Couples in Business – Paul & Gemma Mackman

Since 2003 Paul and Gemma Mackman have been running a full-service marketing agency based in Sudbury – called Mackman – that has worked with a host of leading brands including the University of Essex, David Burr estate agents and Twining’s tea makers.

Couples in Business - Mackman Branding and Marketing Agency

How did you start working together?

Paul: We had a new-born son and wanted to find a way of spending flexible time together as a family, as well as building a secure, stable, scaleable business to provide for us well into the future.

What are the pros of working together as a couple?

You get to work with someone that you really trust and admire and because you understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses you are then able to complement each other working in a naturally collaborative and effective way. You also get to talk openly and frankly with a colleague in a way that you normally you wouldn’t dream of.

Are there any cons?

Can’t complain about or blame things on the boss.

How do you switch off from work matters in the evening? 

Simple, just have a rule to not talk about it and have teenage kids to keep you distracted. Yes, it is totally possible, just ensure that you live a life outside of work and actively create a healthy work life balance.

Any advice for couples who are considering going into business together?

Gemma says: “Don’t leave the man to make too many decisions on his own or they will end up being ridiculous.”
Paul says: “Don’t let your wife set a no alcohol during work lunches policy.’
On a serious note consider yourself to be united force at work both pushing in the same direction. Successful businesses are run by people with a shared vision or sense of direction so don’t neglect to document this when you start out. Define your roles and responsibilities but also be prepared to step forward to support one another when needed. Remember that your relationship with each other is the most important so keep the love and don’t let the business become the other man or woman.