FRIENDS AS BUSINESS PARTNERS: DISASTER OR DYNAMIC DUO?
What’s it like to run a business with your best friend? We get this question all the time – and while we each have our respective BFFs – we are as close as friendships come and think of each other as a pseudo-sister. Yes, we can rattle each other’s last nerves here and there, but when it’s time to bust out those victory dances, the celebration is so much sweeter when you’ve accomplished it with a fantastic friend (and we keep lots of champagne around here for just such occasions).
If you’ve ever thought about partnering up with your go-to-gal, in our perspective, the risk is worth the reward. We had to work to fine-tune our own friendship/business balance, but quickly learned how to cultivate a healthy work relationship while maintaining a strong friendship.
Here’s a few of our insights when it comes to friends and biz:
Lisa: The most challenging part about working with a friend is amplified because I am ten years O-L-D-E-R than Kari. It’s easy to look back on my own life and see how maturity would have changed some of the decisions I made along the way. Knowing that, I sometimes wish I could tell Kari to not worry so much—life just has a way of working itself out. Especially business life. Our saving grace? Yoga! Lots of yoga. It helps clear our minds and lets us focus on what really matters each day.
Kari: As a newish company, we don’t have lots of people around us all the time; we’re a lean operating machine. We both come from very social settings and some days I think we miss hanging out with a crowd and bouncing ideas off more than one person. Some days we’re like, “Oh look, it’s you again!” But at the same time, Lisa is somebody I know really believes in what we’re doing and really believes in what I’m doing. And so, that means a lot in valuing each other and moving this business into new phases. We settle in with no distractions and get it done!
Lisa: Agreed – there aren’t a lot of other people to play off of during the day, so we are kind of joined at the hip – if you are going to be joined at the hip with someone in your business, make sure it’s someone you like! Sometimes we both miss the energy of a big office environment, but the best part of our little operation is that I really like all the people I work with (*smiles at Kari)! We just hum along without politics or wasting energy mincing words. We say what we mean and do what we say, and we both know that we can count on each other—no doubt about it.
Kari: We may have started this thing three years ago, but every day is still a new experience. Running your own business is very exciting, while at the same time has its moments of absolute terror (it’s the fear of the unknown!). Having a close friend in it with you definitely helps. Plus, I’m distracted by shiny objects and ideas and Lisa brings me down to Earth; thanks, Lisa!
Kari & Lisa