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Business Partners: Should You Go Into Business With Your Best Friend?

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I’m finally feeling settled here in LA. The fridge is stocked, we’re totally unpacked and my body clock has reset to the west coast time zone.

Kuma is happier than ever, too. He’s getting long “bike runs” with Josh, plus he’s got a big back yard here to run around in.

Everytime we come out to Cali, it makes me realize how vital being in the sunshine and having an active lifestyle is for my well-being. I am SUCH a summer girl!

Oh yeah…

I also want to say how MUCH I’ve appreciated meeting some of you! Feels like almost everywhere I go, I bump into an amazing MarieTV viewer.

If you see me in Whole Foods, at a restaurant or walking around town, definitely say hi!

Now onto this week’s episode of MarieTV, which is super important.

Especially if you’re a creative collaborator (like me!) or you’ve ever considered going into partnership with someone else on a one-off project or a full blown business.

While partnering up can feel fun, exciting and expansive — it can also end in disaster if you don’t know which red flags to look out for or if you don’t handle the worst case scenarios in advance.

See what I mean here as we dive into a juicy Q about whether or not this viewer should go into business with her best friend.

The best partnerships handle the worst case scenarios in advance. – @MarieForleo

Since I believe that the future of business and life will involve more collaboration and working together, understanding the ins and outs of partnership is vital.

If you’ve ever had a partnership that went well, or that went up in flames, I want to hear from YOU in the comments below.

Your wise moves will help us keep collaborating in a way that’s win-win, and your lessons learned may save us from some expensive missteps.

This space is sacred so if you’re sharing a lesson learned, do so with kindness and compassion.

Remember that it takes two to tango in any situation so, even if your partnership went sour, don’t comment from a place of blame and anger. Everything in life happens for us, not to us and there is a gift in every circumstance.

Call upon your higher wisdom and share the lessons that can help us all. Thank you, as always, for reading and watching!

P.S. If you have friends or family who are considering going into partnership together, forward them this email! It’s free and could really make a difference to their success.

With all my love,

Marie Forleo

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Read the comments or Add yours

Fit Missy

I’ve done this too many times where I have gone into a partnership without enough discussion and it has always failed.

Great episode!

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LC | Colored Girl Confidential

@Fit Missy – same here!

This episode was SO REAL and something that so many of us struggle with. Early on, when I was just starting my blog (and had limited funds!), I remember swapping services with friends and/or hiring friends to do projects for me at a discounted rate.

Unfortunately, this never worked out the way that I planned. Either I felt uncomfortable asking friends to correct/modify work in order to get it up to my standards or, because they felt like they were doing me a favor, projects took forever to complete!

While I realize this isn’t exactly what the Q was about, to me it’s further affirmation that it can be difficult to work with friends if for no other reason than you don’t want to be “mean”/critical/brutally honest even when the situation might call for it!

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Cat Bond

That’s a great point!!!!

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Jessica Sandhu

I agree, it’ a good point. In my old day job, I tried to give projects that we would want to outsource, to friends and it just doesn’t get the attention it deserves.

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betsy

Our advice is yes! As long as you and your potential partner are willing, able and ready to do the heavy lifting required to preserve the relationship at the core!

How do we know? Because we are 2 long-time friends (all the way back to high school) who have been leading The Mulberry Partners, a consulting practice that helps organizations build collaborative cultures, for 10 years. After getting so much from our work together (support, humor, satisfaction, success…), we wanted to know if other women were achieving the same results So, we asked 125 women (and counting) across the globe. Their resounding “YES!” inspired us to write 1+1=3: Using the Power of Partnership to Create and Sustain the Business of Your Dreams, a celebration and guide to the success, sanity and satisfaction women achieve by working together.

For more information about our partnership project, visit us on facebook at http://www.themulberrypartners.com/powership.html.

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Blythe

OMG!!!

This is so affirming! We JUST went through this last week. We talked about how to break up as we completely overhauled our business concept and moved “all speed ahead.”

Brilliant!

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Shay de Silva

Hey Marie. Thanks to your awesome advice during B-School, I’ve avoided some almost-mistakes in terms of partnering. Although I’ve been tempted to parter up a few times, I’ve always found a way around it. There are so many ways to collaborate with amazing people without creating a formal partnership. For example, while creating my online fitness program, I’ve spent a lot of time working with experts in various aspects of my business. However, I like being the final decision-maker and would never want to compromise my brand. Thanks again for all the incredible advice. Love your videos!

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Jessica

Really enjoyed this video, Marie. Thanks!

Something that I’ve done a bit of (and would like to do more of) is partnering up for something specific–like putting together a teleseminar series with someone who has different strengths. It sounds like that might work for Natalie and her friend because it would be a way to leverage both of their strengths without the long term commitment.

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Tonya Spivey

That is exactly what I was thinking. There will be enough clients to go around and those that are drawn to Natalie’s energy will head to her website and those drawn to her friend will go his way. They can put together teleseminar together which is can be the fun part to do with someone else but still receive buzz for her own brand.

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Dr Pam Denton

One of my favorite topics! My love partnerships and female evolution. Wow! The power of collaboration, partnerships and women helping women. It is an evolution forwards into unknown territory and takes strength, bravery and courage!

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Rachel @ Healthy Chicks

Great advice, Marie! I was just discussing this the other day, more so dealing with best friends who are in the same line of work as you. I’m naturally inclined to offer a helping hand (and always have new, creative ideas) but don’t want to give all my goods away! It’s tough when your “competitors” are also your good friends. Perhaps it’s best to discuss business ventures solely with those in different fields. Any words of wisdom?

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Ruslan

Most partnerships I’ve witnessed (never been a part off) ended up in trouble – conflict.

I don’t think I would go into a partnership, unless I knew that the person shared similar values, wants, goals, etc. as me, even then I would be very cautious, other then that I’ll continue hustling on my own.

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Danielle LeComte

This video came at the perfect time for me. I am exploring some partnership opportunities with a colleague now and have some vital topics to bring to the table. Thanks Marie. As always, you rock. :-)

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Kat

Woah Nelly! Truth.

I’ve been in quite a few partnership and some that started out yummy and ended – well – not so yummy.

Never, and I mean NEVER just go and WING the business stuff.

Yes, it kinda hurts to talk about these things because you’re friends talking about money and dividing things before they’ve been built, but save yourself headache and heartache!

One thing people don’t account for is just how nasty humans can get when it comes down to money… yes even people you think you know well.

High five,
Kat

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Isabel De Los Rios

My business partner and I are asked about this A LOT because we have had a successful business partnership for over 5 years and have created a wonderful business that has helped us both achieve our personal life goals.

Right from the beginning we established and signed a business prenup, as Marie described. We discussed all the “hard” topics right from the beginning, right down to what would happen if one of us passed away…a difficult conversation to have, but necessary.

Second, right from the beginning we established our “roles”. We decided I would be the face of the brand and my partner would be “backstage”. He never wanted to be in the limelight and that agreement suited both of our wants.

Lastly, and most importantly, our life goals were aligned. We both have very similar work ethics and we both wanted “freedom” more than money. I wanted more time with my hubby and kids, he wanted more time with his girlfriend and hobbies. Having similar lifestyle goals has kept us on the same page, always going back to the ultimate goal..To have a life we love, no matter how much money we made.

Without ever focusing on money, but focusing on our lifestyle goal, the money just came! Five years into this, we still have an amazing friendship and our business continues to grow every year.

Thank you Marie for all you do. I love me my MarieTV!

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Liz Donaghy

Love this share, and the distinction of focusing on the lifestyle goal. I’ve been on your site and you and your partner really do work well together. Thank you for being such an inspiration and leader in the Marie community!

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Rachel Wood

Dear Isabel – thank you for this thoughtful and thought-provoking post.

I’m curious like your other respondee to take a look at what you guys are doing. Just to see…

AM so grateful for your comment.

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Summer Alexander

Hi Marie! I love the strategies you listed (masterminding and sending overflow work) much more than forming a partnership.

I have what I call the “Rock Band Theory” which is that the reason most musical groups eventually break-up is because:

-Inevitably someone else in the group is going to want to be the lead singer

or

- The lead singer is going to be so darn good they will at some point come to the realization that “I can do this all on my own (and keep all of the money)”

Just a theory!

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Cheptiony Mutai

That’s true Summer!

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Jeff Yablon

I’ve got a story.

Once upon a time (because, you know, that’s how stories start), one of my businesses went up in flames. Or down in ashes. Or something. It was, honestly, my favorite business, (until now—visit me at http://answerguy.com if you like) and I’ve owned more than a couple.

It was a media production business. We taught people the right way to do both “radio” and “TV” (and we had a bunch of stuff on radio and TV in the days when those words meant what they sound like), we sometimes brought them in and syndicated them (we actually owned “The Lockergnome” for a time), we made stuff. It was fun.

And we figured out Internet distribution via IP before almost anyone knew what any of that meant.

Then one day, it went away.

It went away because my business partner, who became my best friend during the time we worked together, had a huge ego. Or, I’m sure he would tell you because I did. But things went south when I, as the business guy first, creative guy second told him, the relationships guy first creative guy tangentially, that we needed to start being a real business.

We were, in fact, already a real business. We had clients, a very large deal or two in place, and people working for us and placed all over the world—by design. But we had reached a point where we absolutely needed to start talking about “business process”, and that didn’t sound like fun to my partner (and he felt it would diminish his importance, too).

