Working with family

Running a village deli

Drew Wilkinson’s dream is to run a floating restaurant in the Mediterranean.  He studied boat design in Cornwall, worked in restaurants from Greece to Australia, and he was "hoping to set off on a food odyssey and find an exotic life in wonderful far off places".
So why does he sound so pleased to be running a delicatessen in the landlocked village where he spent his childhood, with three kids, and married to someone he grew up with?

Why getting married could be good for your business

Well, although our poll seems to show that you think it's not necessarily the best idea to work with family, Scott Shane begs to differ.

In an (apparently entirely serious) article about the economic benefits that getting married can bring to your business, he mentions that you'll get access to your spouse's cash, and you can work them like a dog for free:

Quality time at home with the wife

Simon* spends most of his time at home with his wife, and he clearly wouldn’t have it any other way.

“We’ve been together eight years, and we’ve spent genuinely the majority of that time together. Not just the majority of the evenings, or the majority of the weekends, we have spent a majority of that time together.”

“It’s just lovely. I can pop out of work and see my wife immediately.”

Simon’s wife also works from home, in her own business.

A family business building cars

Ida Tristram used to be a teacher, but now she makes cars for a living.

Replicas of classic sports cars, to be precise. She can sell you the whole car, or the ingredients you need to build one yourself.

It’s a career change that a makes a little more sense when she tells me that her husband Scott used to do fabrication work on yachts.

“One day a guy who owned a car-making business brought his yacht to Scott, and he was headhunted basically for a job at the company.”

Taking over the family farm

Mobile phones have made quite a lot of difference to life as a farmer; as I speak to Phil Mappledoram he’s bustling about his fields in his tractor.
Phil’s family have been farmers for 80 years.  His three older sisters weren’t interested in taking on the family business (and mortgages), but he went straight from A-levels to agricultural college and back home again. 

Food and passion in a family business

Trent Marshall and his partner have taken her family’s business to new heights, selling a whole load of delicious-sounding food, and he tells me that working together has only done good things for their relationship.

“Her parents had a very small shop, they were just doing it for something to do on the side. We purchased the business from them about five years ago now. Because it was family it was a small investment, so it didn’t break the bank or anything like that.”

A family firm of architects

In 2004 Brian O’Reilly had been working as an architect for 12 years and was a director in a practice with 12-14 people.  With his wife, also an architect, “we decided, when our first child was born, we’d try to do something to get more control of our working lives.”
“It can become frustrating working for other people.”  He’d had experiences of designing something and “other people taking the credit for it, because it suits the business better.”

Setting up a mobile carwashing business

Steven Williams set up his car washing business a year ago.  He washes 5-10 cars each weekend.  I meet him on a chilly October Sunday morning under a railway arch, as he washes a big removals van, and it looks like hard work.
This is the first time he’s worked for himself, and he’s fitting it around his day job at a garage, where he picks up, washes, and drops off customers’ cars that are being serviced.

Life as an architect: creating buildings for a living

Nicholas Oatway has been an architect for thirty years, and it seems like he never really considered being anything else.

“I was just a kid when I told my parents I was going to become an architect, and I think it was because I used to build models of houses out of blocks of wood and coloured paper and different things.”

“An architect visited us and he made a lot of fuss over my models. I was only about ten, maybe eleven, and so part of it was getting some positive strokes early on.”

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