Couples Who Work Together – The Copreneur Concept

Couples who work together - copreneur

I recently had a mini vacation from work; Friday, Monday and Tuesday off.  5 days in total.  It wasn’t enough time to really do anything substantial, but it was enough to get me thinking about spending all my time at home, and with Elijah.  Please don’t misconstrue, I’m not worried about our relationship but working at home will definitely change the dynamic of our journey up to this point and is yet another chapter of our lives together –  cue violins.

I’ve mentioned before that I tend to get looks and concerned comments when I tell people, especially the ones I’m related to, what our long term plan is.  A lot of the intrigue that’s generated around our business venture is the fact that we are both going to be at working at home together.  People seem so curious about how this is going to work out, as if watching a science experiment.  Here are my well thought out reasons why I want to work from home with Elijah:

  1. I won’t have to get up at a godforsaken hour in the morning
  2. I can wear my sweatpants to work, provided we are not leaving “the office”.
  3. We will be able to save some money, not having to worry about transportation expenses.
  4. I will have more time and energy to focus on other things I’m passionate about, like design and art.
  5. Elijah and I will learn and grow together in many ways.
  6. Down the road, when we have a family, we will be able to spend lots of time with our children.
  7. Our family will function as a sole unit.  Working, living and loving together.

I can tell you from experience that in today’s world of “each parent off to a separate place of employment” the family unit is broken down significantly.  For example, both my parents worked for the same company but in different positions, and in order to save money on a babysitter for my brother and I, my parents worked opposite shifts.  My mother worked from 6:00 am to 2:30 pm and my father worked from 4:00 pm until midnight.  Between the time my mom arrived from work and my dad was getting ready to leave, they had half an hour every day to see each other.  I couldn’t imagine only seeing Elijah for 2 1/2 hours each week.  Not to mention the fact that as children we barely got to spend time with our dad, except on weekends.  I would prefer not to reenact  this scenario with my own family, which is why I want to have my home and profession be of the same entity.

Let’s explore this concept shall we?

Its seems as though the concept of working from home or working with your partner is “new” or “trendy”, when in reality it’s the way the family unit functioned for most of our existence as humans.  Throughout history the family worked, and played together.  It was unheard of to leave your loved ones for any reason, let alone to work, and in any situation where productivity was essential for survival there was evidence of a family involvement.  Think about working on a farm where the family is an economic , as well as social unit.  It is only with the industrial revolution that home and workplace became a separate entity – each with it’s own set of guidelines and relationships.

Elijah and I have always felt that we “gelled” and worked exceptionally well together.  Every challenge or large project we’ve taken on in our relationship has been successful.  We’ve always been on the same page and it’s crucial to share the same passion or vision when attempting to go into business together, therefore maintaining focus on the bigger picture allows you get past all the smaller issues.

There are several guidelines available to working with your life partner from home.  At, Alicia Fortinberry has been working with her husband Bob, for almost 20 years.  Here is some of her experience sprinkled with my words of wisdom and interpretation:

