Should You Run a Business with Your Best Friend or Family Member

July 13, 2020

Show Notes

In this week’s episode Aaron and Christian talk about their business partnership and what it’s like to work with friends. Whether you have worked with family or friends or not, you have most likely heard rumors or stories. Some good, some bad.

We’re talking about:

  1. Our friendship before BitBranding and how we become a dynamic duo
  2. The one thing you must have implemented if you run a business with friends or family
  3. How to navigate the difficult times and still keep your personal relationships intact.

If you’re a local business owner who wants to generate more qualified appointments online we created a free training to show you our proven three step process. Watch the training

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Christian [00:00:00] In this episode, we talk about our story as best friends running a business. We go over some of the pros and cons, some of the struggles, some of the triumphs of doing a business with your best friend or your family. So check this episode out. 

Narrator [00:00:17] This is the Marketing Natives providing actionable ways to grow, improve and succeed in your business. 

Narrator [00:00:25] And now your host Christian and Aaron. 

Christian [00:00:32] So I think that I mean, it could be a loaded question. Should you run a business with your best friend or family member? There's a lot of moving parts in there. 

Aaron [00:00:40] I think that's why I chose the title so that you guys would listen to the podcast. 

Christian [00:00:42] Exactly. Exactly. 

Aaron [00:00:45] And honestly, my answer changed when I wasn't running a business. So whenever I was working in a business, I was like, these people are doing it really bad. I had a bad example of running it with. So my my thought would be you should never run a business with your friends or family because I'd never want to see this. Like four people, it was just it was just a really bad experience. But I think it was the people not necessarily like their business or the process. It was just them. They didn't complement each other well in a business so I think that's why I don't know. That was my initial perspective, which is probably I don't know, maybe.. 

Christian [00:01:23] I wasn't somewhat similar. 

Aaron [00:01:25] You had family members who had family run, like family owned businesses together to. 

Christian [00:01:30] Do I. 

Aaron [00:01:30] Like you had family members who had had done business together too, right? 

Aaron [00:01:38] I didn't know if you'd like been a part of a business or like saw one from afar of that's why I am asking. 

Christian [00:01:44]  No, like personal family member

Christian [00:01:46] No, I don't think so. 

Aaron [00:01:48] So let's give it a little bit of a recap. We'll explain how Christian and I. So we are not family members. We are friends. So we kind of fall into this. But we'll give you guys a little bit of a recap. And if you want to go check out the previous episode and its our signature story about how he started the company, didn't that goes in a lot more depth of like the details of what happened. But in a nutshell, we were friends for I don't know how long before that. I know how long we've been friends now for maybe like five or six years before we started to get into the business. So we knew about each other and we knew each other's, I guess, skill sets at that point because we've been around long enough. And then that's what sparked the interest, I guess, to even for me to reach out to you and say, hey, I need somebody who can design things, you know, I guess that's me. So we already had, like, the understanding and the trust level. So now it's just a matter of do the skills align? So I think that's something that really helped us. But it was just me doing some marketing stuff, social media management. And I needed somebody to help out with the design side. And it just so happened to be that it was somebody who I knew and who was a friend. I guess I knew them for five or six years and got into the business that way. But I don't know. I don't think that's always the case. Like somebody knows them for a long period of time. Like, for example, some people saw our business with somebody. They're like, oh, among an acquaintance with them. Or I, I knew of them or maybe was an uncle or anything like that. So I think that's where you hear, like, the horror stories. And I guess where the things go wrong or the problems or things change, I guess. 

Christian [00:03:32] Yeah. There was one recently who's telling me about they started the business with their best friend. It was one of. 

Christian [00:03:42] Megan's friends from school. The husband Basic start up insurance agency, and he started it with his, like, childhood best friend. 

Aaron [00:03:53] Okay, cool. 

Christian [00:03:54] So, yeah, that was kind of cool. And we had kind of like a similarity unlike. I mean, you're not my childhood best friend,. 

Aaron [00:04:01] Right, it was kind of adolescent. Eighteen. 

Christian [00:04:03] Yeah. Right. So yeah, we didn't grew up like yeah childhood but yeah when we were 17, 18, that's when we actually met and started this friendship. So it's definitely been a longer relationship than like you're saying, an acquaintance or someone like you kind of just met. So I think that's one of the most important things, like with doing family or best friends or any type of friend is that. 

