There seems to be a growing trend of BFF power couples starting and running badass companies together. From podcasts to retreat centers, magazines to design studios, the BFF power couple is so hot right now, and there is something incredibly beautiful about that. But no beauty comes without its challenges.
Spirit Guides Magazine was founded over happy hour, after long talks about modern spirituality and healing and in the midst of romantic break ups and grieving. Arizona Bell, my business partner, and I went to high school together, worked at an ice cream shop together and watched each other travel the world, encountering challenges, heartbreak, and victories along the way.
We lost touch in our teens as you naturally do in the midst of travel and major life changes. It wasn't until we found ourselves both back in our home town, licking our wounds and planning our respective escapes that we reconnected and began seriously discussing starting a business together. The years behind us laid the foundation on which we would build our futures.
Despite our bright hopes, starting a business with a friend was something I'd always heard not to do. "Don't go into business with friends or family," is something I'd heard all my life. But the truth is, there are many hurdles and challenges that come with starting a business with anyone. A wise man once told me, "Where there are people, there is conflict."
You're never going to have the perfect business relationship with anyone; as time progresses and things continue to grow, hard conversations are going to have to be had no matter who you're partnered up with. And if you started a company with someone you even relatively like, you're more than likely going to become friends through the process anyway.
Sure, there is a lot on the line if the relationship goes sour, but on the other side of the coin is working with someone you love and building something together that can bring great change to the world.
After Spirit Guides Magazine was born, it wasn't until things really got going and I was living in an RV outside of Arizona's house in Sedona when our friendship truly started to reach a deeper level. And what a beautiful time that was, with long nights, tarot magic and dance parties in what we affectionately referred to as "The Witch Wagon."
Now that we are over two years into starting and running a thriving company together, while have been consistently growing our friendship, there have been many rough waters we've had to navigate—both as friends and as business partners.
Regardless of these challenges, many incredible, profitable, helpful and positive ideas have come from our work with Spirit Guides Magazine. Our weekly radio show has been changing lives from the beginning; the messages we get from listeners in our community are a testament to the guests we invite on as well as the open and honest relationship we have with one another. We founded this platform on the idea of a modern, no frills approach to spirituality, and as times continue changing it has become increasingly obvious that this is exactly what people want. When you create something from the heart with good intentions, you will attract the people who are looking for your brand of spice.
Additionally, we've created a monthly membership community called The Cosmic Collective where we invite practitioners to host exclusive live sessions for our members. These sessions can include mediumship readings, intuition development, learning tarot, breathwork for ancestral healing, and everything in between! This worldwide community was a longtime idea that we pulled together and launched in just two month's time. When we work together on a shared dream, things fall into place in truly magical ways. It's like putting a request into the universe and having it fulfilled almost immediately. The synergy when we are working together on something is palpable.
However, the lines between friendship and coworkers can still get blurry. But if you can learn anything from our experience, it's that the precious combination of the two relationships can form a union that is completely unique to any other.
If you're looking to start a company with your BFF, take some advice from us with these three tips:
1. Form Strong Boundaries: "Boundaries" is a buzzword you hear so much these days. Either we all grew up as sponges, absorbing everyone else's shit, or we have just forgotten how to differentiate between what is ours and what is other people's. Regardless, forming strong boundaries in any relationship is incredibly beneficial. Draw a firm line between friendship when you're working, and business when you're playing. Bringing in the friendship during a serious business meeting will create unnecessary emotional baggage and make it more difficult to make decisions together. And conversely, only talking about work when it's time to play and relax can pigeonhole your relationship and easily make you forget what it was you loved about each other to begin with. Balance is key, and boundaries are how you achieve that balance.
2. Practice Clear Communication: This one can be hard when difficult conversations, that are usually zero fun, need to happen. Combining the love of a friendship with the logistics of a business relationship can help you practice clear and compassionate communication. If you can't talk about things as they come up, you'll never be able to move forward. And just like in any relationship, after you talk it out you will feel so much lighter and more connected. Put time on the calendar to talk if necessary but make it a priority.
