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Considerations on Having a Business Partner


When considering starting up this crazy freelance-writing idea, one of the biggest decisions was whether to go it alone or not.  The idea of having a partner can be pretty overwhelming.  Supposedly, freelance writers never have partners, but I’ll let Tamara tell you about that.  ;-) 

Personally, I’ve tried to do some freelancing in the past, but it never quite got past that trying stage.  I would refer to myself as a “freelance writer,” but I always kind of said it with my fingers crossed behind my back because it seemed more like wishful thinking than an accurate description.  I was usually cobbling together a bunch of tiny, low-paying assignments; and that didn’t really fit my mental picture of a freelance writer’s life.   When Tamara told me that she really was interested in the two of us starting this endeavor, I had to give it some thought.  I mean, having a partner poses a lot of scary questions: 

  • Will there be enough work for both of us?  Would we end up competing with each other?
  • How will we split the labor?  How will we split the pay?
  • What happens if we absolutely disagree on something important?
  • How will decisions be made?
  • How will we communicate when we’re not working in the same office?
  • Will this completely destroy our still-young friendship?

These are just a few of the questions that have to be considered when deciding whether or not a partnership is a good idea.  In fact, some of them are probably superficial compared to the bigger issues of how to incorporate a business under two people or how to balance initial investments in the company.  Still, these are some of the first things that occurred to me.  I’m not even 100% sure that we’ve worked all of them out yet! 

What I do know is that having a partner has been one of the best parts of this experience so far.  At first I was a little concerned because Tamara and I have very different personalities.  I think she’s a much more assertive person than I am, for example.  That means that we’re most likely going to have different approaches when dealing with clients, and that might make us seem less cohesive as an organization.   

What we’re discovering so far, however, is that our personality differences have been a real strength in moving forward.  Here’s a great example.  I am most likely to bid on jobs that I really want to do because they look interesting.  Tamara is most likely to bid on jobs that seem like they would be the most efficient use of our time.  The result is that we end up with a great mix of work.  Some of it is not what I would consider the most “interesting,” and some of it is not what she would consider “efficient,” but we’ve ended up with enough projects to keep us feeling pretty good about ourselves at this point.  

The number one benefit of having a partner thus far, though, is the accountability it adds to the whole equation.  When I tried to freelance in the past, I didn’t have anyone expecting me to succeed.  That’s not the case now.  Tamara and I are able to really keep each other going.  Again, some of it boils down to a simple matter of personality differences.  She’s such a go-getter.  She is constantly putting in bids on projects and communicating with clients. 

On the other hand, I’m sort of a dreamer.  I spend a lot of my time planning ahead and keeping us energized.  While this combination would drive some partners crazy (I think I’m sort of the Oscar Madison to her Felix Ungar), it is working wonderfully for us.  We’re learning not only to recognize each other’s strengths, but also to see them in ourselves.  The fact that it is truly feeding our business success makes us both extremely grateful that we chose to do this together.

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    On September 12th, 2007 at 12:23 pm, Kendrah said:

    Reading entries in reverse order probably wasn’t the best way for me to get started. ::laughs:: Wow, it sounds like you guys are having a trip and a half, and much more than an adventure. I think what interests me the most about all of this is the chemistry you have working together, and how that seems to bring out the best in each of you.

    On September 12th, 2007 at 3:25 pm, lornadoone said:

    Having Tamara involved has been nothing less than a blessing, that’s for sure!

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