I pressed my hand, and he folded. But he also started working behind my back in a Jerry Maguire kind of way.

Did it work? No. He didn’t keep any of our stuff and I kept only a few parts. The rest just . . . went away. And the business model we had created has since been replicated by several companies that are getting to be pretty large, so we probably blew hundreds of millions of dollars by not knowing how to navigate the space between friendship, business, and ego.

And they lived differently ever after.

The End.

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Rachel Wood

hmmmm good posting… am learning a lot by reading yours and others… thank you

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Tracey Kovacs

Jeff,

Your experience sounds very similar to the one I am in now. My friend and I talked about building a business together for about a year before she offered me 40% of her product in exchange for help with operations. Two weeks after quitting my job of 13 years to move the business along, she questioned my commitment and now 30 days later we are parting ways and she is starting a business with the remainder of the team we brought together. Neither one of us was ever looking to get rich of the business, we wanted a place to work where we enjoyed what we were doing and who we were doing it with. So, even though we have no customers yet, her advisers (aka friends) planted a seed of distrust and suggested I was not working hard enough to warrant 40% of the non existent profits and so I am out.

I agree with the advice mentioned earlier to spell out everything in advance but also believe you need to keep an open and daily dialogue. In my experience I do not see how the friendship can be maintained after a business partnership is dissolved.

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Heather Thorkelson

This advice rocks Marie. I’ve never been in a JV partnership (yet) but any time I’ve toyed with the idea, I quickly realized it was coming from a place of insecurity. (“I’m don’t offer enough on my own”, etc…total BS really) My view has changed rapidly over the course of my business growth and now I’m at a point where not only will I ONLY partner with people who fill a certain set of criteria (same work ethic, same values) but I will only partner with people who are at par or ahead of me in their business growth. In fact, every small partnership I have lined up for the next 1.5 years (mostly adventure business retreats) are with people who are light years ahead of me in business. Booyeah! I think that’s a good rule of thumb. Be as awesome as possible and surround yourself with potential partners who will compliment your work and raise your standards. Great vid!

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Rachel Wood

HEATHER … wow. Yes. High fives. I went into my biz partnership with similar BS you were running – until you reaslised OUT of that. I had someone from business link ( a uk govt help team for biz people) TELLING me this but i was SO caught up in my ego (etc) that I coudn’t hear him….

hey ho…
Thanks luv.

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Johanna

Morning Marie!

I’ve never gone into straight business with a friend but I have done short term partnerships with a friend that worked out well. It’s a great way to do a bit more of what you mentioned in the video. This friend and I started off with a mastermind, brainstorming, strategizing etc every two weeks. We were both thinking along the same lines, but from different POVs.

Believe it or not, a few months after we started that masterminding, we actually manifested exactly what we wanted – we created, launched and ran an incredibly successful workplace wellness program for the Democratic National Convention Team in Charlotte this past summer. It was called From Surviving to Thriving and it was a total dream come true.

Yes, it was tricky navigating some of the issues to get it up and running, but luckily we both felt confident in ourselves, our friendship and our partnership so we didn’t really get tripped up.

For anyone else reading this, I’m always game for hearing about how people might want to collaborate. Drop me a line if you have an idea percolating. This is a great community from only which good things come.

xo Johanna

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Taren Sterry

Money makes people funny. It’s because finance (and romance) bring up our deepest security issues. Once a friend/business partner feels that their financial (or emotional) security is threatened in anyway, decisions may no longer be rational or business-like with those whom they have relied on in the past for emotional support, a.k.a. you, their now business partner.

I think it is possible to do business with a friend, but both parties need to be very clear and conscious about what they are getting into and have a neutral third party adviser to get them through any rocky times.

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Renee

Timely, Marie, as usual! Sending this to my friend today to open up a big conversation about the collaboration we have been discussing. Thank you!

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Christina

Having partnered with friends at different times in my life, I have experienced both really negative & amazing outcomes- My advice is to truly examine your dynamic with this friend. Does she sometimes criticize you, or subtly put you down? Have you always taken the role of mothering her? All of these things will be magnified within your partnership when you have committed to building a business together. On the other hand, if this is a friendship based in deep mutual respect and shared ideals, where you feel inspired and motivated by each other, it could be an incredible experience! You just have to be very honest with yourself.

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Eric D. Greene

Just what I needed, because I started giving thought recently about going into business with a partner who is a great friend of mine. I have felt hesitant, and not sure why, but this helps sort things out for me. Thanks for the insight on this and great video!

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Nathalie Lussier

I remember the first few months of my first online business I tried to partner right out of the gate, too. My friend and I wanted to create a recipe book, she would take the photos of the food, and I’d do the technical stuff and design it. I had no idea what red flags were already present… but I do remember laying on the floor in front of my computer with the world’s worst stomach ache after reading emails from my partner.

My body had to physically tell me that it wasn’t working out, we had different visions, and we were both new business owners with no real experience to pull from, and there was a battle of the wills about the project, and no money coming in either!

Fast forward a few years, where I got into a really beautiful partnership with designer extraordinaire Natasha Lakos. This partnership never gave me tummy aches, we respected each other’s strengths and boundaries, and we both came into the partnership from a place of support for each other’s ultimate business visions. It was amazing, and it also shifted when the time was right with no physical pain involved!

My friends Pace & Kyeli have always said that they wouldn’t get into a business partnership with someone if they weren’t willing to marry the person. I think that’s great advice! :)

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Maria

Nathalie~

Physical cues are so important! I had a similar experience and my heart and head were saying two different things. My head plowed right through to the bitter end while my family, heart and literal gut were screaming. Lesson learned.

I think your friends are right. Ideally, a marriage partner and business partner has to be someone you can talk to about the uncomfortable things and come away feeling supported, heard and without pain (psychic and physical)

I love how Marie pointed out that potential partners can support one another regularly without necessarily going into business with one another. I think that the “idea” of a project can make one so enthusiastic and psyched about a potential partnership, that we jump on board before we’ve given it much thought.

Thanks for sharing your experience. It brought me out of lurkdom.

M

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Rachel Wood

My experience too MAria xxx

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Rachel Wood

Dear Nathalie (and Maria who also replied) … yes –

The physical signs were there for me too and I didn’t acknowledge them EVEN though I felt them at the time. You know?

There is SO much i didn’t know about myself and about EVERYTHING important when I went into partnership and it was really a physically wrecking experience for me (while building Ego left right centre…)

GLAD for the lessons learned. And grateful for your input. Am going to copy this in to Maria so she can see it too…

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michelle martello

Hi Marie!

After a few forays into partnerships in the last few years, I’m super clear that legal partnerships are not the way for me (at this point) Different work ethics and unclear role expectations put the business on shaky ground from the start.

However, I think there are great ways to work with friends/peers in a collaborative way on a pre-determined / contracted basis. Love the idea of the business pre-nup – especially for those of us in the creative fields when determining ownership of design & concepts.

Loving the new video graphics!
Be well – Michelle

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Geneviève

Oh god… Yep, that happened to me.

We really should have stop ourselves in our craziness before starting building something more serious.

My friend was a firm believer of the YOLO and I was an entrepreneur that wanted to have her dream life, working for herself. After around a year of hard work (that I did kind of alone…) I decided that it was too much for me. Our different personalities were ruining our not-so-strong business AND our friendship.

So I decided that I had to make a move and talk to her about this problem. I was lucky, my friend understood the problem and left me the company. It was the best that could happen for her too. We hadn’t any “pre-nup” so it really wasn’t complicated at the end because she just left me everything… but I’m conscious that it could have been reeaaally harder.

Conclusion: Don’t begin a project that huge with a person that don’t fits your core values in life. It’ll end up probably like a mess.

Thanks Marie for this amazing article!

Love,

G.

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Lisa Lane

Oooooh Marie! Thank you sooooo much for answering this Q! One of my services is called, Founders Keepers. I give people, who are considering going into business together ,some mucho importanto info as to if they will be able to work together based on their natural workstyles and talents. It offers mutual understanding and awareness of each other before you jump in on all the excitement. Those “Why are they doing it that way” Q’s or “insisting they do it your way” mindset will go out the window because that just doesn’t work. It is so worth taking the time and investment to know how each other is wired beforehand. You won’t be sorry!

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murungi dickson david

Need a partner to help me in hotels and property venture.my phone number is +254727586801.

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Karen Fitzgerald

Good one, Marie…it answered some important questions for me!

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Caroline Buchan

This is what I spend a lot of time explaining to clients and potential clients. It’s not a lawyer’s money-making scam. It drives me bananas that so many disputes that get passed to me to mediate or arbitrate at http://www.mediatingworks.co.uk are too far past the point of resolution and go to court at huge expense because nobody thought it was worth getting an agreement in place before starting their enterprise. If you spend a couple of thousand £GBP/$US etc on a nice website wouldn’t you invest in legally protecting your business and investment? Whether a shareholder agreement or partnership agreement it is essentially a pre-nup like Marie says and when properly negotiated and planned it is your safety net if things unravel. This is especially true for family businesses I have found as is succession planning.

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Robin Hallett

What a great topic Marie,

This is such an important issue.
Most of us are so intuitive, and yes already know the answer, we just don’t trust our gut.

When it feels wrong, when there are questions those vibes need to be paid attention to.

Never never just hope it’s going to be alright without checking in for your gut.