  • Don’t separate work from the rest of your life.  It will never happen as smoothly as you want it to, so view the work as a continuum of the relationship.  If you share the passion, then it isn’t a burden.  Elijah and I talk about the business a lot and it’s as much a part of our family as our cat Shandy is.
  • Work with other people.  This makes so much sense to me.  Working with other people keeps the juices flowing and provides fresh ideas and a sense of support – as well as mental break from your loved one’s brain.
  • Maintain a nexus of friends outside of the core relationship.  This is so important, even in a non-work relationship.  One person cannot meet all your needs, no matter how great and supportive they are.  Women need the presence of women and men need the presence of men.  It is common these days that couples who work and live together fall into the trap of neglecting outside relationships, whether it is because of lack of time or trust.  Allowing the other to “step out” of the relationship and just be with friends or family is important at every stage in any relationship.
  • Explore and maintain shared beliefs.  In our society, as well as throughout history, common belief systems are the most significant bonding tools.  This is true in any single relationship, where if there is no basic agreement on core values and matters of faith, there is little chance of the relationship surviving.  Although this topic is not always on the forefront of the success of a relationship, it definitely plays and important part in the endurance of one.
  • Develop relationship rituals.  These are things that as a couple you do by agreement and awareness.  Going for breakfast every Sunday or going for a walk every evening are examples of rituals.  Don’t confuse these with habits.  Habits are things that are done without even consciously thinking about them.  Rituals renew your sense of togetherness and commitment to each other.  The breakfast date is one of the things that Elijah and I try to do as often as we can. Going to bed together at the same time is another one – although he usually gets up after I fall asleep to blog and brainstorm into the wee hours of the morning.
  • Work out mutually agreed roles.  This clear definition of responsibilities is necessary because it eliminates confusion and hostility.  Having clearly defined roles in the business and in the home life allows each partner to know what they are responsible for and what they have authority over.  As a couple, Elijah and I should try to figure out who is better qualified for each task, and then let eachother focus on it.  We’ve never been practitioners of gender based stereotypes and that won’t be starting when I eventually quit my job.  These roles shouldn’t be considered concrete either, they will change and shift as time moves on and life progresses, allowing us to complement each other when needed.  Balance.
  • It is also important to remember that while the roles and tasks are divided, there may be times when one person may have to work harder than the other.  This may result in anger or animosity, however it is the natural cycle of life.  Even at my day job there are times when I am much busier than my colleagues and I get jealous of their momentary freedom, but eventually it switches.
  • Be honest and concrete about what you need from each other.  It is never ideal to second guess what your partner wants or needs.   This again applies to all relationships.  You can’t expect him or her to decipher the code of facial expressions or subtle grunting noises.  Communication is so important in any relationship, business or personal, so never be forced into the position where manipulation is necessary to get what you want.  Communicate as clearly and as often as you need to.

This list definitely puts things into perspective for me.  This new venture is not going to be all butterflies and roses – it’s going to be something that we have to work very hard at.  I have a couple of points that I would like to add to this list that I’ve picked up along the way:

After working at a residential summer camp in many different positions, and for many years, I learned that there’s no time for laying blame when things go wrong.  Shit happens and there is not much you can do about it except find a reasonable solution as soon as possible.  Here’s and example of what I mean:

Task: Sixteen kids all waiting to go on a canoe trip.
Problem: The canoes floated away after not being tied up correctly.
Solution: Quickly organized a beach day with games and swimming.

When it comes to kids quick thinking is mandatory, and with business I think it works the same way.  The more responsibilities and tasks we add to each others roles, the more problem solving is going to be required.  Better to get good at it now instead of when things are much busier.

I also think it’s incredibly important to keep having fun with each other.  This is the reason that our main goal with the online business is to be mobile and travel.  I’m so excited to experience new things and explore places I’ve never been, and even more excited to do it all with the man I love.  Eliminating the staleness of the day-in- day-out will keep the relationship fresh and vibrant.  Even if travel is not possible immediately, trying new restaurants, or exploring a part of your city that you’ve never seen together will be something you’re sharing that’s not related to work.

I recently came across the term used for defining what Elijah and I, and many of you are attempting;  Copreneurs.  It is used to categorize couples who are exploring entrepreneurial paths together as a team.  I like this term because it highlights the fact that we are a team – which is something Elijah and I have always thought of ourselves as.  Our successes are so much more rewarding because we are able to appreciate them together, and realize that we wouldn’t be where we are today if it weren’t for each other.  If one of us succeeds, we both succeed.

We’re on our way to starting this journey together, and there will definitely be highs and lows – but I think if we can keep focused on our goals, and each other, this will be the smartest thing we’ve ever done.  So here’s to practicing what we preach.

Stay classy,


Blog Report For August 2008

Wow, I’m having trouble accepting the fact that is already 1 month old – and what a productive month we’ve had!  If you remember back when I posted our goals at the beginning of August, we had 5 main objectives which were fairly attainable.  Our top 3 was to post everyday, increase our presence online via social media, and to connect with like-minded bloggers by actively commenting.  Mission accomplished.

We actively created profiles and have begun participating on all the major social networking and social bookmarking sites as you can see in the newly added “Connect With Us” section in the sidebar.  I also spent the month rabidly commenting on some of my favorite blogs, and discovered some sparkly gems along the way – which is always nice.  Somehow I managed to convince Alan from to grace us with an off-beat interview and he gladly accepted, which was awesome, and I pretty much posted everyday minus 3 or 4 times that I needed to disconnect and let the laptop cool down.  As Borat would say, “Great Success!”

