Mixing business and pleasure: meet some of the ‘copreneur’ couples that run 1.4m SMEs together in UK
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Paul Skeldon
14th February 2017
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They say romance is dead but with Valentine’s Day finally now here, it’s clear that Brits have no problem mixing business with pleasure. The UK boasts 4.7 million ‘family owned’ businesses – and, out of this amount, it is estimated that couples run 1.4 million businesses together in Britain.

This is a figure which is likely to increase this year too, as a recent survey commissioned by award-winning cloud accounting software provider FreeAgent also revealed that one in 10 working Brits intend to start their own business within the year, some of which will undoubtedly be with their partners.

Women are also most likely to be benefit from going into business with their partner. Research, from the Harvard Business Review, detailed that on average, women in ‘copreneur’ couples earned 27% less before taking the plunge and pairing up with their one true love. In relationships where only one partner was an entrepreneur, women also earned 33% less than copreneurs.

Three Micro-Businesses Reveal What It Is Really Like

Three FreeAgent customers, Petalon, Shrimpy and Glassraven detail what it is actually like to be copreneurs. Download images here.

  1. Petalon– Delivers flower bouquets by bicycle across London

Florence and James Kennedy have been together for 8 years both run their individual businesses, but both are heavily involved in each others. This is because James runs Kennedy City Bicycles, a bike maker, founded in 2012, while Florence runs Petalon, which delivers beautiful flowers to Londoners by bicycle.

Florence said: “I know it might sound strange, but living and working together has never been an issue. We had a period of about eight months when our workshops were separate and it just wasn’t nearly as fun. Now we are back in the same workshop, with a small team and it works really well. James works on his bikes up on the mezzanine and me and the petalon team are on the ground floor.”

“Valentine’s Day is a bit of a non event in our personal lives and a logistical masterpiece for work! We will celebrate once all ordered have been completed and we are sure all the deliveries have been successfully delivered, but whether that’s a celebration that we survived or something more romantic is pretty blurry.”

  1. Shrimpy– A seafood themed pop-up in London, started with just £1,000 in savings

Miranda Roberts and Stefan Buschbeck have been together 5 and a half years and run Shrimpy, a seafood themed pop-up with just £1,000 in savings to follow their dream.

Miranda said: “We’ve had a wonderful experience with it so far! But I know other couples where it hasn’t worked. I think it’s really important that you both bring different skills to the table otherwise you end up competing with each other. After that it’s all just about respect for each other, making one another laugh in difficult situations is a must too! For Valentine’s Day it’ll be business as usual. We will probably have a nice dinner somewhere but nothing too exciting!”

  1. Glassraven– A web design company, based in Cornwall

Justin and Sadie married in 2003 and have 2 children. They live and work from home near picturesque Sennen, Cornwall. Sadie setup Glassraven in 2002 in order to combine her passion for the web with the demands of having a young family. Justin then joined in 2007 after years working for a software development company and they relocated to Sennen in 2010.

Sadie says: “Working together and running our own web-based company from home has given us massive flexibility – both in terms of where we live and also with our family life. We’re no longer restricted to just a few weeks of set holiday time for our family because we can take our laptop away with us to work, and that means we can do things like taking a five-week family camping trip around Europe, which we did a few summers ago. With mobile roaming, it’s easy for us to keep in touch with our customers and work on any support issues that come in whilst we’re away!”  

Ed Molyneux, CEO and co-founder of FreeAgent, said: “Starting your own business can be an extremely rewarding, if daunting, move for people to make with their career – and it’s clear from our research that a significant number of working Brits are considering taking this leap into self-employment in 2017.

“While many will choose to go solo, we believe that there will be a significant number who decide to team up with their partner to start and run a business together. That’s because it’s a potentially great move for couples to make with their careers – as you’ll be able to co-ordinate your work around your family commitments, share your passion with your soul-mate and have all of your household and business finances in one place.

“Of course, it’s not a decision to jump into lightly and there are some who will always prefer to keep their careers and their personal lives separate. But for open-minded couples looking to make a change this year, you could enjoy significant benefits from becoming ‘copreneurs’.”

Other copreneurs

Other famous UK copreneurs include:

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Author: Paul Skeldon
Editor specialising in all things mobile.
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