It takes two to tango
Updated: Aug 27, 2019
I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit. Growing up, I watched my dad launch and manage multiple businesses. There was always a tremendous sense of pride whenever I visited one of his businesses. My sister followed in my dad’s footsteps and launched multiple businesses since graduating from university. But something has always held me back. I would sit and binge watch hours of Dragons’ Den, feeling the desire to create rise in my heart as I watched entrepreneurs proudly share their creations.
Reflecting back on my career, I’ve always been drawn to jobs where I get to create something from scratch. Be it a brand new service centre, or an entirely new department, I thrive in situations that are filled with uncertainty and ambiguity. I love the sense of satisfaction when I’ve cracked a complex issue without access to a clear roadmap.
6 years ago, I was at a crossroads in my career and I was no longer feeling fulfilled by my job at the time. I could pursue a new opportunity or venture out on my own. I engaged a career coach and diligently worked through the process to identify my drive, my skills, and my ideal life. After 6 months of coaching, I once again decided to pursue employment instead of self-employment.
I would continue this theme of jumping from one job to another, constantly seeking the opportunity to create something new, something exciting. In between these jobs, I would once in a while stop to dream up business ideas with my dear friend Karly who would always indulge my entrepreneurial dreams, and my husband, who would always listen to my endless business ideas. But they always stopped at the ideation stage. I never took them further.
That was, until a fateful day in November of 2017, when I met Angela. I was looking for a contractor to support a major communications initiative at work and was referred to Angela. We met and talked about the project. After the formal meeting was over, we started making some small talk about life as working parents, the often-times crushing demands of work, the need for a more agile workforce, etc. That night, I emailed Angela, pitching myself as a partner and offering to help her take the next steps in making her business idea a reality.
Since then, we’ve learnt a lot about each other and about what it takes to work in a partnership. We compliment each other very well with our experiences, interests, and strengths. Inevitably, our differences also mean we have disagreements. Some are small and easily overcome with a brief discussion. Some require a much longer debate, and at times, a bit of soul-searching. Luckily, we spent a lot of time at the beginning of our partnership to establish a common vision and to identify some key shared values that would guide our work. That strong foundation has helped guide us through many conversations to find common ground and move our business forward.
We also invested our time and resources to create a strong partnership agreement that covers all possible future scenarios. It’s incredibly helpful (and I daresay necessary) to talk through both positive and negative possibilities. It’s much easier to talk about the possibility of one of us leaving the partnership over a couple glasses of wine in our backyard than negotiating a deal in the heat of the moment when our relationship is going south.
There are many benefits of working in a partnership. We know that we can go on vacation, fully enjoy the time with our family and that someone else has got the work part covered. We know that if we need to cancel a meeting because of a family emergency, someone is there to step in. Our kids have gained a new sibling-by-choice and our partners have gained a drinking buddy. But most important of all, we each have gained a trusted friend and partner-in-crime.
Knowing this now, I would never pursue entrepreneurship any other way. We consider ourselves extremely lucky that we found each other, and we want to share our stories so others can consider it too.
Are you working in a partnership or looking to start one? Reach out and let us know! We’d love to hear your stories and feature you on our blog or help make sure you’re off to the right start.