If you’re reading this post expecting to see an income report of some kind, it’s not happening just yet and here’s why:  a) We have been focused on building the foundation – which is the content and the community, and b) I hate seeing 2 month old blogs that are full of ads and top 10 lists.  If you think no one will notice that you’re rewriting content from authority blogs, or polluting your site with 125×125 ad blocks in an attempt to attract buyers for your ad space, think again.  It’s blog suicide and unless you’re already established and have social proof of your status online do not pretend to be something you’re not – because you’ll stick out like a sore thumb.  Be yourself and you’ll do just fine!

Even though I’m not going to let you know about the $7.85 we made from Adsense, I do have some screen shots I’d like to share with you guys and gals relating to our traffic, subscribers and search engine presence from our Hostgator cPanel admin.  As you can see below from our AWStats report we had 1370 unique visitors between 08/01 and 08/31, with 16,855 page views and an average of 5.79 pages per visit.

On a per day basis, shown below, our lowest was on 08/03 with 8 unique visitors, and our busiest day was on 08/08 with 324 unique visitors – which was when I did the first post discussing and how to use it for efficiently submitting your posts to social bookmarking sites.  Our overall average bounced between 75-100 visits per day, sometimes higher and rarely lower, which could only mean one thing – you guys rock!

In regards to subscribers, as of Saturday we have 25 wonderful people who have locked in with their favorite RSS feed reader to keep up to date with our Internet marketing adventures. I’m still not 100% sure on how to read the statistics provided within the Feedburner dashboard, but as you can see below it says “25 readers” so that’s what I’m sticking with!

For those of you who don’t know, I’m really big on keyword research, backlinks and getting organic traffic from the search engines using Wordtracker, to find kick-ass key phrases for post titles and content. Out of curiosity I opened up Google and typed in “the at home couple” and was pleasantly surprised with the results I received. There are approximately 833 listings for this term, and tons of them are links coming from other blogs as well as social media services that we belong to.

I think that’s enough screen shots for now. I’ve absorbed quite a bit of information in the last 8 months, and even though it’s easy to get overwhelmed it’s becoming apparent that I might actually know what the heck I’m doing – which is comforting. I can remember a point in time when Veronica actually thought I was loosing my marbles with this “Internet” stuff and she would just sit and nod when I’d start rambling about affiliate marketing this, and click through ratio that… Poor girl!

We just want to say how awesome each and everyone of you are. We’ve hit some sort of nerve within the blogosphere and it’s comforting to know that there are other people just like us who lay in bed each night dreaming of working from home or traveling to distant places without breaking the bank. It does seem far fetched until you actually go out and do it, and with the power of the Internet at our fingertips there is no reason why a twenty-something couple or stay at home mom can’t improve their situation and bring freedom and excitement into their life. It really is a beautiful thing.



The Pressure Of Writing Unique Blog Content

The Pressures Of Writing Useful ContentFor those of you following us on Twitter, we were away at a wedding over the weekend for a friend of the family.  We had a great time, despite the rain, and returned home feeling somewhat refreshed and ready for a new week – or so we thought.  I had the most unproductive day today (well technically yesterday at the time of this post) and no matter how hard I tried I just couldn’t get into the groove.

When we returned on Sunday I immediately went to my white board and jotted down my goals and priorities for this week of blogging, which is becoming normal as the weeks pass, and I felt completely ready to conquer another list of tasks.  Man was I ever unprepared.  I spent the majority of today working on a new RSS/email subscribe form – which is something I didn’t want to spend more than an hour on – and questioning whether or not I liked our new WordPress theme.  I can’t even count how many times I changed the theme on this blog today, and I don’t even know why I was tripping out.  I wanted to write 2 posts today on top of Veronica’s Groundhog Theory post, and at various points throughout the day attempted to focus and write a “killer” article – that was not happening.  I starting thinking about what you guys want to read and began getting caught up in the cycle of jotting down post ideas and titles without committing to any of them or following through.  I felt so indecisive that I started to get frustrated at myself for being completely useless and wasting time “thinking” rather than “implementing” and everything hit the fan from there.