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Desha Peacock

Hi Marie,
This is a good one. I’m a social gal and like the idea of partnering, but in the end I like I usually have a pretty good vision of what I want, so I’m more inclined to hire someone to help me out. However, hiring a friend can also be tricky. I think it’s important to be very clear about expectations and money! I’ve seen other friends offer their services and feel resentful or upset about the “friend rate” etc. so, I’m moving forward with caution, even when it comes to short term, project based partnerships- friendships are too valuable to be wasted if things go wrong.

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Maria

Yeah, did the partnership thing. Was wearing my rose colored glasses and jumped on in. I almost DROWNED! Will never do that again.
In the words of my friend Dave Ramsey, “the only ship that doesn’t sail is a partnership.”

Peace & Love,
Maria

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Lisa Lane

If anyone is interested in learning more about instinctive workstyles and natural talents from my previous post, my website is http://www.theinsidelane.com. We help create businesses where people actually want to be!

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Laura Wallis

Another great topic for discussion, Marie! After watching your video and and reading the comments above I can see sooooo much potential around exploring this idea even further. Think there’s a need for a specialized business consultant to wear this exact “Consulting Hat.” Hmmm- what to call her? Partner Architect Advisor? Business Partner Coach?

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KAREN

Thanks Marie, I’ve been considering partnering up in a retail venture with a dear friend who, like me, has a brand of herbal products. As usual, you are right on the point that I need to hear. The pre-nup concept is BRILLIANT.

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Christy

Hey Marie,
Great tips. I did go into business with a friend. We did have some success, but in the end decided it was not the best fit. I wish I had put things in writing, and got really clear about all the things that could go wrong before starting it. Now I know as I move forward that if I do any type of partnership to put it in writing and to think of all aspects of the business.

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Jo

OOOOH! I too have done this! Jumped in both feet only to get my fingers burnt down the line. I have realised that I actually like working for the best part on my own and collaborating on certain projects with people I have know for some time, works best for me.

I love the idea of mentoring each other. I have just started buddying up with a friend and we have different business’s but it has allowed us to combine our thinking and apply the ideas and strategies we dream up to both our business’s using our own tone of voice. It is working really well and one of the best alliances I have worked with.

Love & leafy greens, Jxo

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Sue Lundquist

Marie, Thank you for you and thank you for this opportunity. To repsond to you and your Peeps…Something I learned/was told a long time ago when I was already in a partnership situation. It was NOT working and I needed to get out….and I was discussing this, his response to me: “she is here to show YOU, that YOU CAN do it yourself!”. I will never forget this and it is a great reminder for us all.
Blessings to your amazing success, Sue

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Elle

I recently left a business partnership and the emotional cost was huge! I wish I would have listened to this before…oh but it had not been filmed so I made all those mistakes. Different work ethics, different spending styles (marketing, advertising, ect), different criteria for quality, different small stuff sweating. As I look back, what I would have changed was what you mentioned at the end, finding a way to work together but not making a formal/legal partnership. My situation might have had a better outcome if we, each, would have formed our own business; then we could have collaborated on certain projects and pursued other projects without the collaboration. Hindsight = 20/20.

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Stephen

Partnerships are tough. My CPA told me not to go in biz with my bf in 2005. We set out to prove her wrong. Initially things were good, then bad, then good again. But it came to a point where the biz grossed near 1mil 3 years in and I realized that we’d grown apart and after years of voicing my thoughts about fixing things, I realized that statement that Marie once shared is so true… ‘once someone’s done wearing diapers you can’t change them.’

I sold my biz interest in a 1m biz for peanuts to my biz partner and I’m out, now looking for my next calling. so Marie’s advice on a biz prenup is a MUST.

Point to note: When someone tells you who they are believe them. If there’s a side of a friend that you’ve not 100% settled with but thought you could change, know you can’t. They are who they are and money doesn’t change you, it just magnifies the person you really are. So if someone has the potential to be greedy or stingy or whatever, that just magnifies with money when things get good.

Advise: AVOID partnerships if they aren’t absolutely necessary. Get mentors and a mastermind group of like-minded folks who can help hold you accountable to your biz growth and kill it on your own.

YES! There were many many great attributes that my biz partner had that I didn’t that helped our biz grow much faster, but in the end, I realized I couldn’t work with this person… but that was 3 years and many many stressful sleepless nights later when I’d already built a successful biz that I needed to get as far away from as I could for the sake of my sanity and family life outside of the biz.

Ok, I’ll stop now. Marie thanks for pulling the heart string this morning lol.

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Jess

Marie–thank you for another insightful vlog. Over the last few months (after I got laid off : / ), I have been using your website to better prepare for my future. Your archives have been especially helpful in making some key decisions. THANK YOU!

By the way, I featured your advice on my own blog: http://bestselfchallenge.wordpress.com/2013/01/14/need-to-read-marie-forleo/

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Kerry

GREAT topic! As a small business craft person, I have the opportunity to partner with other crafts people often. Recently I had a partnership that went very well & very badly all at the same time. It’s a loooooong story. So many lessons learned – good & bad. That knowledge plus your video makes me confident about heading into another short term partnership. Thanks!

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Terry Pappy

Love the business pre-nup! How perfect is that! And it’s so true about working with someone and how it’s like the “romantic phase” in the beginning. I had an experience where a friend wanted to work with me because she was looking for work, and I needed help with sales, but it was clear into the first month that our friendship couldn’t fill the gap of misalignment. So word of advice is that when getting into a relationship/partnership with anyone that you both have to have the same objective and it’s got to be a win-win for both. That, and clearly communicated expectations and working guidelines with periodic checkins and review of how things are progressing.

The net-net for me was that I realized that I’m best as a solopreneur working with subs or vendors. That’s the most agreeable situation for me. Thanks, Marie!

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D'Arcy

Not only did I go into business with a friend–she is my sister too! And I’m the older one and the Virgo. She’s younger and an Aries. Needless to say we’ve definitely had our conflicts and definitely had our growing pains.

Over the last two years we keep trying new methods to making it work and I think that we’ve found a healthy balance now (she’s a hair and make up artist and I do photography)–but we still hit the bumps in the road as I have a very strong personality and tend not to take her ideas seriously and she has a very friendly personality and tends to let me walk all over her. Not good.

We’ve decided on selective collaboration, but have kept our businesses very separate than we did at the very first. That way she can go at her own pace (which is much slower than mine) and I can go at mine and when our paths align (we do projects about 4 times a month now), then we are the best team ever!

Great episode. I’m going to have her watch it ASAP.

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Evelyn

October of 2011 I was working on a webseries based on my last 3 years and enthusiastically started writing episodes with a friend. A month into the process I decided that I didn’t want to co-write and work on this project with her. Enthusiasm took the better part of me and I didn’t do the right thing of having the legal paperwork and roles defined. A year later, I’m still waiting for her to sign the now “option” agreement instead of the work for hire. She felt she was a co-creator, blah, blah. A HUGE LESSON. I don’t start anything without the right legal paperwork.

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Karen

Hi Marie! Thank you so much for reading my mind over the past week. I have been struggling with what to do with my partner and I think now I have the answer. I read all of the other comments and I can clearly see that “my gut” is telling me to retreat, and fast.
In your video you discuss red flags, and after reading others red flags, I know now that my partner is not pulling his weight and I am doing all the heavy lifting. Our work ethics are not matching, and he doesn’t even read my emails every day. I am feeling quite a hesitation, but after reading the comments and seeing the video today I feel so much better about how to handle this business with him.
I never heard of a business pre-nup until today. I can imagine if I bring this up to my partner he will not be happy—if he’s not then I think it’s time to permanently walk away.

THANK YOU MARIE and THANK YOU Marie TV Commenters!!!! I learn so much by reading the remarks and others stories.
:)
K

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paula lewis

This should be required watching for musicians! Now, retired and almost 60, I can look back at my years in various groups of musicians and see how much this advice would have helped to save relationships. Partnerships, business or personal, should always be respectfully and dispassionately as possible, before signing on any dotted line.

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Cheptiony Mutai

I am happy that most of the people have learn a lot from today’s show. I learn this long before I started my business after I consulted my elder brother who had been on business for 10 years. I was asking him why he was running his business on his own….and he said; he was into JV for the reasons listed above. GO GO GO GO GO! This a good show!

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Aradia G. of Aradia's Hand

Lovely sharing as usual! I think this was a fabulous Q and thank you for asking Natalie!

I haven’t truly gone into partnership in any formal matter but I have worked with others in my industry to collaborate on things and the same advice holds true in those circumstances. In some instances differences in how I do business and how the other person did stopped the work from getting off the ground. While it was a little disheartening to be rejected like that the work they would have done is something I can do on my own – so that rejection is a chance for growth in my own skills.

In other times it just wasn’t time – we both had too many projects going on so the work that would have been put out probably wouldn’t have been the best.

Now recently I’ve been asked to partner up with someone who business style matches mine much better. We do varying enough work to complement one another without taking business away from the other. We also have a much more similar mindset on other things so this planning is going smoothly!

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Natalie

Hi Natalie!
Follow your gut! It definitely sounds that you are doubtful and unsure. Natalie, I think you should definitely go solo! We believe in you!

-Grace, fellow Sagittarius

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Lisa Cash Hanson

I’m about to partner with an investor for my baby product. But they are more of an angel investor. And I have people contact me frequently to work with them on webinars and other events. I love partnering with the right person but I know that it is so important who you team up with.

