Rachel Sapoznik | Crain's Orlando

In this ongoing series, we ask executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders about mistakes that have shaped their business philosophy.

Rachel Sapoznik

Background:  

Founded in 1987 in her home, the employee-benefits agency that bears Rachel A. Sapoznik’s name is one of the largest in South Florida and serves clients nationwide.

The Mistake:

For the last 10 years of my 28-year marriage, my then-husband worked for me, which really put a strain on the business. [Spouses] have to see if [they’re] compatible to work together. I would never do that again.

After first working at his family’s business till it fell apart and then a short stint in real estate working for himself, my husband came to work for me, taking on the financial part. It was my business, and that [fact] definitely took the ultimate toll on our relationship.

When you’re in business [with a spouse], and you want to take a risk, there are financial consequences. Depending on your risk tolerance, your spouse may not be on the same page as you.

I had a greater tolerance for risk than my husband did, and there was a disconnect. That’s kind of not a discussion you have when you get married. That’s something I never thought of when my husband came into the business. It ended up being an issue.

Coaching helps make you aware that your business life is different from your personal life.

The Lesson:

You need to have outside professional help when you’re dealing with a family member working with your business. You need help to deal with all these different personalities and then to be able to stay on course with your business.

At the end of the day, we’re one person at home and a different person at the office. Coaching helps make you aware that your business life is different from your personal life. You need to create boundaries. 

When my son [eventually] came into my business, in 2010, I didn’t want to make the same mistakes [working with a family member]. I decided to let him take on the coach.

My son helps with logistics and development, and he’s the chief information officer. I’ve learned that coaching provides us an outlet that allows us to create a game plan, like a five-year plan, so that we can work together in harmony with everyone on the same page for a common outlook and common goals. It helps us work together and understand who’s in what lane so we don’t have those blurred [family and business] lines.

Follow Sapoznik Insurance on Twitter at @Sapoznik_Ins.

Photo courtesy of Rachel Sapoznik

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