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Sometimes while working on a real estate contract, Betsy Gorman will drop a quick email to her partner for details. On occasion she’ll also send one of her kids across the street for paperwork. Sometimes her partner fills in for her, and often she fills in for her partner, reports The Washington Post.

“She jokingly referred to me as her retirement plan,” said Betsy Gorman. All that makes perfect sense when you realize her partner is also her mother, Bette Gorman, who has practiced real estate for 43 years in Northern Virginia.

With real estate’s competitiveness and falloff the last three years, both appreciate having a familial bond and a partner who can be trusted completely. “We don’t have her clients or my clients; they’re our clients,” said Bette Gorman, whose voice still carries a slight southern accent. “It really has worked out beautifully.”

A few minutes later in a separate interview, Betsy concurs. “Now it’s like we’re the same person. We’re interchangeable really. We communicate 100 times a day and we share everything. We think the same way.”

Though she has no statistics, Nell Merlino, chief executive of Count Me In, which offers training and support for women in business, said she noticed anecdotally that the trend is picking up. “Women who had mothers who were entrepreneurs are further along in what it takes.”

Merlino said she believes the collaboration works many ways — mothers with established businesses inviting in daughters who have new skills to advance the company; daughters debuting a business and asking Mom to join; and the two starting one together.

Photo by Casey Serin

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Originally posted by Angela Shupe on April 19, 2011 in Ideas.

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