Not long ago I had the opportunity to work with someone who could very quickly expand my coaching business even more then it is now. The credentials were all there but I found something in their message that really did not line up with my core beliefs.

I had to walk away. I’ve learned long ago not to compromise just to “gain”.

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Sara

any chance you can resend this one to me. It is not running at all. first time it has happened.
thanks, Sara

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Vana Feliciano

One of my besties and I wanted to merge or minds in business. We both liked the idea of group coaching and we both got so excited about the idea that we went full steam ahead into brainstorming and trying to put things together. We brainstormed the crap out of ideas. We even felt connected to one specific one.

That was until, those ‘this is new & shiny butterflies’ began to fade- just a little bit everyday until we finally admitted to one another that we felt disconnected to the idea we had committed to.

We each discovered that we were feeling blocked creatively because what we really wanted first was our own voice -before merging our voices together.

The honesty helped relieve some of the not so cool feelings that may have come along later….

I suggest that if you don’t feel comfortable holding space for one another to really get down to the nuts and bolts of the situation- including what you both really want. It may not be the partnership to enter.

We saved our friendship from mishap and the future collaborations we each want- one day. That made us both happy and that’s key too!

Happy collaborations!!

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Ming Chee-Brown

Hey Marie,

Great video. Love your last sentence! My best friend and I started Reiki Fur Babies together. We’ve been doing this for 4 years. Prior to that we were best friends. While we have had a couple of challenges throughout the years, we have even gotten better at it. We have always had a motto, that “together we can do anything”. We both are healers, yet she is an animal communicator and I do the teaching and all the social media. But when we come together to send healing to the animal, we’re very much on the same page. For us, its just more fun doing it together. We’ve tried in the past to bring a 3rd person in and that has only worked for a short time. We do believe there are other like minded people that may come in our future! We now have formed a board, which is very cool. We look forward to see the blessings that come forth from that.

Thanks for letting us all share here Marie!

Love and light,
Ming

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Lori C

I don’t think any of us can really go it alone in business, even if you think you’re a one-woman show. we make partnerships with our clients, our bankers, accountants, lawyers, etc. on a daily basis. However, even though they are formal, by way of a contract or agreement, they are not permanent. That might be where the difference lives, like a marriage if the whole package doesn’t feel absolutely right–don’t do it! There’s a lot of chemistry in business, too. My business is built on the concept of collaboration, just like the salons of Paris–great talents share their unique gifts and insights and the results are often better than you could anticipate. Different projects might mean different partners. Collaboration is fluid with a constant flow of new energy, the best kind of partnership.

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Julie

The scenario you described is exactly what happened to me in my first partnership. I partnered with someone that ended up not having the same drive and determination and after a year decided that it wasn’t working out for me. Even though my reasons for leaving did NOT have anything to do with the personal relationship, my partner took it personally and things quickly got yucky.

We had signed an agreement, but we hadn’t worked out any exit strategies – HUGE MISTAKE. I lost thousands of dollars, but I learned a valuable lesson. Thanks for sharing this so people will think twice about jumping into a partnership and take the proper precautions.

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Lisa Haupert

Marie,
Thank you so much for this! Your timing was perfect!
I am within the first year of my new biz and there are times I get scared and want to jump in with someone else. One of those opportunities is coming up for me again. This helped me clarify what I really want out of this potential relationship. I don’t want to go into business with them. BUT, I do want to share ideas, do some joint ventures, etc. Now I feel much more ready to continue conversations with them.
Thanks for helping me clarify.

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Lauren

Love Marie TV! For all you awesome people with awesome ideas, I wanted to get the word out on the Awesome Foundation which is an international organization made-up of local chapters that each make monthly $1,000 no strings attached grants to help spread awesomeness around the world. Find your local chapter and apply!! http://www.awesomefoundation.org/

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Amanda

Natalie asked you a Q pretty similar to what I’ve sent you, Marie. And gosh, did it answer me well!
I’m already in a business partnership, and I gotta say this will help me get my life into perspective. The same red flags mentioned are the very ones we’ve been dealing with over the past few months.
Anyways, keep up the awesome work, gal! Love ya :)
xoxo from Brazil =****************

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Rick Giovannini

As a business person I often think of partnering with others in joint ventures. In 2007 I brought my best friend into one of my companies as an employee first, to make sure working together would be as enriching as the long time friendship we’ve nurtured for almost thirty years.
The first thing we agreed on was that no matter how things would turn out, it must not affect our friendship. He worked with my team as VP for almost 18 months. Finally things didn’t work out as planned and letting him go was the toughest decision I ever had to make but our friendship stayed. Today he has a very high position with a major engineering firm and we both recognize that this is exactly how things were meant to be!
If your friend has qualities you don’t, contract some work out to him and see how that works out!

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Angela Broderick-Bedell

I’ve always been a proponent of a clear exit strategy before entering a partnership (or even a new program).
But a “Business Pre-Nup” is a much better way to say this! Really gets the point across! Love this.

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Oana

Hi Marie, We trust our friends, that is why we think going into business with someone we trust is a good move. However friendship and business partnership are two very different relationships or at least they complete each other. The key is for both to understand that and both have the responsibility of the business and do not use friendship to be excused from the business responsibilities. sometimes this ruins friendships.

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yusi

Hello Marie! :)
Thank you sooooooooooo much for this video! Awesome and very informative.
One of my best friend was helping me with my business (she volunteered), but when things didn’t go well on the personal level ..aaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Won’t go into details, just would mention that she was taking care of the social media part while I manufactured the products (to be sold)…all my company’s social media accounts went down the drain..enough said :/
I am really grateful we didn’t go into partnership (which we were planning to do in the near future) …this experience was an eye opener for me.
Thanks for the great advice you mentioned in your video today I will surely remember to be more caution next time :)

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Caroline Frenette Master Intuitive Coach

GREAT advice Marie. Plus: listen to your gut feeling girl! You already know it! Your intuition is screaming to you don’t do it :-)

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Leah Jantzen

Oooh interesting topic! I am so fearful of partnering with anyone–I want control over everything and have not been in a situation where I completely trust anyone enough to call them my “partner”.

However, I always hear and read how partnering can grow your network and your business so I can keeping an open mind this year.

Love the Q Marie–can’t wait for next week’s episode!!

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Darnell Jackson

You should go into business with your best friend only if everyone splits everything 50/50.

Otherwise you turn your friend into an employee and then your friendship will end.

Money always ruins relationships unless it’s an equal enterprise.

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marie conti

I had a mentor who was an industry guru and teacher for Entrepreneurs.
He was also very successful in product development and in the importing and exporting business. He advised us to NEVER get a partner. He said they don’t work and it destroys relationships. I had a good friend who started a company with his coworker from a Fortune 100 company and
also his best friend. The stress of the partnership actually killed him. He
was one of the nicest men you could ever know. He did the sales and his
partner ran the business. His family and personal life were great but he
told me that the stress of working with his “partner” was causing him too much stress. He wanted out but didn’t want to leave his friend in a bind.
This stress actually killed him. He loved his family and wanted to be
a grandpa. He always had a great deposition. It was a tragic ending.

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Kelly

As always… great info. Sharing overflow work is how my good friend and fellow graphic designer work together. We are both independent freelancers, but if one of us thinks the other might be better suited for a particular job (she’s better at logos, I’m better at page layout) then we “hire” each other. We also have the same work ethic which I think is the most important aspect of our partnerships. We know we can count on the other to do what it takes to finish the project.

We are currently collaborating on a blog just for fun: http://right2leftblog.wordpress.com/. I may or may not finish the year out but from the beginning we talked about our “exit strategy” should be so there will be no ill will if one of us stops contributing.

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Cheryl

Matching work-ethic and motivation has to be the biggest key here! I’ve had partnerships with lots of different people, and 9 times out of 10, most differences can actually be an advantage – you’ll balance each other out.

But work-ethic and self-motivation is a nut I haven’t been able to crack.

I’m very self-motivated. I can get up in the morning and work happily for 10 hours, breaking for family time and fun time, never feeling like I’m working.

Then one crazy day I decided to partner with my husband, and make him an integral part (put me behind the scenes) on a business. Tens of thousands of dollars and 6 months later, he was on the couch while I was running the whole show, “asking” him to do things that only he could do. We never made a single dime with that business, because he was the salesman – he didn’t have the motivation or confidence to sell. He was the service provider – he didn’t have the motivation or confidence to provide. I’m not saying this to bash him, he is a wonderful person and a wonderful husband, and he makes a great employee – he just doesn’t have the drive or confidence on his own. He doesn’t know what to do next unless someone tells him (this is what he told me during the final stages of our business.)

Some people love the idea of owning a business for prestige, (perceived) freedom (not the “do something I love for a few hours then spend more time with family” variety, but the “I’m a business owner, I’m gonna sit on my butt while other people make me rich!” variety), and some people find the idea of entrepreneurship romantic until they actually see what is involved.

His relaxation and lack of self-motivation balances us in our marriage – it keeps me from being too much of a workaholic, and I try to get him to do things with his life. In business? That doesn’t work. You can’t have a business partner who tries to “balance” your business by convincing you to slack off.

Watch out for potential partners who have no entrepreneurial experience. They may fall in love with the idea and show you that they are genuinely passionate, but when the rubber hits the road, they may not be prepared for what is ahead. It could overwhelm them and crush the business.