Christian [00:04:30] One, I think you said, matched the skill set that you need, right, to run the business. 

Aaron [00:04:34] Right before it, just going like he's my best friend, so let's just do it together because it'll be fun to do it. 

Christian [00:04:39] Right. 

Christian [00:04:40] Also think like now, looking back at everything, we sort of always meshed well because we were opposites. 

Aaron [00:04:48] Right. 

Christian [00:04:49] And we didn't really try that, you know, I mean, skill sets is one thing, but also just the way that we think as well. Right. 

Aaron [00:04:58] I think very methodical and creative side. And I'm very much like a now we need to go. We need to be. 

Christian [00:05:04] Yeah,. 

Aaron [00:05:04] We need to be running around Homebase. And you're like, no, we're still going to first. 

Christian [00:05:08] Yeah. 

Christian [00:05:08] So I think something that I would recommend for people who are thinking about. Running a business with your family or a friend will be to do all these like personality tests and all this stuff. 

Christian/Aaron [00:05:20] You know, any grammes and whatever. Yeah. And just get a sense for, OK, is it really gonna be a good match? A good puzzle match. Like if you guys are both the same. Yeah. No way. That's kind of iffy. It's kind of a bad territory to be in. 

Aaron [00:05:35] Right. It's probably like it's it probably makes you best friends to, like, go to the bar or like go golfing or play sports. It's like that. That part of it's different, I think, because you're like, oh, we love doing the same things. But then you get into business, you're like, wait, no, I want to do this. And you're like, yeah, I want to do this, but I want to do it my way versus Oh no, I want to do this and I want to do it my way. Yeah. 

Christian [00:05:56] Like so. Yeah. That's something that I would definitely highly suggest take those tests and see, you know, because that's gonna tell you and on Earth a lot of issues before they even happen. Right. And you can kind of play some scenarios and you know, after you get those results and you'll know. Right. That, you know, things could go south just because you guys are too much alike. All right. There's got to be some sort of balance in there. I think that's what makes our partnership a really good one, is that we're opposites and skill sets and like mindset. But the same time, we're very similar too. 

Aaron [00:06:32] Right. It's a fine line between like we're both going after the same goal, which I think to Christian's point, like, you guys could be very similar and probably still be successful in business. I'm not saying that it would just be harder. And if you don't take those tests or you don't figure out like Christian wants to be talked to like this way or he likes to be celebrated this way and you don't know that, then you could be making them mad or the conversation should just go, like you said south. But taking those tests, you at least alleviate potential problems on the road. I think being aware is probably one of the biggest things. 

Christian [00:07:04] Yeah. 

Aaron [00:07:04] And it's also, I guess, figuring out the fine line between personal and with business, because, you know, for us anyway, like early days, we were both working at the same place and living at the same place. 

Aaron [00:07:15] So we lived together for about a year and a half, two years as we started the company and our office was in the same like literally same room, you know, it was fifteen hundred square feet. And our office was there, too. So that's a I mean, you got to really guess what kind of experts on the matter of a fine line between personal and business, because we literally had the fine line. 

Christian [00:07:37] Yeah. The thinnest line. Think of. Yeah. Yeah, and then there's also obviously, you know, other things to consider beyond just making a good match. 

Christian [00:07:49] You know, there's also like was a split going to be, um, and then it's also, you know, the type of company that you want to have a partnership or LLC or escort or whatever. Right. So there's definitely a lot of different things to look into and to make sure that you're making the right decision when it comes to working like that. Because I feel like you hear a lot of horror stories, especially with the family run stuff. Yeah, because there's like. 

Christian [00:08:17] You know, there's a lot of burn bridges that could happen. 

Christian [00:08:21] Right. And lot of bad things. 

Aaron [00:08:23] Specially if the business

Aaron [00:08:24] Doesn't go well. It's not doing well. And it's like this is my son or daughter or wife. And it's like the business is not going well because of them. But you don't want to have that conversation with them because you're like, no, that's who I love. But at the same time, it's like if you don't fix this, we're going to have a business. So it's tough. I think it's a tough conversation regardless. You have to have ridiculously tough conversations. 

