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Book Review: Soulmate Proprietors: How To Run A Business With Your Spouse And STAY Married! by Danelle Brown

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In her new book Soulmate Proprietors, author, consultant and business coach Danelle Brown grapples with the question of whether spouses can run a business together and still stay married. Many have tried and failed, some losing both their business and their marriage in the end. But after casting a wide net of interviews among a diverse range of “small business families,” Brown reached the conclusion that despite a high degree of difficulty, not only can this arrangement work for spouses, there is indeed much to celebrate for the entire family.

Brown had a passion for writing this book that was borne out of necessity and intimate knowledge of the subject. Together with her husband, Marcel, she is co-owner and marketing director of MB Tech, Inc. which provides technology consulting services to small businesses and individuals. She is also the president and founder of Queen Bee Consulting which helps family and couple-owned companies grow their businesses. Danelle Brown is immersed in the issues she writes about.

Soulmate Proprietors is basically a comprehensive, well-organized and easy-to-understand how-to guide. In addition to the wise and relevant counsel of the author, each of the book’s seven chapters includes interview excerpts/case study comments from real spousal partners who were interviewed by Brown in preparation for writing the book. Each chapter also includes a “Soul Searching Questions” section that provides an important self-check summary to help the reader measure their understanding of the issues presented and promote reflection on those issues about which they have concerns. Each chapter is informative, entertaining and well written.

In Chapter One, “In It to Win It,” the author’s straight talk sets a strong, all or nothing standard for those contemplating running a business together. This challenge is echoed throughout the book, which proceeds to address the numerous issues involved, such as the question of if you want to be in business with your spouse, and is your marriage strong enough to make it work; how to divide your talents so that roles are clear; channeling stress to build a stronger relationship; dealing with the reality that the business becomes part of the family; bringing balance to your work and personal lives; and the fringe benefits of working with your spouse. As Brown points out near the end of the book — believe it or not — this simply sets the foundation for a successful business with your spouse.

Danelle Brown says she really enjoys talking to people and helping and mentoring them. Soulmate Proprietors clearly shows this is so. Her writing style is warm and conversational, her counsel is candid, and her words are thoughtful and caring. Whether you’re just beginning to consider the possibility of starting a business with your spouse, or at whatever point you are in running a business together, I believe this book can help you. I know it would have made a difference in my attempt. Ignore this book at your own peril.

Soulmate Proprietors: How To Run a Business With Your Spouse and STAY Married!
Danelle Brown
Queen Bee Consulting (2011)
ISBN 9780982925706

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