The best thing to do with inexperienced potential partners is to tell them the truth – what is involved in starting a successful business (i.e. work, investment, time, patience, lots of thought, persistence, etc.) Almost try to convince them *not* to do it. If they are still willing to partner with you, and it feels like a good fit, protect yourself and move forward.

Just my experience. Hope it helps someone!

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Rachel Wood

i found this comment to be really helpful thank you :) x

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Lisa Lane

Business partnerships can be scary for sure but its important to not throw the idea out with the bath water! Some people (not all) work better and would be more successful building their business with a partner. If they take the time to make sure they are compliments…it can be a dream come true, otherwise, you become one of the nightmares on this thread! There are some that might shy away after reading this thread when in fact a business partner might be a good thing. There are many successful business partnerships out there. Richard Branson himself is the king of business partnerships and was smart enough to know that you need to find people who compliments each others strengths otherwise competition can arise or you start looking at the other to do what you don’t want to do. Aaaaaand don’t forget Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield (Ben & Jerry’s), Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak (Apple), Bill Gates and Paul Allen (Microsoft), Coco Chanel and Pierre Wertheimer (Chanel Perfume) or Larry Page and Sergey Brin (Facebook.) There are many others and hope to see more female partnerships with the same success. Just do your homework first. It is easy to find out if you work better alone or would be more successful with a partner and even better how successful your working relationship will be or not. It’s part of the work I do at The Inside Lane.

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Cheryl

Great points! Although Larry Page and Sergey Brin were Google – Facebook was Mark Zuckerberg and Eduardo Saverin, whose partnership famously fell apart over differing ideals and then money ruined their friendship.

It truly can go either way – doing your homework is the only way to make sure it isn’t a luck of the draw.

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Lisa Lane

Thanks for catching that mistype! I get all those startup boys confused sometimes!

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Rowena List

I have never gone into business with a friend however I did go into some investments with them. The investments did well for a while and then they fell apart. We had a good relationship and open communications so we were able to talk it through. Sadly the relationship did fall apart. I would have maintained the relationship but the other person made the assumption it was over. Sad really.
Now I am thinking of doing a joint partnership with a new product on the market. great tips Marie. Thank you for sharing. I will make sure we watch this video together before signing anything.

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Working Girls

We partnered up from the get go and have never looked back. It was just the perfect combination of her talents and mine and there’s no question that we would not be near as far by ourselves. We are both go getters so that helps and we tend to pick each other up and motivate one another. It’s been four years now and things are still going strong. We agree that situations will arise and so it’s best to always be respectful and sometimes it’s just got to be okay to agree to disagree. Most of all, try to have fun and laugh together, don’t take everything so serious all the time cause girlfriends, good things are on the horizon. Just learn to be in the moment and appreciate this awesome things you’ve created, a wonderful, profitable partnership!

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Lisa Lane

Love this…thanks so much for posting! Finding your compliment and sharing a positive mindset…makes all the difference in the world. Much success to you!

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Jen Turrell

Hmm. Great episode. I am just today working on filing the paperwork for my LLC which is a 75/25 partnership split with a friend with whom I have a professional relationship. She already has her own business and we originally talked about a licensing deal instead since part of what the company is based on is information that I have learned from her, but at one point we talked through a 50/50 split but because she has her own business and a baby on the way she didn’t want as much responsibility in this one. Anyway, I’m staring at all of this paper wondering if this is the best way to go. I optimistically think that this could work, but I think I will go and try to figure out a pre-nup for us right now should all go wrong. Thanks Marie! Perfect timing for me.
Jen

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Teresa

Tip I’ve learned from watching others:

If your friend/potential business partner won’t sit down with you and do what Marie calls the business pre-nup, if they don’t want to sit down and write anything down specific because “We’ll work it out later,” you should run away from the partnership.

People end up with different expectations of how it will turn out and then when it doesn’t work out the way they thought it would, they get mad at each other and things go south with the friendship and the business.

In short, if someone won’t sit down and work out specific details, run.

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Rachel Wood

OMG!!!!!! How many times in this comments section will we see the OMG thing…

Hmmm. I co-founded BlueChip Massage CDP School in LONDON, UK (www.BlueChipMassage.co.uk) WITHOUT a pre-nup and when my (now) ex-biz partner, Marius Antoniades, wanted me out because I was not serving his purposes any more I lost everything – including a fair dollop of health and … (well…. it really sucked).

FYI – I made the original website we used, I wrote and designed the course manuals, I designed the business logo (which basically he still uses – even though we brainstormed this stuff together), I was Lead Tutor with him and many of the testamonials he STILL uses on the website are based on MY teaching skills not his (although to be fair others ARE from his) but my point is that what I contributed is still being used (albeit gradually being diluted out over time)…

I DID raise the idea that we have a ‘contract’ when we started out, but Marius said (quote) “Rachel, a contract is only as good as the paper it’s written on…”

I tell you this tale as another word of warning to anyone out there thinking of making similar mistakes to me…

I contributed Heart and SOUL to this project. It became like my (our) ‘baby’ to me. Yes, as Marie says I worked countless hours making all this stuff happening.

Without my input he would not physically have had the materials he needed to launch the school he had his sights set on.

What I learned was [1] pre-nup / contract [2] thrash out worst case scenarios up front i.e. partnership breaks [3] VALUE myself and my input [4] … (sighs)

Lots of love folks
Rachel

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Angela Minelli

Hey Marie!

Your videos are always extremely helpful. Thanks for the advice!

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Laura

Partnerships are hard! I’ve tried them and learned tough lessons. It’s always fun and exciting at the start but it can get messy and turn relationships sour quickly.
I vote no to entering into partnerships, but if you decide you really really want to, have a lawyer draw up some agreements in the beginning so when (not if) things fall apart you are prepared.

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Gayla D'Gaia

Marie, once again, spot on advice! I think people often want support, they want to support each other, annnnnndddd, they want to share talents and insights… but going into biz together is a marriage and so, you might as well really, really, really, really want to join hands and take the leap together. I would think it best to feel settled in the saddle first. I love you Marie and Marie TV! You rock my (and it looks like a bunch of us’s) world!

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sharon wilde

Hi Marie,

I have a friend who specialises in setting up these types of agreements, and she is also an “exit expert and business succession”, that is, if you had to leave the business suddenly, are you financially, legally, in regard to partners people who will take over, able to do so, do you have the right type of insurances, financial backing set up etc. The pre nup is a part of that, because what happens when you put 80 percent in and the other half leaves the business and demands 80 percent. Great question Marie, as always.

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Julie

Oh how I see myself in this Q! When I was taking my fledgling steps into my own business, I was desperate for a partner! Thankfully, my best buddy pointed out (kindly) that it was probably my insecurity talking and not a true desire to partner up. What a gift! I am still working toward my “brand” and have two kids who are my main focus. Because I am partner-less, I have been able to stumble around my own way and have not hindered anyone else’s dreams. I am ramping up now and am building both confidence and my own business identity. This Marie community is one of the great things I have found along the way. Thanks, everyone, and thanks especially, Marie!!!

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Victoria

Did it once and it was a disaster. I take full responsibility for taking on this person without doing my homework about what it was I really needed to succeed, who it was I needed to help me, and a plan for making it happen. I was in a very vulnerable place in my life where my marriage was falling apart and I really needed some help in all facets of my life. I had an existing business which was limping along and my wish and hope was that by taking on a partner my business would thrive.(In hindsight I call this the the magic lamp school of business.) Thing was, I had doubts about this person and partnering with her from the get-go but did not listen to my heart and ignored the red flags. We had a somewhat messy business divorce and did not end up friends. Just remember, a partnership is as much or more of a marriage than a marriage.

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shinazy BOBBblog

Understanding
+ Agreement of Goals and Contribution
———————————————
= Successful Partnership.

I needed an IT babe for BOBBblog – a storytelling website where you can take a 2-minute vacation. So, all things IT is the area my friend handles.

We meet every week and have a spreadsheet where we track tacks.

We agreed that I am the face of BOBB because she prefers to stay behind the computer.

We created a document with all the aspects of the business, so we both know what to expect in the future.

It’s been over a year and all is going well and we both have learned so much.

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Monica Waugh-Benton

The best advice I can give on this topic is not to go into business or partnership with someone solely in an attempt to help that person out. I see far too many kindhearted people try to drag a friend or family member along because they know that person could use the money or the opportunity. Ultimately, the person turns out to be dead weight and a lot of feelings get hurt. Lead by example, share resources, show love and support, and collaborate only when/if the other person is ready.

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elinor

I have been tempted to partner up at times and was just trying out working together for one small project, etc. I have never felt a resounding inner yes for partnership so far, and this video is giving me new tools to anticipate and reflect on a partnership or shared projects. Great Q&A!

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Lennier

I got into a partnership with my cousin once. Worst move ever. You never get to know someone until you get in business with them. I should have noticed the hints. He was spontaneous and never planned out anything, a free spirit actually. I was organized and super precautious about everything. I highly advise to hang out with that person for an entire night and even check out their room. You will gain a lot of insight into the person by watching the way they take care of themselves.

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Israel García

Hi Marie.

I if I have been associated with family and I’m in business and I can say it’s a pretty hard thing to carry.

But I think the secret of the great dynasties have survived is because always been a leader among them.

See you soon.

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DailyTarot Girl

Over the years, I have had multiple offers to join a friend’s business (as an employee, not a partner), do freelance work for a friends business, look after a friend’s business while she pursued other work and to partner up on specific projects.

