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The Dos and Don'ts of Working with your Family

Lifestyle

We are Kariss and Joshua Farris, owners and the head photographers of Pharris Photography based out of Texas specializing in Houston and Dallas but also serving destination clients. Our background and love story has played a significant role in our success as a husband and wife duo. We met in college at Baylor University, fell in love, and now combine our creativity and our love into a marriage and a business. We have a sweet little girl named Ellie and another beautiful baby boy on the way. We love Houston, our home and our playground, and love everything about the wedding and party industry. With that being said, we have been blessed to expand our location to Dallas as well which has proven to us to be a great business move. We now can take part in more beautiful celebrations… what a dream come true! We have done 27 weddings and have been featured in Yahoo!, People, Paper City Magazine, The Knot, Essence, and tons of other publications. We have made so many new friends and love getting people to smile. But more importantly - we love being a husband-and-wife team. We’re powerful together and we love building each other up in our work. Work isn’t just our life though, we are Christians, parents, Texas fans, and adventurers. We have to know how to keep our lives separate and full of fun on both sides. It doesn’t mean that working with your spouse is always easy, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.


Do:

1. Make sure that you’re having fun at work. You’re with your best friend, so it should be fun! Especially in a creative field, you want to make sure that you’re feeding that creativity through energy, positivity, and collaboration! We make sure that we have fun with our clients and see their personality in the pictures, so we feel like we just make a ton of friends every day.

2. Have your responsibilities separate. Make sure you know whose part is whose, and communicate well with each other on tasks that may be shared. Nothing is worse than stepping on other people’s toes, especially your spouse’s. They appreciate the communication as much as we do.

Kariss Farris

3. Complement each other! You’re both in the field for a reason, and you’re both successful for a reason. Point out your spouse’s strengths and build their confidence, and they’ll probably do it right back to you. It keeps you both focused on each other instead of getting caught up in your own competition and confidence. Give each other a boost now and then in the professional world.

4. In that same respect, don’t be afraid to give each other constructive criticism when needed. There’s a respectful way to go about this but often times those that yo work closely with can see the opportunities for growth and improvement that you may not notice. Always push them to be their best. Many people say your spouse is your “toughest critic and biggest fan,” so make sure that both as a critic and as a fan you are encouraging and loving. You will see little things that other coworkers would never see because they aren’t the spouse, but that doesn’t always mean you have to bring up those little things. Push them to be their best, but don’t roll them over in critiques and direction. Having a balance of positivity and the will to continue to grow and do better is key!

5. Separate your work and home time. If you’re home having dinner with your family, make sure you’re home having dinner and not acting as an impromptu business meeting. Have specific times set apart for home and life conversations that don’t involve your clients or work. Keeping them separate will keep your family sane.

6. Get feedback. As you are business partners, getting feedback to ensure you are both on the same page is necessary. Whether that is on a daily basis or in weekly meetings, collaboration in all aspects will make sure you both see things the same way and have the same end goal in mind.

Don't:

1. Try to outshine each other. Don’t make it competitive. Again, make sure that your roles and responsibilities are clear and your boundaries are consistent. No one likes to compete with those that we love. It’s not healthy for the business and it’s certainly not healthy for your personal relationship, so keep it even.

2. Overstep your boundaries. In the beginning, it is best to establish the roles and responsibilities so the lines don’t get blurry and cause confusion and frustration later down the road. Note, if you need assistance with a certain task, having a relationship and partnership where you can ask for added help is great but making it clear on both ends who is ultimately in charge of that business department is needed.

3. Put more on your plate than you can handle. This will only hurt the business and cause stress which can in return hurt your business working relationship with your spouse. A little stress is healthy as it gives you the push to stay focused but make sure you know how much you can handle. You don’t want to take on more than you can produce as it will interfere with your home life if you are working more hours than the other. Sometimes we need to put each other in check and re-evaluate the workload as we tend to both over extend but that it only natural when you are excited about your growing business.

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Choosing the Right Corporate Structure: Which Business Entity Should You Go With?

Business entities can be defined as the corporate, tax and legal structures which an organization chooses to officially follow at the time of its official registration with the state authorities. In total, there are fifteen different types of business entities, which would be the following.


  • Sole Proprietorship
  • General Partnership
  • Limited Partnership or LP
  • Limited Liability Partnership or LLP
  • Limited Liability Limited Partnership or LLLP
  • Limited Liability Company or LLC
  • Professional LLC
  • Professional Corporation
  • B-Corporation
  • C-Corporation
  • S-Corporation
  • Nonprofit Organization
  • Estate
  • Cooperative Organization
  • Municipality

As estates, municipalities and nonprofits do not concern the main topic here, the following discussions will exclude the three.

Importance of the State: The Same Corporate Structure Will Vary from State to State

All organizations must register themselves as entities at the state level in United States, so the rules and regulations governing them differ quite a bit, based on the state in question.

What this means is that a Texas LLC for example will not operate under the same rules and regulations as an LLC registered in New York. Also, an LLC in Texas can have the same name as another company that is registered in a different state, but it's not advisable given how difficult it could become in the future while filing for patents.

