Bonkers? Brave? We think it takes a special sort of couple to go into business with each other and it’s about time we got that crazy gang together.

dodios Chris Kean playfully looks to swing a pillow at Senga Kean as she tried to work on her laptop

Hi, I’m Chris and I’ve been successfully running a marketing agency alongside my wife, Senga since 2015. Generally when we explain that we’re in business together it elicits the same sort of response; “Oh, there’s NO WAY I could work with my partner”, “Are you mad?”, “How do you cope?” and so on.

So then why do we keep meeting couples who are or who are planning on going into business together?

Well for us, dodio was the realisation of a shared dream. We each had a passion, a common vision and a belief that we could build a business that would allow us to apply our skills to support clients we’d enjoy working with and to deliver projects we’d be proud of.

There were early upsides; An easy commute, shared holidays, an understanding of each other’s work challenges, working towards the same professional goals, spending a lot of time together. There were also immediate challenges; Legally, structurally, finding a work life balance, learning to leave the morning domestic at home, spending a lot of time together.

We’re very different people with opposite dominant sides to our brains. Senga is methodical, organised and values planning, forecasting and extrapolating information from analytical data. I am creative, disorganised and spontaneous with a ‘let’s vibe it” attitude to most things. It’s the perfect mix. I’ll think up a big picture idea, Senga will apply sound logic and a cohesive plan.

Sure, we’ll always have differences of opinion. For instance, I’ll soon be sending Senga a draft of this article and you can bet your life it’s coming back littered with notes and the occasional “Chris, you can’t say that”. I’ll attempt to stick to my guns, make my arguments, perhaps winning 35% of them and eventually we’ll find a middle ground that’s the best of both of us, and isn’t that part of what makes a successful partnership anyway?

Has working together lived up to expectations? Well neither of us have any regrets and we’re still enjoying the ride. One thing’s for certain, we’ve learnt a hell of a lot and I think we have something to offer others in a similar situation.

dodios Senga and Chris in the office sat beside a TV screen showing a photograph of the pair hiking.

We love meeting other couples in business. Like kindred spirits we often recognise similar values, ethos and gallows humour in them and that can’t fail but to build an immediate rapport. Each conversation with these guys is enlightening, we always learn something and hopefully occasionally we give something too.

But there’s no dedicated support for couples in business (illustrated by our relationship with our long suffering business coach and part time marriage counsellor, Matt Somers), and whether it comes from a genuine place of wanting to meet and support like minded couples or is a thinly veiled cry for help from one half a partnership that’s reached their wits’ end, Senga identified this and Rock Hoppers was conceived.

Named after the hardy, mated for life, obstacle climbing penguin species, Rock Hoppers will endeavour to develop an inclusive colony of like-minded couples who’ve taken the leap into business together or are considering it.

We’ll be huddling together to offer (and accept!) support and advice in person and online, with a mix of fun, informal networking events, podcasts and social occasions.

So if you’re working with your partner or just dreaming about the day and are wondering “waddle we do next”, we’d love to hear from you.