I turned down the offer to work as an employee because I felt like my friend was only offering it to me to help me out, as I had suddenly lost my job. Also, I had no interest in working for my friend – that just seems like a good way to ruin a friendship!

I also turned down the offer to do freelance work for similar reasons as stated above.

I did end up sort of going into business with a friend for one year. I was more or less keeping her business running while she took a full time job in another field. For the most part, it worked out, however, her husband (while not part of her business) often acted like he was a partner in the business and would dictate certain things and ended up telling her she needed to close down her business. This was frustrating and its something you don’t really even consider when going into business with someone (what role will their spouse play in things?)

I also had the opportunity to partner with a friend on running a class together. This was fun and for the most part I enjoyed it, but we did have different work ethic styles. She liked to put an enormous amount of effort into planning and set up of the class, where I like to do things the easiest way possible (I am not lazy – I swear!). There is no point making something harder and more stressful than it needs to be. So while we never had any spats over this, I could feel the tension.

In future, I think I would partner up with someone on a small, temporary project if it felt right. And I love doing joint ventures and helping my friends promote their services, but i would never EVER go into business with a friend!

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Amy

Hello!!
To be honest I am a newer Marie fan (since december) and I don’t usually comment on things. But now I am inspired to write comments. Hm.

Right now am in a fresh new business with my sista http://sexysistersrawfood.blogspot.com/
We host raw dessert parties.

I have felt the snags. I am an over motivated go getter that likes results. My sister follows no clock and runs on creativity (and macaroons).

I understand there can be and will be probably but I also feel like our two personality extremes will balance each other out. Plus with a friend I would worry that I may say things that would offend them in a business partnership but with my sister I know she isn’t going anywhere. Also I worked with half school kids for a half a decade while teaching small children dance. I have patience.

Cheers
Amy

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Patty Soffer

Differences can be the butter that keeps your sandwich together. The secret to this recipe is to get to know things about you and your sis that you never thought to ask. There are many critical key questions. Ask them. Even though she’s your sister, you won’t know these things until you ask. And you can’t offend her if you are asking valid questions. Know before you go.

Take a look at this quiz (http://ahumanfoundation.com/partnersht-detector-quiz-for-new-partnerships/) to get started. You will find the holes that need filling! Plus, it helps you think about biz things in a new way. Poke around the site for more info.

Good luck to you both!

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Bethany

I really hate to leave negative energy on your blog, but I can’t believe you moved to LA. Please don’t blog about how awesome the “sunshine” and “hiking” is. I really loved your blog because you were a New Yorker.

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Emma Lawrence

I can completely identify with this scenario! I was invited to partner with someone on a project not so long ago, but once the initial excitement had died down, it wasn’t long before I started having reservations about working together.

I went with my gut and turned down the offer, which definitely turned out to be the right decision – the project went ahead with someone else and was not a success.

My advice is to have a ‘cooling off’ period to give yourself time to consider the situation objectively. It can be so easy in the beginning to get caught up in the excitement of partnering with someone and starting a new venture together.

Once you’ve done that, go with your gut – if it’s telling you there’s something wrong, there probably is.

Emma xx

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Barbara Savona

I went into business with my longtime best friend (17 years). We’ve been partners for 4 years! Despite everyone warning us that this would end in disaster, it hasn’t. We value our friendship first and foremost. I would never want to lose Lauren as my sister. I think we both went into the partnership with open eyes.

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Allison Walls

L-O-V-E-D this video! I’m currently starting a branding firm with a friend as an expansion of the entrepreneurship column on my site, http://www.whenwallstalk.net. We both have different skills that can contribute greatly to the success of OUR business, but I’m fearful of the day that we have a big disagreement. (Hoping that day never comes) The advice that you gave about composing a prenup is GENIUS! When going into business with a friend: “pray for the best, but plan for the worst”. Thanks !!!

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Tara Dixon

I so appreciate this video, Marie. You covered so many angles to this intriging and tantalizing topic. I learned a lot and it made me ponder and for that I am grateful!

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Natasha, a.k.a. Systems Chick

Awesome advice, Marie!

I love the point about looking at the real reason you want to get into a partnership–is there truly a need, do your skills complement each other, which the business could benefit from or is it because you feel you are lacking something–from confidence to capital.

I’ve been in the latter before and, boy, did that situation suck!

I find that now, that know my own worth, I can look at the partnership opportunities much more objectively.

AND that was a great lesson! :)

Natasha

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dee

I totally did and it went sour. We had known each other for nearly 2 years. I knew I had a lot of questions and was skeptical knowing her personality type and mine, I am the kind who was then insecure and would keep taking it. I made the “mistake” of not voicing my concerns and getting them out of the way. I let it get to me and I still went ahead without signing a business pre nup. We barely made a a 100 bucks in the 3 months we worked together. We are no longer in touch, just say the cursory hi today if we bump into common friends’ get togethers. Lesson, I was afraid of disappointing her of showing lack in faith for our future, and thats what it brought. Thoughts become things, plus I was right, next time I’ll embrace my calling and disappoint before getting into anything like that.

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Clare Turner-Marshall

Wow! I would say look at the red flags Marie shared.
I went into business with a family member and did it to save the day. The partnership had gone wrong with another member of the family and that in it’s self was the big sign to say NO! However, the eternal optomist in me said lets sort this.
The end result was that I pretty much had a breakdown. I went into complete meltdown and I the family member and I did not speak for over 3 years! Now, this had a massive impact on our family and friends. I would suggest that you look at maybe masterminding with your friend and setting up on your own. One of the big issues I had was that our values were very different and it seems you have the same.
Having said all of that I am now SO GLAD the whole thing happened as it taught me a very valuable lesson that I otherwise would not have learned.
Good luck in what ever you do Natalie :D

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caroline

i love marie!

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Lisa

I remember an old friend of mine, back in Ireland, who’d made and lost millions several times over, said to me “Lisa, partners are for dancing!” Having said that, this year is going to be all about collaboration for me! Great show Marie, thanks!

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Kristen the 20-something coach

I love this question! My best friend and I are co-founders and co-owners of our coaching business, and thankfully we work extremely well together. We have the same goals and passions, but our personalities and skillsets complement each other, which results in a very beneficial partnership. But I certainly wouldn’t go into business with many of my other friends — not that I don’t love them! But it takes a certain kind of relationship to be business partners. And even then, things may not always work out. So I agree with Marie — a business pre-nup is a smart idea!

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JoAnne

I got into a partnership from the get go with my business. Truthfully, it was a disaster out of the gate. Being that my former business partner was super young, her parents felt the need to involve themselves to protect her. This wasn’t the issue per say, but every business meeting spiraled into a “who is more important” argument, that always ended with me having to demonstrate that my hard skill set is just as equally valuable than her “face”.. there was constant bickering about minutia. I pushed for a business pre-nup (love the term marie lol) her “team” refused.. everything was a constant stalemate that ended in pretty much, well… disaster as she took credit for ALL the work, failed to appropriate acknowledge the partnership (or my HUGE part in it).. I ended up doing 99% of the work and getting less than 30% of the profit.. needless to say, at some point I walked away. naturally, I was less than perfect, didn’t always handle things with the utmost class (I certainly have learned).. but my BIGGEST take away, was that I could in fact, run the business, BY MYSELF! A year after the joint project began, we walked out on each other.. and I launched solo. In the year I was with her, we spun our wheels, selling a little bit of merchandise, laying a little bit of ground work.. but the second I stepped out on my own, I saw soo many people come out to support me and within 30 days I sold more merchandise on my own than I had while partnered with her. In 6 months, I expanded to 6 countries.. and now, I can’t wait to start B-school!! woot woot! For the record, I do wish her well and also acknowledge that, she introduced me to a part of myself that I didn’t know existed and to and industry I never thought I’d love so much.. I am super appreciative for everything I learned in that situation. It was probably one of the most stressful years of my life, but invaluable at the same time.

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Brian

I am currently in a partnership with my brother-in-law, we are married to sisters. When we first started out we had a few small bumps in the road but we easily worked through them. As time has gone on the bumps have gradually become hills. We have worked through those as well but not without angry words and hard feelings. Those hard feelings have been carried home and eventually led to stress between our wives. At this point we are working together well again but I can see a mountain of an obstacle in the near future that will likely cause the end of the partnership. We both have different ideas about how the future of our little company and we both feel that our own idea is the best way to go. Time will tell.

If I were to do it all again I would have still become partners but I would certainly have developed a problem resolution process and placed a time limit on the partnership. When the time limit came up we could reevaluate our goals and make the decision on the best way to move forward.

Reply

Caroline Buchan

Hiya,

I’ve read all the comments and would be very happy to talk to any of you in the UK about getting the business pre-nup (whether a shareholder agreement or partnership agreement depending on your business entity) sorted out or any help you may need sorting any legalistic problems or disputes.

My other website is http://www.mediatingworks.co.uk and as I said earlier this couldn’t be a more timely Q&A topic because I’ve had three significant disputes handed to me to resolve since the NY.

For Marie’s friends from this site I would obviously give a decent discount for any work I ended up doing as I’ve got such a lot from this community and my own network as a person myself already :-) but if you simply have any questions I don’t charge for giving a simple answer.

For US business folk and other nationalities I have contacts in various countries that I can ask if you need pointing in the right direction. Always happy to share my links.