Christian [00:08:48] Yeah. And I don't know, it may be just like a generalization or just a bad stigma of, like, family owned business. Right. But to be honest, like in our experience working with a lot of our clients and are family owned business or are like husband and wife team or etcetera, like they're doing awesome. They're doing great. Yeah, right. They're doing really good things. They have great partnerships, great businesses. And they run pretty I mean, I guess from the outside looking there, they're pretty good businesses and great people. I don't know maybe it's like one of those things where it's like, oh, well, business is a bad thing, whatever. But in reality, from what we've experience, it's always been positive. 

Aaron [00:09:34] I think, and one of the things to look at it is there's a caveat to that, which is they've been in business for a decent amount of time. So it's like whoever spends the most my time, they figure out where they lay or where they lie, I guess. So, like, if they're husband and wife, they realize that, OK, this person is really good at this. I'm going to let them stay in their lane. And I do this and then they allow the business to grow. Because the reason you get into business is to grow is to become more profitable, to change lives. But if you don't ever get out of your own way or their own way, then you just get stuck into the problem. So I think that the reason our clients are successful and they are like family owned is because they realize each one of them had their own specialty and let them run their lanes. And they also, you know, they probably blurred the lines a little bit, which we impersonal in business. But for the most part, it was like they never let the business get in front of the personal life, like they never sacrifice that part of it. Because I think once you start to attack the person, then you can't ever take that back. And it's like that affects the business and personal life. And if it goes bad south, personally, I think the business is just like right there to follow after that. 

Christian [00:10:43] Yeah, business is a business and just stay there. Right. Separate from everything. Yeah. Like I said, I think yeah. The positive, I feel like always outweigh, you know, some of the I guess the negative stigma that it gets because. 

Christian [00:11:02] Yeah. Like you said, like with someone like your best friend or family member, obviously you know them very, very well. Right. And I think if if you use that knowledge to your advantage, then you can make it work and make it work like a thousand percent better. Right. Than with someone who I mean, you may have just limited knowledge on who they are and how they work and all these things. So I think having that knowledge of that person and then like with the help of the test that you're taking, you know, hopefully during the beginning. I think it's just makes for a great company, right? It makes for just a great business, a great partnership. 

Aaron [00:11:43] It adds to that level of trust though too. Because when you have that other person, like if you're in a partnership of you guys are in a partnership now or like you with family or whatever, like hopefully the only thing you're not thinking about, the other people do have to think about if they get into a like a silent partner or some like that is like, is this person like have the best interests in mind for me, you know, at least for us, we know that, hey, this is what we're both going to achieve and this is how we help each other do that. And this is how we make an impact. And if it's a family, like a husband, wife or something, that it's like we're doing this together. If the business is successful, we're successful. So it's like that trust factor of saying, like, OK, one person isn't trying to screw over the other person. I think that that's it's never something that's ever crossed my mind where Christian was like, alright, I'm going to try to get it to this level and then sell the company and then just never tell Aaron about it. 

Christian [00:12:32] Right. Exactly. 

Christian [00:12:33] And I feel like I wouldn't feel that way. 

Christian/Aaron [00:12:38] Like, I would prefer that way if it was like someone who when I moved to Dallas, like I met them right there and then networking or something. Let's do business together. It's always was like that level of like, you know what? 

Aaron [00:12:49] Do I know this person? 

Christian [00:12:51] Exactly. 

Aaron [00:12:52] So I think, yeah, trust is undervalued in this aspect. So, like, when you're running a business with your family, like, you don't realize that trust. And it's why I guess you can have those uncomfortable or like you can talk to people differently. Like I mean, early on, Christian and I had very heated debates in conversations with like he's so for now. So Franklin, very early on. And it's like. We would just go at each other about I don't even know what is just probably stupid stuff. But the point is, we knew each other well enough so we could do that. It was probably not good for us to do it in front of him or whatever else, like Franklin. He's a great, great guy. So shout out to Franklin. But the point is, like we could have those kind of conversations. So, like, if Christian was really upset with me, he would call me out on it versus just hopefully letting it fester for, you know, six months and then be like, alright, screw this, I'm done. It's like, no, we had this heated conversation. And then, like I said, now is years ago. I don't know what they're about or, you know, even recent ones if we were upset with each other. I don't know what they're about, but we're able to let our emotions get out. And I think that's a positive versus I hate this guy. I hate this guy. And just, you know, hey, if you were to have that conversation, why? Oh, he's got the best interests at my, you know, my heart or whatever. 

