We’re nearly three months into the year and I’ve got so much new content lined up!
Something that’s always been a hot topic as an independent freelancer or entrepreneur is the topic of business and friendships.
Do you think they go together? Can you still maintain professionalism with your friends?
I must admit I’ve had more bad experiences than good in this department but when it does work well it gives you a really positive feeling.
I started writing my first book at 15 and set up my fashion business whilst at uni at 20 years old. Now that I’m 23, I’ve had time to look back on certain experiences along the way. There’s been times when I’ve turned to friends when running my business and they’ve let me down. I’ve offered to pay friends to be models and they don’t turn up to the photoshoot on the day because they know they can get in contact with me after with an explanation they expect me to accept rather than acknowledging that in business, a little notice goes a long way. I’ve had friends take advantage of my professional nature. For example, once a friend charged me for something she wasn’t asked to do because she knew that as a business owner, I’d rather settle an issue rather than have the negativity spread and impact the reputation of my work. I held an event for my Time is Money Project and had hired a photographer for the day. My friend at the time was working full-time but wanted to try and set up something for herself. She’d asked if she could use my event to practice taking pictures with her friends camera and I was all up for her getting some experience.
The event went ahead and a few days later I started to promote the images. Once they were out she had an issue with how I had posted more of my hires photographers images compared to hers, and then said that I owed her £70 for the work she had done. She’d been there for over 3 hours so she insisted that I be charged.
Instead of parting on bad terms, and having someone spread negativity about my business, I paid her, and actually tried to maintain a friendship after this, but I could never get over such behaviour when it comes to working with others. She continuously had a negative attitude towards clients that were giving her small opportunities knowing she has no real experience in the field and that this should be a learning process for her. The friendship fizzled out soon after.
There are times when you have to rise above disappointing situations to protect the reputation and representation of your business, even if that means finding out friendships a long the way aren’t for you.
On a brighter note, there have been times where working with friends has been a pleasure. My long time graphic designer, Toz Fu and I have been working together for almost four years. It’s our communication and understanding that we both have businesses to maintain that has helped solidify our business relationship but has also allowed us create a strong and supportive.
When I think about doing business with friends now or allowing a business relationship to manifest into a friendship, it’s about being selective. I analyse the situation for what it is not what I want it to be. It can be easy to ignore toxic traits in friends that can be harmful to what you do because of the personal relationship. However, a good friend will understand that you have professional boundaries, and sometimes you’ll need to have difficult conversations related to this if you decide to have a working relationship too.
It’s possible to have great working relationships with friends, but can you separate the two when needed?
Let me know your experiences!