Partnerships – Should you?

“The only ship that always sinks is a partnerSHIP” I read that somewhere from some guru and it sure seemed like bullshit at the time. After the last 15 years of starting multiple partnerships I can say that it’s mostly bullshit, but has a tiny amount of truth buried in there.

I’ve started quite a few businesses in my years and a lot of them have been partnerships. It just makes sense for a startup that is cost conscience that rather than hire someone and having to pay them every week you can instead join up with them. The first few years of the growth you have the benefit of an overqualified individual working for less than they are worth in exchange for ownership and future potential. In my time with partnerships I’ve had quite a few different approaches with varying degrees of success and failure.

  • Working for a sole proprietor to learn the craft then joining them – This one was a big mistake as I knew he was crazy. I never lost any money, but the headache every day was annoying and I wanted out in the end. I will never talk to this Qanon conspiracy crazy bastard again in my life and I’m better for it.
  • Joining up with someone that I only knew professionally. This worked out quite well and only ended because they wanted to bring their spouse in and I didn’t want to be a third wheel in a power dynamic where my voice effectively would be worth less. I moved on and am happy about everything that happened for the most part.
  • Starting businesses with your friends – This is the golden ticket to success. I avoided this for years because of the stigma. Everyone in your life, media, books, writers, gurus, bullshitters will tell you that starting a business with your friend is the best way to lose a friend and money. Those people are idiots.

Starting a business with your friends is the best thing you can do if your friends are decent people.

That’s the key to success with going into business with friends. Nothing really matters as long as you respect each other to begin with and have similar values. The mistakes I’ve made in starting businesses with people has always been working with people who didn’t have the same philosophies in life and business. That’ll dick ya down everytime, but if you work with your friends and are all driven towards having fun and making something awesome then you’ll have a blast and make money. 

As we are approaching FI I have gotten so much less tolerant for any work related bullshit. This also relates to any business I own a stake in. If I don’t enjoy it then I am out. With this scaling back I’ve noticed that the only businesses I am excited to work on each day are the ones that I’m doing with my friends. We are doing cool shit and are trying to be on the cutting edge every day if only for the sake of figuring out the best way. We invest aggressively on ideas we think are awesome and every ownership call is a goddamn blast because I’m just hanging out with my buddies bullshitting. It’s just rather than talking about politics we are talking about how to make our business the best it can be.

That’s my dad advice for the week – Get friends that are good people, then go into business together on something you would all have fun doing.

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