3. Don't Take Things Personally: By far the hardest piece of advice we've had to learn is to not take things personally. Don Miguel Ruiz stated this as one of the agreements in his best-selling book, The Four Agreements, and it is super relevant in a friend/business relationship as well. When you go out together, attend family holidays and celebrate losses or milestones as friends, it can be hard to separate those moments from making business decisions and having inevitable disagreements. But when you form strong boundaries and practice clear communication, not taking things personally will feel like a logical next step in the evolution of the relationship. Ain't nobody got time to be butt-hurt by a disagreement. Let that shit go!
There is nothing more soul satisfying than spending all day together (virtually or physically) creating something that helps people all over the world with someone you love and grew up with. Starting and running a company with your BFF will force you to grow in ways you otherwise wouldn't. There will be uncomfortable moments and times of loss or failure, but there will also be shared victories and huge milestones. Just like anything else, the more honest you are with yourself and each other and the more committed you are to your shared goal, the easier it will be to successfully run a company with your BFF.
The Armchair Psychologist has all the answers you need!
Help! I Might Get Fired!
Dear Armchair Psychologist,
What's the best way to be prepared for a layoff? Because of the crisis, I am worried that my company is going to let me go soon, what can I do to be prepared? Is now a good time to send resumes? Should I save money? Redesign my website? Be proactive at work? Make myself non-disposable?
- Restless & Jobless
Dear Restless & Jobless,
I'm sorry that you're feeling anxious about your employment status. There are many people like yourself in this pandemic who are navigating an uncertain future, many have already lost their jobs. In my experience as a former professional recruiter for almost a decade, I always told my candidates the importance of periodically being passively on the market. This way, you'd know your worth, and you'd be able to track the market rates that may have changed over time, and sometimes even your job title which might have evolved unbeknownst to you.
This is a great time to reach out to your network, update your online professional presence (LinkedIn etc.), and send resumes. Though I'm not a fan of sending a resume blindly into a large database. Rather, talk to friends or email acquaintances and have them directly introduce you to someone who knows someone at a list of companies and people you have already researched. It's called "working closest to the dollar."
Here's a useful article with some great COVID-times employment tips; it suggests to "post ideas, articles, and other content that will attract and engage your target audience—specifically recruiters." If you're able to, try to steer away from focusing too much on the possibility of getting fired, instead spend your energy being the best you can be at work, and also actively being on the job market. Schedule as many video calls as you can, there's nothing like good ol' face-to-face meetings to get yourself on someone's radar. If your worries get the best of you, I recommend you schedule time with a qualified therapist. When you're ready, lean into that video chat and werk!
- The Armchair Psychologist
HELP! AM I A FRAUD?
Dear Armchair Psychologist,
I'm an independent consultant in NYC. I just filed for unemployment, but I feel a little guilty collecting because a) I'm not looking for a job (there are none anyway) and b) the company that will pay just happens to be the one that had me file a W2 last year; I've done other 1099 work since then.
I'm sorry that you're wracked with guilt. It's admirable that your conscience is making you re-evaluate whether you are entitled to "burden the system" so to speak as a state's unemployment funds can run low. Shame researchers, like Dr. Brené Brown, believe that the difference between shame and guilt is that shame is often rooted in the self/self-worth and is often destructive whereas guilt is based on one's behavior and compels us to do better. "I believe that guilt is adaptive and helpful – it's holding something we've done or failed to do up against our values and feeling psychological discomfort."
Your guilt sounds like a healthy problem. Many people feel guilty about collecting unemployment benefits because of how they were raised and the assumption that it's akin to "seeking charity." You're entitled to your unemployment benefits, and it was paid into a fund for you by your employer with your own blood, sweat, and tears. Also, you aren't committing an illegal act. The benefits are there to relieve you in times when circumstances prevent you from having a job. Each state may vary, but the NY State Department of Labor requires that you are actively job searching. The Cares Act which was passed in March 2020 also may provide some relief. I recommend that you collect the relief you need but to be sure that you meet the criteria by actively searching for a job just in case anyone will hire you.
- The Armchair Psychologist