About this blog

After more than 20 years operating a trial consulting practice together as co-founding partners of Magnus Research Consultants, Inc. and Magnus Graphics, Inc., and more than 25 years of marriage, Dr. Melissa Pigott and David Fauss decided to share some of their thoughts, experiences, pet peeves, and perspectives on operating a small “mom & pop” business. The intended audience for their writings is other business owners, as well as employees of small businesses. Trial consulting is a professional service business, as was David’s photography business. There are many unique issues faced by professional service providers; Melissa and David share some of their insights on running a successful business.

Are you 2 really married?

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On October 21, 2013

Category: Partnerships, Work-Life

Sharing life and work, but not last names, has lead to some interesting reactions by clients and others with whom we work. Sometimes it is a reaction of surprise that we, as a married couple, can work together. Other times, it is an acknowledgment that we’ve done well in creating our own identities such that […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On October 21, 2013

Category: Partnerships, Work-Life

Other people’s fascination with David’s and my marital status has always intrigued me. I have never understood why it is important to so many people that I am married, single, divorced, or widowed; these categorizations have nothing to do with the manner in which I perform my job. But, people being the curious creatures they […]

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Hobbies & Interests

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On October 16, 2013

Category: Partnerships, Work-Life

It is a boring person indeed who says, “I don’t have any hobbies or interests outside my job and my family”; “I don’t have time to pursue a hobby”; “I never have time for myself”; etc.  Never people who want to be considered boring, my spouse/partner and I have always believed having hobbies and interests, […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On October 16, 2013

Category: Partnerships, Work-Life

I think hobbies are important creative releases.  Even if the hobby is not a traditionally creative endeavor like our music and photography, engaging in activities that one enjoys is a great way to clear the mind and re-energize yourself.  In our work, the cases are intense, often tragic and/or complicated. It is also tiring; mock […]

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Yes, dear

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On October 15, 2013

Category: Partnerships, Work-Life

As we’ve written, working together has challenges and rewards. But one thing that has helped is for one of us, often me, just to say, “yes, dear.” Some people seem to disagree just to disagree, but when working and living together learning to be more selective and, “picking the battles,” is a key to survival. […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On October 15, 2013

Category: Partnerships, Work-Life

I dislike confrontations, preferring to “cut and run” at the first sign of a disagreement. However, there are some things about which I have a strong opinion and I tend to be relentless when it comes to these things. My spouse/business partner is far more laid back and easy going than I; he definitely says, […]

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Title: Capitalize on individual strengths

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On October 9, 2013

Category: Business Partnerships

All of us have strengths and weaknesses; this is a fact of life regardless of whether we work with our spouse.  It is crucial, in any long term relationship, to identify each spouse’s/business partner’s strengths and weaknesses early in the relationship, then capitalize on the strengths and minimize the weaknesses in ways that ultimately define […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On October 9, 2013

Category: Business Partnerships

Some of the separation of duties are obvious and easy to identify early on in a work situation or at a personal level. And, this point is true when working with friends, spouse, or even lesser known acquaintances in any partnership arrangement. Seeking to determine who should have the primary responsibility for various tasks required […]

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Learning to take it when you can take it

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On October 7, 2013

Category: Partnerships, Work-Life

In a previous post I wrote about mixing business and pleasure. And, many times, there are ways to do this by just adding a few hours to a business trip, or spending a little personal money. One can plan ahead or sometimes, serendipitously find something of interest. But, you must be tuned into the idea […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On October 7, 2013

Category: Partnerships, Work-Life

Although neither my spouse/business partner or I are spontaneous, carefree types, over the years we have had a lot of unexpected down time at work that has led us to re-prioritize our personal time. Most of the activities in which we engage during our personal times are planned well in advance; attending rock concerts, for […]

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Having time for fun

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On October 2, 2013

Category: Life Outside of Work

One of the most important parts of working with one’s spouse is taking time out for FUN. FUN is capitalized here to emphasize its critical role in the work/personal time balance. Real, honest to goodness FUN means doing something, with or without your spouse/business partner that provides an intensely enjoyable, unforgettable, experience. (It is important […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On October 2, 2013

Category: Life Outside of Work

It may seem strange to have to budget time for fun, but it is important. Whatever the fun is, it can clear the mind of distractions and help one regain focus on less fun things. And, fun as a reward for hard work is important too – there has to be a point of working […]

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The Pleasure of Mixing Business & Pleasure

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On September 30, 2013

Category: Partnerships, Work-Life

Maybe it seems obvious, but one of the benefits of operating a small business is the ability to control one’s schedule, at least to the degree it isn’t controlled by a client’s schedule. It may also seem obvious, but with a bit of thought and planning, it is often possible to treat oneself to some […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On September 30, 2013

Category: Partnerships, Work-Life

I have traveled far and wide in the decades I have worked as a trial consultant. I don’t enjoy traveling for work purposes, but traveling is what I do, often. I have to have some notion of “what’s in this for me?” because, as a road/air warrior, there would be little motivation to travel across […]

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Fine System

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On September 25, 2013

Category: Partnerships, Work-Life

When one’s business partner is also one’s spouse, there is a natural tendency to have work discussions at home or on other personal time. It is often difficult to “be off the clock” when there are issues at work that demand the attention of the small business person at all hours of the day, on […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On September 25, 2013

Category: Partnerships, Work-Life

Melissa has made out better than I have in collecting fines, even if I have been entrapped on an occasion or two. I mean, I can’t help it when someone calls me on my cell phone, right? When we first met I was a freelance photographer and on call for clients. She did not always […]

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Travel Patterns, Routines, & Variations

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On September 23, 2013

Category: Travel

The work we do as trial consultants involves traveling nationwide – wherever the cases may be. Traveling presents many challenges and is physically tiring. Developing some patterns to bring methods to the madness helps with these challenges. For example, we long ago established some routines or standard operating procedures (SOPs) when it comes to travel […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On September 23, 2013

Category: Travel

Speaking as the person for whom the travel arrangements are usually made, the essentials involved in doing things the same way, from trip to trip, airport to airport, rental car, to rental car, etc. is one less thing for the weary traveler to worry about. If I can arrive to an airport, tired (and probably […]

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Differing Expertise

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On September 18, 2013

Category: Partnerships, Work-Life

My husband and I have been married for longer than we have worked together. Many of our family members, friends, and clients (many of whom have become our friends) have asked us, “how do you work together and stay married?’; “doesn’t working together and being married cause a lot of power struggles and other problems?”: […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On September 18, 2013

Category: Partnerships, Work-Life

What Melissa said does not mean it doesn’t work for life and work partners to have the same expertise.  Certainly we know attorneys (some of them our clients) who are married and of couples in other professions with the same training who work together just fine.  The point is, we have one less point of […]

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