On Working in a Partnership with Friends
Photography by Craig Dearsley Photo
As many of you will know last month saw us celebrate our blogs 3rd birthday, so in light of that I wanted to get all warm and fuzzy and reflect on the amazing time I have had working with Jess – ‘happy Friendiversary’!
To this day I still find it quite unbelievable that three years ago, I was living a completely different life to what I am today, I was still at university, had just been made redundant and was looking to make some extra cash getting creative with eco stationery. It was around about that time I contacted my hairdressers daughter (Jess – who at that time was a start-up wedding photographer) to find out if she would be interested in taking some product shots of my stationery. She came to my house a few days later and it was on this very first meeting that I told her I had just read an interesting article about ‘blogging’ which I thought might be a great way to promote my business. To my surprise Jess had also been wanting to create a blog for her wedding photography and so naturally for fear of the unknown, we thought it would feel a lot less scary if we went on this journey together and combined our skills.
It would be much more professional for me to sit here and tell you that before deciding to go into business together we sat down and had serious discussions about the legal bits, the business bits and the money bits but in all honesty we didn’t and that is because it was never our intention to make our blog a business. It wasn’t long however until we wanted it to become more than a hobby. Blogging for us felt more fulfilling and exciting than our own individual projects. It was refreshing to be able to work on something together, as many small business owners will know, self employment can be terribly lonely sometimes and we found ourselves looking forward to the days we got to work together on our blog!
I know now that we are extremely lucky that our business worked out that way. Since then we have watched as other business partnerships have crumbled due to various reasons, some found working with friends ruined their relationships whilst others like us, hadn’t taken the time to work out the if’s, what’s and but’s.
Fast Forward three years and we are now hurtling towards the launch of our second business and this time things have been a lot more professional. From the very beginning we took the time to sit down and discuss exactly what it was we wanted. It was important that we were on the same page about absolutely everything, from how much money we put in and how much money we expected to get out, how we wanted the business to look and feel, as well as how we wanted our business run and what the long term plans were. From there we drew up a contract between ourselves for both businesses stating who was responsible for what, how much money was divided between each of us and what would happen in the unlikelihood of us deciding to part ways. It is now more than ever that I am eternally grateful that we had the common sense to do this, now with the addition of investors, not only did this make our business look attractive as we had taken the time to work out legalities, but when our business model is under question we can make solid decisions together based on this initial discussion.
We are so lucky to have learnt so much in our previous years together, not only have we built a business from scratch but we know how to work together. We know each others strengths and weaknesses, we know how to pick each other up on down days and we also know how to not to push each others buttons. We started our journey as acquaintances and I can safely say we are now two best friends and I couldn’t be happier that we decided to take this journey together.
Long may it continue!