I remember the first time I told my Dad I had co-founded a publishing company with my boyfriend. It was five years ago. I was twenty-three and fresh out of college. He sat me down and told me I was making a big mistake and that it was foolish to mix my personal life with my professional life.
Flash forward several years later, and my personal life is nearly indistinguishable from my work life. My boyfriend constantly jokes, “all you do is talk to your friends on Facebook all day and somehow you make money doing it.”
That’s because many of my friends are contributing to my business. The speakers, attendees, and team behind my international accelerator events are all those who I’ve met over the years, or who i’ve been connected to online, or who’ve been connected to me through another friend.
For my Dad’s generation, personal and professional were two distinct categories that didn’t mix.
But it doesn’t look this way anymore for millennials—we’re preferring to integrate all areas of our life, resulting in successful business collaborations with trusted friends and more time spent with those we love.
If you’ve been searching for the perfect business partners, they could be already among you.
Three millennial co-founders who have been best friends since elementary school are illustrating this concept perfectly.
Meet Russell Howard, David Lasman and Adam Malka, the co-founders of Signature Tracks, a music production company focused on bringing current sounds to TV series. Signature Tracks has served major TV networks like MTV, ABC, and CNBC, shows like Keeping Up With the Kardashians and The Bachelorette, as well as celebrity artists like Jay-Z, Chris Brown, Lil Wayne and Miley Cyrus.
This week on the Unconventional Life Podcast, Howard, Lasman, and Malka share why running a business with your friends can be extremely rewarding both professionally and personally.
Below, discover why friends make the best business partners.
You’re Highly Compatible
The benefit to working with your closest friends rather than a strictly “work-specific” team is that you and your friends have already established a high degree of compatibility. 67% of American workers say having tight-knit relationships at work makes their job more fun and enjoyable, which can also increase productivity.
The key to a successful collaboration is combining your greatest strengths. A team comprised of your closest friends can perform highly by identifying where you each excel, and localizing your tasks to that specific area. “Russell is the head creative of our group, responsible for branding our sound” Malka says. “Each of us have our own function. Our synergy is based on friendship..”
You Know How To Navigate Conflict
According to a survey by the HBR, half of all employees surveyed said they didn’t feel safe to speak up at their place of work. Within traditional companies, it’s not uncommon for there to be a “fear culture” around voicing unpopular opinions, especially among lower levels of the ladder.
When it comes to the innovation and expansion of any business, open dialogue is essential. With your closest friends by your side, you can trust that you’ll be able to speak your mind without fear of reprehension or losing your job. Chances are, you’ve already navigated conflicts in your friendship, and your bond has the fortitude to withstand any challenges that arise within the work environment in a way that honors all parties and promotes business development.
“With three best friends, there’s little things you’re fighting over in the beginning, but it’s also amazing. We each own 33% of the business, so there’s no boss. Defining roles has been good for us,” says Lasman.
You’re Able To Strike A Healthy Work-Life Balance
The average worker falls disappointingly short of work-life balance—with 80% failing to get the recommended amount of weekly exercise, and 38% missing important life events. But for Howard, Lasman, and Malka, work-life balance is an everyday reality.
Working with friends can help create a built-in structure around balance, whether it’s holding one another accountable to setting aside time for self care or time to relax and unwind. “I start every day with putting me first,” Howard says. Some call it the “power hour.” I have to get in some meditation, some reading, some exercise. That self care—kind of like a chiropractor—aligns me so I can focus on what I want to do, rather than what I have to do.”
Malka adds, “We make sure we spend time the three of us together, really doing stuff that’s fun, and also taking our team out and having that break where we can all hang out and have a little bit of fun, sometimes a work trip back east.”
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