Man… blogging can be stressful.  Not from the pressures or demands of your audience – at least not in the early stages – but the pressures from yourself.  I have a tendency to set my goals super high and strive for greatness, so therefor I find myself to be disappointed on a semi-regular basis.  This is not always good.  When it comes to the premature stages of developing unique, useful content for your blog or website it’s important to write as much and as often as you can – but on the same note it’s just as crucial not to burn yourself out or focus too much on what you should be writing about.  Instead, just write and everything will work itself out just like I’m doing at this very moment.

With the pressure to be different always sitting on your shoulders, it’s easy to forget to just be yourself – because that’s what makes you unique in the first place, right?  This make money online niche can be stressful, so don’t be too hard on yourself and fixate on writing “top ten” articles and pillar style content because you will lose hair.  Just write about what you know, what your doing, and what you love.  If it doesn’t fit into an existing category on your site, then create a new one.  Simple.  As much as we read about writing great content and how important useful content is to Google and the search engines don’t forget to remind yourself of this one point – there are no rules when writing content for your blog.

It’s your blog, containing your thoughts, and there will always be people who feel the same as you.  I feel much better now.

We’ll see what tomorrow brings 🙂



Who Wouldn’t Want To See The World?

Who Wouldn't Want To See The World?Elijah’s goals are pretty formal and technical.  He’s my very own techno-dork.  🙂

My goals are probably more long term than his, mainly because he’s been learning and researching all this web marketing information since January and now I’ve got to play catch-up.

My main goal is to post a blog on a weekly basis.  This has been quite the challenge as of late with family barbecues, activities with friends  and trying to take advantage of the summer – but I am vowing to be better at it.

It’s my one long term goal that keeps me going everyday.  The one thing that gets me out of bed at 6 am and motivates me to keep giving in to the grind.  I want to travel.  I want the freedom to see the world and experience all the places and people I read about and see in magazines and on tv.

My best friend just moved to Vancouver.  On Saturday she and her boyfriend set out to drive across the county, camping along the way.  The past couple weeks I’ve spent helping her get organized and talking her down from her freak-outs.  The whole time, both of us forgetting that she was going to stay.  It felt like she was going on a trip across the country and that she would be back – a vacation.  (It’s really hard being left behind.  When I think about it I get really jealous because I want to be the one traveling and experiencing the country I’ve called home my whole life)  The stress comes because neither of them have jobs when they get there.  Of course there are prospects and they have a game plan but there is nothing set in stone.   If the money runs out, they’re screwed and will have to take whatever job they can get.  Which really frustrates me because they are extremely intelligent and educated people, but in order to live their dream they will have to give into the man to pay the rent.

Now imagine, if you will, being able to make that trip or move, and all you needed is your laptop.  Not having to worry about who is signing your next pay check because it’s you.  You would be able to veer off course because it doesn’t really matter when you show up at your destination.  Or why show up at all! If you were to buy a Winnebago you could just travel everywhere , and live in your car . . . I think I’m getting a little ahead of myself so lets look at a another, more realistic, scenario.

In his book, The Four Hour Work Week, Timothy Ferriss talks a lot about mini-retirements.  This is the alternative to a conventional retirement at the end of one’s career, and you take longer vacations throughout – six months here, three months elsewhere.  All you need is your laptop, and even then, if it’s possible to automate your online business,  you don’t even need that.  The world becomes your proverbial oyster.  Spending time at home with your family and then hitting the road, seas or skies to your next destination.  Why not try to enjoy life now while we can, while we have the energy and drive to do it.  Speaking personally, I don’t have any children, Elijah and I don’t have anything tying us down so why not pick up and go?  This is the prospect that excites me and gets me going.  I spent an entire day last weekend researching villas in Thailand and Bali which was inspired by a really great book called 1000 Places To See Before You Die.   Not only can you read about all the most amazing places in the world, but it makes for a great checklist.  Could you imagine having the job to write this book?

