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What 7 CEOs learned from hiring their husbands

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As any successful founder knows, it’s critical to have employees who respect you and support your vision for the company. But when is it a good idea to make your spouse one of those people? We asked seven female entrepreneurs across a range of businesses to discuss the challenges and joys of hiring–and working closely–with their husbands.

Business mentor and copy expert Merel Kriegsman helps online coaches and service providers bring in consistent, well-paying gigs. She’s been in business for a little over three years and her company’s growth has been impressive. She made $25,000 in revenue during year one, $180,000 the next, and $500,000 last year. As her business boomed, her husband, Keith, was looking for a job. Kriegsman saw an opportunity. Not only was Keith her partner and confidant, he had a knack for what she calls the “nitty-gritty stuff.” While she makes sales and supports her clients, he runs the daily operations and handles the money management.

In the beginning, Kriegsman says she was an inexperienced boss with no managing experience, which set them up for quite a few fights. “I was way too critical, forgot to compliment him, and took the housework he did for granted,” she says. “Now that we’ve got the other team members in place we should’ve hired a year ago, things are much, much better. Now he only does the tasks in his ‘zone of genius,’ instead of defaulting to do everything I cannot do.”

Today, he’s the CFO of the company and she says the experience has taught her the value of balance within the relationship. She gives him the reins when it comes to hiring decisions and the software they use, and he respects her vision for the company. This applies in and out of the office, and allows both of them to know when to take the lead and when to step back. “It’s not about being submissive; it’s about letting the other lead. Giving him that space. In the end, it’s about love.”

Winnie Sun opened financial services consulting firm Sun Group Wealth Partners in 2000 as part of Smith Barney. In 2011, the firm became independent. Sun has seem substantial success and their current assets under management tally up to an impressive $180 million. Her husband, Tim, worked as a high-level network engineer for many Fortune 500 companies, so when it came time to hire a chief technological officer, Sun says he was the natural choice. It made sense not only for the company, but for their hectic family life, she says. “This gave us an opportunity to have someone we trust handle our technology and network security needs, and it gave him a deeper understanding of what I was doing every day in the office,” she says. “This allowed us to free him from the typical IT grind, and he can also spend time........

© Fast Company