going to do. Like. I think that is that’s, it’s huge. You know, if you tell me I need to do something, you know, I’m going to get it done.

And if I ask you to do something, I know you’re going to get it done. And staying away from that, you know, worrying about the process, like stuff just has to get done and it does get done. 

[00:18:53] Sean: So too, like asking the other person or not even asking, but at the end of one person doing whatever it is, they’re supposed to be. Yeah, there’s an equal level of care there. Like I care just as much about the business as you do. And so, I mean, you know, I may not do the same job as you, it may not be as good as what you do. But you don’t have to do it. All right. So I think if you can just break it down and think of it in that sense, like it’s getting done and, and you don’t have to do it because somebody else is doing it.

It’s, it that’s so much better than trying to do everything yourself. And if you were a single person with your business and your spouse, wasn’t working. You the best you can hope for is a number two person that has no intention of ever going out on their own and is all in for you. They’re out there, you know. 

[00:19:55] Torie: But good luck finding that person. If you do, if you have that person. 

[00:19:59] Sean: Like your, your best option is, you know, your spouse. I mean, if he, if he can be on the same page on that kind of stuff, like. Kudos to you because I mean, I’d love for us to find a, a number three, right? Somebody that just was, I mean, you don’t expect them to have the exact same care and invested interest as you, cause it’s not their business.

But they can still be pretty high up there and be extremely reliable. But even like in all kinds of service-based businesses, you know, you get that one employee and the next thing, you know, No, they go start their own lawn service business, or pest service or roofing kind of whatever the case may be. Right. And so there’s always that fear that that’s going to happen. But again, you know, if your spouse is on the same page as you, chances are, that’s probably not going to happen because that’s not going to be beneficial for them. 

[00:20:53] Torie: Okay. It definitely has been helpful too, that it puts our schedules on the same exact schedule, which we did not have before it is opened us up to be able to travel. So now we just have to work around the kids’ schedule and not work around both of our schedules. We were able to make those schedules the exact same. And I think that’s awesome. Any more years then there’s no more kids and there’s no more kids schedule. And then we just work around ourselves. Well, it’s helped.

It’s helped too. Like, because we both go to the gym together, so there’s no. Question on, like when we’re going to the gym, like we have that set in our schedule that we both go to the gym or we both, you know, whatever these things are when I did 75 hard, you just did the extra workout with me. Like we’re able to just make whatever it is part of our day and do all those things together.

[00:21:49] Sean: It also helps it, like, I, I, the, you know, what brings me joy is being around Torie. So it’s not like I have like this urge to go do anything else really go to some car shows every once in a while. They’d be better if you were with me. 

[00:22:06] Torie: But sorry, I don’t want to drag those crazy kids with us. 

[00:22:11] Sean: But man, other than that, like, No. And I go to the museum once a week, at least once a week. So it’s not like you’re, you know, we have to be cooped up together 100%. But at the same time, I, I enjoy being around you, which makes it. Easy. 

[00:22:33] Torie: It does make it easy. If you enjoy this episode, I’m not cutting anything out. If you enjoy this episode, let us know. We’d love to hear from you and please subscribe to our channel. We’d appreciate it. Thanks 

[00:22:54] Sean: If you’re in business with your spouse comment. Let us know.

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About Digital Marketing Expert Torie Mathis

Torie Mathis helps entrepreneurs, like you, use digital marketing to grow your business without wasting time, money, or your sanity.  She is a best-selling author, Army veteran, speaker + trainer, and your digital marketing coach. You don't need crazy tech skills, buckets of cash, or dedicated staff to market your business. In fact, you don't even need a lot of time. What you need is to be SMART.

Torie hosts SMART AF, a show for non-techy entrepreneurs looking to grow their business, with her husband Sean and is the creator of SMART AF Magazine. Learn from Torie at the Smart Arsenal and on her channel.

hi im torie
I help entrepreneurs  learn digital marketing.
And I make it easy! 

You don’t need crazy tech skills, buckets of cash, or dedicated staff to market your business. You don’t even need a lot of time.

What you need is to be SMART.

Is YOUR marketing SMART?

Find out here.

Hi! I'm Torie!

Torie Mathis HeadshotI help entrepreneurs (like you) use digital marketing to get more clients + to make more money. And I make it easy! 

You don’t need crazy tech skills, buckets of cash, or dedicated staff to market your business. You don’t even need a lot of time.

What you need is to be SMART.


from your Digital Marketing Coach Torie Mathis!

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