Does Business Ruin Friendships?

Alison Osborne

Hustle Harder: Episode 9 Transcription

From Best Friends to Business Partners

Britt: To start off, let’s hear from Steph and Ali since they grew up together. 

Steph: I think the pros of owning a company with Ali are that we know each other... very well. And so we definitely know how to push each other’s buttons. We've actually had lengthy conversations about this throughout our lives at different points. So I think that's definitely a good thing because we know what does and doesn’t trigger us. I also think that it's good when you have someone that knows you so well because they can see things that you don't always see about yourself. 

Ali: I think it's definitely changed our friendship. Not saying that's bad, but it's definitely changed and shifted with owning a company together and seeing each other every single day.

Steph: It's a lot when you're, first of all, seeing each other every day and then you're making really big decisions with each other. It's definitely changed our friendship because it's almost like before we started the company, we could just hang out as friends. There's no motive to it. You just hang out and you enjoy each other's company. And that's that, whereas with the company because I literally see you every day, and we're doing company things, there's always an objective or there's always something that we need to get done.

Ali: Britt and Steph are probably the two people that I see the most in my life. And I spend the most time with you two because it's every day, all day. I think it would really suck if you weren't friends with someone you owned a company with because you have to see that person so often.

But I think there's also something to be said about starting a company with your friends, but also starting a company and then becoming friends.

Does Business Create Friendships?

Steph: Overall, I would say that since being in a company together, the three of us have collectively gotten to know each other a lot better. I feel much closer to you both now, compared to knowing you before.

Ali: For me experiencing both being friends with someone before starting the company and getting to know someone while building the company, I don't really have a preference for what I think is better. I mean, I’m happy with how both situations worked out.

Britt: Maybe an analogy that some people might use, for example, roommates, some friends can be good roommates, or some friends can be terrible roommates.

Steph: I completely agree with that. I think that's a really great analogy, because some people work out and some don't. And sometimes that doesn't even necessarily have to do with whether or not you were friends before or not. It just has to do with the type of person they are and how they think and how they act which translates into the entrepreneurial space. If you guys were just really negative people all the time, I would probably absolutely hate working with you. But you're not. You’re both really optimistic human beings, which I think you have to be as an entrepreneur because there's so much sh*t happening all the time. 

“And also working with friends, you have to really learn how to separate personal feelings and professional feelings as well go off time.”

Separating Personal Emotions from Your Work

Ali: That's something that you and I struggled with at the beginning, we made everything was so personal and it was a complete mess.

Steph: Yeah, when we first started working together, it was really hard working with you. 

Ali: The first bit was really rough.

Steph: I would say for the first like, probably year even maybe for two years. We've gotten over it now. Like we figured out how to work with each other. But oh man, those first two years. 

Ali: We fought like we have never fought before. It was never necessarily about the company, it would start with the company, or someone would say something that had to do with the company, but then it would get taken in a personal way. 

But over time as our relationship changed as we continued to build the company, we grew up. That’s when I think things took a turn and I'm very happy with where we're at now.

Steph: Well, they say you have the honeymoon phase, and then you have your fight phase, and then you work into the phase where you're fine. And I think that that actually was very true for our business relationship. But I don’t think a lot of people could have handled that. 

Ali: No… because we're both so stubborn. We just wouldn't budge.

Steph: One thing I will say is that through it all. We always have each other's back. It doesn't matter how pissed off I am at you. I will always have your back. It does not matter.

The Downside of Working With Your Friends

Britt: When working with friends, well... we just see a lot of each other. And when you're working with friends, you get off topic a lot. I love talking with you guys but sometimes I just want to focus on my work and we just get on some random rants. I'm like shit, two hours have passed and we didn't get anything done. So I think that's my main con.

Steph: When I come into the office, I find it so hard not to talk to you guys though. Because immediately when I sit down you guys are both there. But, you’ll be working so I know if I start talking I’m interrupting your work. But for some reason it overcomes me and I just have to interrupt you anyways.

Ali: I'm bothered by it sometimes but at the end of the day, I love that we can do that. 

Britt: I really love that we can all go on tangents with each other. And we talk about our personal lives in that way as well. So sometimes it can be annoying, like when we have a deadline and we need to get something done. But overall, I’m very happy that we can do that.

The Upside of Working With Your Friends

Britt: When you know how to work with each other in a professional setting, you can be vulnerable with each other and transparent. And like Steph mentioned, we always have each other's back. 

Starting a company with friends, you're in it together and you want to grow together as friends and as a company, so we really understand the work culture. But we also understand that there is a life outside of work. We hang out with each other outside of work, which can be a lot of Britt, Steph and Ali, but I think it's another side to us where we don't focus on the company and just have fun.

Ali: What I also appreciate is that obviously, we have off days and sometimes we're not in the best of moods. But overall, I am happy to come into work every day, because there's not someone at work who I don’t want to be around. And I think for me, it's such a relief to wake up every morning and be excited to go into work. 

Steph: I'm happy that all of us are really relaxed with each other, no ones’ egos take over. We don't really even have egos. We check our ego at the door when we come into work. The three of us definitely see each other as equals. It's not like anyone is above or below anyone else.

Ali: At the end of the day, we all have the same goal of wanting to make this company something great. If we had those egos, if we built that hierarchy, that goal wouldn't be in mind. So that's why we leave it at the door. We're all working towards the same goal.