To know more about such quirks and step-by-step instructions on how to start an LLC in Texas, visit howtostartanllc.com, and you could get started with the online process immediately. The information and services on the website are not just limited to Texas LLC organizations either, but they have a dedicated page for guiding fresh entrepreneurs through the corporate tax structures in every state.

Sole Proprietorship: Default for Freelancers and Consultants

There is only one owner or head in a sole proprietorship, and that's what makes it ideal for one-man businesses that deal with freelance work and consulting services. Single man sole proprietorships are automatic in nature, therefore, registration with the state is unnecessary.

Sole proprietorships are also suited to a degree for singular teams such as a small construction crew, a group of handymen, or even miniature establishments in retail. Also, this puts the owner's personal financial status at jeopardy.

Due to the fact that a sole proprietorship entity puts all responsibilities for paying taxes and returning loans, it directly jeopardizes the sole proprietor's personal belongings in case of a lawsuit, or even after a failed loan repayment.

This is the main reason why even the most miniature establishments find LLCs to be a better option, but this is not the only reason either. Sole proprietors also find it hard to start their business credit or even get significant business loans.

General Partnership: Equal Responsibilities

The only significant difference between a General Partnership and a Sole Proprietorship is the fact that two or more owners share responsibilities and liabilities equally in a General Partnership, as opposed to there being only one responsible and liable party in the latter. Other than that, they more or less share the same pros and cons.

Registration with the state is not necessary in most cases, and although it still puts the finances of the business owners at risk here, the partnership divides the liability, making it a slightly better option than sole proprietorship for small teams of skilled workers or even small restaurants and such.

Limited Partnership: Active and Investing Partners

A Limited Partnership (LP) has to be registered with a state and whether it has just two or more partners, there are two different types of partners in all LP establishments.

The active partner or the general partner is the one who is responsible and liable for operating the business in its entirety. The silent or investing partner, on the other hand, is the one who invests funds or other resources into the organization. The latter has very limited liability or control over the company's operations.

It's a perfect way for investors to put their money into a sector that they are personally not experienced with, but have access to people who do. From the perspective of the general partners, they have similar responsibilities and liabilities to those in a general partnership.

It's the default strategy for startups to find funding and as long as the idea is sound, it has made way for multiple successful entrepreneurial ventures in the recent past. However, personal liability still looms as a dangerous prospect for the active partners to consider.

Limited Liability Company and Professional LLC

Small businesses have no better entity structure to follow than the LLC, given that it takes multiple good ideas from various corporate structures, virtually eliminating most cons that are inherent to them. Any and all small businesses that are in a position to or are in requirement of signing up with their respective state, usually choose an LLC entity because of the following reasons:

  • It removes the dangerous aspect of personal liability if the business falls in debt or is sued for reparations
  • The state offers the choice of choosing between corporation and partnership tax slabs
  • The limited legalities and paperwork make it suited for small businesses

While more expensive than a general partnership or a sole proprietorship, a professional LLC is going to be a much safer choice for freelancers and consultants, especially if it involves risk of any kind. This makes it ideal for even single man businesses such a physician's practice or the consultancy services of an accountant.

B, C and S-Corporation

By definition, all corporation entities share most of the same attributes and as the term suggests, they're more suited for larger or at least medium sized businesses in any sector. The differences between the three are vast once you delve into the tax structures which govern each entity.

However, the basic differences can be observed by simply taking a look at each of their definitive descriptions, as stated below.

C-Corporation – This is the default corporate entity for large or medium-large businesses, complete with a board of directors, a CEO/CEOs, other executive officers and shareholders.

The shareholders or owners are not liable for debts or legal dispute settlements in a C-Corporation, and they may qualify for lower tax slabs than is possible in any other corporate structure. On becoming big enough, they also have the option to become a publicly traded company, which is ideal for generating growth investments.

B- Corporation – the same rules apply as a C-Corporation, but due to their registered and certified commitment to social and environmental standards maintenance, B-Corporations will have a more lenient tax structure to deal with.

S-Corporation – Almost identical to a C-Corporation, the difference is in scale, as S-Corporations are only meant for small businesses, general partnerships and even sole proprietors. The main difference here is that due to the creation of a pass-through entity, aka a S-Corporation, the owner/owners do not have liability for business debt and legal disputes. They also are not taxed on the corporate slab.

Cooperative: Limited Application

A cooperation structure in most cases is a voluntary partnership of limited responsibilities that binds people in mutual interest - it is an inefficient structure due to the voluntary nature of its legal bindings, which often makes it unsuitable for traditional business operations. Nevertheless, the limited liability clause exempts all members of a cooperative from having personal liability for paying debts and settling claims.

This should clear up most of the confusion surrounding the core concepts and their suitability. In case you are wondering why the Professional Corporation structure wasn't mentioned, then that's because it has very limited applications. Meant for self-employed, skilled professionals or small organizations founded by them, they have less appeal now in comparison to an LLC or an S-Corporation.