The idea to invite my best virtual friend in on my business as a partner came to me in the middle of one of our typical Facetime dates. One minute the idea wasn’t there. The next, the words were spilling out of my mouth. And just as fast, she was saying yes.
We were giddy for a minute before taking a breath.
“Is this a good idea?” We asked one another, feeling the weight of what we’d just agreed to.
We decided to take the weekend to think on it, putting another Facetime date on our calendars for that next Monday.
“So,” I asked her, still just as giddy as I was the week before. “Are we doing this?”
“We’re doing this,” she agreed.
This is my first time partnering up with someone, so I can’t be sure if that’s how it normally goes, but I’m willing to bet it’s usually a bit more formal than that.
From the moment we agreed to do this thing, we established a strict boundary between our friendship and our business partnership. We’ve learned that while it can be tricky, it can be done.
Fun facts: There are two pieces to our puzzle that make things extra interesting. #1 We’ve never met in person. We became virtual besties through the world of blogging almost 5 years ago. And #2 Myra lives in Amsterdam while I live in North Carolina.
So besides straddling a six-hour time difference (which we handle with strategic and careful planning), we’ve also had to overcome the stigma that online friendships can still carry amongst some, especially more traditional business owners.
Lucky for us, our company, Bliss Creative Services, is 100% virtual, so our online friendship actually lends itself quite nicely to our entire process, and we often use it when assuring our traditional clients that we can accomplish practically anything online—including conceptualizing and launching our own business. That’s one way to guarantee big results, huh?
In a lot of ways, having an established friendship has made partnering up all that much easier.
We know each other really well.
While it’s normally frowned upon to go into business with a friend (just like we were all discouraged from rooming with our besties in college), it works to our advantage. While Myra and I are alike in a lot of ways, our differences are what take our business relationship to the next level.
While I prefer all the words, Myra prefers all the numbers. She handles most of the annoying business stuff (can you tell that’s not my forté?), while I tend to manage being the voice of our company and cranking out our deliverables. The cool thing is we already know what we’re each best at, so divvying up our roles has been relatively easy.
When making these decisions and divvying up roles, zero in on your strengths and desires. If you share a lot of these, get very real and honest with one another about what you want to be doing and what you don’t.
Our whole relationship is built on communication.
As friends, we’ve been through some pretty dark times together. We lean on one another for advice through all things life, so we’ve gotten really comfortable speaking and hearing the truth, which isn’t always easy.
Making the transition into having the hard conversations that surround business felt pretty natural. That’s my number one piece of advice when partnering up with anyone—friend or not: Get very comfortable having hard conversations. Be real and say what you mean. Nothing comes from begrudgingly agreeing to something besides resentment, and that’s poison to a business.
We’re friends first, business partners second.
We care a whole heck of a lot about one another. I only want what’s best for her, and I know she’d ditto to that sentiment. Sometimes I just need my friend and vice versa, so we’ve gotten very practiced at turning business mode off when necessary. In fact, we’ll even clarify sometimes that we’re having a conversation as “friends” not “business partners,” because that can matter.
Being in business together has changed the dynamic of our friendship for sure, but I think we’d both agree that it’s been for the better. We always bounced ideas off one another, but now having a common goal to work toward makes our connection that much deeper.
And honestly? Being in business with my bestie is pretty much the best thing ever. Despite what the work looks like sometimes, we’re always in it together, and that’s pretty damn cool.
If you liked this post, be sure to check out:
- Being Boss Episode #87: Mixing Friends and Business with Shauna Haider and Gala Darling
- Business besties Paul Jarvis and Jason Zook on Being Boss #75: Podcast Like a Boss