Should You Create a Business With a Friend?

Sometimes a partnership can be a great idea, especially if you and another person both share the same passion and drive for a particular project. If that person is your friend, it can also make working together more enjoyable. On the other hand, you may discover that working with that person is not all you imagined.

I’ve teamed up with friends in the past for various projects and businesses. Some were fantastic, while others fizzled… friendships along with them. Whenever I’m prompted with the idea to team up with someone now, I really need to think things through on a business level as opposed to a personal level because of a few things I learned along the way. My first lesson was exactly that…

Don’t let personal feelings get in the way of business
It can be hard to adapt to the “business” side of a friendship. The entire time that you have been friends with someone, you may not have yet discovered their business personality or work ethic. This can be a downfall right from the start if you don’t take the time to figure out how the other person works before you jump into a project with them. In your personal life, they could be the most amazing person with tons of ideas, but in business-mode they may not be the best fit for you. That’s not something either of you should take personally and shouldn’t mean that your friendship should be on the fritz, it simply means that you might not be the best partners in the work world. Discovering if you’re a good business fit from the start will save you a lot of hassle, and hard feelings.

It really is a team effort
Dividing up your tasks based on who excels at what is also a good thing to acknowledge from the start. A partnership means that you both will have equal roles to play in your project or business, and there is no room for one to slack. If one slacks, all of the work falls on the shoulders of the other, and this can really start to weigh you down… no pun intended. Make sure you team up with someone who realizes this and is willing to put in as much effort as you are.

If you’re a control freak, a partnership might not be for you
Personally, I am a bit of a control freak. Not in the way that everything has to be done my way or else, but more like I have a hard time letting myself rely on others to get stuff done. I think it’s because I’ve worked alone for a decade and have already built my own ideas and methods. I work very quickly a lot of the time and multitask like a mofo, so it’s tough to let someone else in to my “world”, especially if they aren’t the same. I have struggled with this in partnerships and often found myself just doing things on my own so that it would get done the way I had imagined. I often think I’m better suited as a sole proprietor, so that’s why I always resort back to that.

They might only want what you’ve got
I’m sure you’ve come across friends in your life who just want to ride on the coattails of your success. It seems appealing to get into business with them because they are great people and you think it would be *so much fun*. Unfortunately, there are those who really aren’t as serious about an idea as you are and just want to hop on board to enjoy the ride with you. They aren’t willing to put in the effort that you are and that can make for a pretty lousy partnership. Make sure to resort back to #1 before you dive in with both feet. I’ve had “friends” flat out ditch me when I wasn’t able to provide them with complimentary services, so you can definitely find out who your true pals are.

Certain people can make you shine
Without totally discouraging you from the idea of teaming up with a friend, there are also benefits to finding the right person to partner with. Some people really do mesh well with you and you are able to bring out the best in one another. These are the people that you can really succeed with. They can even bring out attributes in yourself that you didn’t know you had. Friends that encourage your creativity and expand on your ideas are the ones worth keeping around!

You need to be able to talk openly about anything
Maybe not anything, but anything related to your business. Sharing your ideas and goals should be easy and happen often. Without communication, things can easily fail. You need to make sure you are both able to be on the same page at all times and if something isn’t working, you need to be able to talk about it. If you can do this with your potential partner friend, you’re golden!

You should want to see each other succeed
Regardless of it being about your business or not, you and your partner should both want to see each other succeed and reach your goals. If there is any hint of spite or jealousy, it won’t work. You are a team and need to be there to cheer each other on! Remember that you both have your own strengths and weaknesses and don’t compare yourselves to one another.

Have you ever thought about working with a friend? I hope these thoughts helped you with your decision and finding the situation that works best for you!

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By Dana Fox

Founder of the Wonder Forest blog and brand and bestselling author of the Watercolor With Me book series.