While working with your best friend definitely has its perks, it can also create some awkward and difficult situations. Heymama co-founders, Katya Libin and Amri Kibbler, are here with tips on how to work with your best friend and maintain your friendship at the same time!
We never expected to work together, but after three years of being each other’s ‘mama rock,’ we pretty much knew everything about each other, including the ups and downs. And, really who could be a better work wife, right? Our story started on one hot summer day in the park. We were two mamas on a play date who wanted something more—a community for creative and entrepreneurial mamas, so we built one together. And we lived happily ever after, right?
Well, mostly. Working with your best buddy has a massive stream of perks—you finish each other’s sentences, trust them like no other and have a built-in Instagram wife! On the flipside, working with your bestie also means that sometimes you take things more personally and have to deal with uncomfortable moments when business and friendship intertwine. Because we’ve learned a lot along the way, we are excited to share some tips to make your best friend/work partner situation even better. And who knows, checking in and figuring out your work plan might even leave you feeling closer and more connected.
Tip One: Take care of your business first.
Deal with the not-so-fun stuff, like the legal aspect, first. Start by outlining your operating agreement, making sure that you both feel comfortable with the terms. During this stage, it’s crucial to be really honest about where you stand as you make your idea official. This allows you to have the rules set so you can get to work with a clear focus.
Tip Two: Don’t let your friendship fall by the wayside.
You see each other every day, so why is it sometimes you find yourself not knowing what’s really going on? Don’t confuse work time as quality time. Make time for your bestie, go to lunch, get your nails done, etc. Whatever it is, remember you’re still best friends and you should plan activities outside of work to connect as friends where business isn’t involved.
Tip Three: Be honest. Brutally honest, with a little sugar coated on top.
Honesty is always the best policy, but when working with friends, it is so much easier said than done. There may be times you feel your partner needs to work on something, or approach something differently. With other colleagues, you’d likely have no issue, but because you’re friends, you find it hard to put your business hat on. Grab that hat, put it on and be honest. If you’re coming from a good place and have the best interests of the business in mind, your friend will understand.
Tip Four: Be the best cheerleader ever.
For some of us, words of affirmation are our love language, and although our ladyboss exterior may say one thing, we all need a bit of ‘you’re freakin awesome’ feedback every now and again. Don’t forget to tell your BFF just how much they are slaying their job. Even a little uplifting and positive text during the day can lift someone’s energy. Kindness is free, so sprinkle it on your bestie like confetti when they deserve it and you’ll see just how positive of an impact that can make.
Tip Five: Look at your strengths (and weaknesses).
This will really help with the next aspect of your business, and we’re not just talking about who is better at Excel. Have a pow-wow and figure out who is a better manager, who has a knack for finance, who can calm down the most volatile client. You might want to assign some bigger tasks based on the these skill sets and/or help each other to develop in these areas.
Tip Six: Outline your roles.
In the early days, it’s easy to both want to do everything and anything! You’re best friends and share everything, right? Yes, but we all have our strengths and it’s so important to focus as you direct your energy toward your goals, not on stepping on each other’s shoes. The sooner you can clearly outline who does what and who is responsible for what, the better.
Tip Seven: Get on the same page.
Nothing is worse than having two co-founders disagree in front of the whole team. Take it from us, it’s happened on numerous occasions. But it can be avoided. Get on the same page as your BFF/partner about the business, the strategy and the approach before your big weekly conversations. Your team needs to see you united, and the best way to do that is to discuss any issues prior. If you do disagree in a meeting, make sure to keep that professionalism high, and not undervalue or make light of your BFF’s opinion. Even if you two have a playful sarcastic relationship, it doesn’t work in a group setting and will send the wrong message.
Tip Eight: Get on the same page (about the long-term goals).
Didn’t we just say that? This time we’re talking about the long-term goals of your company. Is one of you hellbent on selling your company in two years, while the other just wants to run a successful small business for life? It’s never too early to talk about your exit (or non-exit strategy). It can also be a fun day dream conversation about being rich and living on a private island, as long as you’re both in it to win it.
Tip Nine: Always ask before you order lunch.
This is a no-brainer in our books! We mean, really, it’s basically illegal to order lunch and not ask your best friend if they want lunch, too. Better yet: Treat them to lunch sometimes.
Tip Ten: HAVE FUN. Really. Do it.
Building a business is great and all, and making one that is profitable is even better! But nothing beats having a good ole’ time with your bae. Make time to laugh about the ridiculous, the hilarious and the impossible things you encounter (trust us, you’ll have stories!). If your BFF and you are not doing open heart surgery (but if you are, woah!), then it’s just not that serious. The more fun you have, the more fun your team will have.
Because you’re reading this, you’re likely already in that lucky percentage of people that gets to work with their BFF or you’re thinking about it. How cool is that? Appreciate it, be grateful, make sure your BFF feels appreciated, is well-fed, communicated to, laughs and has FUN! The rest is a cakewalk.