Christian/Aaron [00:14:03] And they also, I'd say for both they for the most part, because I've heard. I'd have heard stories of other families and their businesses. But for the most part, I would say that there's a factor of reliability, too. Of just like showing up, going to work. Like, yeah, just just that little thing of like showing up and going to work because like. Obviously, if you say you're sick, right? And you're my best friend or my family member. I'm gonna go to my house and check on, like, you know, like there's just this level of, like, you know, honesty and you have to be a reliable person. And I just remember, like, back at Pizza Hut and have people call in, like every week I say, oh, man, I'm sick. And like, I know you're not sick, but, you know, whatever. Enjoy the leg. Yeah. Yeah, exactly. 

Christian [00:14:51] So I think with from what we've experience, I guess with each other, this is more, you know, we just show up or work from home or, you know, we're sick, but, you know, we are if we are, we don't show up or whatever it is. Just again, the honesty factors like, look, I have this going on like whatever. 

Aaron [00:15:12] Right. 

Christian [00:15:13] Whereas, like, I think with other businesses and I guess I'm going back to my Pizza Hut example. It's like just a bunch of, like, phony excuses and like, I don't know. 

Aaron [00:15:23] Just well, they're not buying either. Right. So those sure is a little bit different when some people when it's only transactional, I think that you can only go so far, too. So it's a positive and a negative because you've got to depend on the business to for your livelihood, which sometimes can be crazy at home. 

Aaron [00:15:40] But once we get it running and once it gets going, then it's kind of like a snowball effect to start to, I don't know, really make sense until I bring this back. I guess, like full circle. Full circle. Full circle. It's like, you know, it goes back to we are like who we attract and what we do for our business. 

Aaron [00:16:02] Like we've worked with a lot of, you know, family owned businesses. And our deeper purpose for this is to have them have local businesses compete with the bigger guys. I think we talked about that in the very beginning of our company. Alright. Yeah, we want to help local businesses and provide these marketing services for them so that they can compete with corporations. We talked about that. Well, we've never really expanded or we've never said it out loud as much. But then doing this podcast and talking about this, it's, I guess, even more powerful because local businesses have a huge advantage to corporations because they have the trust factor and that level of knowing versus like, you know, if you go to a huge corporation, have a board that they will meet once a month, maybe twice a month, and they know them from going out to drinks and whatever else. But it's not that deep level connection and that focus of going together. So that's why, like, you know, that local business has an advantage to beat the bigger corporations and why, you know, all of you guys who are listening is local businesses. That's a huge advantage. If you can work with a best friend or family member after you do some of the assessments and figure out if it's a good fit or not. Is that you have so much more focus in that trust. 

Aaron [00:17:16] And you can't get that with a with a corporation, which is I mean, the advantage, I guess, you to play to your strengths and use that. But I was going to ask you, this is more of like a rapid fire, you can just ask me. But now that we're talking about it, I'm just curious, like. What's been the strong or the strongest, the hardest part about working with, like somebody you know versus, you know, like. Also, I guess to clarify, like, I think it's so much easier for you to run a business with somebody else as a partnership than it is a single owner, singles entrepreneur or whatever solopreneur, because you always have somebody to bounce ideas off of and stuff like that. But I absolutely understand if people want to run it themselves, that's just what they want to do. But I'm just more curious, like, what's been the biggest challenge for you? 

Christian [00:18:10] I think what you mentioned earlier, like the just haven't heated debates in the beginning and I feel like. 

Christian/Aaron [00:18:21] You need to have, again, a deeper level of understanding of the business and set out certain rules like, you know, you can set out your code of conduct and like your dress code, your dress code and all that stuff. But beyond that, there needs to be like a deeper understanding between the owners and just a different set of rules where, you know, you sort of agree to you know, if we have arguments and side A, side B and there's no budging, you know, who's gonna be that third person, that referee. Right. That tells us, like, oh, you're right, you're wrong or whatever, you know, to figure something out. 

