6 Lessons I Learned from my Past 6 Business Partners

By Ian Fernando

Writing this post because I feel there is a need for this. As I have been in this industry for a decade, damn that sounds old, I have been through a lot. Partnership is one thing that has been growing in our industry. Why work by yourself and make 100 dollars, when you can scale to make 100,000?

Especially in this industry, it needs collaboration. I remember back in the day that every affiliate was not about sharing and helping each other, it was about flaunting. How times change. Now it is about how fast you can scale because this industry can change tomorrow.

Smash wrote about some issues he recently had and it got me writing this article because I feel it is important to know who your partners are. Here are some of the lessons I have learned between my past and current partners.

Success Comes in Lazy Green

Attitude changes once you help someone get up to a point where they are very comfortable. Meaning, your partner can go out and stop worrying about money because money is now accessible, where as maybe your partner when he first started was just 'making it' and not really successful but you saw talent that can be usable without understand the personality.

You scaled and made money, but now the work put in when you first started with $100 is not the same now when making $100,000. The drive has slowed down because there is NOW money and worrying has stopped. You have to look at your partners and see who they are. It may be hard to see through the hard work they are doing now but you have to see how they handle their attitude.

What did I learn: Don't get into business too fast, it maybe a good idea but understand each other. Have multiple talks and understand the real goal, the end goal. Even though your work ethics might not be as energetic as the next person understand there should still be equal work ethic from when you start till the company is sold.

I'll do Everything but mean Nothing

Having a partner means you get to set some of your tasks in a category and give it to someone. For example, if you are good at 1 thing but your partner is far more better, you would give that set of responsibilities to that person. It is his department and that new person is accountable for it.

It is better to do focus your input on 100% on one goal than 10% of everything. As an entrepreneur you do become burn out and a partner is there to help you alleviate it on both sides. If my partner is far better than me at traffic, we make the decision that traffic is no longer my responsibility.

Having a partner that wants to do it all isn't a partner at all.

What did I learn: When a partner is saying he can do everything or you can lean on them as back up, be cautious. You have a partner for a reason to leverage time. There has to be accountability. A partner that wants to do everything won't really do everything because they will be caught up with so much work that they don't do anything. It isn't productive to have a partner to do everything. It is ok to have a weekly meeting on what is happening and how each other can help BUT to have them follow up on a call because they can help doesn't help at all because the partner has no background about the call. A partner is about leveraging time and scaling.

I Told You the Water was Hot

It can be hard for a fellow self sustained person to go into an office and have meetings and listen to you and take orders. When it really is not like that. Partnerships means you appreciate each other enough that you are always open minded. Just because someone told you this strategy works better than your doesn't mean the partner is wrong. Experience brought the solution to the table not just suggestion out of the air.

When a partner just doesn't want to listen but looks like an idiot later on because one of you were right, then that person needs to be reconsidered. Pride gets to the best of us for others even more.

Sometimes it is hard to let go of your role as the one that does it all especially when coming into a new partnership. Giving up the full responsibility can be hard. I have went through it.

What did I learn:  Both partners have to understand the goals at hand. It was hard dealing with the person and explaining the goal and vision, if money is the goal then that isn't a business. Find a person that is open minded and not self egotistic, that is the person that can handle a long partnership.

Keep Rebuilding the Bridge Up

When I started my mini ebook business, we did very well. Problem is the consumer was not being taken care of because of the nature of the business. A fast turn key system with no care for the consumer isn't a good business model. Even though the business is dead in 3-6 months after launch, doesn't mean that we shouldn't care about the users who bought our products.

The attitude of we will still make money off them is a dumb idea but some people do not understand the easier work style we will have if we work strong and hard now and relax later. So we are always creating a new product in a new sub niche. After the launch the product is dead, no support and no future until the next product.

Horrible Business Model.

What did I learn: Never get in a business where a partner is about just creating and 'deading' every idea they create. A part time entrepreneur is what you do not want. For example, a person launches a product and then takes a 3 month break then launches another product and takes another 3 month break. You do not want to get involve in this, as all they care about are 1 time products that makes XX amount of money, sell the list, or purges the data. They have no plan or what their business is, bullshit entrepreneurs with no future plan or goal. These guys never last long.

A Game of Chess is Actually Checkers

One thing I do hate in a partnership is that when some suggests strategy but no one follows up because of pride. So you end up creating an awesome strategy but then you just bounce around and around because no one care about the input during the meeting. They may seem like they care but go back to wards their routine.

It can be hard to go into a partnership and mold yourself into a new routine, but that is part of growth. You are not taking orders from someone you are strategizing on a goal. Every meeting you have should not be about hey I can do this, lets do that, yes, yes, yes. It should have KPIs and weekly goals.

In the end the partner just goes back to what they are use to do, their own strategy on what they think is right, when it can be wrong and hurt the company all in all.

What did I learn: Accountability. Call the person out. No one cares about feelings ,sustainability is the most important part of a business and if the partner doesn't understand then they have to be called out. Get a plan started but also be open minded about the partners vision. If it flows with the end goal vision then checkers can then turn to back to chess.

Accountability in the Books

The most important lesson is contracts and accountability. With someone ventures one business can conflict with another which may turn a partner from one to want to sue another business you are in with another partner. Paper work and understand the goal of the business is very important. Make sure to have an operating agreement in place or any big decision in business should be on paper.

One person can say something and mean another down the line. The benefits of these is accountability of the user. Which becomes a theme in the 6 lessons stated above. Each person has to know they are at fault, no entrepreneur is perfect. Every entrepreneur or business person fails to be where they are at today.

If they are not accountable or know they are not a fault, run away from that person. Make sure to know their story before getting in business with such.

What did I learn: A person needs to know their fault. If they talk around the crack in the sidewalk, then they are not fit to be a partner. Be direct as possible, there are no 'hurt feelings' in business. If things are down you have to let everyone know that they suck at some point of the business. You have to make sure both the partnership put everyone in check. Everyone has to be accountable, even though one might say it, it is all about the actions. Make sure it is also back by paperwork!

What partnership issues have you faced in your business careers?

Ian Fernando
Involved in the internet space since 2002 and have been through the ups and downs of this online industry. I am a traveling digital nomad, media buyer, online strategist, and many more online titles.

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