Working with your spouse: how Football Star Academy franchisees Bill and Maz are nailing it

By Sarah Stowe | 03 Jun 2020 View comments

When you want to set up in business with your spouse but don’t know what it’s like to be a boss with your life partner, it helps to hear from someone who’s been there, done that.

Well, husband and wife team Bill and Maz Misailidis can testify to the brilliant opportunities and lifestyle such a partnership brings.

Of course, there are rules that help the pair get along as they direct and drive not just their joint Football Star Academy franchise but their own individual businesses.

The Adelaide-based pair has worked together before on small projects. Bill runs a successful small business as a building contractor; Maz is a freelance interior stylist working with magazine like House & Garden and InsideOut and local architects.

Add three teenagers to this busy work schedule and it’s clear the pair are expert at juggling a work life balance. How do they do it?

Working with your spouse and making it work

It’s important to be passionate about the business and that’s easy for former soccer player Bill.

“We have hundreds of children involved in our area, and we’re expanding into other areas. For me it’s about being in the sporting environment with children, sharing my passion, and the technical and psychological aspect of being involved in sport and group dynamic.”

Maz says “I try and do a bit every day supporting Bill on admin and marketing. He’s the head coach, he has the knowledge. If I wait to do it all on one day, it’s overwhelming. I’ve got other jobs on. 

“When we launched FSA into South Australia it was hard work but we knew this was the beginning of transitioning businesses. It’s about a balance, because the main income comes from the building work but we need to spend time on the football.”

Bill adds “I enjoy switching between jobs but you need the right mindset to do this.  I’ve got the passion for it, for the soccer business rather than the building trade.

“We’ve worked together before on small projects. We do portion off time to get together each week, on this business. It does require a lot of time, a balance of finances. The more time you spend, you get the rewards. We have weekly and monthly schedules but there comes a time when we need to show a concerted focus on the new business.”

The husband and wife partnership relies on great communication and understanding each other, suggests Maz.

“It’s important to be very comfortable with your partner. I feel comfortable contacting Bill at any point, even if he’s busy. We know each other’s ways, and what’s a priority.  It’s truly, total communication, daily and at any time. We might have a thought at 10pm whether or not the other person is tired.”

Bill agrees. “I’m always jotting things down to share with Maz.”

Flexibility is crucial with such a busy work and home life.

“If we can’t be flexible, we can’t operate,” says Maz. “It’s about rolling with whatever comes up in life. We’ve always, in life and business, let things unfold somewhat organically. Of course there’s planning but when there’s an opportunity we follow it.”

What are the benefits of being a husband and wife team?

Bill says “We get to spend time together. We’re in a positive environment, bouncing off each other.”

Maz says “It’s nice to see Bill in his element, being passionate about what he wants to achieve in life. It’s different from me working with him doing admin. It’s really nice to experience this with your partner.

“It’s just fun. You’re either doing it for yourselves or for each other. When one of us has achieved something, it feels like it’s both of us and we can celebrate together.”

Lessons learned, and advice

Maz says its important to know that it’s going to be hard work. And to develop a business mindset.

“You have to compartmentalise, and don’t take things personally. Be patient. I’ve learned to be less emotional.”

Bill admits he could be abrupt in his building business but this approach doesn’t work with Maz.

“You do have to be a strong couple,” cautions Bill. “It can strain any relationship. We’re robust with each other, which is good and bad, so you have to have respect.

“Be prepared to put your lifestyle and relationships on another level. You can only grow. You benefit individually and as a couple.”

“Just do it,” adds Maz.

Football Star Academy is part of the multi-sport 60-strong franchise Sport Star Academy. Founder Peter Nikolakopoulos explains the brand here.