The One Where We Left a Party Holding Hands…

Did you know that you CAN own a business with your best friend? Aside from all the warnings and concerns we heard about going into business with friends, we did it anyway. And we haven’t been successful in spite of it, but because of it. Here are few things we’ve learned about working with friends (by the way, we totally recommend it). Whether you’re in business with friends or not, these tips for the trade are worth knowing.

  1. Know What You’re Committed To.
    When we worked with a business coach to start our business, she asked what we were committed to. To her surprise, we said, “our friendship.” No matter what happens with our business, we are committed to putting our friendship first. She probed further trying to get more out of us. But we weren’t budging. So we’ve built a business that serves our lives and supports our friendship. And we love it. Sure we disagree…what friends don’t from time to time? But because we’re friends, we always resolve it respectfully and with love.
  2. Be Honest and Be Clear.
    Do you have that friend that is a really good friend, but from time to time they’ve hurt your feelings? Maybe you don’t want to tell them they hurt your feelings because you don’t want to upset them! So you say nothing and end up holding on to an old hurt.Yep, we’ve been there. You probably have bosses and co-workers that you feel the same way about.

    There is NONE of that at BrightSpot. We talk it out, cry it out, drink it out, dance it out. Whatever we have to do. Because honesty and clarity are so much kinder to the other person than holding a hidden grudge or hurt that grows and festers. Also, see point number 1. 
  3. Draw clear lines.
    Naturally, when we hang out as friends (not at work) the conversation can quickly turn to business and work. The problem is that sometimes though you just want a friend. So we tell each other when it’s a “no-work” hang out so that we can put the business to the side for a moment and focus on nurturing our friendship. When you are in business with friends or family, it’s important to have these kinds of clear boundaries. Not just for the benefit of your own relationship, but also for the benefit of those around you. See also point number 1.

The list could go on forever, but we like to tell the story of our friendship like this:

One time, after an awards gala where BrightSpot took home some nice new hardware, we went to the after-party and treated our friends to drinks. We walked out of that bar to go home so excited about our business and our friendship that we literally walked out hand-in-hand.