Christian [00:18:59] So I think at the beginning, we didn't really have that. And it was a lot of know butting heads with different things. And I think I mean, that's totally something that you can fix, right. Again, by just having that deep understanding and just sort of a set of rules or agreement that, you know, when a scenario like this happens or whenever we don't agree about something like this is how we are going to handle the situation or solve that. And again, like we're have a devoted partnership. 

Christian [00:19:32] So I think that in the beginning was also maybe a struggle and it hasn't been a problem or anything. 

Aaron [00:19:40] Right. 

Christian [00:19:41] But I remember early on he was either a business coach or maybe your current coaches that said like, oh, that could be dangerous, right? Yeah, we don't agree on something. 

Christian [00:19:52] Who's gonna be that person that you know? So, I mean, we haven't had anything or any issues with that. But I would say maybe communication and that like that set of rules on how to handle disagreements I guess probably some of the biggest struggles. What about you? 

Aaron [00:20:14] What would be me? I guess just the opposite for me. So, like, you operate differently than I do. So it's like. And that's something that I'm learning with everybody. So, like with all our employees and which is anything else? Like, you know, I listen to a podcast the other day and it's like you starting off with a warm tone in a conversation in the very beginning. Even for two minutes, we'll set the tone for everything else, for the future. So, like, I want to like, hey, we're on this call for business. Let's talk business. But instead, it should always be like, hey, so how are you doing? Or like, you know, hey, it was good to see the other day or like, hey, whatever else, like just small talk, stuff like that, that perception of people is just so much better. So like to get back to your point. I want to run around home like third base and heading for home. By the time you're running the first so I always want to move things so much quicker. 

Christian [00:21:11] So I'm like, oh, like, why is Christian not moving this quick or whatever. So, like, that would be frustration for me. Or it used to be. And it's not necessarily frustration with you. It's just my own internal dialog of like we're not moving or not making progress, then we're falling behind. 

Christian [00:21:25] And whoever I'm racing, I don't know who I was racing then, you know, I just felt like I wasn't winning or I couldn't be successful or whatever. So it's the same thing as like with our employees or anything like that. 

Aaron [00:21:37] It's just understanding that everybody's different. So you're working with people. So I think I could have, like, started a business on my own, but I don't think I would be as successful or it wouldn't have been as fun, you know. So I think that's the thing is, do I think I could have and I think that's for everybody who's a local business owner who's listening right now is like, could you started on your own? Probably. Could you be successful? Probably. But to what extent or, you know, whatever how you define success may be different. But to me, it just be kind of like as we're going through Covid, it's like I got to make all these decisions myself. I don't have anybody to bounce it off of like that would be hard. 

Aaron [00:22:13] It seems like, you know, I would probably give myself stress and I don't have any stress so long tended to say it's just we just have different motivations for movement. And so it just learning that has been something. So I think the whole recap from all this is to tell you guys, at least there's at least two votes, at least my vote is you should do a business if it makes sense with a family member or friend, but you should definitely audit them. 

Aaron [00:22:42] Like, don't just jump into business, but I vote for you to do it. And I think you have an advantage if you do it. Alright. So if you guys want our free training to walk you through our three part proven system to attract qualifying convert leads, I would just go ahead and click the link below. Whether you're watching on YouTube or our podcast, any way that you're consuming this content, there will be a link in the description. It's a thirty eight minute training. It walks you through exactly how to qualify, attract, sorry, qualify and convert more leads. It's something that we struggle with and in the very beginning of the business and it's really helped us now. So if you're a local business owner and you are working with a family member or best friend and you want to that advantage, this training will walk you through exactly how this how to do that and would love to have you check out the free training. Alright. Thank you guys so much for listening to another episode of the Marketing Natives. If you're a first time listener, please make sure that you subscribe, whether that's on Apple podcast, overcast wherever it is or YouTube, please make sure to hit that subscribe button. That way, you don't miss out on any of the episodes that we put out every single Monday. And if you've been listening for a while, please make sure to go over to Apple podcast and leave an honest rating and review. If you leave us a review, we will shout you out on the episode on one of our future episodes, and it really helps us to reach more people. So if you're that local business owner and or you're listening to this and you know of somebody who's a local business owner, who's in a partnership with their family member or best friend, make sure to share this episode with them and we'll talk to you guys next time. 

Narrator [00:24:13] The Marketing Native's podcast is a production of BitBranding. 

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