All the best,
Caroline

Reply

Megan

Great advice. I didn’t ask the right questions about work ethic and work load split at the beginning BUT I did a business “pre-nup” called a United Shareholder Agreement and I had a scary clause in there called the “shot-gun”. After 8 months of a bad partnership I had to take a big risk an exercise this to break up our partnership. Scary because she could’ve bought me out for $1 more than I offered. I took the risk, knowing I could do my own thing if i needed to and re-build, it felt right, she took the buy out, and i have had only success in the last 2.5 years with out her (with lots of juicy and valuable lessons) since then. Best scary move i’ve made!
Great advice!
Megan

Reply

Debbie Cameron

The currency of the 21st century, as far as I am concerned, is relationships….so should you go into powerful partnerships with your best friends? Absolutely!

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Julie

Another great episode Marie! I always learn so much from you.

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Melanie Saucier

YES – I’ve had a partnership that went well! I’m not saying we didn’t have tense moments, but we sorted it out by communicating. We started the business in 2005 and shut it down 5 years later. We are still to this day very close friends even though we now live 3,000 miles apart. It’s possible!

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Daphne

Hi Marie,

Thanks for your soulful happy heart!! It is such a pleasure to meet you and know that you are sincere and to the point with EVERYTHING!! I love a no bullsheeet attitude!
I too am a summer girl and just several months ago moved back to Canada from living my dream on a caribbean island of 2 1/2 years. Truly I am a sun and water babe and do miss that island life. I solely owned/operated/chef my first restaurant and lounge across the street from the beach! I did not have a partner other than a couple visits from my daughters who helped when they could. I definitely debated whether or not to bring in a partner as it was a lot of work to handle singlehandedly and I did speak to people about those possibilities! Most comments I received were DONT do it..I think that it has its moments of relief but you have to be ready to take those bumps of differences and perspectives and know how to manage them effectively. My gut told me not to and that was ok because at the end of the day the only person I had to consult with was ME! xoxo Daphne

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Robin

Communicate and talk about everything you are thinking and feeling. Be honest with your feelings and if something is bothering you about what the other person is doing (or not doing), talk about and work through it before it turns into something bigger!

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Tova

Years ago when I first wanted to start a business, my coach cautioned me against it! He said, it’s just like relationships—first learn to be able to be alone, before moving into a partnership. His advice made sense to me, and now more than ever I see the value in it. it is important to get clear from experience how you work alone, before knowing what to even look out for in a potential partner. I like what you said in the video that collaboration is the way—and I love the idea of masterminding. But actual business partnership—not sure if I will go into that full-on ever. Though I like the idea of collaborating on mini projects with another, but that is different than going full-in on business together.

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evelyn

Marie,

I know you have a team, you mentioned in a previous video, but are they partners or work-for-hire? How do you deal with it?

I found you in December and I’m going back and watching all your you tube videos. Loving them.

Evelyn

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Veera Rautio

I’ve been am entrepreneur since ’97 and have has both success and meltdowns partnering up with friends. You have to be really clear about expectations, needs and in addition to the “prenup” I’ve found it valuable to periodically update it, a separate conversation 2x/yr for possible course-correction and determining the pulse of where we’re at. Because things rarely Go as planned and stuff will come up, so it’s easier to address it when you take it as a given that you’ll need to work “on” your way of doing business, work on your Business as well as working “in” your Business.

For my Business Partner and I it was a relief and revelation to realise The dynamic of our relationship is a friend dynamic and to agree on certain Ground rules which honor that dynamic and stated explicitly how it differs from a pure in-it-to-win-it dynamic. We’re aware of The price we pay for The life we choose, but it is our choice and we hold that for as long as it serves our clients and our Big Why. But it requires a lot more quality conversation, honesty, transpatency, personal responsibility and accountability making business work with a good friend. And you do run a risk of losing The relationship no matter how great your “prenup” was.

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Patty Soffer

Hi Veera,

You are to be commended! Most partners do not understand that a partnership is a living, breathing, changing human experience that requires care, attention, heart and compassion. Instead, anger and frustration usually take over (i call this Partnersh*t) , leading to the always-fatal blaming. That will bring down a partnership faster than just about anything.

It sounds like you two are self-aware and accountable. In my vast and personal experience in the partnership world, these are, hands down, the two most important qualities one must possess to be a good partner. Bravo!

I’d love to talk more to you and hear about your process of how you keep things alive and healthy. Because of my failed partnership 5 years ago, I have made helping people have healthy partnerships my life’s work. I love talking to people who have made it through. I sounds like you have much to teach and I am always wanting to learn. Please reach out. Thx

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Catalin

Yes I did a partnership in my first entrepenur adventure with one of my best friends from college. It went terrible basically because we had different views about how to handle a business, I believe he didn’t have a sense of spending, he would ask for money for things like a new chair because ‘his was giving him a back ache’ and at that time we didn’t even had our first sell. On the other hand I was working full time on other job, because I was paying all the bills for the company, and he thought I wasn’t investing as much time as he would like. His girlfriend at the time was also very jealous of our relationship so I believe that also influenced his unhappiness about the partnership.

In the end he wanted me out, which was a very curious time because he decided he wanted me out when we got the biggest contract, and our friendship suffer terribly. I lost some money and lost a great friend. I guess neither of us knew what we where doing, we didn’t do our pre-nup contract, and it was a terrible experience for me.

We kind of talk years later and make peaces with each other, I still fell betrayed, but I know he thought he was doing the best for his company, and he didn’t really meant to hurt me. That is what I like to think. We still friends, and the company is doing good, but it is really painful to me.

What I took from it was first you have to be very clear with the conditions of the worst case scenario, and second , not to be gloomy or anything, but don’t do partnerships with family or friends, unless you have worked together before and you know for sure that your working styles complement each other, and also before signing anything you must be very clear about the responsibilities and rights of each partner.

Hope everything goes well with you.!!

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Misty

I am currently going through a business breakup. My partner and I started our business while working together at an accounting firm. We have an adult toy site and host parties. Since the inception she moved on to another company, I became got sick and am now only working part time. She has a wonderful opportunity with her current company but is not allowed to be tied to our business. I have no hard feelings and am glad to be able to take the company in the direction I think it needs to go in. However, it has made a bit of financial strain only having my resources to rely on.

A business partner can be a wonderful thing but even a cohesive company is made up of individuals. Which means different desires, motivation and priority.

Thank you for all our wonderful advice!

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Erika Dolnackova

Hello ladies,

For years I have been choosing to collaborate/partner up with people doing my Modern Goddess workshops in Vancouver. I finally gave into the realization that it was just an expression of some fears that me alone is not enough for people to show up, and that I will be more successful and less overwhelmed with the work that is involved in the process.

Every time I have chosen to do that it was actually more stressful and I felt like I was “busting my ass” while my partners (many times less experience people ) were unable to step up to the plate in a way that I was hoping for. In the end I am very appreciative of all of those experiences but after the my last workshop I have finally allowed my self to trust my self, my expertise and my ability to do it on my own.

One of these partnership ideas turned out to be a true nightmare. I lost a friend over it and lost of sleep. It was the last straw. Looking back after it was all done, I could have prevented the whole thing if I was just intending more to make a good business decision instead of giving someone a great opportunity to shine (when they are not quite ready yet).

I was acting-choosing my partners based on my fears partly, and that is what I attracting back – people being paralyzed by their own fears not being able to help me to make my big vision come true.

I almost went into launching a membership based on-line business in these conditions. Thanks God I stooped my self from moving forward with it. It would have been a disaster.

It’s funny how we need to go through so much of these experiences ( over and over again) till we are able to get the message. Mine was: partner up with the universe. :-) Trust your self, your gifts and the world to embrace you with love, and let the universe to deliver all you need to create an amazing business that helps women to reach their own potential ( on their own terms ;-).

I love collaborating with other people in my industry bu I am going to be much wiser about it now. Lessons learned!

Thank you Marie for a great video! I needed to hear it too to make sure that this year I am taking a whole new approach to running/ expanding my Coaching practice.

Have a beautiful day everyone! Lots of <3 to everyone and rock on!

Erika

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Jess DC

I did partnership before but it didn’t worked out.

Great advise! Thanks for sharing, Marie.

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Patty Soffer

Flames? More like getting hit by a comet. Yet I would absolutely go into another partnership because now I know what to ask and how to listen to the answers. I also know that sharing is way better than doing things alone.

I lost everything (business, health, money, identity, friends, influence, power etc) because my partner and I got mired in what I call Partnersh*t.

Partnersh*t is just that—the day-to-day sh*t that, left unattended, will bring you to your knees. This means the partnership was not planned from the ground up. Friend or not, planning the partnership is job one, BEFORE you plan the business. If you do it the other way around, which most everyone does, it’s like decorating the living room in a house that has yet to be built. Duh.

It’s now 5 years later and my life’s work has become talking about, teaching, helping and strategizing business partnerships for all you lovely people out there who have a great idea, intellect, resources and the heart to start a new business or save the one you have. Good for you.

There is a way. It starts with getting to know yourself first and then being accountable.You do not get to blame anyone. As Bruce Lipton, Ph.D. says,” You are personally responsible for everything that happens in your life once you realize you are personally responsible for everything that happens in your life.”

I have created a Process by which you will get to know your prospective partner deeply and intimately, so you can make an informed decision about whether that person is the best partner for you.

