Ep. 99 How To Decide On A Business Partner
Hey everyone, this is Julie and today I want to talk about business partnerships. I have a lot of people that ask about my relationship with Cathy Olsen who is the co-CEO and partner with me in Funnel Gorgeous. So I thought I would do an episode today about some of the things I’ve learned and some of the advice that I would give.
A little bit of background on our story. We started working together in 2017, she had hired me. I was the coach and she was the client and we had developed a friendship and worked really well together, so in early 2018 she and I came up with this idea to launch a course called Funnel Gorgeous, and it was blending my funnel and marketing knowledge with her design. So we did that first. We did not have intentions of building a company together, we just thought this would be cool. So we went in 50/50.
A lot of people ask how that, how we arranged that. We put it in writing and we both agreed to $15,000 of either cash or sweat equity. So that meant for me using my email list, using my copy skills. For Cathy that was designs. So we actually, you know, we didn’t put in a lot of cash, we both pooled our skills. But if you were going to do this with somebody and you guys didn’t have the skills, you’d have to put equal amounts of money in and then equal amounts out.
So we did that and launched it, and we had made $55,000 in that first launch, so it was really successful, and we continued to add to that course with templates. So that went all the way into 2019. It was really clear at that point that we were building something that was bigger than just a course, so we formalized our relationship on paper, but not officially with a lawyer yet. But we were working together, we had this one course and these templates. And then it wasn’t until June 2019 that we launched a second course, and this one was called Webinar Gorgeous. And that one did $175,000 in sales. And this is when it was really obvious that we had something. Something was really working.
So over the next six months, we hired a lawyer and got an operating agreement, and January 1st I believe, of 2020 is when we officially went into that operating agreement as 50/50 partners. We hired a lawyer, we put all of that official stuff in place. And you know, it’s really important when you’re doing this that you consider the costs, like the unseen costs of your partnership.
So for example, if you’re using your FG funnels account for the business, that’s $97 a month, and you’re paying for that, but you know this new venture is using it as well, you have to account for all of that, so sometimes the easier thing is to just get all brand new accounts, brand new business accounts, brand new cards, just to keep it really clean and really simple.
So that’s sort of the origin story of how Cathy and I work together, but I think what people really want to know is how do you know? How do you know if someone is a good partner for you? And I really don’t have a lot of magic to offer here, but I have a couple of things that I know to be true, because Cathy is not my first partnership. I had a partnership with someone back in 2016 for Create Your Laptop Life, and I briefly tried a partnership outside of Funnel Gorgeous in my other business, Digital Insiders, that did not go well.
So what have I learned? Number one, you have to know that you cannot do the business without the other person. A lot of partnerships start because people like each other, and they like working together, and they like the camaraderie. But the truth is that if the partnership ends, one person could probably carry the business better than another person. So it’s not until you really know that the business doesn’t survive if the partnership doesn’t, that you have something really, really good.
So you see this in partnerships that last a long time, and for us, Cathy is so much the foundation of the Funnel Gorgeous brand that without her the brand wouldn’t, and you know, maybe that means that we wouldn’t have a good sellable business, but what it does mean is we have a partnership that’s really solid. And the business, the brand does not work without her, just like the brand does not work without me. We need each other. There’s no one person that can carry this brand.
So when you look at someone when you’re evaluating if that makes a good partner, you have to ask yourself, “Could I do this business without them?” because if the answer is yes, that’s going to be a bug in your ear for a long time.
So that’s the first thing, know that you can’t do the business without the other person. Number two, you need to have a mutual respect for their zone of genius. If there’s any doubt in your head about that person’s zone of genius, or you can’t respect and also kind of give in and not have the final say, you’re going to constantly be butting heads.
So when it comes to design, Cathy is always going to be the winner. What she says goes. In fact, in most cases I’m not even going to question her zone of genius or try to step on it, because there’s no way that I could ever produce something that’s more high quality than what she already does. So I have such a great respect, not only for her design, but for her branding mind, her sales mind, and her marketing mind and how that design pays out in the marketing process. So when she speaks up about that, it’s time for me to take a seat and let her speak.
So she will do the same for me when it comes to copywriting, and curriculum, and content, and things like that. So that’s the second thing. You need to have mutual respect for the zone of genius.
The third thing, and I don’t know if this is actually good business advice, so take it with a grain of salt. But I believe that the partnership has to be more important than the business. And what I mean by that, is that your commitment to being a good partner for the other person, has to be more important than the bottom line of the business. And the reason why I say that is because if that holds true and you work on the partnership, then the business will be fine. It’s similar to the way people talk about marriage, and they say that your marriage is more important than the relationship with your kids. And it’s not that you love your spouse more than your kids, it’s that people understand that if your marriage is number one priority, and you focus on that, that ultimately that will trickle down and help the children.
So the idea is that if your partnership, your relationship with your partner and the lines of communication, and the fact that you guys are in this together, has to be more important than the business, and the business will be okay, because the partnership will be strong.
So those are sort of my three tips as you’re evaluating a partner and deciding this is something you want to do. Number one, you have to know that you cannot do the business without them. Number two, you have to have a mutual respect for their zone of genius. And number three, the partnership has to be more important than the business, because the partnership is what makes the business run.
So hopefully that helps. If you like this, please share it, leave a review, and I’ll talk to you soon.