Thursday, September 24, 2009

In Praise of the Buddy System

They said not to do it. They swore we shouldn’t do it. And if they didn’t say it out loud, we’re pretty sure they were thinking it.

They told us not to go into business with our best friend. We were courting disaster, risking it all, and generally making a gigantic mistake. Was I scared? Well, a little – but not really. I knew it would work.

Believe me, I can see how going into biz with your buddy could be disastrous. When you work with someone you care about and have history with, it can be harder to broach difficult issues, and sometimes the friendship can get in the way of the work. You can hesitate to get into the tough stuff because you’re worried about hurting your friend, and you can take work conflicts personally. (It can also be hard to settle down to work when there is so much to catch up on in your lives!)

It’s funny though – no one talks about the enormous upside of being best friends in business. There’s the fact that I 100% trust my business partner – with every single aspect of the business. We’ve been able to have babies and take vacations without worrying what’s going on at the office. We’ve also each had the support of someone who cares about us when times have been tough either at work or at home. We’ve been able to support each other’s goals, both personal and professional. We’ve raised our families together and created a gaggle of kids who are madly in love with their ‘cousins.’ We really listen to each other, whether it’s a work or a personal issue.

But here’s the biggest benefit, and no one ever talks about this one: We’ve had a blast. I can’t think of anyone I’d rather be on the mom entrepreneur rollercoaster ride with than my best friend. We’ve enjoyed our business because we’ve done it together. I don’t think either of us would have lasted 7.5 years (and counting) on our own. We’ve celebrated our accomplishments together and commiserated when things haven’t gone as planned. We laugh. Every single day.

Should you go into business with your best friend? Well, conventional wisdom says you shouldn’t – but these best friends in business are flouting that wisdom, so why can’t you?

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