The funny thing is that whenever I tell people my dreams they look at me like I’m six years old and just told them that I want to be an astronaut.  This concept about mini-retirements is so taboo that I almost don’t say anything for fear of having to explain myself.  We as a society are so programmed that there is only one way to live life that we forget about all of the other things out there that are available to us.  Growing up in my house, I was taught that I had to go to college (taking something practical of course) get a good paying, permanant job (with health benefits) buy a house (with a mortgage) get married and have babies.  This is all well and good, and realistic but I’ve never been one to do what I’m told.  My parents were smart and boring.  They both worked for the government for 35 years and now have very little to show for it.  Especially my dad, who passed away shortly after his retirement and never got to fulfill the dreams he was putting off.  He was a talented musician and one of the smartest people I’ve ever met and he sacrificed it all for the 9-5.  My parents are my influences, they taught me how to be smart, and responsible and proactive.  Indirectly, through his premature death, my dad taught me that life is too short.  I don’t intend on wasting anymore time.  I’d like to know what you guys and gals think about the concept of mini-retirements – it’s not as impossible as you may think!


Monthly Goals For August 2008

Monthly Goals for August 2008When we started this blog in mid July we knew it wouldn’t be easy. There are so many people out there selling products and systems that will teach you how to make money blogging – and all you have to do is press a magic button and watch the cash pour in while you sleep! It couldn’t be farther from the truth.  It has never been easier to make money from home whether it’s via affiliate marketing, consulting, or creating and selling websites due to the current state of technology – combined with persistence, the ability to adapt, and HARD WORK – not because of some secret system.  Without goals to strive towards you can say goodbye to your dreams of working while sipping espresso at a cafe in Italy, or checking your email from a Mayan jungle resort.  As young adults, or adults in general, it’s crucial that we have ambition and a constant motion forward to promote personal growth and accomplishment.  Having both long and short term goals will increase your odds of staying on course, which in turn will maximize your success rate and enable you to fulfill your dreams.

Here are my monthly goals for August 2008:

  1. 1-3 Posts per day Monday through Friday – The more frequent a new site is updated with fresh content, the more often Google and the rest of the search engines will stop by and visit us which will lead to an increase in organic search engine traffic and indexing.
  2. Begin to increase online presence via social networking and social bookmarking sites.  Social networking can bring loads of targeted traffic to a blog and increase the participaction and subscribers.  I will be focusing on 6 main sites: StumbleUpon, Digg, Myspace, YouTube, Friend Feed, and Twitter.
  3. Commenting on niche related blogs is also a great way to increase your online presence and establish yourself as a trustworthy resource.  I am currently a top commentator on 3 high traffic blogs and would like to increase the number of blogs I frequent to 10.  If I can write solid, helpful comments on 10 blogs per day for the next 30 days I will definitely start to see more activity here in a very short amount of time.  I loves me some free traffic!
  4. Write at least 3-5 keyword rich articles and submit them to all the major high traffic article directories like and  By using Wordtracker to conduct my keyword research and putting those low competition, high search volume key phrases in the article headings I will not only get indexed into the search engines, but I will also have an external guage on what topics are hot based on the performance of each article.  Tip: high traffic article directories usually rank very high in the search engines, so writing some good articles could get you top spot for niche related keywords and phrases.
  5. Continue to expand and diversify my WordPress skills.  This is my first self-hosted blog using WordPress through my Hostgator hosting account.  I currently run between 10-15 sites – some of them only partially optimized for the occasional affiliate sale or adsense click – the others are just sitting on a domain waiting for some TLC from myself or Veronica.  I have found WordPress to be the ultimate management system for setting up, optimizing, and maintaining a blog or niche website.  The amount of power behind it is incomparable and having the ease of 1 click set up through Fantastico on my Hostgator account makes it that much more efficient.  I will be spending a significant amount of time brushing up on HTML, CSS, and hopefully getting a custom header done.

I’m sure you’ve noticed that my goals for August are strongly focused on building content, and generating traffic. When I first started getting into SEO and keyword research I got so excited that I started building blogs, putting up 5-10 posts, and then promoting the hell out of them.  The problem with this mindset is if you only have 10 posts on your blog your traffic will come, browse, and move on.  If you’re just getting into blogging like my friend T. Edwards over at make sure you have a minimum 20-30 posts before you start to heavily promote and get backlinks – because if you so happen to make the front page of StumbleUpon you better have some content to keep your visitors interested!  Nobody wants to stop by a blog with 1 good article and 5 pieces of crap.

Maybe Veronica will read this and compile a list of goals of her own, we’ll just have to wait and see.  What are some goals you guys have for this month?