#sistertip topic: How to start a business with your friend (perhaps your best friend).
Couple of weeks ago, Julisha and I went live to shed some light on frequently asked questions about our studio. We often get a lot of questions about our services, how to organize a small business, but mainly, we get a lot of our questions about how we started a business despite the fact that we are best of friends. We covered a lot of different things, but we delved deeper into the question, “what are some challenges and tips on working with a friend?”
Here are the highlights from our live –
Set CLEAR boundaries – Julisha mentioned that she operates like a boutique or store. She has set hours that she’s “open” and closed. And respect each other’s available time. Although, my schedule is very different, I respect her time/space. I make sure that after her hours are over, I don’t talk about work at all unless there is a massive emergency (and rarely there is).
As things get busier, it’s important respect boundaries because it helps give you space from each other. This is super important, because even if you are best of friends, you need time to process a day’s workload mentally and physically (and yes, away from each other). Keeping those boundaries not only brings a healthier work life balance, but also keeps the friendship alive.
Be honest (like, super honest) – One of the biggest things that we’ve seen is family members or bffs working together and not being able to be honest about the direction of a project! Eventually this leads to resentment and builds hurt feelings which eventually leads unresolved arguments that ends a business. It’s important to be very matter of fact about business related decisions/issues (especially about $$$). If you are in this situation, write down what you need to say and don’t include emotions. It should include “I” statements and how you feel rather than pointing out what the other person did. Reflect on things that you would’ve done that also might have hurt the other person as well. Bring out the “shadow dynamic” and call it out as is without alienating the other person. Thinking “Oh, she’s my friend so I’ll let this one go,” isn’t a good practice. Those things add up and eventually one of the other person will explode.
Don’t take it personal (but make sure to have in-depth conversations before you start a project together) – Julisha and I had a business before called Anguay Reed Designs. She helped design patches and hats for the company. Here, we realized that we are SO extremely different. Julisha is very organized and has a great work life balance, but I on the other hand am only organized on the things that I want to be organized in and have very little work – life balance (I’m getting better at it!) I also realized that our personality and thoughts were just completely different. In the beginning, it was really hard to negotiate everything but this business would have been so much easier if we knew even when to check in. (BTW, that’s a big thing). If you don’t have weekly check ins about work (just because you are friends), then the business is doomed to fail. You don’t have to spend every waking moment talking about work. Reflect back on the #1. At the end of the day, Julisha and I prioritized our friendship and Anguay Reed Designs business closed its’ doors. However, few years down the road, who knew we have a successful business helping brands amplify their voice and create their “online real estate” through creative content and marketing! We only was able to do that because we prioritized our friends-hi first!
What are some other questions you have about starting a business with a friend? Do you have tips and tricks? I would love to hear from you!