Having a schedule for our startup?


I'm in a partnership with my brother, we decides to do a partnership together since we live in the same house and had the same schedule. We are running our business from home right now, making mobile games full-time (we quit our old jobs).

I have suggested countless times that we should have a working schedule for the company (work 10-6 or 11 to 7, Monday through Saturday). I work roughly 10am - 6pm everyday. I would like for him to roughly work around the same time so if we need to communicate things he is there.

But his argument is always 'What's the point of starting your own company if you can't sleep in and make your own hours?' I even went as far as having an agreement signed between the two of us to start work at 11am (we start work in our house and do not commute to work). It's currently 12:30pm, and I'm not sure if he's going to be up before 1pm. The times when I do wake him up (that's right, it's my job to wake him up) he's too tired to work at all. The last time I woke him up at 11am to start work he got no work done during the day and then took a 2.5 hour nap in the middle of the day... so I'm reluctant to enforce our "11am" start work day if he's not going to get any work done. He sometimes goes out and drinks and comes home really late during the weekdays also... which makes his work days less productive.

If he worked at a regular job, he would be there whenever the "boss" tells him to (we worked at the same company before this). But, since I'm a "partner" and brother and not his "boss" he seems to ignore the agreement we came up with.

What should I do? Should I just let him do as he pleases even though we came into a written agreement? I dont' mind people sleeping in... I just feel like I'm putting more work into this, working 8 hour days. While he sleeps in till 1pm/2pm and then works for 4 hours...

He does get extra work done on the weekend, and sometimes in the evening.

Partner Business Partnerships

asked Aug 12 '11 at 05:10
Edgar Miranda
230 points
Top digital marketing agency for SEO, content marketing, and PR: Demand Roll
  • Drop him as a partner. This is not about schedules - it is about getting work done. If he was putting in 8 hours then you should work with him - but if he is not then go out on your own. – Tim J 12 years ago
  • He is clearly not reliable, and therefore not the right business partner. Starting and running a company is hard enough. You don't need this. Good luck. – Mike Nereson 12 years ago

5 Answers


He might not want to work schedule as you, which maybe ok. But at the very least, you need to establish clear deliverable goals, meet weekly, and make sure you're staying on track with milestones.

Time is sort of useless as a measuring tool. I'd rather work with someone that pumps out results over someone who browses reddit.com 10 hours a day in my presence.

In any case, sounds like you guys need to work on communication and set boundaries, otherwise..

answered Aug 12 '11 at 10:20
Justin Hammack
151 points


Sounds like the focus of the isssue should be more around results and less around schedules. Not all people work at the same pace or do their best work at the same hours. While I do not know the full details around your partnership I suspect it is not based on one person doing all the work, becoming the "Mother" or supervisor of the other. All partners need to own and be responsible for the sucess of the partnership. So schedule your projects, your product releases and your client/customer interactions. But don't schedule each others working times. If a partner cannot manage their time and affairs properly to meet the agreen upon objectives and timelines of the partnership, then you have no partnership.

Schedules can be very important when it comes to your face to the customer but no so much regarding the creation, testing & perfecting of your product. The only schedule that is important here is the delivery of finished products and updates. For this you need to establish a tageted completion date along with a schedule of milestone dates that lead to this completion. Once those dates have been agreed upon you should routinely meet to discuss and analyze how well you are doing at meeting those dates. While modifications to the timeline may be needed due to unforseen circumstances, your production schedule should be the guideline towards who does what work and when.

If this is your business then it needs to be treated as such. This means treating each other with the respect and professionalism that all partners deserve. With any partnership, it only works if the partners are satisfied that all partners are meeting their agreed upon obligations. When that ceases to be the case then the partners need to meet to restablish and recommit to their agreed upon obligations or the partnership should be disolved. This includes allowing the partners the flexibility to meet their obligations however they see fit. Regardless of if you are related or not if you are going to be partners then you must both be responsible for deliverying on your agreed upon objectives. When it becomes apparent that this is nolonger going to happen then the partnership is over whether you want to admit it or not.

answered Nov 24 '11 at 00:11
Mark King
11 points


I was in a similar boat as you sometime ago - my brother was interning in my startup, and had a similar problem with schedules.

What works best is this -

1) You need to have consistent defined goals about the work he needs to get done, and not about how it has to be done. If you set expectations, they should be of the type - "Get 5 hours of work on so and so done (and use Rescuetime to track the amount of work he's done)", or "Finish so and so piece of work by Thursday". Impose fines for delayed work (on both him and you), and if you set expectations, do follow them yourself also.

2) Take him out for drinks if he does something exceptional, or works really well some day, and maybe give him a small bonus whenever he exceeds expectations.

The deal is - your brother is probably a Dreamer* personality type . Threats and negatives won't work on him. Positives and rewards will !

(*About Dreamer personality type- Please note that this is my own invention, no psychology books talk about Dreamer personalities )

answered Nov 23 '11 at 04:08
151 points


He needs to do 2 things:

  1. Get Things Done on time
  2. Achieve #1 in a way to not put undue pressure on everyone else trying to get their work done.

If he wants to float his schedule, let him know what you need to discuss and when it is conventient for you to be available. Then he can pick a time. If he fails to keep the appointment, there should be consequences.

Just be careful you don't set a schdule (your choice) that he expects you to be available only during that time period and they you are not there. It works both ways.

answered Aug 16 '11 at 01:29
Jeff O
6,169 points


have timesheet or something. and record how many hours each person worked, then split the profits accordingly. that might have an effect

answered Aug 12 '11 at 06:32
101 points

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Partner Business Partnerships