Home Cooking: How to survive when going into business with your life partner
Our Meet the Master winner and his wife are combining business and pleasure as they attempt to turn their Stoke and Smoke BBQ business from a weekend endeavour to a full-time enterprise.
Chad Griffin is a humble bloke.
And the beanie-wearing BBQer from Canberra is keen to turn his side hustle into full-time self employment. Luckily for him, his wife Bec is along for the ride.
“I couldn’t do this without her. She takes care of all my quotes. She takes care of all the emails, all the admin stuff behind the scenes,” he says.
“She’s also on site with me. Every. Single. Cook. She’s my rock, mate.”
The couple are juggling day jobs, two kids and managing a household while they stay dedicated to their dream – turning Smoke and Stoke BBQ from a weekend catering and competition endeavour into a full time enterprise..
Even the strongest relationships can be stressful, and running a small business can add a whole lot more pressure to the mix – especially when mixing home, family and work life.
A recipe for success
Sharing the load is important in any situation, but couples who start a business together need to be super-clear about defining roles, responsibilities and ways to manage work-life balance – and make sure those definitions stay in place while the business grows.
As with the relationship itself, communication is key for any co-working couple. Setting clear boundaries between work time and home time – and communicating differently during each – helps immensely, too.
Spending their spare time catering for clients and competing in BBQ cook-offs, the Griffins are quickly learning that starting a business with your spouse can be challenging.
“It’s been more difficult than I thought it would be, working with Chad and going into business with Chad, and deciding to take that step,” she says.
“We’ve been together a very long time, we’ve been through a lot of things, but business is a whole different ball game.”
Having your best friend on board at all times sounds appealing but, like any couple looking to turn cohabitation into a co-op, Chad and Bec needed to sit down and do some serious thinking.
“One of the most difficult conversations we had at the beginning was – financially, emotionally, everything – if we could sustain something like this,” says Bec.
“We didn’t have a huge sum in a bank account that meant we could throw 100% of everything into this business and just, you know, go for it. This was something that was going to take time.”
Reward for effort
Chad agrees that no matter the struggle, and no matter the cost, hard work is what will pay off for him and Bec.
“It’s pretty tough trying to juggle the business and the kids, and family, and work and the other challenges that arise in life,” says our prize-winning pitmaster.
“But if we want to get to where we want to be, we just need to make the time – and that’s that.”
As the winner of our RedZed Meet the Master competition, Chad was awarded the chance to take his business partner Bec on a tour of America’s south, soaking up some sage advice from BBQ legend Tuffy Stone and a host of other meat masters.
Now they’re putting lessons learned to the test on Australia’s competitive BBQ circuit, the future seems very, very bright for this culinary couple.
“I’m really excited. I’m seeing these people that are talking about their kids, and being there with their grandfather. I want my grandkids to say to their friends at school: ‘Every afternoon after school I go to my grandad’s restaurant and help him.’ Or: ‘Every weekend I go out and help my grandad serve food to people,’” says Bec.
“I would love a legacy to leave, so this has really kicked me in the butt and made me go: ‘You can get excited for something. Something good can come from this.’”
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