I call it the Partnersh*t- 2- Partnership Process for BUILDING A HUMAN FOUNDATION® for your partnership, business and life.

http://ahumanfoundation.com

I would love to keep this conversation going. It’s way more important than people think it is. Partnerships offer great value, especially in small businesses, and can be your biggest business asset. Asking the right questions to get to know yourself and your partner before you sign on can make the difference between losing all that you have worked for and reaching business success beyond your wildest imagination.

Reply

Patty Soffer

Ooops.

TYPO on my URL.

So sorry.

I can advise partners all day long but suck at the keyboard. I took home economics instead of typing. That was useful.

Apologies!

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Karen H.

I did partner up with a friend for my first venture and it did not work out. We did not ask each other the tough questions at the beginning, and we weren’t totally honest with each other about what we wanted out of it. And by not being honest with each other, I mean, we didn’t even know what we wanted individually so there was no way we could communicate that with each other! We were caught up in the romantic idea of owning a business (at least I was).

But it did not end badly. We did not remain close friends – definitely are still friendly – but no one was screwed in the process. And that was without the proper paperwork Marie mentioned (which I DO recommend you have – it’s just smart). We decided to shut down operations and both moved in directions much different than the original business. So no bickering over client lists or anything like that – it was just done. I recognize we were both lucky in this sense.

I really do think partnerships can work but as Marie said, you have to ask those important, tough questions up front. And you really have to know yourself – what is your work ethic, what do you want from this venture, what does your future look like in your mind? If the other person has different ideas on these topics, fine, but are they at least compatible/workable with yours? Only now do I realize that I am a much better worker on my own, so that would have been key to recognize right away!

Love hearing everyone’s stories – so many great lessons here!

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Charles Specht

I went into a partnership once…and I’ll never do it again.

We were friends, went in 50/50, and never did either of us feel like we were each carrying our own weight. We began to question each others’ commitment, and finally decided to mutually do something else. Today, our friendship is intact but I learned that partnerships are not usually a healthy thing.

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Gerri

I am currently in a partnership in a small venture with a friend that is going well for the most part. We do run into snags which is normal. As we consider handling bigger ventures, I can see where a lot of this pre-planning is definitely necessary. I have been holding back knowing we had details to work out, I just didn’t know what all the details were as far as safeguards. Thanks for listing as well as some possible alternatives to partnerships. This will help tremendously in moving forward. I feel like you read my mind again Marie! Love you and all your great advice! Enjoy all that sunshine in Cali.

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JF Garsula

Something like this actually happened to me years ago but the experience didn’t stop me from partnering again. It usually depends on your initial agreements and the type of friend you have. :)

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Rose

Love this video. But as I was watching the video my fears popped up. I journal “I’m no good at working with other people. I feel my comfort zone is ‘do it myself or hire someone to do what I want (which gets expensive).’ Partnerships are scary.”

It may sound selfish, but I do for myself and don’t like to share. Don’t hate–it’s just who I am. I am shy. I have a many issues and fears that I am working on with a counselor. I want more but am afraid. Any thoughts?

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Party Soffer

Oh yeah! I have an important tnought for you:

Do not be afraid!. Instead, be informed.

An informed decision is the best decision. And to make informed decisions, you must be informed about YOU first. Self-awareness trumps and mitigates fear. Say hello to Rose and ask her what she wants. She will tell you if you ask the right questions.

I hate to see you eliminate the value Partnership can offer just because you are afraid. Fear is invalidating. You are stronger than that.

Instead, take charge. Be informed. Ask the right questions. It is your right. You will get the answers you need and deserve..

http:ahumanfoundation.com

Good for you!

Reply

Tatiana Escalada

I’ve gone into several partnerships with friends in my life and for me it’s has never been a good idea. I’ve always understood the amount of work developing a biz takes and my friends not so much, eventhough they said they did, theory and practice are very different things, so I always ended doing most of the work and having to push my friends to for them to pull their weight and felt resentful because they didn’t do their part, no matter how much I talked and pushed. So Marie is super right on this one get biz partners who have your same work ethic, who are willing to put in the work needed to move forward and preferably who have experience being entrepreneurs.

Reply

Sarah

I’m just starting out and although it’s a very attractive prospect having the support of someone else in your business, whether that’s financial or otherwise, I think the potential for it to get messy is too great a risk.

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Erica

Great advice Marie. I am currently starting out on my own, but the support of great women who can mentor and ‘trade’ expertise for my expertise has been great. I love ‘trading’ work for work. At this point in my business it has really helped me to get to know other women business owners, and reach out to help others.

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JF Garsula

Actually started a business with my friends, we weren’t able to have a business pre-nup because we know less about business back then. We started the agreements last March 2012 and so far the business it incredibly scaling up! Even though none of us are business graduates but for the past 9 months the business was in several valleys. The good thing about having a business with friends(it depends on your type of friends) they respect you and your decisions. Being transparent with everything will make a business grow.

Our business was concentrating on outsourcing last year but we are now changing its model to a publishing company.

Reply

Patty Soffer

Hi JF,

I wish you and your team well. If you’d like, take the free Partnersh*t Quiz for new business partners to see what you might be missing. There is no obligation at all. I am in this to serve.

The quiz will get you thinking about what you need to know and do to create and maintain a healthy partnership and business.

http://ahumanfoundation.com/partnersht-detector-quiz-for-new-partnerships/

I am passionate about helping people avoid a partnership disaster because I had one and it was devastating. And my partner was my friend.

I still love partnerships and wish you all the good fortune in the world. Take good care of each other. You are all business assets.

Best

Patty Soffer

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Ursula

Thanks Marie – brillant article. I am considering going in to business with my best friend in some areas and your article really highlighted the importance of discussion at the outset.

Reply

Guilherm Nunes

I have teamed-up with 4 friends.
My idea is to have a board of directors of 8 people, 2 people each representing 1 BRIC country (we want to build a international marketing and trading business).

Sounds maybe like a lot of partners.. but it’s 1/3 or the world population and belong to the biggest countries.. we also want to go cross industry.. therefore I think that having “owners” to cover different partners of the business might be the best way to grow it… it will also require a matrix structure to deal with the different geographics, industries and business functions…

But we’ll start off simple =) Simple trades, 1 country to another.

We’d started a blog, took a break and are getting going again + getting into real business this year..

http://www.bricexpansion.com/
http://www.bricexpansion.com/about/

Marie & co.:

What’s your take on the situation? Tips? Things to watch out for?

Guilherme

Reply

Andy

For us, money is the most important consideration, so rather than how the friendship is, it is old and established, but how to have one friend with money control but transparent, the other, almost (said with a cringy voice such as the announcer here might do) as an employee – but actually, trying to work with the company regulations so she is actually equal as a partner.

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Business consulting

If you’ve got a business, sooner or later you’re going to hear from a business management consultant. There’s an old saying that those who can, do and those who can’t, teach. Here’s another one: A consultant is an unemployed worker. Those are pretty harsh words, without a doubt, and not fair to the many consultants who really do a good job for your business.

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Dee

Yes, I didn’t want to go into partnership because I have done it before and learned a lot about it, but for this friend I just wanted to work for her with doing nails. We both are certified nail techs. She just had a different view in running her business, and I didn’t feel right on how she wanted to do everything under the table and that’s just not how I roll. One thing I learned is definitely going through the details out before comitting in too deep with the project. She is still bulding the shop under her home (its a home business) and am going to confront her today about how I feel, and I hope she is okay with me just being her friend and not an employee. Wow, sure feel good letting it out, now just need some support. Am I too pushy or bossy?

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Easy ABN

Having your best friend or family as your business partner can prove to be stressful. Inhibitions usually don’t pose much in the way of restraining injurious opinions when partners know each other intimately. While partnerships are trying new methods to making it work and are having varying degrees of success, there are still very tangible obstacles posed by wildly deviating personalities and/or opinions. To have a successful partnership, there must be understanding and agreement on goals and contribution.

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I began a partnership with someone to start a business. Nothing signed in paper yet because we were working towards writing a biz plan and planning to get the biz name trademarked and establish it as an LLC. Nothing has been written or contracts signed yet. So I had been saving money to help pay for start up costs like legal documentation and my partner decided to give the money to a non-profit and didn’t discuss with me beforehand or tell me freely. It wasn’t until I asked for the account info the $ was deposited in to pay for start up expenses she told me she will soon and that she took the liberty to give the $ to a non-profit. I then said okay that’s fine but we’re supposed to be partners in business so because that $ was for the biz needs it would’ve been good for me to know beforehand. I also said it seemed sneaky and we need to have better communication before decisions are made on any level because we’re supposed to be biz partners we need to be on the same page. I was very shocked she didn’t tell me. I also asked questions about the non-profit like the name and what agreement she has with them for giving the $$. She then said she’ll pay me it back and she sorry I was offended or took it that way but she has no intentions to be deceitful. She said that we should end this partnership to keep peace and not make a dent in our friendship. She said that she’s out of the partnership due to lack of being able to physically meet due to our busy daily schedules and to keep peace. I wrote a response but haven’t emailed her back yet because I’m so upset. What should I do? We been working towards building this business for over 2 years! I may wait until the morning Godwilling to respond because I’m so shocked & frustrated. All I asked was for better communication from both of us and details about the non-profit. Please anyone do share advice! We’ve been friends for like 5-6 years out of all the others who attempted to stick things out I’m the only one left w/ her believing in the biz and contributing that amount of $$ freely. Im just so irritated. Please help!

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